Keeping your wood fence at its best
In Texas, the weather can go from one extreme to the other. That has been proven again in 2021 with a snowstorm we aren’t used to here, then weeks of rain with more rain, then heat and strong sun rays. That kind of weather is hard on a wood fence, making fence repair almost a full time job for a homeowner!
If you’re a homeowner and just had a wood fence installed, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I keep my wooden fence from rotting?”. There is one thing we know for sure is that rot is the number one enemy for wood, and rot is the frequent need for fence repair. Wood rot can diminish the aesthetic appeal of a wood fence, reduce the rigidity and strength of the fence, and simply, ruin a good wood fence.
There are few things you can do to minimize, even top wood rot from happening, and lessen the amount of fence repair you need to do. First thing you should do is to get a clear understanding of wood rot so that you know what kind of wood rot your fence has. The two types of wood rot are:
- Dry Rot: This happens when the wood fence is consistently exposed to a dry, harsh environment, like the sun and wind. Both of these elements will dry wood out, weaken your wood fence, letting it break easy and even crumble, creating a need for fence repair.
- Wet Rot: Happens at the base of the fence, where the posts are in contact with the soil. This is noticeable by the cracking and softening in the wood fence, and often has a fungus growing on it, smelling damp and musty. That smell is active decay and a sure sign you need either fence repair or fence replacement.
Choose Fencing Material with Wood Rot in Mind
When you’re choosing the materials for your new wood fence, keep wood rot in mind. Choose a type of material that is rot-resistant, so you won’t have to worry with fence repairs. A hardy wood like cedar, cypress, juniper, and redwood are recommended versus Douglas fir, pine, or tamarack.
- Fence Stain as Necessary: To keep wood rot at bay, regular staining is integral. Experts recommend annual fence staining to prevent fence repairs from wood rot. Depending on the climate and environment where you live, you may need to stain more frequent or not as frequent.
- Keep Debris Off Your Fence: Build-up of damp leaves, wet grass, and plants will cause wood rot. Keep these things off your wood fence and you’ll eliminate a lot of fence repair needs.
- Replace Rot as It Appears: As soon as you notice rot appearing, replace those sections then. Rot is evil and it spreads. The sooner you replace it, the less fence repairs you’re going to have in the future.
How do you straighten a leaning fence?
How to do your own fence repair will depend on a few factors. Things like what caused it to lean, how bad is it leaning, what type of fence material you’re working with, the terrain, and the weather. What caused the fence to lean is the first thing you need to know so if it is something you can take care to prevent it from happening, that should be done first.
The usual culprit for making a fence lean is one of the following:
- Poor fence installation.
- Shallow posthole depth.
- Poor securing method.
- Material used for fence post.
- The weather conditions.
- Soil erosion and the terrain.
- Tree roots.
- Sprinkler system.
These factors will cause a fence to lean because the fence posts have become loose from rot and/or unstable footing. Inspect and evaluate the cause, make corrections if possible, then you can start your fence repair.
Fence Post: Partly Rotted or Unstable
If the fence posts are rotting at or below the surface and the portion above the ground is in good condition, here are two options:
- Dig up the fence post and replace with a new one.
- Place a shorter post against the rotting post and bolt them together.
Fence Posts: Severely Damaged
If a severely damaged post is causing the fence to lean, the only fence repair option is to replace the post using the following steps:
- Dig and remove the dirt away from the damaged fence post.
- Remove the fence rails.
- Dig the post hole to the proper depth.
- Make sure the new post is upright level.
- Align the new post with the other posts using the level and string tied to each post.
- Pour new concrete footing, making sure it slopes away from the post for drainage.
- Reattach the wood railings.
If there are several fence posts that need to be replaced, you should consider a completely new fence at that point.
Do you need a permit to repair a fence?
In Kingwood, Texas a permit is not required for routine maintenance and repairs to an existing structure, which would include fence repair. If you live within an HOA managed property, you should check with the powers of the HOA to confirm their stand on this matter.
Is fence repair covered by insurance?
When it comes to fences to repair, like anything else with your home, every policy is different. Factors that can determine this is how the fence damage happened and what the limits are on your policy. Earthquakes and flood for instance, fence damage would not be covered because both are typically excluded from standard homeowner coverage.
How often should a wood fence be replaced?
The recommended schedule for new fencing is every ten to twelve years unless it needs it sooner. So, how do you decide when sooner is the time for fence repair or replacement and which is needed, fence repair vs replace?
- STORM DAMAGE: When your property has been damaged by a storm, you need to contact a contractor for estimates then contact your insurance company. Damage from a broken branch, a falling trees, or a vehicle accident that leaves significant fence repair to be done is usually covered on most homeowner’s insurance policies. You should verify this with your particular policy or call your insurance agent for help.
- BROKEN/MISSING BOARDS/PANELS: When it comes to wood fencing, the panels frequently come loose and will fall off. Sometimes it is an easy, fast fix by repositioning and nailing into place. If you are starting to have several boards at one time, or constantly having to reposition and nail them, it may be time to get a new fence.
- LEANING FENCE AND POLES: If your fence is beginning to lean in one direction, you should get professional contractor help. This can be a hazard and it is an eyesore!
With properties on both sides, for any fence repair, who is responsible?
The basics to this is usually when the front fence is covering the property line on both sides, both homeowners should share the fence repair costs, any maintenance, upkeep, and new fencing. Call (832) 766-9994 today for your fence repair in Kingwood, TX.