When your fence starts looking a bit worse for wear, you may start wondering whether you should repair it or replace it. While repairing sections of a fence is cheaper than an all-out replacement in the short term, in many cases it’s just putting a bandaid on the problem. Most likely, your entire fence was installed at the same time. While you’re only noticing a wobble on that one pesky section for now, the rest of your fence has probably been facing the same conditions for just as long. You can replace one section, but you’ll end up replacing more and more sections over time. All those small fence section projects add up and will cause you to pay more in the long run—fencing companies are able to discount prices and get better deals from distributors for larger projects -- not to mention you pay for labor only once instead of multiple times over months or years.
In this article, we’ll go through a few key signs that it’s time to replace your wood fence. With the help of this article, you’ll be better able to make an educated decision on whether to repair or replace your old wood fence.
Common (repairable) Wood Fence Problems
As you know, wood is a natural material. Since they are constantly exposed to the elements, wood fences can see some damage over time. Between strong Colorado winds and snow, insects, moisture, and other environmental factors your fence goes through a lot! Some signs that your fence is in need of some TLC include warping, discoloration, or splintering. When you notice any of these signs, you should take look at your fence to determine the cause of the damage. If you can fix the problem with a solution like moving gutters or installing a drain to redirect pooling water or exterminating wood destroying insects like termites or carpenter ants (although they typically stay away from Cedar) you may be able to save your fence and avoid installing a brand new one.
If the problem with your fence is just a small hole or crack, you can use wood filler or putty to fix it. If your fence has warped or badly damaged pickets, you will need to replace them with brand new pickets. The biggest problem with these small repairs is that they will be visible. You can paint over wood filler to match a stained fence but otherwise it will always be visible. A new picket will fix your warped picket problem but it will likely look different in color than the rest of your fence. If you plan to stain your fence after repair, these options should work well to fix these small fence problems.
When it's time to replace your fence
We understand that replacing an entire fence can seem like a big undertaking. Installing a new fence is more expensive in the short term and the installation can take up to week for most residential projects. However, the amount of the time, effort, and money required to repair a wood fence is much higher in the long run—especially when you end up making repair after repair after repair. If you have multiple posts that are wobbling, you are better off replacing your whole fence than trying to cherry pick the worst posts to replace. Post replacement is an expensive repair considering that they are mounted in cement about 3 feet deep for a 6 foot fence and are generally one of the more expensive pieces of lumber for your fence. When you have a few rotting posts, you can bet the rest will soon follow (read more about fence post decay here). It’s better to replace the fence and only pay for labor once, get discounted bulk pricing, and have one short period of installation time instead of stretching it out and repeating the same process over months or years. When you properly maintain your wood fence, it should last 20 to 50 years. If your fence is old enough to get a senior discount, it’s time to upgrade.
While wobbly, rickety, falling apart fences are the most obvious reasons to install a new fence, there are still other reasons to consider taking the plunge. If your fence isn’t providing any value, it’s time to upgrade. When you can easily see your neighbors though the gaps in the pickets of your “privacy” fence, when your pets or young kids have figured out how to break free from your yard, or when your fence is more of an embarrassment than an asset, it’s time to give us a call. It may be a bigger initial investment to replace instead of repair, but the return is far greater.
If you’re ready to replace your old fence and install a beautiful new fence you can be proud of, give us a call to schedule your FREE site check and estimate. Call 720.458.4127 or visit www.FirstRateFence.com today to get the ball rolling on your new fence!