You would think, given everything the year has thrown at us, we can start to relax as we approach the start of a new year. Thoughts turn to Christmas and wrapping up warm, but there are areas of your home that will bear the brunt of the winter months.
If you have a wooden gate protecting your home and garden, then there are some things you need to do to care for it as the weather turns for the worse, especially if you want it to be as good as new when the warm days come back. Taking care of your gate doesn’t just make it look better, but it’s an important step in ensuring it remains durable for longer too.
Challenges For Wood
The biggest challenge for any type of wooden gates in the cold is the prolonged exposure to moisture, whether it’s in the soil underneath or from the weather. If your wooden gate is unprotected, the rain, sleet, or snow will eventually take its toll, so let’s start there.
One of the ways you can protect your wooden garden gate this winter is with varnish. Using a varnish as protection also allows you to choose a colour that reflects the style of your garden. As well as this, there are other fantastic benefits of varnishing wood, such as preventing rot.
Wood rotting is a common problem in the winter. There are, of course, other ways for wood to rot, but mould and mildew caused by moisture ingress are the main causes. When rot sets in, it’s almost impossible to stop it from spreading, so you need to protect your gate from day one. Stains and varnishes are an easy and simple way to do this.
Staining & Varnishing Your Garden Gate
It’s important to note that, if (or when) you come to stain or varnish your gate, the conditions in which you do it are equally important to give the gate the best possible outcome. It’s best to do it outside to limit exposure to any fumes, but even the temperature outside is important. Where possible, aim for a mild, dry day when the temperature is between 10 and 30 degrees (C), but the products themselves will vary, so check the tin for its optimal conditions.
Not everyone thinks to stain or varnish the edges of the gate, so moisture can find its way into the wood this way quite easily. You may end up with some ‘spongy’ or discoloured wood when this happens. So make sure you reach every part of your wooden garden gate.
Some of the easier ways to care for your wooden gate this winter doesn’t involve buying or doing anything more than looking. Take some time to visually check the condition of the gate, including its hinges, handles, and securing bolts. The bolts and screws should all be fully secured and tight (they may gradually loosen over time) and if not, grab your spanner and screw them in properly.
If you see any signs of rot, insect damage, or softened wood, then you need to deal with that before the onset of winter. These things will affect the structural integrity of the door and that will be exacerbated when the cold weather arrives.
Finally, should the snow arrive and settle on your gate, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of cleaning it off. It might be nice to look at, but ice and snow that’s allowed to rest on your wooden gate can cause problems further down the line.
Just by following some simple steps, you can be assured that your wooden garden gate will survive, not only this winter but for many more to come.