While composite fencing is known for its durability and longevity, creating fantastic value for money, some people have concerns as to whether composite fences fade.
At Fence Forge, we are fencing specialists, including composite fencing. We aim to ensure you know everything you need to know about fading in composite fencing, how likely it is, how you can prevent it, and what to do if your composite fencing has faded.
There are many things to know with respect to the fading of composite fencing, and we are here to ensure you know everything you need to know.
Our post "What Is Composite Fencing" maybe interest you. You can check it out.
Fading is a natural and inevitable process that occurs in various outdoor materials, including composite fencing. When exposed to the elements, composite fencing undergoes gradual colour changes over time. This is primarily due to the breakdown of the pigments and additives used in the manufacturing process.
While fading is unavoidable, the extent and speed of fading can be influenced by several factors.
Sunlight Exposure Sunlight plays a significant role in causing fading in composite fencing. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun break down the chemical bonds in the pigments and additives, leading to colour deterioration. Areas with intense sunlight or prolonged exposure are more susceptible to fading.
UV Radiation: UV radiation is particularly damaging to composite materials. The longer the exposure to UV rays, the faster the fading. This is why fences in sunnier climates or those facing south tend to fade more quickly.
Climate And Weather Conditions: Harsh weather, such as extreme heat, cold, rain, and humidity, can accelerate fading. Additionally, environmental factors like air pollution and saltwater exposure may also contribute to fading, especially in coastal regions.
Quality Of The Composite Material: The quality and composition of the composite material used in the fence can influence its fade resistance. High-quality composites often contain UV inhibitors and stabilisers, which can slow down the fading process and enhance the fence's longevity.
There are many myths and composite fencing boards and fence panels, but many aren't accurate.
"Composite Fences Are Entirely Fade-Resistant"
While composite fencing is known for its excellent fade resistance compared to other materials like wood, it is not entirely immune to fading. Understanding the factors mentioned above is essential for maintaining the fence's appearance over time.
"All Composite Fences Fade At The Same Rate"
The rate of fading can vary among different composite fence products, depending on the quality of materials and the level of UV protection they provide. It is crucial to choose composite fencing from reputable manufacturers that prioritise fade resistance.
"Fading Makes Composite Fencing Less Durable"
Fading, on its own, does not compromise the structural integrity of the fence. Composite fencing remains durable and resistant to rot, insects, and decay even as its colour changes. Proper maintenance can further extend its lifespan and appearance.
It is possible to minimise the impact of fading on your composite fencing, so please consider the following points.
The following steps will minimise the impact of fading with your composite fencing.
Choose High-Quality Composite Materials: Opt for composite fencing made from reputable manufacturers that use high-quality materials with UV inhibitors and stabilisers. Quality materials are more resistant to fading and can extend the fence's lifespan.
Select Lighter Colours: Lighter-coloured composite fences tend to reflect sunlight better than darker colours, which can help reduce heat absorption and minimise fading over time.
Install In Shaded Areas: If possible, consider installing the composite fence in partially shaded areas to reduce direct sunlight exposure. This can significantly slow down the fading process.
Apply Protective Coatings: Consider applying specialised protective coatings designed for composite materials. These coatings can create an additional barrier against UV rays and other environmental factors, enhancing fade resistance.
As with most things, proper cleaning and maintenance can prolong the good condition of composite fencing, so please consider the following points.
Regular Cleaning: Clean your composite fence regularly to remove dirt, debris, and organic matter that can promote the growth of mould or mildew. Use a soft-bristle brush or cloth with mild soap and water to clean the surface effectively.
Avoid Pressure Washers: While pressure washers might seem convenient, they can be too harsh on composite fence panels and may cause damage or accelerate fading. Stick to gentle cleaning methods to preserve the fence's appearance.
Address Stains Immediately: If you notice any stains on the composite fence, address them promptly to prevent a loss of colour. Use appropriate stain removers recommended by the manufacturer and follow their instructions.
Trim Nearby Growth And Vegetation: Keep vegetation, such as bushes and trees, trimmed and away from the fence. Overhanging branches or plants can cast shadows, leading to uneven fading or increased moisture retention, which can affect the fence's condition.
If your garden benefits from a lot of sunshine, there are steps you can take to minimise the impact of UV rays and challenging weather.
Apply Sunscreen For Fences: Consider using specialised fence sunscreens or UV protectant sprays designed for composite. These products can help shield the fence from UV radiation and slow down fading.
Install Windbreaks: If your area is prone to high winds, installing windbreaks or barriers can reduce the fence's exposure to harsh weather and minimise wear and tear.
Regular Inspections: Conduct periodic inspections of the fence to identify any signs of fading or damage. Timely detection can help you take appropriate measures to prevent further deterioration.
Seasonal Maintenance: Perform additional maintenance during seasonal transitions to prepare the fence for different weather. This may include applying protective coatings before extreme weather conditions occur.
It is helpful to consider how likely composite panels are to fade in comparison with other materials.
Traditional Wood Fences: Wood fences are susceptible to fading, especially when exposed to sunlight and harsh weather conditions. Over time, the natural pigments in wood can fade, leading to a weathered appearance. Unlike wood, composite fencing is engineered with UV inhibitors, making it more resistant to fading and preserving its colour for a longer duration.
Vinyl Fences: Vinyl fences are known for their initial colour retention, but they can still fade over time due to UV exposure. While they may require less maintenance compared to wood, composite fencing often outperforms vinyl in terms of fade resistance, especially in areas with intense sunlight.
Metal Fences: Metal fences, such as chain link, iron, or steel, can be prone to fading and rusting over time. While they may not fade as noticeably as wood or vinyl, their appearance can still deteriorate with exposure to the elements.
A new composite fence, when managed correctly, will give you many years of service, justifying the higher upfront cost.
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Yes, composite fencing can be painted, but there are important considerations to keep in mind. Before painting, check the manufacturer's guidelines and warranty, as some may advise against it. Proper surface preparation is crucial, and using high-quality exterior latex paint designed for composite materials is recommended.
While fading is an issue to consider with composite fading, the material isn’t a bad choice when compared to other wood fencing and additional fencing materials.
Reduced Fading: As discussed earlier, composite fencing's fade resistance sets it apart from wooden fences. The slower fading process means that your composite fence will retain its original colour and appearance for a more extended period, requiring fewer touch-ups and replacements.
Low Maintenance Needs: Composite fences demand minimal maintenance compared to metal or wood fence. While natural wood fencing requires regular staining and sealing to prevent fading and rot, and metal fences may need rust prevention measures, a composite fence only requires periodic cleaning to keep it looking its best.
For more learnings, you can check out our post "How Much Is Composite Fencing".
We think with proper care and attention, you can minimise fading with fence panels in your outdoor space. At Fence Forge, we know all about composite fence panels, wood plastic composite, other fencing materials and so much more, so contact us for guidance on composite fence boards.
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