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Why do knots fall out of boards, creating holes?
Knots and the surrounding wood have different densities. Since knots are more dense, they expand and contract less than the surrounding wood, loosening the bond. To protect against this, use a Premium or #1 board with both faces graded. The knots will be smaller and intergrown. The cost is slightly more, but your fence will have a longer serviceable life.

What causes Cedar boards to develop black stains at the nails?
The stain is caused by natural wood extracts interacting with metal in the fastener. Moist wood increases the likelihood of this interaction. For Cedar, Redwood and Cypress, you should use double-dipped galvanized, stainless steel or aluminum fasteners.

Can the stained Cedar be cleaned off?
Yes. If the stain is has a brown tint to it, use a solution with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), which is available at local retail hardware stores.

If the stain is black, use a solution with Oxalic Acid to clean the boards. This material is also available at retail hardware stores.

Commercial cleaners are available as well. Identify the cause of the stain to ensure you choose the correct product. Certain concrete cleaners are specifically formulated to clean wood extracts from patios, sidewalks, or other concrete structures.

Why do boards split when fastened with nails?
Correct nails and nailing practices are essential for successful installation. Choosing a needle point nail is a common mistake. While the most commonly used nail is a diamond point, a blunt point will reduce splitting, also. Overdriving nails is another problem that distorts wood and causes excessive splitting. Pre-drilling will help reduce any splitting that can occur.

The boards at the top of my fence are warping. Why?
The back rails should be no more than 8" from the fence board tops and bottoms. Fence boards 6' long should have three back rails. Spacing your rails this way will help control the wood's natural tendency to warp, due to expansion and contraction.


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