Wood fences are a beautiful addition to any yard, but over time they do deteriorate and need to be replaced. How many years your fence will last depends on many factors, like the type of wood, how often it’s treated, and whether or not it’s painted. Homeowners should regularly inspect their fences for signs of damage. If you notice any of the following things, it might be time to replace your fence.
Damage from an Accident
This one sounds obvious, but it’s worth mentioning – you’ll likely need to replace your fence if there’s been a major accident or weather event. Incidents like falling trees or vehicle crashes typically cause significant structure damage beyond what can easily be repaired.
Broken or Missing Boards
Broken or missing boards are one of the most visible signs of a fence that needs replacing. Not only do these damaged pieces affect the appearance of your fence, they also compromise the safety and structural integrity.
Holes in the Wood
If you notice holes in the boards of your fence, it likely indicates damage caused by insects, wildlife, or microorganisms. Don’t let their small size fool you. By the time you notice these holes, it’s almost a definite sign that there’s far greater damage within the fence itself that you can’t see from the exterior.
Splintering of the Wood
Splintering is another small sign of a big problem. Cracks and splits indicate that the wood is very weak, compromising its effectiveness, and will continue to fall apart.
If you see yellow or gray stains on your fence, it means the wood has started rotting or molding. This problem is particularly common in areas with lots of rain. When it’s time to replace your fence, consider using treated lumber, which is more resistant to rot and mold.
Unfortunately, a fence that’s leaning can’t be fixed by simply straightening it again. Leaning is usually caused by weakening of the fence posts, and is usually the first sign of more trouble to come, such as warped or broken fence boards.
Repairing vs. Replacing
If the damage affects only a small area of the fence, it’s sometimes possible to revitalize the fence by replacing a few of the affected boards and posts. While this may seem like a cheaper alternative to replacement, it’s also important to consider your long-term costs. Problems due to age and general wear and tear will continue to affect the remaining boards. In many cases, you end up spending more to repair multiple sections again and again than if you had simply replaced the fence in the first place.
If your fence is showing signs of wear and damage, contact a local outdoor construction company. They can evaluate the condition of the wood to determine if it is time to replace your fence.