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Will Soil Rot My Fence?

Are yo wondering if soil can rot your wooden fence? Read on for information on what the real cause of rot is and how to prevent it.

Green trees, flowers, short fence made of different sized posts, soil and bark on ground

Wood, particularly when it comes to dampness, isn’t the most long-lasting construction material. When you have organic wooden fences around your home, they can look great also. They’re simple to set up and are also eco-friendly.

Will soil rot your fence? It is not the soil itself that’s the issue. The problem is in the dampness within the soil that brings about rot. When damp soil is left against a wooden fence, it is just a matter of time before the dampness will do the wood harm. This can ultimately result in wood splitting as well as decay and weakness.

We’ve got more on this subject, so read on!

Water retention is a big deal when it comes to the health of your fence. Because wood rots when it is wet for an extended period, certain types of wood can last longer in sandy soil than in clay soil. Very clay soil with a high water retention rate will hold more water against wooden structures like fences than sandy soil.

What Can I do to Prevent My Wooden Fence from Rotting?

The first and most important thing to do to prevent your fence from rotting is to ensure that the fence posts are set on dry ground. If you have wet soil, it should be removed and replaced with dry, packed down the soil. The less moisture in your soil, the better.

How to Protect a Wood Fence from Soil

Sunny day, blue sky, empty road, house behind a wooden fence, lots of big trees all around

Start with high-quality materials for your wood fence if you want it to last a long time. The best fencing materials are cedar and redwood because they are resistant to decay and rot. Work with a contractor who uses pressure-treated wood if you’re building a fence. It is important to note that pressure-treated woods are resistant to dry rot, wet rot (from water and damp soil), water damage, and insects.

Also, creating a barrier between fence and soil is a consideration. For protection from bottom of fence rotting and weakening.

In addition to investing in a good fence (how to protect fencing), you should also invest in the right hardware to connect the wood together. High-quality materials can only prolong the life of a fencing structure. Consider using galvanized or stainless steel materials for your fence in order to increase its durability.

Can I Put Soil Against A Fence?

Sunny day, blue sky, open farmland, red barn in distance, woodne fence with old tilling tractor and tellow flowers

You may see your fence starting to bend and bow. This dynamic increases when the soil is damp. It is not a good idea, as the weight of the soil will eventually take its toll on the fence. The only way that your fence won’t be affected by the soil is if you get your fence sealed, or you opt for a vinyl fence.

Should I Seal my Fence?

The longevity of your fence depends on it. This can be done by using a water sealing product or using paint made of wood. Both of these products will keep water from seeping into the wood and causing it to rot.

Do I Need to Look Out for Fence Damage?

Wooden fences should be inspected regularly for any signs of rot or damage. If there are any damaged areas, they should be repaired immediately to prevent them from spreading to other fence parts. This may not apply if your fence is newly installed. However, if your fence has been around for a while, you might want to inspect your fence to see if there is any visible damage.

Will Fence Posts Rot in Soil?

A solid wood post that’s positioned straight into the dirt is going to begin to decay the moment the water starts absorbing it. As soon as a solid wooden post begins rotting, you have no option but to toss it away and put in a brand new one. You can find techniques to make sure that your wooden posts will stay in the soil and be strong for many years. You can take certain preventive steps to ensure they do not rot. Choose a strong hardwood for your posts, and treat it yourself with a sealant.

How do I Keep My Wooden Fence from Rotting?

Backyard, green grass, sunny day, light colored wooden fence with congrete posts

Use gravel boards. Gravel boards may be concrete or timber and can be the go-between. Try to keep the fencing sections far from the damp soil and away from the soil. Timber gravel boards have to be frequently maintained to protect them from dampness and rot and reconditioned occasionally to ensure their longevity.

What is the Lifespan of a Wooden Fence?

A typical fence placed directly in the ground should last between 10 and 20 years if made of cedar. If your fence has a 10-20 year lifespan, it depends on how dry you keep it, how quick you are to spot decay or mold, as well as how you maintain it in general. Wood will last longer if it’s kept out of soil and pressure treated. In addition to wider fence posts, you can also use bigger fence posts that are more sturdy.

 Should I Use Concrete Gravel Boards?

