This Old Fence: Replace or Repair?

Your fence will see wear and tear. Here's how to know when to repair it, or when it's time for a complete rebuild.

This article is part of our Fencing Awareness Month brought to you by Bekaert.

As the years roll by, even the sturdiest of fences may start to show signs of wear and tear. The question then arises: is it time for a complete overhaul, or can the old fence be salvaged with some tender loving care? This article will guide you through the considerations that help determine whether it’s worth repairing your aging fence or if it’s time to bid it farewell.

Your fence will see wear and tear. Know when to repair, and when to rebuild it completely. Spiritofamerica/

Inspect That Foundation

Look for Structural Integrity: Begin by examining the posts and support beams. If they exhibit signs of significant rot, warping, or insect damage, it’s a strong indicator that the fence may need replacement. Your fence is only as strong as its braces and posts, so keep a close eye on these.

Evaluate Rails, or Panels

Check for Decay and Warping: If the rails and panels are visibly warped, cracked, or splintered, it may be more cost-effective to invest in new materials rather than attempting extensive repairs. Especially with wooden fences, rotted or splintered boards can be broken during horseplay, and present a hazard.

Does the Gate Function?

Gates are often the most used and stressed part of a fence. If a gate sags, drags, or doesn’t latch properly, it may be more prudent to replace it for the sake of convenience and security. This doesn’t mean you must replace the entire fence. But replacing a gate when it’s worn out is usually a simpler task than trying to get creative to hold it in place. And don’t climb over, or stand on gates if you can avoid it!

A sturdy gate is a must for your fence. If it drags, sags, or hangs, replace or repair it. PIC by Femke/

Aesthetic Appeal

Consider the curb appeal of your property. An aging fence that has lost its luster can detract from the overall aesthetics of your property. If visual appeal is important, a replacement might be the best option.

Be Economically Savvy

Compare the estimated costs of repairs with the cost of a new fence. In some cases, extensive repairs may approach or exceed the expense of installing a new one. Do your research and shop around, to determine if repair or replacement is the more economical option. Depending on your situation, the answer might surprise you.

[Build a fence on a budget]

Safety and Security

For horse owners, the safety of that four-legged friend is paramount. Any structural deficiencies that compromise safety, such as loose rails or sharp protrusions, may require replacement. Don’t wait until disrepair causes a safety hazard. Check your fences often. Stay on top of simple repairs that can be done quickly, and save yourself headache down the road

Consider Future Maintenance

Assess whether repairs will provide a long-term solution or if you’ll find yourself in a similar situation in a few years. Investing in a new fence might be more cost-effective in the long run. Perhaps you opt for a full replacement fence and decide to change materials entirely. If your current fence isn’t serving and suiting your needs, consider what you’d like to change. Is wood too much of a maintenance nightmare? Try out no-climb wire fencing for a lower maintenance option.

Consult the Professionals

Consult the fencing professionals when you’re unsure about replacing or repairing. They can provide a comprehensive assessment and recommendations, and you can pick their brain about rebuilds.

Ultimately, the decision to repair or replace an old fence hinges (pun intended), on a few things. A combination of factors including structural integrity, visual appeal, safety concerns, and economic feasibility. While repairs may breathe new life into a fence, there comes a point when a replacement is the more practical and cost-effective choice. By carefully evaluating these considerations, you can make an informed decision that ensures the continued security, aesthetics, and functionality of your fencing for years to come.

[Lessons learned from building fences]

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