Fences fail for many reasons. Recognizing the warning signs from your fence that replacement is inevitable can save you money, time and frustration. By knowing when the fence around your property is on its last leg, you can schedule professional fence replacement at your convenience, arrange financing, and select the ideal replacement material and style.
All fences have contact points with their surroundings; these are places to check for potential failure:
- Where your fence anchors into the ground
- Where your fence attaches to your home, masonry or an outbuilding
- Gates and access panels have moving parts subject to wear
Fence posts, wood, metal, and vinyl, sit in the ground, usually with some six inches of gravel beneath them. These fence post holes can stretch in soft soil, allowing the posts to lean off perfect vertical. Soon your entire fence leans and sags.
If your fence ends with attachment points into another material, such as a beautiful vinyl fence that abuts a decorative brickwork entryway, the two materials expand and contract in heat at different rates. Check these joints for wear, buckling, rust and mechanical failure.
Moving fence parts generate friction every time they operate. Friction wears down material, so stop, look and listen (for squeaks and binding) as your fence gate operates. While repair may be an option, some gates and access panels are beyond repair.
Do not overlook the need for updating a drab, unattractive fence, even if it functions properly. While a neat and tidy fence enhances your property, a very old, discolored or rusting fence can reduce curb appeal and property value.
Vinyl fences generally last for many years with little maintenance, but vinyl is vulnerable to punctures and cracking. Punctures might be repairable by patching, but many holes, from branches, debris thrown from lawn mowers, or bullets, signal replacement.
Cracks in vinyl fences can be hazardous, because people do not think of vinyl fences as having “splinters.” Running a hand over the rail can lead to a pinch or a poke from the jagged crack.
Aluminum and steel ornamental fences look wonderful when vertical, but a leaning ornamental fence is a strong vote for replacement.
Aluminum does not rust, but it can bend under blunt force (such as a car backing into the fence or tree limbs falling). Steel ornamental fences can rust. Rust leads to weaknesses such as pits and holes in the pickets and posts. Once rust sets in, there is little choice but to replace the fence to regain the dignified appearance of an ornamental fence.
Chain Link Fence
Chain link fences need regular maintenance to ensure all parts are in proper order:
- Tension bands
- Tension bars
- Fence ties
- Line post tops
- Rail end bands
- Bottom tension wire (or rail)
- Gates and gate hardware
Individual links of the fence can be twisted out through vandalism. Tension on the fence can decrease over time, and of course animals can distort the bottom tension wire and make the fence bulge in spots. If line posts and terminal posts are not firmly embedded, the fence will never retain tension and should be replaced.
The unitized construction of wood fences means pickets can be replaced if broken, which lengthens the life of your wood fence. With several years of repairs, however, your fence may look a little mismatched due to different stains and woods. Consider replacement to improve the fence’s appearance.
Other issues with wood fences:
- Insect destruction
- Dry rot
- Wet rot
- Significant (and dangerous) splintering
Waiting will not remedy a weak or failing fence. Call on us to help with any of your fencing needs.