When Do I Really Need to Replace My Fence?
According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), fences make great investments. The ASLA estimates that fences, can add 20% or more to your property's value.
This figure is impressive and appealing to homeowners. It's important to keep in mind, though, that the return on any investment requires maintaining it. Remember, it's good fences that make return investments; not old, rusting, sagging, or otherwise dilapidated fences.
Among the most obvious signs your fence needs replacing are cracks, dents, or holes in the boards. Wood fences are most likely to exhibit these signs. Wood fences are vulnerable to deterioration from mold, mildew, seasonal weather changes and insect damage. As the wood decays, you may notice warps, cracks in the boards or even places where pieces have broken off.
Although it's less likely, vinyl and composite fences can also crack or develop holes due to accidents or extreme temperatures. When the damage is limited to a small area, a licensed handyman or contractor can complete a more limited fence repair by replacing the damaged boards or sections.
As your fence ages and the fence repair cost increases, however, it may make more sense to install a new fence than to repair the old.
Sagging, Warped, Leaning, Bent, or Otherwise Unstable Posts
Regardless of your fence's material, the fence's posts are essential to maintaining its structure. When fence posts heave, bend, crack, or warp, this puts pressure on the boards. It can also cause the entire structure of the fence to lean and, eventually, fall down.
Acute damage from high winds can weaken the posts in various types of fencing. However, chronic damage can also develop at the base of the posts.
When your fence was installed, the builder secured each post in a concrete foundation. If this foundation begins to crumble, fence posts become unstable. Signs that the concrete foundations of your fence posts are deteriorating include pooling water, shifting soil around the post, and crumbling of the concrete base.
Early detection and intervention of these problems acting to replace or reset individual posts is key to preventing further damage.
Sometimes fence post repair brackets can provide a relatively easy fix for a loose or leaning post. In other cases, a fence repair expert may need to reset the post. If multiple posts and their foundations are loose or crumbling, it may be time for a new fence.
Contact Between the Fence and the Ground
A well-installed and maintained fence should show a slight and relatively even gap between its bottom section and the soil, mulch, or grass below it. If you notice this gap decreasing, becoming uneven, or disappearing, it could be a sign that the fence is becoming unstable.
Sometimes the fence itself isn't the problem, though. Sometimes the ground shifts or soil and mulch gather near the bottom of the fence. In these instances, even where the fence isn't the problem can become a problem for the overall structural integrity and lead to larger issues.
Especially for wood fences, contact between the bottom of the fence and the ground can lead to wood decay and overall fence instability.
Insect or Other Pest Damage
Maybe your wood fence isn’t deteriorating itself, but you have noticed signs that pests are enjoying your fence more than you are.
Perhaps you've found the wood appears swollen in places, or there are other signs of moisture damage. You may see mold or mildew developing. The fence is buckling in places, and you can’t find an obvious cause. Or maybe you actually see insects crawling or their tracks (or mazes) scrawled across your fence.
If you notice any of these signs, it's time to call a professional wood fence repair expert without delay. Doing so quickly will ensure that the damage doesn't worsen. Delay might mean that you'll need to replace rather than repair your fence.
All types of fencing can exhibit discoloration. Of course, this discoloration is a problem because it is unsightly. However, the discoloration can also indicate bigger problems.
Wood, vinyl, or composite fences can show stains as mold develops. White vinyl fences can develop a greenish tint due to algae growth. Fortunately, algae on vinyl fencing can mainly be considered as a cosmetic issue.
When it comes to wood fencing though, the discoloration from mold or insect infestation can be a symptom of a fatal disease. The greying of a wood fence is also a sign that the wood is drying out. This is also problematic because dry wood splits, chips, and splinters more easily. This is a definite sign of need for replacement if you are noticing this.
Discoloration from rust can, likewise, be fatal for chain-link and wrought iron fences. If the rust is severe and resistant to your efforts to remove it, it may also indicate that it's time to replace rather than repair a chain-link or wrought iron fence.
Loose or Bent Chain-link Fabric
Like broken gate hinges, loose or bent chain-link fabric can invite burglars and other security threats. It's also unattractive and can be dangerous, inviting injury liabilities and decreasing property value.
Damage from Storms & Prolonged Weather Exposure
Storms can produce significant damage to every type of fencing. Wind, hail, and falling trees or branches are just some of the threats that can arise suddenly. Over the long term, excessive temperatures and prolonged exposure to the outdoor weather elements also damage your fence.
You're Simply Ready for a New Fence
Maybe none of the signs above is staring you in the face, but you're ready for a change.
Maybe you have a chain-link fence, but you'd prefer a more sophisticated wrought iron fence. Maybe you have a wood fence, and you're tired of the ongoing maintenance it requires. Perhaps a lower-maintenance vinyl or composite option is in your future.
In any of these cases, GLC Fencing is ready to help you get started on your new project! Contact us for your estimate today.