WHY ALL WOOD FENCE PICKETS EVENTUALLY SPLIT, AND HOW TO STOP IT
It’s not a matter of fence pickets being split because of their age or quality. No matter what wood species or type, all wood fence pickets eventually will develop small checks. Checks indicate small cracks in the wood grain that have occurred due to uneven drying. The wood was dried unevenly due to moisture. This creates stress. Because the wood was not able to support the uneven drying, it resulted in a slight separation of the grains.
For a few weeks, place your dining room table outdoors in the sun. We don’t recommend it. You will likely find small cracks in your wood grain. Pickets for the wood fences are usually less than one inch wide and are cut along the grain of the tree. This exposes a lot of wood to the sun, with very little wood structure to keep it together. Pickets in most installations are not supported fully or capsulated at either end. This prevents checking from happening on the ends.
Why don't my other wood products develop these checks, like my dining room table?
For a few weeks, place your dining room table outdoors in the sun. We don’t recommend it. You will likely find small cracks in your wood grain. Pickets for the wood fences are usually less than one inch wide and cut along the grain of the tree. This exposes a lot of wood to the sun, with very little wood structure to keep it together. Pickets in most installations are not supported fully or capsulated at either end. This prevents checking from happening on the ends.
Because my fence pickets develop these checks, are they going to continue to split?
Checking is the natural drying of the wood. These tiny splits or checks should not exceed four to five inches in length and no more than 3/16aEUR width. The first few weeks after installation, the check should be done. After a couple of months of exposure and low humidity, the pace of checking should slow down. There is no guarantee that the same process will occur if you replace these checked pickets. The checks should not continue to grow, causing structural damage to the material.
What if the checks in my pickets continue to develop?
Cracks in the wood can be a serious issue if they’re left unattended. The best way to prevent further damage is to repair the cracks as quickly as possible. If you can’t fix the cracks right away, there are several methods you can try to prevent them in the future. These methods include filling the crack with wood putty, removing nails, and painting. You can also dampen the wood before you start the repair process to help it settle.
Another way to prevent cracks in wood is to check the timber. The inner layer of the wood dries slower than the outer surface. As the inside of the wood dries, it puts stress on the wood. After cutting and drying, all wood begins as green, or “green.” The uneven drying process produces checks, which make it look uneven. However, there are several methods for fixing checks in wooden pickets.
The first method involves treating the wood. If you don’t pressure-treat your lumber, it will rot faster. This is not necessary for pickets, which are above ground. Instead, use a sealant to protect the wood against rot. Alternatively, you can apply a stain that will make your wood look smooth and beautiful. After applying the sealant, your pickets should be free of cracks.
How much will replacing split pickets cost?
A professional fence company can help with many natural wood problems. Local fence contractors should be able to talk to you about your concerns and answer any questions that may arise before, during, and after installation. Depending on the damage, either the whole fence or partial replacement may be needed. In any event, the situation is unique and someone will need to come out for the quote.
Other Fence Factors
How hard could it be to fix a fence board?
It’s quite a lot. It involves lots of math and the correct nails and fixtures. All of this is dependent on the type and location of the wood fence.
A picket spike can be damaged or removed by you, so it is worth spending more than $200 to replace the fence.
Wood fences are popular because they offer both cost-savings and a beautiful look. Look for a contractor who has a good track record in service calls for fence installations.
A fence can be put up by anyone, but an experienced fence contractor is available to help you if there are any problems with your residential fence.