Every homeowner loves the aesthetics of wood. The warm colors, intricate grain patters, and variety of texture aren’t too hard on the eyes. Add to the aesthetics the fact that it is relatively easy to work with and lower cost than alternatives, and wood is an ideal construction material as well. But what if you are living in Houston? While Houston is a lush tropical climate great for growing trees, its climate decimates wood structures. That includes wood siding, fences, signs, and railings. Take a look at some of the newer fences as you drive around the Montrose area and you’ll see nature winning the battle against man’s wooden structures.
Fencing can always be a bit complicated, especially if you don’t have any help, but it’s always important to at least have some sort of assistance so you get everything done right.
As we took on the renovation of our new real estate office in Montrose, we definitely saw how essential wood would be in the design, but we didn’t want to have to completely replace our work in a few years if at all possible. Thus, we set out on a mission to implement the wood in our design taking into consideration the best species of wood, areas that would take the least amount of abuse from the weather, and methods and products to preserve the wood.
Our most recent project at the office is replacing the 25-year-old decrepit fence in the back of the property plus working on a new gate. As I mentioned earlier, driving around the Montrose area, it is easy to find some of the fences that have become casualties of the weather. Obviously, we want a fence that will last through the years and keep its natural beauty, so we have taken the time to find out what works when putting up a fence in Houston and hope that all of our clients can take from this experience. We think a good fence is a great way for a homeowner to add value to their property especially if visible from the street. Keep in mind, that a fence that starts to sag and fall apart will only cause your home sales price to sag (sorry terrible pun, I know).
There are many durable reclaimed wood choices for a fence, but when talking to a fence company and also looking at durability and cost factors, all signs point to cedar. Pressure treated pine is also very durable and cost-effective but the treatment discolors the wood. This would be my material of choice if you will be painting your fence. And, even when using cedar for your fence, pressure-treated wood makes a great baseboard (the piece that touches the ground and will be exposed to the most moisture). In order to avoid breaking the bank we went with cedar as we wanted a nice warm, natural wood color, some router lifts was all we needed. We also chose to do a horizontal fence in keeping with the modern lines of the house and contrasting with the original vertical siding.
I can’t recommend capping your fence, enough. The additional cost is well worth the longer-term stability and structural integrity of the fence. And once your structural integrity goes, so do all of your straight lines and the associated aesthetics. While talking about structural integrity, make sure you have accounted for tree roots. Keep in mind that fast-growing trees may not be a factor right now, but they may be in the future. After talking with our neighbor, he was happy to have the fence moved slightly into his property in order to keep a tree that is right on our property line. As a common courtesy, always talk to your neighbor about your fence. They might even want to share the cost in order to update their side of the fence.
Finally, when the fence is complete, there area lot of products to choose from as sealers or stains. We wanted to keep the natural look of the wood without the cedar turning silver. While there are no guarantees, Cabot, Sherwin Williams’s Deck Sealer or Waterscapes, and Helsman’s spar urethane all receive pretty solid reviews. We opted for the Sherwin Williams Waterscapes as it is one of the proven longer-lasting (5-8 years) solutions before needing reapplication. At the cost of the Waterscapes product changing the color of the wood since it has pigment, it provides great UV protection (no silver fences). Hopefully, if all goes well, we will enjoy a great-looking, functional fence for a couple of decades with minimal reapplication.
If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to call us or stop by the office and take a look in person!