When you install a wood fence around your home in Orlando, Fl., you want the fence to look as great as possible for as long as possible. Often, your wood fence will be the first thing people see as they approach your property and will be what creates either a positive or negative impression in their minds.

The heat, humidity and other weather conditions in Orlando and other locations throughout Florida do present one problem for homeowners with wood fencing: The risk of rot, including wet rot and dry rot. Rot can make your fence look worn out. It also affects the strength and effectiveness of the fencing.

Here's what you can do to minimize the chance of wood rot and to keep your fence in the best shape possible, for as long as possible.

Choose the Right Type of Wood

Some types of wood are better than others for homes in Florida. Cypress, a type of hardwood, is an ideal pick for the Florida climate. It's able to withstand whatever the weather throws its way, from high heat to 100% humidity, without rotting, warping or cracking.

Hire a Professional Fencing Contractor

When you install the posts of your wood fence, you want them to have as little contact with the soil as possible. Posts that are resting in the soil are likely to soak up moisture from it, leading to rot and a shorter lifespan. Although you can DIY your fence's installation, hiring a professional fencing contractor will help you avoid the risk of rot and will help increase the longevity of your fence.

Clean the Fence Regularly

A clean fence is slower to rot than a fence that is covered in dirt, grass clippings or fallen leaves. When debris builds up the surface of the fence, it can trap moisture underneath. Wipe down the fence regularly or use a broom or a brush to sweep debris off the pickets and posts. If leaves fall and collect along the bottom edge of the fence, it's a good idea to rake them up and away from it.

Along with keeping the fence clean and clear of debris, there might be times when you need to give it a shower. Use a hose or pressure washer to spray down the fence. If it needs a deeper cleaning, you can pour a bit of detergent into warm water and wipe down the pickets to remove any built-up dirt.

Protect and Seal the Wood

Adding a coat of stain or another sealant to a wood fence helps to protect it from moisture damage. The stain forms a protective barrier on the wood's surface, so that water can’t seep in. As an added benefit, the stain can also give the wood a more attractive color, helping it to make your home look even more inviting.

You can test your fence to see if it's in need of a new coat of sealant or stain by spraying it with water. If the water forms beads on the surface, the fence is in good shape. If the wood absorbs the water quickly, it's time for a new coat.