Why Fence Repair Is Necessary

Over time, fences may need some TLC. Regular maintenance work can prevent minor problems from escalating into major ones, saving you money in the long run.

Fence Repair

Cosmetic damage like fading stains or peeling paint can often be repaired with a fresh coat of stain. However, sagging or falling fence panels and structural issues require professional attention.

If a wooden fence post or a metal fence post becomes unseated from its concrete footer, the force of gravity will slowly pull it down. This is usually due to rot or insect damage at the base of the post, although sometimes it may be caused by an external force like a tree root or a falling branch. In some cases, the post can be reset or braced so that it will remain upright. However, if the post is completely rotten or damaged to the point of being unstable, it will likely need to be replaced entirely.

To fix a leaning post, first dig around the base of the fence post using a shovel to expose the concrete footer. Then, use a sledgehammer to break up and remove the old concrete. Then, replace the removed soil and grade it down so that water won’t pool around the base of the fence post and rot it. Next, screw one end of a scrap two-by-four to the top of the fence post with a 3-inch screw. Have an assistant push the fence post up against it and check that it is plumb (vertical). Finally, attach another two-by-four to the ground near the fence post and tamp down with a garden hoe.

Metal or wooden fence braces can also be used to keep a leaning fence upright until a more permanent solution is found. If the fence is in between properties, it’s important to confirm that you have permission from your neighbors before attempting any repairs. If you do not, then the fence may actually belong to both of your homes, and it’s possible that one or both of you could be liable for any damages done to the other property.

You can also use fast-setting concrete to reseat a leaning fence post. This type of concrete is available at most home improvement stores and costs as little as $10 per bag. Mix the concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then pour it around the base of the leaning fence post. Tamp down the concrete to remove air bubbles, and then smooth out the surface with a bull float before it sets. When the concrete has set, remove the bracing boards and test the fence to make sure it is stable.

Broken Post Caps

Often, fence posts deteriorate due to moisture. Since decks and fences are typically constructed of wood, they’re naturally susceptible to rain, fog, moss and moisture which penetrate the end grain of the boards. Post caps, however, can protect the ends of fence posts from moisture and decay, extending their lifespan by a significant margin.

A post cap is a piece of wood that’s specifically designed to slip over and glue to the top of a fence or deck post. They’re manufactured in a variety of materials, hues and designs to harmonize with the overall look of the fence installation. Moreover, post caps can even help to collect solar energy or illuminate the area underneath them, providing additional functionality to your backyard space.

Fence post caps come in a variety of sizes, though they’re usually manufactured with nominal measurements and not actual ones. As an example, a pressure treated 4×4 post will have nominal dimensions of 3.5″ x 3.5″, while a rough cut or composite 4×4 post will have actual measurements of 4″ x 4″.

Because the top of a fence post is exposed to the elements, it’s prone to rot, mold growth, splitting, cracking, insect damage and deterioration over time. A post cap protects the ends of a fence post from these damages while also giving the whole fence installation a more finished, attractive appearance.

When a post cap is damaged, it can be replaced by using a power drill and hex bit to screw in a new one. Alternatively, you can use a liquid nail adhesive to permanently fasten the post cap. When purchasing a new wood post cap, it’s recommended that you choose the best quality possible. Cheaper options tend to split at the corners, while higher quality ones won’t.

If a panel of a wood fence is damaged, it’s a good idea to fix it immediately. Otherwise, it’ll continue to sag and eventually become a safety hazard. Rather than simply replacing the damaged panel, you can screw blocks of wood to the posts on either side of the damaged panel and then set a new panel on those blocks.

Leaning or Falling Panels

If your fence is leaning or falling, it’s more than just an eye sore. The leaning can cause serious damage to your property, including injury and/or property loss. Fences are prone to being impacted by storms, flooding, erosion and other environmental factors that can cause them to become unstable and begin to lean. It’s best to have your leaning fence repaired by a professional. Often, a professional can make fewer repairs and straighten the fence faster.

The first thing you’ll want to do is clear the area around the leaning fence so you can get a better look at the issue. If possible, remove anything that is pushing against the fence like decorations or tree roots. You’ll also want to ask your neighbor for permission to access their side of the fence during repair as well, especially if it’s a shared fence.

Next, dig down to the fence posts to see what the problem is. The fence post footing may be loose, causing the fence to lean. If this is the case, it’s recommended that you have a professional install new footings in order to prevent further issues and to keep your fence stable.

Alternatively, you can try to stabilize your fence by removing the old footings and replacing them with concrete. You’ll need a shovel, hand-held power-drill or a rotary tool to do this. Make sure you use a high-quality concrete mix that is designed for outdoor use, as the wrong type can lead to further issues.

Once the new footings are in place, you can reattach the panel. Make sure the rails are properly in-line with each other and secure to the posts. It’s a good idea to replace any loose or broken screws. You’ll want to check your fence frequently to ensure all the panels are securely fastened.

Extreme weather conditions can impact wood, metal and vinyl fencing causing them to warp or become unstable. If you live in a cold climate, you should choose rot-resistant or treated wood and paint or vinyl fences to extend their lifespan. It’s a good idea to also have your fence inspected for leaks or cracks that could allow water in and damage the material.