To provide garden fence panels the best possible protection from weathering, mould, algae, fungi and insect attack, it is recommended to treat them with an exterior wood oil after using an exterior wood preservative.
Why oil garden fence panels and posts?
Although wooden fence preservatives protect fence panels and posts from biological threats such as mould, algae and insect attack, only some, those that contain a small amount of wax provide a limited amount of weather protection.
As with any garden wood including sheds and decking, exposure to moisture, UV rays, heat and cold will eventually strip any natural wood oils remaining in the timber. This can cause warping, cracking and splitting as well as allowing water to penetrate in to the wood grain, a contributing factor to wood rot, mould and algae.
Wood oils help to keep fence panels and posts supple and water repellent preventing many of the more common problems associated with deteriorating fence panels and posts.
Which oil can be used on fence panels?
In basic terms, any wood oil can be used but different oils provide different results so it largely depends on how you want the fence to look and what sort of protection you wish to provide.
In days of old, everyone used to treat fence panels with Creosote. Those of a certain age will never forget that smell that lingered on cloths and skin for days if not weeks. Due to its poor environmental and user friendly credentials, Creosote is now only available to farmers and for industrial use. There is however a more friendly Creosote substitute called Creocote, available in light and dark brown.
Modern exterior wood oils are both durable and easy to maintain. Modern formulations are usually made from a blend of oils, waxes, resins and solvents that penetrate deep in to the timber of the panel to provide long lasting protection.
Clear or coloured fence oil?
Deciding on whether to use a clear or coloured wood oil may depend on the age, colour and condition of the fence panels. Another key factor is the desired look.
- To preserve the colour of new fence panels, treat with a clear wood oil that contains UV filters
- To allow wood panels to turn grey / silver, use a clear wood oil that doesn’t contain UV filters
- To stain fence panels treat with a coloured wood preservative then a clear wood oil
- Alternatively, use a coloured wood oil or decking oil
Fence oils with UV filters
Many exterior wood oils contain UV filters to help slow down the bleaching effect of the sun on the wood. Fence panels and posts that are exposed to UV rays will naturally turn grey or silver over time. UV resistant wood oils will significantly slow down this process.
Choosing an opaque or translucent fence finish
For most, keeping the appearance of the wood grain is important, that’s why most coloured exterior wood oils provide a translucent wood finish where the detail and pattern of the wood grain is still clearly visible. There are however a few products that give an opaque finish, these are generally used on smooth planed fences such as picket fences to give a paint like finish. The beauty of an opaque wood oil is that although it looks like a paint, it will never crack, flake or peel like a paint. An example of this is the excellent Osmo Country Colour.
Can decking oil be used on fence panels and posts?
In a word ‘Yes’. Decking oils are perfect for fence panels and posts as they are designed to be durable and weather resistant. As with decking they will keep fence panels nourished and water repellent therefore preventing cracking, warping and splitting. Available in both clear and coloured variations, with and without UV filters, there’s usually one that’s the perfect shade or wood tone colour for new or old garden fences.
Recommended coloured decking oils for use on garden fence panels
The following decking oils are suitable for use on fence panels and posts and are available in both clear and coloured formulations.
A clear alternative to the above is Barrettine Log Cabin and Decking Treatment
The final colour of a wood oil on a garden fence is largely affected by the type, age, condition and colour of the wood that makes up the fence panels. If the fence panels were bought at a different time and from different places, chances are that they will naturally vary in colour to some degree even if they are the same type. Because of this it’s important to be aware that even by staining them with a coloured or pigmented wood oil, the end colour may vary from panel to panel and to that shown on the tin. For this reason. We always recommend that a test area is done before embarking on any large scale project to ascertain the final colour and finish of the product to hand.
For information and advice on other garden fence treatments click here.