Fencing Maintenance: What to Look Out For and Why

Fences sometimes need work done on them, but it’s not always obvious when there are real problems. The tough old wooden fences might have a paling loose or something similar, or may be sagging. Color bond fences can take a battering, but they sometimes need work to keep them stable, and to fix any damage. If you’ve got a problem, and aren’t sure what your fencing needs, there are a few ways to deal with the issues and prevent further problems developing.

Fencing problems — General issues

There are two classes of fencing problems:

Local damage: A part of the fencing is damaged or needs repair. This damage can develop if the fence is under stress and become structural, in cases where repairs are neglected.

Structural damage: The potentially expensive type of issue, which needs immediate remedial work to prevent a problem becoming a disaster.

Local damage

Local damage is caused by an incident or sometimes an accident. Wood may crack through stress fractures, or warping over time. Metal fencing may suffer an impact or soil issues which destabilize that part of the fence. Both types of fencing may be affected by tree roots which can undercut their base, putting a lot of increasing pressure on them. This type of damage is first visible as local damage.

Structural damage

Structural damage affects part of the fence, and tends to spread. If a fence is for any reason out of alignment, gravity alone can damage the structure. Some types of soil, water and local environmental issues will add to this damage.

Fencing problems

Local damage

Local repairs will be required, but it’s always advisable to check the causes of the damage. The problems may have developed, and other parts of the fence may need to be checked. Always check footings to see if a real problem is developing.

Structural damage

The first signs of structural damage are:

  • Fencing components out of alignment
  • Multiple damaged areas of fencing
  • Movement in upright supports
  • Soil movement around the fence footings (particularly if gaps are showing under the fence)
  • Fence moves too easily when pushed

If you see clear indications of structural damage, get on the phone to your fencing contractors ASAP. The sooner these issues are fixed, the cheaper the job will be.

Problem solving

The different types of fencing problem need different solutions:

  • If the fence is stable, local repairs and in some cases reinforcing the base and supports will take care of the issues.
  • If the fence is unstable, particularly if the soil around the base is eroding, the supports and base need to be fixed, and the soil issues dealt with.
  • Water issues, (usually caused by someone changing the site drainage or a leaky pipe somewhere), will require consideration of effective drainage measures, as well as repairs and reinforcement if required.
  • Tree related issues mean managing the trees as well as the damage.

The best solution for fencing problems is to keep an eye on your fencing, check out any signs of changes to the fence, and take immediate action to stop problems before they start.