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Top 10 Signs It's Time to Consider a Fence Repair Service

According to famous American poet Robert Frost, "Good fences make good neighbors." According to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), they also make good investments. The ASLA estimates that landscaping, which includes hardscaping features like fences, can add 20% or more to your property's value.

This figure is impressive and appealing to homeowners. It's important to keep in mind, though, that the return on any investment requires maintaining it. Remember, it's good fences that make good investments; not old, rusting, sagging, or otherwise dilapidated fences.

Periodic fence repair is, therefore, essential to protecting your investment. Read on to learn the top signs that it's time to consider a fence repair service.

Maintaining Your Fence

Maintaining your investment in a fence requires knowing your fence and keeping up with simple DIY tasks. It also requires knowing when to call in the experts.

Knowing Your Fence: Different Types of Fencing Have Different Needs

No longer are wood and chain link the only options for fence materials. Today, homeowners can also choose from wrought iron or other ornamental metal fences, vinyl fences, or composite fences.

If you're investigating fence repair, it's likely you already have a particular type of fence. Hopefully, you've kept up with the basic DIY maintenance tasks your particular type of fence requires.

Maintenance for all types of fencing involves conducting periodic inspections, weeding and removing debris, and oiling hinges and other moving hardware.

However, specific types of fences have additional needs.

Maintaining a Wood Fence

Basic maintenance for a wood fence requires keeping it clean and free from mold, mildew, insects, and other factors that can cause decay. At a minimum, this means giving your fence a good cleaning at least once a year.

You can purchase a specially formulated fence cleaner from your local home improvement store, or you can use soap and water. A long-handled brush or pressure washer will help you give the fence a good scrub from top to bottom.

Staining and sealing your fence every 2-5 years will make these yearly cleanings easier. It will also maintain its structural integrity and appearance.

Maintaining a Chain-Link Fence

A chain-link fence is relatively easy to maintain. Cleaning requires soap and water -- or even just water from a high-powered hose or pressure washer.

Most important for chain-link fence maintenance is preventing rust. Spraying the fence with a rust-resistant coating each year will significantly increase its longevity and keep it looking as good as new.

Maintaining a Wrought Iron Fence

As with a chain-link fence, a wrought iron fence's worst enemy is rust. Inspecting for and removing the first signs of rust is key to maintaining your wrought iron fence. A fine wire brush and rust converter -- available at your local home improvement store -- are the tools of the trade here.

In addition to keeping the rust at bay, you'll want to keep your iron fence's curb appeal by protecting and touching up the paint job. When this is necessary, be sure to use a primer before applying a finishing coat of oil-based paint that is made for use on metal.

Maintaining a Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fences are among the lowest maintenance options. At a minimum, they require a yearly cleaning with soap, water, and a stiff brush.

Maintaining a Composite Fence

Composite fencing, which uses recycled plastic, wood, and resin, combines the aesthetic appeal of wood and the easy maintenance of vinyl.

Like vinyl fences, composite fences can be cleaned with soap, water, and a stiff-bristled brush. Composite fence and deck cleaners available at your local home improvement store are another option.

Knowing When to Call in the Experts: The Top 10 Signs It's Time To Consider a Fence Repair Service

You've done your due diligence and conducted your yearly maintenance, periodic inspections, and cleanings. You're noticing, though, that those DIY measures aren't doing the trick.

Your fence looks old and unsightly. Maybe it even sounds old. It's time to call in the experts when you notice any of these 10 signs.

1. Broken Boards

Among the most obvious signs your fence is in need of repair are cracks, dents, or holes in the boards.

Wood fences are most likely to exhibit these signs. Wood fences are vulnerable to deterioration from mold, mildew, and insect damage. As the wood decays, you may notice cracks in the boards or even places where pieces have broken off.

Although it's less likely, vinyl and composite fences can also crack or develop holes due to accidents or extreme temperatures.

When the damage is limited to a small area, a licensed handyman can complete a more limited fence repair by replacing the damaged boards or sections. A repairman can also help you decide when the damage is too extensive.

As your fence ages and the fence repair cost increases, however, it may make more sense to install a new fence than to repair the old.

2. Sagging, Warped, Leaning, Bent, or Otherwise Unstable Posts

Regardless of your fence's material, the fence's posts are essential to maintaining its structure. When fence posts heave, bend, crack, or warp, this puts pressure on the boards. It can also cause the entire structure of the fence to lean and, eventually, fall down.

Acute damage from high winds can weaken the posts in various types of fencing. However, chronic damage can also develop at the base of the posts.

When your fence was installed, the builder secured each post in a concrete foundation. If this foundation begins to crumble, fence posts become unstable. Signs that the concrete foundations of your fence posts are deteriorating include pooling water, shifting soil around the post, and crumbling of the concrete base.

Early detection of these problems and early intervention to replace or reset individual posts is key to preventing further damage.

Sometimes fence post repair brackets can provide a relatively easy fix for a loose or leaning post. In other cases, a fence repair expert may need to reset the post. If multiple posts and their foundations are loose or crumbling, it may be time for a new fence.

3. Contact Between the Fence and the Ground

A well-installed and maintained fence should show a slight and relatively even gap between its bottom section and the soil, mulch, or grass below it. If you notice this gap decreasing, becoming uneven, or disappearing, it could be a sign that the fence is becoming unstable.

