Over time, even the most durable fence can become too worn to repair if maintenance has not been done. In general, most fences will last over 20 years regardless of material. However, if they are not adequately maintained this timeline can be significantly altered. Wood and metal fencing, for instance, often are regarded as having the most extended lifespans, but both suffer from significant damage if left alone. If you are considering whether your fence needs simple repairs or a complete replacement, you can look to these three signs.
Over time, through the effects of sun, wind, rain, snow, and even salt, fences begin to show signs of excess wear. Fading and loss of color, especially on wood and vinyl fencing, can be a sign that a replacement is needed. In some cases, you may just need a new coat of paint, powder coating, or stain but if the material has been overly exposed to UV penetration, it may need to be replaced. Vinyl fencing, in particular, can become more brittle and prone to breaks when it is too old.
One of the significant signs that it’s time to replace a fence of any material is if its showing signs of structural compromise with leaning bowing or uprooted sections. Over time the effects of wind, erosion, and natural soil movement cause the ground under the fence to move and for it to become displaced. When this happens to more than a few segments, it’s time for a replacement as the undue stress that the misplaced sections put on the rest can cause damage.
Rot or Excess Damage
When it comes to wooden and metal fences, there are a few unique issues. Wood, for instance, is prone to damage from rot, natural degradation, mold, and mildew. Over time these elements can eat away at the posts causing irreparable damage. When caught and treated early, you may be able just to replace the affected segments, but often the entire unit will need to be replaced. With metal fencing like wrought iron, a similar process can occur due to corrosion from rust. In both cases, the fence must be protected with the use of paint, stain, or powder coating. Unlike wood, wrought iron is susceptible to damage if the paint is so much as scratched. Once you have your fence replaced, make sure to work with your installer to learn how to care for your new unit. With proper care and regular work, your new fence will last for many years to come.
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