How Do I Know When to Hire Fence Repair or Replacement Services?

A close-up image of new wooden fence pickets that have been installed during a fence repair project.

Fence repair is an important, if perhaps underrated, part of property ownership in Bethlehem. It contributes to your curb appeal, marks property lines, and can even affect privacy. Not to mention, one of its most important functions is to provide security and keep your children and pets safe.

Yet, when it looks like it's seen better days, your fence no longer keeps your property secure and could be a serious eyesore on your block. This may agitate your neighbors and give the impression that you don't take good care of your home with Bethlehem fence repair services. But, when you notice issues with your fence, how do you know what can be repaired and when it's time to replace it entirely?

To help you make an informed decision, the pros at Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley put together this helpful guide. Keep reading to learn more about common issues that can be repaired, how to minimize the need for repair, and when to hire replacement services. And if you notice some of the signs of trouble we've listed below on your property, rely on your local Bethlehem handyman to take care of expert Bethlehem fence repair and other services.

Guide to Fence Types in Bethlehem, PA

If you've already got a barrier structure installed and it needs Bethlehem fence repair, you are well aware of the type of material it's made from—but it's good to be aware of the pros and cons of different materials so you can make the right decision for your property if replacement services are in your future.

Parts or Components of a Fence

Before we talk about the various material options, it makes sense to briefly explain the terms for the different parts of the structure so we're all on the same page.

  • Posts: The vertical parts that hold a structure up, usually reinforced with a concrete footing that is buried a few feet into the soil. They are sometimes also called columns.
  • Rails: These are boards or poles that are attached to your posts and run horizontally to the ground, typically positioned on the back of your structure.
  • Pickets or Slats: The vertical or horizontal boards that form the front, most visible part of the structure, and are secured to rails at the top and bottom.
  • Gate: A portal that swings open to allow entry or exit and usually latches shut. There isn't always a gate included—often there's just a gap or an archway to allow passage.

Some varieties have additional parts such as trim, kick boards, or lattice, and some types have fewer parts, such as chain link structures that consist of just posts and chain link panels.

Wood Fence

Wood is one of the most traditional construction materials, and it has many merits. It's usually an eco-friendly material, especially with the use of biodegradable sealants.

Usually, cedar wood is made for outdoor structures such as a barrier or decks because it's less likely to rot than other varieties. Wood can be painted and stained a wide variety of colors, and typically lasts a maximum of 15 years—depending on how well it is maintained. Yet, this material is more high-maintenance than others and requires fairly regular upkeep and repairs.

Vinyl Fence

One of the most durable materials available, vinyl is increasing in popularity because it lasts quite a long time and requires minimal maintenance. Vinyl is made out of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Usually, it lasts for up to 30 years. This material is available in a range of colors and designs. However, it's not very eco-friendly. Even though this material is very strong, it's not impervious to damage.

Chain Link Fence

This material is a low-cost option more commonly used on commercial properties or large sections of land and usually lasts for around 20 years. Aside from human-caused damage such as wire cutting, there are a couple of other problems that can affect this material such as corrosion and loose chain link.

Common Bethlehem Fence Repair Issues

Like anything else in your home, your fence will require a little TLC from time to time so it's kept in its best condition. Wind, rain, sunshine, and pests can all take a toll on your outdoor structure. Keep it functioning and looking like new by hiring our pro repair team to solve all the following problems.

Wood Rot

The nemesis of wooden structures, wood rot is a type of decay that only affects timber with a moisture content of 20% or higher. Since outdoor structures are exposed to the effects of harsh weather such as rain, snow, and wind, they are often soaked and may not get much of a chance to dry out, which certainly raises the moisture content and leaves them vulnerable to rotting. The only way to prevent timber that is outside from rotting is diligent maintenance and regular refinishing.

Unfortunately, once wood rot has taken hold it starts to spread fairly quickly, requiring slat, plank, and post-repair. Signs of rot include softwood, white or yellow discoloration, and crumbling pieces. Wood rot causes timber to soften and crumble apart, so there's really no way to restore it to its former glory once it has begun to rot. The best way for your handyman to deal with Bethlehem fence repair for wood rot is to replace the affected pieces of timber entirely, then paint or stain them and follow that up with a layer of sealant to make it more moisture-resistant in the future.

Pro Tip: Keep an eye out for rot in your other wooden structures. It can also lead to the need for deck repair, porch repair, and other exterior repairs!

Grime Build-Up

If your structure is covered in a thick layer of dirt and grime that has been accumulating for years (or even decades), it's more than just an unsightly cosmetic problem that needs Bethlehem fence repair service. That grime can host harmful bacteria that eat away at the finish on your structure, leaving the material underneath susceptible to problems like wood rot and rust. Don't relish the thought of spending your weekend scrubbing your fence with a brush and a bucket of water? We don't blame you. Professional service for pressure washing is far more efficient and effective. We can get your structure looking almost as good as the day it was installed with a good, thorough cleaning.