Timber posts need to be set in concrete. Otherwise, moisture will easily permeate the bottoms, causing them to rot. This will eventually cause the fence to collapse. Pavers and posts made of concrete offer durable protection against soil erosion for the product’s lifetime.

Should I Get a Wood Pressure Treated Fence?

If you can, yes, timber treatment is among the most effective methods to stop the rot from taking place. This particular method enables the preservative to be put directly into the wood, protecting against rot and insects. Pressure-treated timber posts will remain healthy for a lot longer. rot brought on by anything, insects, or soil damage is going to be kept away, and mixing these with concrete foundations and gravel boards can create an incredibly hard-wearing and attractive fence that will survive.

 You don’t have to get your wood treated in that manner, especially if your wooden fence is already constructed and installed. The next best thing for this is to apply a wood sealant that will give your fence some extra protection and more longevity. You can buy wood sealant online or at any place like Lowe’s or Home Depot.

Best Sealants for Wood

 1. The Eco Advanced Exterior Wood Waterproofer is an effective spray-on sealer for use close to pets, people, and plants. The formulation is water-based, non-flammable, even if applied at freezing temperatures. It features a lighter smell than other wood sealers. So it is safe to walk on simply a few hours following application.

 2. The Premium wood Sealer by Rainguard is another highly regarded brand, designed with a mix of water-based silane and siloxane. It gives off a near invisibility finish, and as opposed to some other sealants, it leaves a slippery surface. This can be the ideal option if you would like a wooden surface that appears natural. It’ll additionally safeguard the wood from thaw harm as well as freezing, in addition to supplying protection against mold, water, mildew, gas, and oil. This is a terrific sealer, particularly if you live in a chilly climate.

 3. DEFY Crystal clear Sealer Composite lumber can be tough to seal because it mixes different substances. But no worries. You could safeguard your composite wood against discolorations from the sun, mold, algae, and mildew using this outdoor wood sealer. The wood is made up of zinc nanoparticles that are effective as a natural sunscreen. This helps keep the wood from graying and helps maintain its natural color for an extended time.

 4. Natural Wood sealer – Pure Tung Oil – has long been used for hundreds of years to protect and improve the appearance of wood. It had been generally utilized on boat decks but is now additionally employed in flooring. Tung petroleum dries up when subjected to air and produces a transparent film with a rich color. This provides the impression of being continually wet. It is all-natural, so you do not need to be worried about poisonous chemical fumes.

 5. For more than 20 years, Thompson’s Water Seal has been a recognized name for waterproofing products for concrete and wood. That is exactly why their water seal typically leads the list of suggested wood sealers in nearly all woodworking blogs.

 It’s resistant to mold and mildew and is lasting. It may be utilized on decks, doors, fences, and outside furniture and may be used with dry and damp wood. Thus, rather than needing to reapply a sealer every few years, you will be in a position to save cash since you will not need to do it yourself.

 6. Stain and Sealer for Wood – Ready Seal brings together Wood stain and Sealer in a single product, making it affordable since it does not call for primer. Its oily formulation penetrates the wood, defending it from drinking water, mildew, and mold. The one real downside is you need to recoat the wood every couple of years.

 7. Much like Rainguard, Roxil Wood Protection Cream is made using a Semi-Silica material. This enables the wood to get into and make an unseen finish. You may even get immediate waterproofing with one application. Industry experts claim it could be utilized on many wood types, but softwoods are the best.

 8. Anchorseal two is a mixture of plant polymers and wax created specifically for exotic hardwoods. It’s more frequently employed to safeguard the ends of green lumber and logs from checking and splitting. Additionally, it has a winter formulation to guard the wood against freeze and thaw damage.

 If you need advice on which one to go with, blogs are a resource for research. Youtube videos are always great as well. Even more helpful could be asking the advice of an attendant at a hardware store.


The most common cause of rot is the prolonged exposure of wood to moisture, usually through soil contact. It will result in a reduction of the fence’s lifespan and will weaken the fence’s structural integrity.

When the bottom of the fence is directly in contact with damp soil, water from the earth will be able to penetrate and soak into the fence. Likewise, rainfall can contribute to rotting, particularly when the fence is not protected; rain will soak directly into the fence or accumulate at the bottom. The solution may seem to be replacing rotten fence panels or posts, but if you fail to address the source of the decay, the replacement panel will only be damaged further.