Fence Repair

How to Do Your Own Fence Repair

Fence Repair can be a daunting task, especially when a lot of damage has been caused by weather or other forces. Fortunately, a fence contractor can fix these damages and save you time and money in the long run.Fence Repair

Small holes and cracks are common with wooden fences, and can usually be repaired with wood filler or putty. Once the putty has dried, sand it with medium grit to make sure it is even with the rest of the fence.

As the wood in your fence ages, cracks and holes may begin to appear. This is normal, and it’s usually easy to repair. The main culprits are pressure and moisture. New wood is wet inside, and as it dries, the wood shrinks and can put pressure on the fibers, causing them to crack along the grain. This is also caused by nails and screws that are not properly pre-drilled, which puts extra stress on the board. Using screws instead of nails can help eliminate this problem.

If you notice a hole in your fence, first clean the area around it with an old rag soaked in 90 percent isopropyl alcohol. This will ensure the filler adheres to the vinyl and doesn’t leak out of the hole. Then, saw off any excess foam with a small blade or fine-tooth saw, making sure the cut is as close to flush with the surface of the fence as possible. Next, use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the edges of the hole until it’s slightly depressed or concave.

Once the area is clean and dry, use auto body filler to fill the hole. You can find this at your local hardware store, and it’s important to choose a color that matches your vinyl fence. Once the filler dries, you can use your putty knife to smooth it down and blend it into the rest of the area. Finally, you can apply a plastic or vinyl coating that will keep the filler sealed and protect it from stains and water damage. This is a much more durable solution than paint, which can fade and peel over time. It’s also easier to remove in the future if you ever decide to change your fence color.

Insect Infestation

While many homeowners may think of termites first when it comes to wood-eating pests, there are a variety of other insects that can damage wood fencing. Powder post beetles, carpenter ants, and horntail wasps can all bore holes into wood fence posts and planks. While these holes don’t usually cause structural damage, they do open the door for moisture and fungus to enter the fencing material.

If you see any signs of a hole in your wooden fence, it is important to act quickly and consult an exterminator. A professional can identify the type of insect infesting your wood and recommend a treatment to eliminate the infestation.

Termites are the most common wood-eating insects and they are especially common in the Southern climate. Termite colonies can easily destroy a fence made from wood that isn’t treated. Look for small, round holes on the surface of your fence or on the ground around it. You might also notice mud tubes that the termites use to travel from place to place.

In addition to destroying wood, termites can cause molds, fungus, and lichens to grow in damp environments. These organisms thrive in moist conditions and can eventually cause damage to the fencing materials and the wood itself.

Nuisance birds can also destroy wooden fences with their acidic droppings. These drops can cause the fence to deteriorate and leave it looking unsightly. If you have a problem with squirrels chewing on your fence, try repelling them or giving them a better food source to prevent further damage. You can also paint your fence with a preservative to protect it from these pests or choose fencing made from a different material that won’t attract them, such as metal or vinyl.

Rotten Wood

Rotten wood can be an eyesore at best and a major structural damage at worst. It’s important to identify the rot and deal with it quickly, as once the fungus takes hold, it can spread. Luckily, you can avoid wood rot by keeping water away from your home and properly flashing any open areas where water could seep into.

There are several different types of rotting wood, including brown rot which is often referred to as dry rot. This type is caused when a fungus breaks down the cellulose in the wood and causes it to shrink and turn a dark brown discolored appearance. It can also travel from wood to wood, infecting lumber that has been fixed before.

White rot is another common problem, and this occurs when the fungus destroys the cellulolytic activity of the wood, causing it to deteriorate and take on a honeycomb-like appearance as it breaks down. This type of rot tends to be less damaging than brown or dry rot, but it’s still a major safety hazard and should be dealt with immediately.

Wood rot is usually the result of a prolonged period of moisture in damp environments, so it’s important to examine your home thoroughly and fix any areas where you see rotting timber. Once the rot has been removed and any signs of dampness have been repaired, you can use a fungicide to prevent future rot. You should also make sure to always wear gloves when working with chemical products.

Loose Posts

Over time, fence rails that support the fencing fabric—whether that’s 2×4 fence panels, pickets or other decorative pattern elements—can loosen. This usually happens when the ends of the rail start to weather and the fasteners that hold them to the posts lose their grip. It can also happen when the span between posts is too great for a single length of fence rail to bear without shifting. Either way, sagging fence rails are easy to fix. Brush a little wood preservative on the end grain to arrest incipient rot, and use a metal post-rail connector to tighten or reinforce them.

If a post is loose or leaning, first clear away anything that might be pushing against it—decor, branches or tree roots, for example. Then dig around the base of the post and, if it’s set in concrete, remove it using a large shovel. You can then either try to straighten the post by driving an EZ mender into it—if the post is in dirt, you may be able to do this without removing the concrete footing—or reset it in new concrete, following the same technique as before.

If the post is rotten, however, you’ll need to replace it. If the post has simply come loose in its concrete footing, you can often tighten or secure it by inserting a wedge between it and the side of the footing that’s still solid. A more permanent solution is to add a sister post, which you drive into the ground next to the damaged one to a depth of 2-3 feet and secure together with bolts. This will add extra support to the affected post and prevent it from shifting again.