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Wood fences are a beautiful addition to any home but can be an eyesore if not properly maintained. Fences are fairly long-lasting, but factors including the type of wood it’s made out of, how often it’s treated, and whether or not it’s painted or stained can all affect how well it ages. Over time, wood can become damaged or start to deteriorate and may need to be replaced. As a homeowner, you should regularly inspect your fences for signs of damage and general wear and tear. If you notice any of the following signs, it may be time to replace your fence.
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Damage from an Accident
If there’s been a major accident or weather event that has damaged your fence, you’ll most likely need to replace it. Incidents like large hail, falling trees, or a vehicle crash typically cause significant structural damage beyond what can easily be repaired. Extensive damage to your fence should never be overlooked. Replacing your damaged fence could save you more money than temporarily mending it could end up costing you.
Holes in the Wood
If you notice holes in the boards of your fence, it is likely that the damage is 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.
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 your fence’s appearance, but they also compromise its level of safety and structural integrity.
Splintering of the Wood
Splintering is another small sign of a very big problem. Cracks and splits in the wood indicate that it is very weak, compromising its effectiveness, and will likely continue to fall apart over time.
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 a lot 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 a weakening of the fence posts and is usually the first sign of more trouble to come. Leaning can cause warped or broken fence boards, which could lead to more extensive damage later on.
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 entire fence in the first place.
If your fence is showing signs of 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.