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wooden garden fence cracking

Come spring or summertime when the weather starts to warm up, it is not uncommon to notice cracks in the surfaces of your fence panels, especially when the days grow longer and the sun is out from dusk to dawn. Aaggh, why is my wooden garden fence cracking?!

In unravelling the mystery behind these cracks, you’ll not only want immediate remedies but also delve into preventative strategies that can withstand the unpredictability of the ever-changing seasons. But here’s the tricky part – the weather can change pretty quickly, making it hard to decide what to do, just like picking the colour and style for your next project.

Lucky for you, however, we’ve put together this straightforward guide to why your fence panels might be cracking and what you can do about it.

Why does wood crack?

A diagram why wood fence panels crack
Credit: Saws On Skates


Wood, like me and you both, breathes. It expands and contracts depending on the humidity of the air surrounding it as well as the moisture content of the wood itself. The moisture content is larger than we think. Picture a sponge; when it absorbs water it expands, and equally, when it releases water, it contracts.

When too much moisture is absorbed and it expands too much, holes and rips start to appear in the sponge and cause it to tear. Wood is exactly the same. Too much pressure on the wood’s fibres can end up causing cracks to appear. This is a completely normal reaction of a wood’s life cycle so do not let it dishearten you too much.

FUN FACT: wood can actually contain over 50% of its weight in water when it’s first harvested.

Now that everyone is talking about the heatwave at the moment…I will say if you are reading this and have never noticed this about your fence panels, I can guarantee the latest heatwave may have caused some cracks to appear. The wood reacts to the rising temperatures and breathes according to seasonal changes throughout the year. But as I say, do not get unnerved by this, this is normal.

Now I am sure that after reading that you are wondering if you can actually do anything about the cracks in the fence panels?

What to do if my wooden garden fence is cracking

It’s often best to avoid the temptation to try and stick it all together because those ‘breaths’ are going to cause expansion and contractions no matter what, and there is a possibility of it re-sealing itself over time. Seasons change so resist the urge and spend your time elsewhere, because forcing the cracks shut will only add strain to your wood and it will just make the issue worse in the long run. If you do find any noticeably large cracks that you simply can’t ignore, you’ve got a couple of options that will temporarily fix those and maintain your
current fence:

● Fill the crack with epoxy.
● Sand down the cracked board and then use a sealer or stain to cover it.

The other option is to replace the panel entirely and fit a brand-new one. You will know yourself if you think a temporary fix or a permanent fix will serve the wood better and any option from the above is a good one. But remember, do not get agitated by its life cycle because after all, we all have one!

Help us help you

At Estate Sawmills, we take pride in offering exceptional customer service. If there is anything you are unsure about, we are always happy to help and provide advice. We do of course make sure all of our products are treated and prepared ready to withhold anything that crosses its path (or deck…), but we understand that you may have questions regarding our product guide, and we are more than happy to assist you. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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