What You Need to Know Before You Modify Your Fence On Site

What You Need to Know Before You Modify Your Fence On Site

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Whether you’ve bought a fence that you want to install yourself, are having it installed by someone else, or want to refresh an existing fence, you might be tempted to modify it in some way.

However, before you fire up the welder, plug in the grinder or get your paint supplies ready, there are a few things you need to know about on-site modifications to fences.

On-Site Modifications Will Probably Affect Your Warranty

If you’re installing a wood fence that is built from scratch or even a chain link fence which usually only has a few years warranty at the most anyway, this might not be as big a deal.

However, if you’re installing a brand-name fence system that has a long warranty of 20, 25, or more years, you really want to ensure that you don’t do anything to jeopardize your coverage of the fence material you’ve paid for.

If you read your fence warranty or ask the manufacturer, they will probably be able to list all of the modifications that are prohibited, and it’s likely to be a fairly long list.

Why Do Fence Manufacturers Not Allow On-Site Modifications?

The reason fence manufacturers who offer longer warranties on their products usually don’t allow on-site modifications to their fences systems is because they don’t have any control over how those modifications are done.

They can’t supervise on-site cutting and welding – or the treatment of those cuts and welds after they are done. So they can’t offer the same amount of corrosion coverage that they normally would because you’ve created a potential weak spot.

They also can’t tell what kind of paint and other chemical products you’re using on your fence, so they usually won’t cover any product that has been repainted or otherwise treated with any products on site.

Fence system manufacturers only have control over what they do with and to their products during the manufacturing process. This is why they will nearly always exclude any fences that are modified on-site.

What About Necessary On-Site Modifications?

Sometimes, on-site fence modifications are unavoidable. A panel needs to be cut to fit in a smaller space. A piece needs to be cut out to accommodate a manhole on the fence line. A gate needs to be modified slightly to make it work for the slope it’s installed on.

In all of those cases, the best course of action is to leave it up to a reputable fence company that has a relationship with the fence manufacturer and who can negotiate special permission to make those changes.

Usually, when this kind of on-site modification to a fence system is allowed, the manufacturer will have very specific requirements for the products and treatments used. They might specify what type of metal any special fasteners must be, and they will probably specify paint and corrosion protection products that need to be applied – and the application method.

In some cases, fence manufacturers might even send a representative out to inspect the modified fence components before they will issue the warranty for that order.

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider before you cut, weld or otherwise modify a branded fence system on site. Always ask questions before you do anything, and make sure it won’t affect your warranty.

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