Peeling Paint

Not only does peeling paint look unattractive, but it can also cause wood to deteriorate more rapidly. Paint helps protect wood structures from rot and other types of decay. When it starts to peel, that's a sign that the wood underneath is swelled up with excess moisture and wood rot isn't far behind. Did you know that pressure washing is also a great way to remove loose paint? We can blast away the old, peeling paint and replace it with a fresh coat, followed (of course) by sealant for added protection.

Missing or Broken Pickets

Whether you notice a section or panel has fallen loose or a cross beam has fallen down, it's important to get Bethlehem fence repair for the damaged sections right away. Missing and broken pickets or rails are an invitation for small children or pets to escape your yard and put themselves in danger, or an invitation for unwanted "visitors" such as skunks and other wildlife to make their way into your backyard. This problem also takes the privacy right out of a privacy fence.

Leaning Fence Posts

This is one of the most common issues with all types of fences. Over time, gravity will take its toll on the structure, and it will need to be righted with Bethlehem fence repair service. This is often the result of our old friend wood rot attacking the fibers of a wooden post and weakening it to the point where it can't stay upright, but it may also be happening because the concrete footing is cracked and crumbling apart, or other factors, like soil that has been washed away from the post so it's not buried as deep as it once was and doesn't have adequate support.

Pest Infestations

When you think of insects that love wood, what comes to mind? Termites. These pesky critters are found throughout Pennsylvania. Once they start gnawing on your wood fence, you'll need an effective Bethlehem fence repair service—besides having to call in a pest control squad.

Damage from Impacts

Hail, tree branches falling and even cars backing up will seriously damage your vinyl pickets and cause a need for Bethlehem fence repair. Unfortunately, it's tricky to replace only part of a vinyl structure, so it's possible you may need a new fence altogether.

Gate Is Difficult to Move

If you have to heave and strain to budge your gate even a few inches, it's definitely time for gate repairs. One of the most common causes of this Bethlehem fence repair issue is that the supporting post your gate is attached to is deteriorating and leaning inward, causing your gate to scrape or drag on the ground.

Fading Colors

Most modern vinyl are made with UV inhibitors that make them colorfast for longer periods of time. However, with prolonged exposure to the sun, it's still possible the color may fade. The color should last for as long as it's rated to last by the manufacturer, so if you have a very old structure that has faded out, it's a sign that it's nearing the end of its lifespan and may experience other difficulties in the near future.


Typically, chain link is made out of galvanized or coated steel. While it's rust-resistant, it's still possible for the metal to rust over time. While aluminum doesn't rust, it is possible for it to fall prey to other types of corrosion.

Drooping or Sagging

Gravity impacts even the sturdiest materials, and it's common for chain link to droop as time goes on. Also, playing with children climbing up and down the chain link will cause this to happen more rapidly and you'll need Bethlehem fence repair earlier than you otherwise would have. In severe cases, the chain link may pull off its posts entirely.

When It's Time to Replace Your Fence

Unless you're keen to give your property a mini-facelift with new fencing (and perhaps a little landscaping), there are a couple of clear instances when Bethlehem fence repair just won't cut it:

  • Significant Damage: If your outdoor structure has been seriously neglected and is falling apart, or if a bad storm or car accident has demolished it, you'll need to invest in replacement services.
  • Serious Leaning: Sometimes it's better to install a new fence rather than struggle to correct one that is leaning significantly. Our pro repairmen can provide professional insight into what course of action is best for your situation.
  • Security Threat: Your fence should keep your property safe. If your new puppy is constantly finding a way out or your children can crawl through gaps because the slats are too far apart, you need a new fence.

Pro Tip: The key to minimizing repairs is regular maintenance. At least twice a year, walk through your property and look for damaged areas that need addressing. In many cases, this can prevent the issue from worsening to the point where you need Bethlehem fence repair. Another helpful tip is to wash your fence regularly. This can be done with a garden hose, bucket and soapy water—or by using a power washing service, the more efficient option.

Call the Pros at Mr. Handyman Today!

Whether you need help with Bethlehem fence repair, replacement, or installation services, the team at Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley is up to the task of meeting your property's specific needs. Our repair and fence installation experts have years of experience, training, and industry knowledge to get the job done right the first time. We'll show up in a timely manner and get the work done to your precise specifications so your property has a beautiful fence again.

To book a replacement or fence repair service today, we invite you to call us! We proudly provide handyman services in Bethlehem and surrounding areas like Allentown, Nazareth, and Easton.