To Repair or Replace…..That is The Question
I often come across customers who are bent on keeping their existing fence, rather than replacing it all together. For those mulling over this question, the answer is – it depends. While repainting or repairing a fence may do ok in the short-term, this may not be true for the long haul. Here are some things to consider:
Wood fences, which are the most popular in Ontario, are more prone to weather damage due to insects, moisture, and other environmental factors. Take a closer look at your fence to see if it requires repair, by noticing signs of discoloration, warping, or splintering. Then, try to determine what the cause is and if it can be eliminated. For example, are insects eating away at the wood, or is water being trapped along the fence?
You can repair small holes and dents using wood putty. Unfortunately, the putty does show, unless the fence is painted (as opposed to being left in its natural colour or being stained). If it is more damaged or warped, the entire board may be worth replacing. Again, the downside is that the panel will initially be a different colour from the rest of the fence, but will grow weathered with time to match the rest of your fence.
Replacement may be a better option if these repairs seem like too much work, especially if you weigh in the time it would take (including the learning curve!) and the cost of materials. You may also need to consider if the posts require replacement. Fence posts are costlier to replace as they need to be dug out of the ground; new posts need to be mounted in at least four feet of cement to prevent the frost from shifting them during the winter creating an uneven sightline for your fence. If you have to replace more than a couple of posts, I would strongly recommend a fence overhaul.
Also, if the repairs will only last for the short term, then it may be best to look at replacing your fence to save you the trouble of undertaking repairs. Typically, wooden fences last about a minimum of 20 years, depending on how it is maintained.
Other reasons to replace your fence include privacy, safety (for young children and animals), as well as aesthetics. After all, your fence is among the first things people see and an integral part of your home’s curb appeal.