Sometimes the fence itself isn't the problem, though. Sometimes the ground shifts or soil and mulch gather near the bottom of the fence. Even these cases where the fence isn't the problem can become a problem for your fence.

Especially for wood fences, contact between the bottom of the fence and the ground can lead to wood decay and overall fence instability.

4. Insect or Other Pest Damage

Maybe you haven't yet noticed your wood fence deteriorating, but you have noticed signs that pests are enjoying your fence more than you are.

Perhaps you've noticed the wood appears swollen in places, or there are other signs of moisture damage. You notice mold or mildew developing. The fence is buckling in places, and you don't see an obvious cause. Or you actually see insects crawling or their tracks (or mazes) scrawled across your fence.

If you notice any of these signs, it's time to call a professional wood fence repair expert without delay. Doing so quickly will ensure that the damage doesn't worsen. Delay might mean that you'll need to replace rather than repair your fence.

5. Discoloration

All types of fencing can exhibit discoloration. Of course, this discoloration is a problem because it is unsightly. However, the discoloration can also indicate bigger problems.

Wood, vinyl, or composite fences can show stains as mold develops. White vinyl fences, in particular, can develop a greenish tint due to algae growth. Fortunately, algae on vinyl fencing is mostly a cosmetic issue.

Again, though, the discoloration from mold or insect infestation on wood fencing can be a symptom of a fatal disease. The greying of a wood fence is also a sign that the wood is drying out. This is also problematic because dry wood splits, chips, and splinters more easily.

Discoloration from rust can, likewise, be fatal for chain-link and wrought iron fences. If the rust is severe and resistant to your efforts to remove it, it may be time to involve a professional handyman. Widespread rust may also indicate that it's time to replace rather than repair a chain-link or wrought iron fence.

6. Noisy, Loose, or Broken Hinges

Even wood, vinyl, and composite fences include metal parts on gates and hinges. Without proper greasing, these hinges can become noisy. Many property owners choose to conduct this routine maintenance themselves.

If you've gotten behind on your DIY tasks or you notice that your fence's gates and hinges are not just noisy but loose and even broken, you may need a fence repair expert.

In fact, a fence's moving parts are among the parts most easily damaged. Think about the human body, and this makes sense. In the body, it's the joints, like knees and elbows, that are most easily injured. Just as these joints are crucial to a well-functioning body, they are crucial to a well-functioning fence.

Broken gates and hinges are not only inconvenient but also unsafe. Open fence gates can allow trespassers to enter your yard. From there, they may also find their way into your house.

In fact, burglars report that they look for signs of exterior disrepair. When they notice a broken fence latch, it offers easy access to the yard. More importantly, it also suggests that the rest of the property, including door and window latches, may be in disrepair as well.

7. Loose or Bent Chain-link Fabric

Like broken hinges, loose or bent chain-link fabric can invite burglars and other security threats. It's also unsightly and can be dangerous. If you or your child gets too close to a loose piece of chain-link fence, then cuts and scratches may be the aftermath.

Most of these injuries will be minor, but any broken skin that results from contact with metal, especially potentially rusty or dirty metal, brings a risk of tetanus and other infections. Thus, it's important to maintain chain-link fencing to reduce this risk.

A chain-link fence repair expert can help you fix any loose or bent sections and secure the bottom entire edge of the fence with a tension wire.

8. Damage from Storms or Accidents

Storms can produce significant damage to every type of fencing. Wind, hail, and falling trees or branches are just some of the threats that can arise suddenly. Over the long term, excessive temperatures can also damage your fence.

Depending on the location of your fence, your fence may also suffer sudden trauma from car crashes or backyard accidents involving children, pets, or machinery.

When your fence suffers any sudden and significant damage, it's important to call a fence repair expert right away. A professional handyman can help you assess the damage, complete repairs if possible, or suggest replacing a fence that has been damaged beyond repair.

9. Multiple Warning Signs

If any one of the above signs means it's time to contact a fence repair expert, any of these signs in combination makes that contact urgent. A collection of even minor fence repair issues suggests that your fence may need more work than you can or want to do yourself.

In such cases, professional handymen have the tools and expertise to assess and address multiple issues efficiently and properly. This can save you time and money.

Considering that Americans spend 10.2 minutes a day, or 3,723 minutes a year, maintaining the exterior of their property, these savings are significant.

10. You're Simply Ready for a New Fence

Maybe none of the signs above is staring you in the face, but you're ready for a change.

Maybe you have a chain-link fence, but you'd prefer a more sophisticated wrought iron fence. Maybe you have a wood fence, and you're tired of the ongoing maintenance it requires. Perhaps a lower-maintenance vinyl or composite option is in your future.

Whatever your needs and preferences, a professional handyman can help you choose and install a new fence. Then, as the need for ongoing maintenance and repair arises, you'll be able to rely on that ongoing relationship for advice.

Good Fences Make Good Investments -- If You Protect Them

A good fence adds value to your home. It offers protection. And it's aesthetically pleasing.

However, good fences require good owners. Being a good fence and homeowner involves some work on your part. At the very least, you have to know your fence and what it needs. You also have to know how much of the necessary fence repair work you can and want to do yourself.

With professionals like Mr. Handyman of Keller, Flower Mound and Alliance, you don't have to do that work. If you notice any of the warning signs above or you're ready for a new fence, contact us for an estimate today.