Is cedar still my best choice for wood fencing in Omaha, NE?
Thanks to the reduced number of old growth cedar trees in North America – and tighter forestry restrictions – the majority of cedar wood fence materials today are sourced from new growth trees. New growth is a cedar species known for quick growth and minimal heartwood. Most cedar fencing today is composed of sapwood, which has a considerably shorter lifespan.
What are my options over cedar wood fencing?
Because of the limitations and restrictions on old growth cedar use for wood fencing, the industry as shifted harvesting emphasis to other species of tree, such as white fir, incense cedar, and Douglas fir. These three species are available in greater numbers in older growth trees and are harvested from heartwood. While they lack that wonderful cedar smell, wood fence materials made from these trees offer tremendous longevity.
Are fence materials made from treated wood better than western red, incense cedar or Douglas fir?
While the natural beauty of cedar and Douglas fir trees are difficult to surpass, fence posts made from treated and stained white and red pine are nonetheless excellent alternatives. Pine is known for its considerable strength, as it is physically dense wood, and when treated with ACQ or ACQ2 pressure becomes nearly impenetrable. And treated fence materials are easily stained, providing a darker color than cedar and Douglas fir. It is worth noting, however, that white and red pine posts tend to form thin cracks along the grain of the post as they dry following treatment. This is a natural, to-be-expected process that does not compromise the wood fence post’s strength or longevity. Don’t be concerned unless the cracks become so deep that you can see straight through the other side.
You should also know that these pine posts have been known to twist as they mature, due to uneven drying. But rest assured, it also does not compromise the longevity of your wood fence posts.
Should I stain my Douglas fir or cedar wood fence?
If interested in preserving the reddish and blonde cedar color of your Omaha wood fence, stain your fence within six weeks of installation. Ensure the wood has been completely dried before staining begins — wait at least a week since the last rain. Continued dry weather and conditions means the wood fence materials will be “thirsty” and more likely to receive and preserve staining treatment.
For the staining process, it is encouraged that you only hire insured professional staining contractors. The process of staining wood fences in Omaha tends to be rather messy and overspray onto houses, automobiles, neighboring properties, etc. can occur if the right precautions are not taken. Staining should only be practiced on calm, dry days with no wind. Tape off adjoining structures and lay a drop cloth to help prevent overspray from ending up on your turf. Rolling-on staining tends to be easier than brush staining because it accommodates the coarse surface easier, though runs and drips tend to be more common with this method. If you have a keen eye for determining the right amount of staining, the spraying technique is ideal. However, if you have the experience, the best results can be achieved first by spraying the fence and then following up with a brush staining. This will even out the application.
In brush staining wood fences, apply with large, continuous strokes. In this, the staining process is very much like painting: you must apply the second coat while the first is wet, otherwise the second coat won’t stick and will be prone to peeling. Plant to re-stain your wood fence in Omaha every 2-3 years and ensure your fence is not being constantly hammered with sprinklers, as this could result in uneven discoloration. Both cedar wood fences and Douglas fir wood fences will start to gray in 6-12 months.
What is the difference between sapwood and heartwood?
Sapwood is the part of the tree through which sap and water flow, in a manner similar to blood through arteries and veins. It is the “working” part of the tree, distinguished by outer, light colored rings and doesn’t make for particularly good fence stock. Because of its high moisture content, sapwood tends to shrink as it dries out, and is more prone to fungal developments.
Heartwood is the inner, darker section of the tree — formed from used layers of sapwood — and essentially functions as the tree’s spine. It is stronger, less prone to fungus, lower on moisture content, and consequently shrinks less when dried and is a better choice for fence materials than sapwood. As a matter of fact, a large number of mills specializing in decorative cedar opt to use heartwood and remove the sapwood when making fence materials.
Should I use cedar or treated pine fence posts?
In cases where concrete footing is used to shed water from the fence posts, cedar or treated pine fence posts will do. Here at American Fence Company, we use premium cedar posts or ACQ2 treated and stained fence posts. Treated pine posts are known to form thin cracks and slight twists in their shape; however, they have been known to possess greater longevity than cedar fence posts. By contrast, cedar tends to form fewer cracks and twists, though warping is possible. Cedar posts are also known to gray if they go unstained.
Are treated fence materials safe around family and pets?
In the interest of maintaining safety on residential Omaha properties, we strongly recommend that you only used industry-approved, ACQ-treated wood fence posts. Do not use CCA (Cooper Chromatic Arsenic) materials. In the event where you’re unsure how the fence materials are coated, check for tags at end of the post. You can also talk to us, your number one fence contractor in Omaha, NE.
What about wood gates in Omaha, NE?
American Fence Company recommends heavy duty 4″ x 6″ fence posts on the hinge side of a 6′ wood gate, with three hinges used per gate. Ensure all the hardware on your gate is powder coated, as this makes it rust resistant and helps increase longevity.
Will there be maintenance issues with my wood gates in Omaha?
Wood gates are set between two independent posts. Naturally, being outdoor products, they will be exposed to the elements: sunlight, rain, snow, wind, debris, unsettled soil, temperature swings (oh so common here in Nebraska), and all of this has the potential, over time, to cause gate posts to shift. The slightest change has the potential to affect whether or not the gate’s latch hasp will close properly.
How do I fix my wood gates?
If you have a standard drop fork latch (the kind that drops down and resembles two-pronged pitchforks), it should not be affected by movements in your gate posts. However, latches that use a horizontal rod that strikes or falls into a receiver will need adjustments for the gate to close properly. The same is true of latches resembling standard door lock assemblies. You might want to talk to our gate experts here at American Fence Company of Omaha about installing four-way adjustable hinges on your gate. These particular hinges move in numerous directions and can adjust to changing positions in your gate posts.
What nails do I need for my wood fence in Omaha?
American Fence Company of Omaha recommends galvanized or aluminized nails that have been counter sunk — as this helps avoid the nails from popping out.