How to Tell If You Need a New Wood Fence

How to Tell If You Need a New Wood Fence

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Whether you built your wood fence a few years ago or you bought a home with an existing wood fence, at some point, you might be wondering how to tell if you need a new wood fence.

Fortunately, there are some telltale signs that your wood fence is past its prime. Let’s take a closer look.

Your Wood Fence Posts Are Showing Signs of Rot

If you live in a place that has a fair amount of rainfall, the first part of your fence that is likely to show signs of rot is the base of your fence posts.

This is because the base of your fence posts will be regularly exposed to water, and because wood is porous, they will soak it in, and when they do, that will accelerate the rotting of the wood.

As wood rots, it changes color, usually becoming darker, and it tends to become softer. So if you’re not sure whether your posts are showing signs of rot, get down to the level of the base, and use a knife or screwdriver to test the wood. If it feels slightly spongy, that might be a sign of trouble!

Your Fence Is Leaning

Over time, as fence posts degrade, you might find that your wood fence starts to lean to one side. Sometimes, people try to stop this by propping the fence up on that side, but that’s a temporary solution.

This is particularly problematic if you live in an area that gets a lot of wind. It’s only a matter of time before the fence collapses entirely.

You Have Missing Fence Boards

Over time, some of the fence boards on your fence might be damaged and broken, or they might rot near the nails or screws and simply come loose.

You might be able to replace one or two individual fence boards, but if it’s happening very often, it might be time for a new fence. This is particularly true if you notice that the stringers are degrading too.

You Have a Bug Problem

There are treated wood fence products out there that are insect resistant, but if you don’t have that kind of wood fence, or even if some of the boards that were used to build your fence aren’t treated, you might find that one of the many wood eating insects out there have moved in.

Insects like termites, carpenter ants, and others can very quickly ruin a wood fence, and once they’ve done their worst, you probably need a new fence.

Your Wood Fence Has Become Desiccated

Desiccation is a process where all the moisture in a living or formerly living organism is drawn out, leaving an extremely dry, often fragile substance.

If you live in a very hot and dry climate, and you don’t treat and protect your wood fence properly, there’s a good chance that the hot sun might simply suck all the moisture out of your wood fence, leaving a damaged, fragile result.

You Have Physical Damage to Your Fence

The final sign that your wood fence might need to be replaced soon is that there is physical damage to the fence.

This might be something like missing or damaged panels that have been struck by a vehicle, or it could be something like fire damage, extensive graffiti, or malicious damage. Whatever the reason for the damage, the more there is, the more likely it is that repairs would cost almost as much as a new fence.

How To Avoid Wood Fence Problems

As you can see, there’s quite a lot that could go wrong with your wood fence – and we haven’t even discussed the need to remove old paint and repaint or stain every few years!

Wood fence is a popular choice, but it can be a lot of work to keep it in good condition.

If you’re looking for a privacy fence and you don’t want all these wood fence problems, you could choose something like composite fencing or vinyl fence instead. They cost a little more upfront, but they will save you money on maintenance over time.

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