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How do you keep fence posts from rotting?

Considering installing a new fence but worried about rot? It’s a common concern, as timber is renowned for rotting when exposed to the natural elements. However, there are lots of things you can do to prevent early onset rotting of a timber fence.

Why do timber fence posts rot?

Timber fence posts are the backbone of any fence, and when they fail, the rest of the fence fails too. Unfortunately, fence posts made from timber tend to rot quickly if not installed properly or looked after.

Timber is a natural material. As with most natural products, when no longer growing and exposed to the elements, it becomes subject to natural biological breakdown.


One of the primary reasons why timber fence posts rot is the constant exposure to moisture. When any wood is exposed to moisture for an extended period, it will lead to rot, which is caused by fungi and bacteria. These fungi and bacteria grow on the wood, break down the cellulose, and cause the post to weaken over time, leading to rot. Avoiding constant exposure to moisture is the first step towards preventing rot.

Soil contact

Another reason why fence posts made from timber rot quickly is soil contact. Wood that is in contact with soil is susceptible to rot because of the increased moisture levels. The moisture in the soil increases the rate at which fungi and bacteria grow, leading to wood rot in a short period. To prevent the timber fence posts from rotting due to soil contact, you can incorporate barriers between the soil and fence posts

Poor installation

Poor installation practices of timber fence posts can also lead to rot. If the posts are not well dug into the ground, they will be unstable and allow moisture or soil to penetrate the wood. Also, when the posts are not installed correctly with concrete, they will begin to shift or lean, allowing moisture to accumulate at the base of the post.

Insect damage

Wood-destroying insects are another common reason for wood rot. When insects bore into the timber and leave holes behind, it provides a perfect environment for water to accumulate and leads to wood rot.

Lack of maintenance

Lack of maintenance is another cause of why timber fence posts rot. Fences that are neglected over time will start to rot because of the natural elements that cause wear and tear. The damage caused by natural elements will create cracks, allowing moisture to penetrate the timber.

Don’t discard the idea of timber fence posts

Whilst some opt for concrete or metal fence posts, there are many good reasons to go for timber fence posts. Not only are they cheaper and lighter to manoeuvre but they offer a more natural look whilst giving you the option to stain or paint your fence a colour of your choosing.

Yes, there are many reasons why a timber fence can rot, however, there are also lots of things you can do to stop your timber fence and its posts from rotting.

If you’re worried about rot and decay, there are plenty of ways to keep this kind of damage at bay.

What can I put on my fence posts to stop rotting?

As mentioned, moisture and soil moisture can be the culprits of many post-rotting issues. There’s one quick, easy and inexpensive way to negate this problem from the offset.

On installing your new fence, opt for Postsaver® sleeves. These handy pro-wrap post protectors are specifically designed to combat ground line post rot.


They work to permanently exclude all of the factors required to induce rot and decay, including oxygen, moisture and fungi. Using duel-layered rot shield technology, they lock preservatives in. The protection system shrinks to the post when heated, providing a long-lasting, water-tight and air-tight seal.

They are super easy to install. Once you’ve dug your post hole, you simply position the Postsaver® on the post, heat shrink it right and install your fence post as usual.

Available in a choice of sizes, Postsavers® also work well on gate posts, too.

postsave how it works

How can I stop the rest of my fence from rotting?

Opt for a quality installation

As we mentioned, poor installation can lead to problems later on down the line. Be sure to take the time to install your fence properly, aiming for a secure installation. If you’re not feeling confident enough to tackle the installation job yourself, reach out to a local fence installer who has the experience and know-how to complete a quality finish.

Choose the right materials

You’re going to want to opt for quality timber that has been treated. All of the fence posts, panels and timber products at Equestrian Fencing have been pressure treated, which helps to lock in all of the timber’s natural goodness, creating a protective barrier against moisture, fungus and insects.

Continue to maintain your fence

Whilst protective treatments as mentioned above work to give the timber a bit of a head start, you still need to look after your fence. A clean and a dust-down every now and then is certainly worthwhile, as is a splash treatment or paint every few years. This will help to protect the timber, whilst keeping it looking fresh and tidy. Don’t forget to inspect for and replace any wobble screws, to prevent moisture from getting in.

Preventing fence rot round-up

The reasons why timber fence posts rot are classified into moisture, soil contact, poor installation, lack of maintenance, and insects.

Fortunately, you can prevent timber fence posts from rotting by following specific practices like using pressure-treated timber, ensuring proper installation and maintenance, incorporating barriers between soil and timber, and sealing any possible entry points.

With these tips, you can prevent fence post rot and ensure that your fence remains durable and long-lasting for years to come.


Don’t forget you can shop from a vast range of fencing products, essentials and accessories online at Equestrian Fencing.

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