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Your wooden fence was once sturdy as they come, but sun, strong winds, and heavy rainfall have taken their toll. The results are a sagging, leaning, or rotting fence that have long lost their former glory.
While certain woods such as Pressure-treated lumber pumped full of preservatives and Cedar and Redwood are highly durable, they will need maintenance from time to time. They’re also expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you’ll need to take extra care of your fence.
While it may be tempting to replace the fence entirely, a fence repair is usually the more cost-effective solution.
In this fence fixing guide, we’ll show you how to:
- Repair your damaged fence’s components
- When to repair or replace your fence
- How to staining your fence for added protection
- How to repair other types of fences
A standard wooden fence will contain the following:
- Vertical fence posts
- Horizontal fence rails that go from post to post
- Screening that attach to the rails
- Capping that sits on top of the posts
When repairing a fence, you’ll need to address each of these components individually. For example, posts that have rotted at the base require a different repair than a cracked fence board. Vegetation that has grown into the fence also needs to be removed or else it will continue to damage the fence.
How to Fix a Wooden Fence
Let’s go through the most common problem areas for wood fences and how you can fix or replace them.
Replacing a Leaning Fence Post for Your Wood Fence
Fence posts are susceptible to rot below or at ground level. This is especially common among posts that haven’t been treated with a preservative. The first sign of rot is usually a discoloration or softening of the wood, followed by warping and eventually crumbling.
- Secure or brace your vertical posts to their correct position with screws. Inserted screws shouldn’t be noticeable in your fence line.
- Use a post hole digger to reach your post’s foundation, or once you hit the concrete footing.
- Use a handheld drill to gradually break the concrete into smaller pieces. Do not use a jackhammer or other heavy machinery, as this will damage the post.
- Remove your old post and make the hole deeper if necessary.
- Insert a new post into the hole and pour concrete for the footing. Ensure your concrete mix is poured so it’s surface is slopped with the surrounding ground. This will prevent water and moisture from sitting on top of the concrete and seeping into the post.
Fixing a Leaning Wooden Gate
Leaning fence gates typically have the same issue as a leaning fence post – the gate posts have become rotten and unstable. The repair process is similar, but you’ll also need to take into account the weight of the gate.
Alternatively, you can straighten a leaning wooden gate by:
- Installing new, stronger hinges
- Insert a fence repair spike into the ground next to the leaning post and screw it on
- Remove and replace any loose screws with longer screws
Replacing your Fence Pailing
Damaged fence pailing can occur due to severe weather or external damage such as someone kicking a ball through it. No matter the cause, you’ll need to replace them to maintain your fence’s stability, privacy and aesthetic appeal.
- Use a wrecking bar to pry the damaged boards at the base of the pailing.
- Move towards the top of the pailing, and claw all nails out from your boards.
- Remove all of the damaged boards and set them aside.
- Use a circular saw to cut your new boards to the correct size.
- Use your foot to hold your pailing at its base and hammer one nail at the top.
- Continue to hammer nails along the pailing until it is secure.
How to Stain & Seal a Fence
Taking a proactive approach to fence maintenance will minimise any repairs that need to be carried out in the future. Wooden fences need to be sealed every 2-3 years and stained every 4-5 years.
The benefits of sealing and staining your fence include:
- Protection from rot, water damage, mould and mildew
- Reduced fading and discolouration
- Prevent your material from warping
- Protection from UV rays
- Helping to keep its original appearance
To stain a wooden fence:
- Clean your fence to remove any dirt, dust or debris.
- Spot-treat mould, mildew or other stains with a fence cleaner.
- Use a wood filler to repair any cracks, holes or damage.
- Sand your fence to create a smooth surface.
- Apply your stain with a roller
When to Replace or Repair Your Fence
A new fence is a significant investment which can add much needed colour and protection to your home. However, it can be difficult to know when it’s time to replace or repair your fence. If your damaged fence lies within these parameters, then it may be time for a replacement:
The biggest issue facing wooden fences is rotting. If your fence post has rotted, then the rest of the fence is likely to follow suit. A good rule of thumb is if over 1/4 of your fence has been affected by rot, then it’s time to replace it entirely.
Missing or Damaged Boards
If you have missing or damaged boards, then it’s usually possible to replace them without replacing the whole fence. It’s not uncommon for fence panels to become loose over time, so check all screws and nails are tightened. If the damage is severe, then it may be necessary to replace a section of the fence.
If you’re able to catch termites early enough, then you can save your fence with some repairs. However, if the termites have caused significant damage (over 20-25% of your fence), it’s best to replace the fencet. It’s also wise to contact a pest control company to prevent future termite problems.
Unfortunately, your wooden fences won’t last forever. Even with regular care and maintenance, they will need to be replaced. Depending on the lumber quality and how well it’s been cared for, most fences will need to be replaced after 20 years.
Always check your warranty
If the problem with your existing fence is due to a manufacturing defect, then it may be covered by a warranty. Always check if your fence is still under warranty before attempting any repairs.
If you’re still not sure whether to repair or replace your fence, then it’s best to consult with a professional fencing contractor. They will provide a thorough damage assessment and give an accurate quote for the necessary work. You won’t have to look any further since we offer fencing installation services here at Sidepost which include pool fence installation, gate installation, and many others.
Repairing a Vinyl Fence: How to Replace a Damaged Slat
Vinyl fences are becoming increasingly popular because they’re easy to maintain and clean. However, their slats get damaged overtime, usually by severe weather conditions, and will need to be replaced.
- Start by removing the post’s cap. Do so by inserting your chisel under the cap to pry it off.
- Remove screws inside the post that are holding the vinyl slat in place with a drill.
- Slide your Vinyl slat away from the post and lift it off.
- Pull off your slats until you reach the damaged one.
- If your rail has come off, check to see if any screws are loose or missing and replace them as necessary.
- Replace the damaged slat with a new one and slide it into the rail.
How to Repair a Chain Link Fence
Replacing a Damaged or Bent Rail
Sometimes, a chain link fence top rail can bend or break. This usually happens when a branch or other debris falls on the fence.
- Use pliers to remove the ties that are holding the damaged rail in place.
- Slide the rail out of the end posts.
- Place your new rail in the end posts and mark where it needs to be cut.
- Use a electric saw to cut your rail to size
- Insert the rail into the end posts and reattach the fence ties
How to Replace Chain Link Fence Fabric
Chain Link fence fabric damage is usually caused by severe weather, but it can also be caused by rust, vandalism or even a car accident.
- Begin by removing the damaged fence fabric ties on the top and bottom rails.
- Use pliers to untwist the fabric at either side of the damaged section. This should be done counterclockwise.
- Remove your replacement fabric and cut it to size.
- Install your new fabric clockwise into your damaged section.
- Use pliers to attach the ties on the top and bottom rails.
Sidepost Fencing Services for Your Home
Whether you need a fence repair or installation, our fencing contractors can make it happen. We use high-quality materials and our expertise to deliver top-notch services, ensuring your complete satisfaction.
Sidepost operates and has fencing contractors all across Australia, servicing major areas such as Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Canberra. Contact us today or book online and we’ll send one of our qualified technicians to your home or business to provide a quote.
Want to learn more about fencing materials and how much you should pay? Check our guide on aluminium slat fencing and see if it’s the right fit for you!