Nothing lasts forever, and that includes your fence. Whether you have a wooden fence enclosing your back yard, a chain link fence around a public park, or something in between, damage and weathering can take their toll on fencing. Eventually, repairs—or even replacement—may be necessary.
How can you tell if it’s time to repair or replace a fence? We’ll delve into some of the most common signs to look for below.
6 Questions to Consider for Replacing or Fixing a Fence
When looking at your fence, these questions can help you decide whether it’s time to fix your fence or replace it.
1. How Old Is the Fence?
The first question is about age. Most fences last for decades, but it depends on the material. Wooden fences may only last between one or two decades, while vinyl fences could last a bit beyond that. When properly cared for, wrought iron fences can last lifetimes, like the Bowling Green fence in New York. With that in mind, if you know that your fence is more than a few decades old, it may be time to replace it.
2. Are There Signs of Cracking, Splintering, or Other Damage?
Wooden fences in particular are prone to splintering and cracking, especially if left exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. While sealing wood with stain can help prevent this, time can still take its toll. In addition, damage to your fence may come from other sources, such as digging pets or rambunctious children playing in the area.
If the damage is isolated to specific slats, you might be able to get away with a quick repair job, but extensive warping, cracking, etc. could warrant replacement.
3. Are There Signs of Weathering or Corrosion?
Signs of weathering could indicate a need for fence repairs. For instance, gray or yellow discoloration on wooden fences may indicate rot, which frequently occurs in areas with high moisture levels like Texas. Rust spots or corrosion on metal fences—particularly wrought iron—will also warrant some repair work. Extensive corrosion could make it more economical to replace the entire fence, of course.
4. Have Parts of the Fence Sunk?
In general, the only parts of your fence that should be touching the ground are the posts and footings. If other parts have sunk into the ground, or if soil levels have gone up, it could expose your fence to rot or corrosion, so prompt repairs are in order. Otherwise, the risk of additional damage will only increase as time progresses.
5. Are Parts of the Fencing Loose or Unstable?
The posts of your fence should be perfectly well secured, so if they’re wobbling at all, then you’ll need to get them repaired or replaced. A loose fence could be a sign that the footings are starting to deteriorate, making the whole fence unstable and rendering it susceptible to warping or sagging.
6. Is There Any Discoloration?
In addition to discoloration from rot, fences may change color as they’re exposed to the sun and the elements. Painted fences could fade over time, as could stained wood, so if this happens, you may want to have someone refresh the paint/staining. In cases of extensive discoloration, you may opt to replace your fence entirely.
Fence Repair and Replacement FAQs
Some common questions people ask about fence repairs include the following.
How often should you replace a wooden fence?
The average life expectancy of a wooden fence is about 20 years as long as it has been maintained properly. As such, you’ll probably need to replace it every couple decades or so.
What type of wood fence lasts the longest?
Redwood and cedar tend to last the longest, with cedar being the most popular option for fences. Spruce, on the other hand, is particularly short-lived (only up to 7 years), especially if it’s left untreated.
What is the average life expectancy of vinyl fences?
Vinyl fences can last as long as 20 to 30 years, depending on the quality of materials and installation.
Is It Time to Repair or Replace Your Fence?
If it seems like you might need to fix your fence or replace it, it helps to do a quick cost assessment. If the cost of repairs would be more than you paid for the fence, replacement is usually a better option. Your needs/requirements should also be taken into consideration.
At Buzz Custom Fence, we make that cost assessment easy with a free estimate. We’re happy to inspect your current fence or gate and offer you an installation estimate, all free of charge. All estimates are provided within 48 hours. To learn more, contact us.