backyard fence repair
Soil can shift because of snow and rain which can cause the fence posts to shift and sag. This causes the entire fence to be compromised and require repair. That?s why it is best to install fence posts at least three feet underground to ensure they aren?t as affected by shifting soil. If your fence posts aren?t installed this deep, you can run a string across the top of the fence to check if they?re level. If the string doesn?t remain straight, it?s a good indication you?ll need to have the fence realigned and posts installed deeper to avoid future repairs.
Wood Posts and Rail Damage
Wood fences are composed of posts and rails. Posts run vertically, while rails run horizontally and both can be damaged by a variety of factors. For example, posts can be broken by high winds, or they are destroyed by termites and beetles in certain parts of the United States. Rails, on the other hand, are susceptible to rot and insect damage as well. Repairing them varies by the design of the fence and the type of wood, but homeowners should not attempt to do it themselves, especially with the rails. Rails help to reinforce the posts, and if it?s repaired incorrectly, more posts could easily break off or fall backwards from high wind conditions.
Wood Fence Rot
Wood is naturally susceptible to rot as a result of exposure to the elements. Homeowners have the option to repair this by patching and supporting the posts or rails with rot. Depending on the extent of rot, homeowners will need to completely replace the support panels and boards, which will cost more but last longer against climate conditions. There are some species of wood that will handle moisture better like cedar and redwood, but they are more expensive. You can also buy wood fence types that are not waterproof but can be treated with a stain or paint to increase their durability.
Wood Holes and Cracks
Because of termites and climate conditions, wood fences will develop holes and cracks over time. They do not always have to be replaced though. Instead, boards, panels and slats can be patched or refinished if the hole or crack isn?t too extensive. If it?s too extensive and compromises the integrity of the fence, the piece will need to be taken out and replaced. That?s why homeowners should have extra pieces of the same kind of wood on-hand in their garage, in case they need to patch their fence at any time and not have a mismatched piece in their fence.
Wood Fence Weather Damage
To maximize the durability of the fence, homeowners should add stains or paint to the wood to protect it from weather damage for as long as possible. Whichever type of stain or paint you add to the fence will determine how long it lasts against the elements, other than wind or termite damage it will endure. Make sure you power-wash the surface of the fence before applying the stain or paint, as it will not adhere properly otherwise because of dirt or dust buildup.
Sagging Wood Fence Posts & Gate
Fence posts sometimes sag because their base rots below the ground level, but that doesn?t mean they have to be replaced. Rather homeowners dig out the ground around it, put it in the correct upright position and pour concrete around the base to hold it correctly in place again. Another way to correct the sag is to install a diagonal brace to prop it up, using concrete to hold the brace and post.
Sagging gates also sometimes occur because of their surrounding posts sagging in the ground or because of its parts failing in some way. It can also sag because its heaviness forced the frame out of alignment. To fix this, a homeowner must install a tension rod with a turnbuckle adjustment. Another way to fix a misaligned gate is to remove it from the hinges and attach a new wood diagonal bracing to hold it back in place.
Wood Replacement Panels
Missing fence panels occur because of wind, storms or rot over time due to moisture. They will need to be replaced as a result, and the cost varies depend on the type of wood and stain used when they were first installed. If more than one panel is missing, the cost will also increase depending on number of panels and labor required to install them. It?s best to call a professional to reinstall the missing panels, especially if there?s more than one that needs to be replaced.
Wood Gate Repairs
When gates are first installed, they are strong, handle all the opens and closes from people going in and out of the backyard. Over time though, hinges can become creaky, latches won?t catch, and the gate loses its effectiveness.
A wooden gate?s hinges can become a problem if it sags. Even if the posts are set in concrete, it can drag against the hinges because the posts give into the weight of the gate over time. To repair this, a professional will put a small wheel underneath the moving part of the gate. The wheel will take the full support of the gate and allow its hinges to move smoothly again.
Some wood gates have latches that work with a handle that is pulled or pushed. Sometimes when posts shift though, latches no longer reach which means the gate won?t close. Homeowners can fix this by nailing boards on both sides of the latch hole. Then the latch can go between the boards, catch and close the gate without a problem.
Factors that Affect Wood Fence Repair
Fence height will be different depending on local city codes and what homeowner expectations are for the front or backyard. On an average basis, local front yard codes for residential areas are between 3 and 4 feet in height, and backyard or side yard fences can be around 6 feet in height. So homeowners who will need to repair their wood fences will need to consider repair costs depending on heights around those numbers.
The amount of damage to the wood fence will determine cost, depending on the type of wood it is and how much of it has been damaged. For example, pressure-treated wood has many preservatives so it will last almost indefinitely. Along those same lines, cedar and redwood stand up well underground and will not need much in the way of stain or paint to handle the elements compared to other wood types. If homeowners invest in these kinds of materials, they?re less likely to have extensive amounts of damage. If they invest in less expensive wood materials, they might have greater amount of damage which could mean more extensive repairs at a higher cost.
Since fence posts provide support to the rails and panels of the wood fence, they will be the main area that will need repair should they ever break or rot. If an undamaged post moves out of its regular position because of weather conditions or any other reason, it will need to be reset in a concrete foundation or deeper in the ground. Damaged posts will either need to be patched, refinished or replaced, depending on the extent of damage and how it affects the rest of the fence. The type of damage, labor, number of posts and wood type will factor into the total cost to repair this supporting wood fence structure.
Homeowners have the option to set their wooden posts in a concrete foundation or not. If homeowners do set their wooden posts in a foundation, they will have to dig up the old fence post and the old foundation should it ever need to be replaced. Then they will have to pour a new concrete foundation and set the post in an upright position with a brace while it dries. Another option for homeowners is to dig around the broken or rotten post and cut it with a saw. They can take out that part, put in a new post right above where the old one was and then pour concrete right above the old concrete foundation. This could be expensive though, and it might not put your post at three feet underground, which could increase its risk of breaking due to high winds or climate conditions.
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