Is cedar wood fencing in Des Moines still the top choice? What are the alternatives?
The majority of cedar harvested today derives from new growth trees, as North American forestry restrictions have greatly limited the amount of old growth. New growth cedar is defined by speedy growth rate and minimal heartwood, which is why the majority of cedar fencing consists of sapwood.
Alternatives include Douglas fir, incense cedar, and white fir—tree species of which a great abundance of materials are available. In fact, Douglas fir tends to outperform cedar wood fencing in Des Moines in terms of popularity and quantity due to the plentiful heartwood that can be obtained from it. While it lacks the rich cedar smell, it offers great longevity.
What are the pros and cons of treated wood fencing?
Although treated white and red pine fencing lacks the natural beauty of cedar or Douglas fir, it is frequently recommended for wood fence posts. Pine itself is a very sturdy wood species and, when enhanced with ACQ or ACQ2 pressure treatment, becomes nearly impenetrable. It is worth noting that red and white pine posts tend to develop “checks” post-treatment. However, these long, thin cracks running along the grain are natural and do not compromise the posts’ strength/integrity. Only when the cracks become deep enough to expose objects on the other side should you be concerned. Some slight twisting might also occur (another natural aging process that negatively impacts your fence posts in no way).
What is the recommended practice for staining wood fences in Des Moines?
– Stain within six weeks of installation.
– Ensure the fence is completely dry (not exposed to water for at least a week) before staining.
– Hire a professional staining contractor.
If you want to try staining the fence yourself, do so only on calm, dry days. Tape off adjoining structures and notify your neighbors so they can block off their property, too. To avoid getting stains on your yard, lay down a cloth before going to work. Many DIY fence owners resort to brush staining, though this tends to be difficult on course surfaces. Rolling-on staining is a simpler process, though runs and drips are common. Spraying is excellent provided the user has a good eye for judging when the right amount has been reached. For the best results, spray the fence and quickly follow up with a brush staining to even out the coat.
What is the difference between heartwood and sapwood?
- Sapwood consists of the tree’s outer, lighter layer through which sap and water flow—in very much the manner of veins and arteries. Sapwood is essential for the tree during its life but tends to be flimsy as fence stock. What’s more, because it contains so much moisture, it tends to shrink when dried out.
- Heartwood is the darker inner section of the tree that is frequently used for fencing. Formed by used up layers of sapwood, it is strong and sturdy, functioning as the spine of the tree.
What type of wood fence gate should I use, and how do I maintain it?
American Fence Company of Des Moines recommends heavy-duty 4” x 6” posts set on the hinge side of 6’ gates, with three hinges connecting the two. Hardware should be powder-coated for enhanced rust resistance.
Now, one unavoidable reality is that gates are prone to movement due to changes in terrain—settled soil, frost, constant exposure to the elements—and changes in position can hinder how smoothly the gate opens, or whether it can open at all. To fix this issue, we recommend using a standard drop fork latch. These pieces of hardware resemble two-prong pitch forks and move in an upward-downward manner. Latches consisting of horizontal rods designed to fall into a receiver will need adjustments as the position of the posts change. Four-way adjustable hinges can move up and down, in and out, and thus can accommodate position changes, as well.
As for nails, American Fence Company recommends galvanized or aluminized products countersunk so the nails don’t accidentally pop out.