The Chinook downslope winds the Pikes Peak region has seen over the past 48 hours have been devastating to many roofs, trees, and fences. As a result, you may be one of the many homeowners facing the need to repair or replace a downed fence. But just how do you decide if your fence is worth repairing, or if it is time to replace it entirely?
Every fence is unique, and as a homeowner, it is prudent to consider whether it makes the most sense to attempt to make the repairs yourself, hire someone to do repairs, or to completely replace the fence.
While repairing a fence tends to be cheaper and easier, the repairs to the fence may not be worth your time/money to keep the fence in working condition. Conversely, completely replacing the fence allows you to change fence materials, design and style, as well as help you to prepare for the future by investing in a fence that accommodates plans like buying a dog or having children—but it can be costly.
In order to help you make the decision to repair or replace your fence, there are several factors to consider:
- Age: A properly constructed fence can last upward of 20 years. While, all materials deteriorate over time, the typically dry climate of the Front Range means that wood fences do not typically face the same rot and insect issues that shorten fence life as other areas of the country. If your fence was installed in the last decade, there is a good chance it can be repaired. However, if your fence is older than you, it is probably worth considering a fence replacement, rather than a repair.
- Extent of damage: As you examine the damage to your fence, take a close look at exactly WHAT is damaged; do you have broken pickets, rails, or posts? Rail and picket damage can generally be repaired fairly easily; damage to posts typically requires removal and replacement of the affected posts(s), increasing repair time and cost. A good rule of thumb is that a fence replacement should be considered if there is damage to 20% or more of the total fence.
- Aesthetics: While this may not affect the function of your fence, it is worth considering—especially if you have an HOA that requires a uniform-looking fence on your property. Fence repairs will often use new posts, rails and pickets, and these may not match your existing fence materials. While this will become less of an issue over time as the new materials weather, there will be a noticeable difference in the look of the “old” and “new” materials. A fence replacement will ensure a uniform look across your new fence.
- Construction: While the vast majority of wooden fences utilize 4×4 wooden posts, these posts typically are not reliable in sustained wind speeds above 50mph (Monday’s winds well exceeded this in many areas). Metal posts, like the PostMaster steel post from Master Halco, can withstand sustained wind speeds of up to 70mph. If you have lived in this area for more than a couple of years, you know that these wind events are not once-in-a-lifetime, and your fence will likely see high wind speeds again within its life span. If you are repairing posts, or considering a total fence replacement, installing a stronger post will decrease the likelihood of your fence blowing down in the future.
Ultimately, as the fence owner, only you can decide whether repairing or replacing your fence is the best decision for you. As Fisk Lawnscapes, our mission is to serve our customers with excellence, and our hope is that this information will help you to make an informed decision that you can look back on with satisfaction.