Do Wood Fences Shrink?

Will your wood fence shrink? Learn the answer here!

Whether you are considering installing a new fence or have one already, you might start noticing that some wood fence pickets are narrower than they used to be. Is it just your imagination? Is there something seriously wrong with that fence? Not necessarily. Do wood fences shrink? Yes, but there is more to it. 

Why Wood Fences Shrink

Wood fences do shrink over time. An old fence might once have been more supple and smooth, but now is warped, uneven, and shriveled. This would happen to fences that are very old and weathered. 

On the other hand, even if you have a wood fence that is only a few years old and you maintain it, it will both shrink and expand. Don’t forget that wood reacts to temperature and humidity; its sensitive, reactive nature causes it to expand when it is wet and shrink when it is hot and dry. Depending on the wood species, the shrinking and expanding cycle will be less apparent. 

What Woods Shrink the Least

Fence and deck companies like Mid-Atlantic Deck & Fence already have knowledge of what wood species are best for fences. There is a reason that fence companies use some types of lumber instead of others. That being said, the wood species that resist expanding and shrinking the most are the following:

  • Cedar
  • Redwood
  • Douglas Fir
  • Cypress
  • Pine

Two of the most common wood species for wood fences on the East Coast are cedar and pressure-treated pine. Cedar is a softwood and is relatively soft as well, but it is still quite strong because of its straight grain and natural chemicals that make it insect and mold-resistant.

Pine goes through a chemical treatment that makes it resistant to insects, mold, etc. With its hearty nature and chemical processing, it is less likely to shrink, warp, and rot away.

How to Manage or Reduce Shrinking Wood Fence Pickets

You can reduce the amount of shrinking and expanding in your wood fence by making sure your fence is not surrounded by standing water; in other words, address drainage issues in your yard if there are any. In addition, wash and seal your wood fence once every few years; that will help keep moisture from penetrating it.

Call Mid-Atlantic Deck & Fence For Your New Deck or Fence!

Mid-Atlantic Deck & Fence has almost 30 years of experience in building beautiful custom fences, gazebos, screened-in porches, and decks throughout the state of Maryland. We have the expertise to design your dream fence or custom deck and have it installed in a headache-free process. Give us a call at 1-800-833-9310 or visit us online for a quote today! We offer many different styles of fencing and decking, in addition to custom options designed specifically to suit your preferences and tastes. To see examples of our work and get more tips on how to choose the right decking for your family, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Houzz, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

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