Do You Need Fence Repair? Here's How to Tell

An image of white-painted wooden pickets is one of the first things that comes to mind when we're nostalgic for the mid 20th century's suburban ideals, making pickets an iconic part of Americana.

Fences may seem basic, but they accomplish a lot; they protect pets and children, delineate property lines, boost curb appeal, and add a classic touch of style to your home. But, when they're in need of repair, they can turn from helpful to hazardous and bring down your entire property's tone.

We all know what it looks like when a fence is neglected until a stiff breeze could knock it down, but there are many more subtle warning signs that it needs attention. If you're aware of the symptoms, you can get repairs done before replacement is the only option.

We'll cover six signs that your fence needs help below. But if you want to skip straight to the part where you find a competent handyman, give Mr. Handyman of Anne Arundel and North PG a call at 410-593-1456 to learn more about our fence repair and installation services–not to mention our exceptional customer care.

What are Different Parts of a Fence?

Before we get started, let's quickly go over what the main components are called, so we're on the same page.

  • Posts: Also called columns, these are vertical parts that hold the whole thing up, usually buried a few feet into the ground and reinforced with concrete.

  • Rails: These are boards that are attached to the posts and run horizontal to the ground, usually positioned on the back of the fence.

  • Pickets or slats: These are vertical or horizontal boards that are attached to the rails and form the most visible part of your fence.

Of course, some kinds have other components such as trim, kick boards, or lattice, and some types have fewer parts, such as chain link models that consist of just posts and stretches of chain link.

Signs Your Home Needs Fence Repair

Need to know if you're ready for professional fence repairs? Check for these signs and symptoms that something isn't right.

1. Timber is Broken, Cracked, or Splintered

Issues such as breaks, cracks, or splintering on wood are classic—and unattractive—symptoms of a fence that's in serious need of attention. Weaknesses in timber threaten the whole structure's stability, and can cause some nasty splinters to anyone unfortunate enough to run their hand along the boards.

2. Unstable Posts

Since posts hold the entire structure up, it's pretty important for them to be firmly planted in the ground—ideally in buried concrete footings—with no room for wobbling or leaning. The simplest way to test is to grab hold of each post and give it a good shake. It shouldn't budge at all. If it does, it's a clear sign that it requires fence restoration.

3. Wood is Rotten

Wood rot is a form of decay caused by wood-eating fungi, which are attracted to timber that has a high moisture content. Naturally, this means that fences are especially vulnerable because they're exposed to the elements with no way to escape the damp.

Rotten timber may appear discolored, spongy, stringy, or webbed with cracks, and can sometimes break into cube-shaped pieces or fall apart into "sawdust." If you see a patch that you think may be rotted, get a screwdriver and press it against the suspicious spot. If it sinks right in, there's no question that you're dealing with wood rot.

4. Paint is Chipped and Peeling

It's no secret that a fence covered in chipped and peeling paint or wood stain has a negative impact on your curb appeal, but it's also leaving the material underneath exposed to damage from weather, pests, and decay.

Painting doesn't necessarily seem like a huge chore—after all, Tom Sawyer got it done—but sanding, painting, and resealing all that surface area is a lot of work. Mr. Handyman has the equipment and know-how to make it look even better than it did originally.

5. Pickets or Slats are Touching Ground

Typically, the only part that should be in contact with the ground is the posts. Pickets should be at least a few inches away from the soil underneath, but over time soil can build up or the fence can sink down. Repairs could be as simple as scooping out excess earth or repositioning pickets higher up on the rails.

6. Squeaking or Broken Gate Hinges and Latches

Screeeeeeech... if your gate makes that hideous, high-pitched noise every time you open it, you probably try to avoid moving it at all—and if the hinges and latches are broken, that decision is made for you. Gates can be a charming and functional addition, as long as they're working correctly, and repairs could be as simple as replacing or oiling the broken metal components.

Fence Repair Vs. Replacement

Repairs are generally a good, cost-effective option to get your fence back in solid condition and looking great. But there are some situations when repairs just aren't going to cut it, and you need to replace either whole sections or the entire thing.

Here are some scenarios in which you're better off with replacement:

  • More than about 25% is damaged by factors such as weather, neglect, and normal wear and tear

  • It was hit by a vehicle or falling tree

  • Termites or other wood-destroying insects have attacked

  • You want a new style to help enhance the look and value of your home

Trust Mr. Handyman to Take Care of Fence Repair and Replacement!

Mr. Handyman of Anne Arundel and North PG is committed to the best quality craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service for every single homeowner we serve.

Pick up the phone today and call us at 410-593-1456, or request service online, so we can get started on making your fence the best on the block!