Whether you are a farmer, landowner or homeowner, properly constructed wire fencing can be a cost-effective way to protect your property, properly mark your boundaries, keep animals contained and deter predators.
Wire fencing, usually supported by wooden or steel posts and supports, can be durable if properly maintained and this together with the cost factor are the main reasons why this method of fencing is so popular and chosen over less durable alternatives such as wooden panels and plastic netting.
Whether you have recently installed wire fencing or are in the process of weighing up the pros and cons before you make an informed fencing decision, continue reading to familiarise yourself with the maintenance tips you need to know before you install wire fencing.
1. Check Regularly
It makes sense to regularly walk along all your wire fencing to check for any issues. Make sure fence wires are properly stretched as wire fences can become loose over time. Look for any sagging wires, and invest in a quality set of tensioning tools that can be used to adjust the wire and keep the fence taut to prevent further sagging or damage.
Also, at least twice a year, it’s a good idea to clear any vegetation growing near your fence. This is because, plants, bushes and other vegetation can potentially damage wires and posts, so clearing them before they become a nuisance is useful. This includes trimming any trees or bushes as fallen branches can damage an entire section of the fence.
Posts are also really important and whether these are wood or steel – rot and rust can be become an issue, exerting pressure on a section of the fence and if one post fails this could cause major problems, you should identify and replace and posts that look as if they might fail.
2. Protect it from rust
Most steel wire is specified to BS EN 10223 and BS EN 10244 or BS 4102, and when purchasing you should look for notification of these standards that outline the quality of the steel and its corrosion protection depending on wire diameter.
Corrosion resistance is usually provided by coating the steel wire with a zinc or zinc alloy, and this protection can be further enhanced by the addition of an extra coating such as powder and heat-applied coatings. These sorts of certificated wires should last a very long time if maintained – up to around 30 years.
However, older wire, compromised wire, or poor quality wire can be susceptible to rust. Over time, adverse weather conditions, such as rain, wind, snow can speed up the process of gradual wear and tear and even undermine the structural integrity of your wire fencing. If you think this might be the case you should look at applying a substantial coat of rust-resistant paint or coating and repeating the process on a regular basis. This should provide a good deal of protection and ensure the longevity and integrity of your fencing.
3. Tighten it on a regular basis
With the right maintenance and upkeep, wire fencing can last a lifetime. But by failing to tighten it on a regular basis, it can start to sag and loosen over time. This is especially important if you have installed wire fencing as an enclosure for pets or livestock that will tend to test the integrity of the fencing regularly.
Tightening loose or sagging wires is a regular maintenance task that is easily undertaken with the right equipment. You simply release the wire from each post and use a chain strainer or invest in a gripple tensioning tool to drive the wire back into its original position.
4. Enlist professional help
Whilst most wire fencing problems such as sagging are a quick fix, some require professional help. For example, if your wire fencing looks as if it is at the end of its lifecycle and is at risk of fracturing or collapsing, you might be best talking to a professional landscaper or fencing contractor. They should be able to advise you on the cost of new fencing and the best fencing solution for your requirements.
If it has been installed properly and is regularly maintained, wire fencing can have a long lifespan. Most fence repairs are straightforward and aren’t too time intensive. However, you should not neglect basic maintenance or regular checks. Remember, that if one simple thing goes wrong such as slack wire or a broken post, it can lead to other more costly issues further down the line. It’s for this reason that general maintenance should be high on any property owner’s list of priorities.