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Wire Fence Maintenance Tips

by Judy Knowler

Your wire fence can have a massive lifespan—if you maintain it properly. Essential fence repairs are often simple and won’t take too much of your time. However, neglecting basic maintenance has severe drawbacks. When one thing goes wrong, like missing staples or a broken post, it can lead to other costly issues that are no fun to fix. It’s for this reason that general maintenance should be high on a property owner’s list of priorities.

General Maintenance for Wire Fencing

Wire fence inspections should happen regularly. During these inspections, it’s always beneficial to tackle small repairs as they come up to prevent any further issues that require more time and labor.

  • At least twice a year, you should clear your fence of growing vegetation. Vegetation can inadvertently damage your wires and posts, so clearing them before they become a nuisance is ideal.
  • Trim trees and clip bushes around your fence. All it takes is one fallen tree branch to damage an entire section of your fence. It’s best to ensure that they don’t get out of hand to cause this problem later.
  • Keep an eye on your fence posts. Rotted or severely rusted posts can put pressure on a section of the fence and cause posts around it to fall over. Replacing these old posts before they break will help mitigate the damage that they could potentially cause.
  • Make sure fence wires are properly stretched. Wire fences tend to become loose over time, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for sagging wires along your fence line. Leverage tools throughout the year to keep the fence taut to prevent further sagging or damage.

Woven Wire Fence Maintenance

Many property owners opt for woven wire fence because it is more reliable and durable than other fencing materials. Wire is less likely to become damaged by the elements (particularly rain) the way that wooden fences do, and woven wire has added reinforcement thanks to the tight weave in the knotted mesh.

However, these benefits do not mean that you can afford to slack on your fence maintenance. Regular inspections will help keep your fence in great shape throughout the year – just make sure you keep an eye out for the following:

  • Vines: Vines can reduce the effectiveness of the fence.
  • Snowfall: In colder seasons, snow can weigh down the fence and cause it to sag or collapse on itself.
  • Debris: The base of the fence may be prone to collecting debris. These areas should be kept clean to ensure the post’s durability.
  • Tightness: If you replace a section of the fence (or when you’re installing it initially), make sure that you don’t over-tighten the fence. The fencing should be taught, but not so tight that all the crimps in the wire are pulled straight. Those crimps adjust with temperature changes and help your fence withstand the weather, so it’s important that they remain intact.

Barbed Wire Fence Maintenance

Barbed wire fencing is typically used to confine large animals in expansive pastures. There are unquestionable benefits to using this type of fencing: barbed wire is cost-effective and relatively simple to install, it requires fewer fence posts than other wire options, it provides a clear deterrent for any potential intruders (man or beast), and those barbs prevent your livestock from chewing on the fence!

But just like every other type of wire fence, these fences should not be overlooked. It’s important to install fence stays to keep the wires from sagging over time, and property owners should keep tools handy to repair the wires if they break.

Barbed wire fences also require careful installation; installers need to make sure the fence has proper bracing and that the fence is taught enough to stay in place, while still allowing flexibility for temperature changes.

Just like the other fences listed here, you’ll want to do regular inspections and maintenance on your barbed wire fence. Clear away any debris that’s stuck to the barbs, repair any breaks in your fence line, and trim away any plant life that’s creeping around the wires. This basic maintenance should help your fence remain in place for a very long time.

Electric Wire Fence Maintenance

Electric fence maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does require you to pay close attention to electrical distribution, sagging wires, and climbing vines.

Trouble spots may arise in the electrical circuit. These spots need to be dealt with immediately. During an inspection, it’s best to walk with a voltage tester. These testers should give a reading of approximately 3000 volts. Dips in the voltage suggest issues with wiring or shorts.

If you’re having issues with the proper voltage, you may need to check for a broken insulator or wire. You should also inspect your charger fuses to ensure your distribution remains uninterrupted. If you have good voltage close to the charger but less voltage power further out into the pasture, you may need to install more grounding rods.

With electric fencing, you also need to make note of sagging wires when you inspect the property. If the wires are drooping, then you may need to re-tension the cables. A sagging wire could affect the electrical currents running through the wire.

Birds and climbing vines also pose a threat to the effectiveness of your electrical fencing. As with most other wire fencing, the weight of these hazards could cause deformation. Inspecting the wires and clearing them of debris avoids potential issues.

Be Aware of Problems

If you’re not interested in re-fencing your property completely (and who is?), preventative maintenance gives you a chance to keep your existing fence in top condition. Taking steps like clearing debris, repairing broken or sagging wires, and generally inspecting your fence to ensure it’s safe and secure can help you avoid serious problems before they occur—and this can help your wire fences remain serviceable for many years.

With over 130 years of fence experience, Red Brand has all your fence maintenance needs covered. Check out our extensive library of fence tips and tricks or talk to your local Red Brand dealer for more information on proper fencing installation and repair techniques.

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