This winter has been one of the mildest on record. It’s seen a succession of storms land on the UK’s west coast. In Wales, flooding has been widespread, with the country experiencing more than twice the average rainfall for December – though, for a variety of reasons, Wales did not experience the same level of destruction as, say, Cumbria.
High winds and heavy rainfall are nevertheless expected to hit once again – alongside one or two spells of genuinely wintry temperatures. Welsh homeowners will therefore want to know how they can best protect their property against the elements.
Fences are among the most vulnerable items on a piece of property. They’re far less substantial than a brick wall, and in most cases have a far larger surface area. This means that they’re capable of acting like a sail, or parasol, and providing a strong wind with enough purchase to knock them over, snap them in half, or send them flying through the air like a Frisbee. Suffice to say, this is a situation that you’ll want to avoid, and in this article, we’ll examine how you might do so.
Let’s consider the components of a fence. In the main, they are twofold; a fence will consist of a series of large panels wedged beneath a series of posts, which are in turn wedged into the ground. The latter are crucial in preventing the fence from moving around, and from being blown over in high winds. Posts, too, come in a couple of varieties. There are concrete ones, and there are timber ones – both of which are available from the many purveyors of fencing supplies in North Wales.
Now, concrete posts are advantageous for a few reasons. But of these, perhaps the most important for our purposes are sturdiness and durability. A concrete post, being much heavier than a wooden one, is far less likely to be blown over. Moreover, the base of the post is far less vulnerable to rot and erosion, and is far less appetizing to soil-based insects. This means that you’ll be able to rely on the post to stay in place long into the future.
A concrete post has a vertical slot on either side, into which the fence panels are designed to slot. This means that there’s no need for additional fixing – the fence panels will simply remain in place thanks to simple physical forces, unless a wind that’s strong enough to bowl over concrete comes along – which in this part of the world is highly unlikely.
If you’re at all concerned about the impact of high winds on your fencing, perhaps because you live in an area that’s prone to strong gusts, then a fence with concrete posts is an excellent long-term solution.
It might, perhaps for aesthetic reasons, be that you’re keen to avoid using concrete. That being the case, you’ll be pleased to learn that there are ways of supporting a timber fence so that it’s sturdy and similarly capable of weathering a storm.
You might do this in the traditional way – by digging a small hole around the post in question and filling it with concrete. This is an effective solution, to be sure – but it’s one that involves a great deal of hard labour. After all, you’ll not only have to install the new support, but you’ll have to remove the old concrete and clean things up as you go along.
Fortunately, a far more convenient solution presents itself in the form of ready-made post supports, which allow you to erect a few post in just a matter of moments – and there’s no cement-mixing or hole-digging involved. You’ll find these supports come either in the form of a two-foot spike, which can be driven into the ground using a sledgehammer, or a bolt-down version which can be affixed to a handy wall.
Importance of preservative
The worst enemy of a wooden fence is rot. It dramatically weakens the wood, and renders it far more prone to buckling, breaking and splintering in high winds. This rot comes courtesy of fungus and small insects, which attack the wood and eat away at it.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of preservative. This substance will help to safeguard the wood against fungi and insects for years on end, and thereby keep it strong for as long as possible. Preservatives are available in both brushable and spray-on form – you’ll be able to secure either at any respectable timber merchant in north wales. Though if you opt for the latter, it’s essential that you wear proper eye and mouth protection.
It’s best to do this in the dry season, when there hasn’t been any rain in a few days, and there isn’t any rain expected for a few days’ time. This usually occurs in mid-to-late summer, so it’s something to bear in mind for next year.