Fences are an excellent way to establish the boundaries of your home while keeping your loved ones safe and your belongings secure. From metal to wood, fences are favoured for their ability to add security while boosting street appeal. But what happens when your refined barrier has seen better days?
From lean to rot, there is a multitude of problems that can occur, regardless of how much you pay for your fence. Learn how you can avoid the most common fence issues to preserve your boundary and keep it looking good for as long as possible.
Legal Matters to Keep in Mind
As you begin to plan your project, keep in mind there are several materials that are illegal to use in residential fences. To make sure you meet regulations, avoid using these products while upgrading or maintaining your fence:
- Broken glass
- Barbed or razor wire (unless you have livestock or abide by the required height and setback regulations)
- Asbestos cement
- Various plant-based materials (if the fence faces publicly owned land)
For many restricted materials, you need special permission from the local government. Additionally, some materials will be better suited to certain regions; for example, if you live in a bushfire-prone area, you may want to consider installing a metal fence as opposed to your average timber fence. Keep these tips in mind as you begin planning your fencing project.
1. Mould and Fungi
One of the most frustrating problems homeowners face is unwanted growth along their fence whether your fence is made of Colorbond or hardwood or anything in between. This usually occurs when the wood is exposed to excess moisture or the metal surface is constantly moist and in the shade. Mould and other fungi feed on the moisture while also snacking on the fence itself. The result is unsightly growth, stains, rot, and potential danger to anyone who comes in direct contact with the compromised fence.
Prevention is always the best treatment. You can avoid fungal growth by keeping your fence and the area around it as dry as possible. Clear excess leaves and debris often to prevent water build-up. Always encourage water to flow away from your fence, not toward it. Your fencing contractor will have this in mind as they are constructing your fence, considering drainage is a critical component of a long-lasting investment.
You can also eliminate fungal growth by regularly washing your fence. Adding a few drops of vinegar or dish detergent can help kill bacteria and fungi in their early stages, however, look up the manufacturers’ guidelines or ask your fencing contractor what you can and cannot use on your fence to ensure that any warranties remain intact.
If maintaining a wooden fence seems like a daunting task, consider an aluminium one. Metal fences are easier to clean and less prone to overgrowth. While mould will still grow along them, it can’t feed on the metal. With one quick pressure wash, you can quickly eliminate any build-up without leaving residue.
2. Leaning Fence
Leaning, imbalanced leveling, and wobbliness are all signs of an unstable foundation. This can be especially cumbersome if you have a neighbour who is strict about their property boundaries. Ignoring this issue can lead to portions of your fence becoming damaged or detached and eventually needing to replace the entire thing.
Weak foundations in fences are often caused by poor installation, reactive soil, rot, or external damage. The best way to reduce the risk of installation failure is to entrust the process to professionals who are experienced with the specific soil type in your region.
These experts can determine how deep a fence post needs to be buried based on the soil around your home. Soils rich in rocky material lead to harder installation, but the result is a more secure fence. Meanwhile, soils with poor drainage, such as clay, encourage rot in wood fences and corrosion in metal ones, which means that treatment for the posts under the surface of the Earth is necessary, as well as the posts need to be dug deeper to account for more soil movement.
3. Pest Damage
Australia is no stranger to an assortment of pests. Some of the most common ones include cockroaches, rodents, and a wide variety of species of ants, with perhaps the nastiest of them being white ants, also known as termites. In fact, it’s estimated 25% of homeowners will battle termites. What does this mean for your fence? Most pests will either feed on wood or use it for shelter. That makes a wooden fence a convenient target for them, especially if it is already weakened by rot.
The best way to discourage pests from snacking on your property is to regularly inspect your timber for signs of termites. Take immediate action if you see signs of an infestation by contacting a pest control company. Pressure wash or hand scrub your fence to rid it of insect eggs, scent trails, and nests. Mowing often and removing debris will also make the area less hospitable to pests.
4. Natural Aging
Nothing lasts forever. As your fence experiences wear and tear, its quality, and aesthetics will deteriorate. Thankfully, there are ways you can preserve the lifespan of your fence, although you cannot keep it looking brand new forever.
Metal fences usually last decades on their own. However, applying a rust-resistant finish once every few years can be the difference between 10 years and over 30.
Wooden fences have a shorter outlook but can match the longevity of their metal counterparts with proper maintenance. Stain and paint your fence every few years and keep it away from moisture.
For any type of fence, fix damages as soon as you notice them. Always ensure you have a stable foundation and consult a professional fencing contractor on anything you’re unsure of.
Keep Your Fence Strong and Good Looking
With these tips, you can keep your fence strong, healthy, and attractive for decades to come. Taking pride in your property begins with maintaining its borders!