How Often Do Wood Fences Need To Be Replaced?
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Wood fences are desired for their rustic beauty and excellent properties for privacy. They take well to styling and if maintained well will age beautifully. You will want them to last as long as possible because of the considerable replacement cost. But how long can a wooden fence last before you have to replace it?
You obviously don’t want to wait until the fence is falling apart before investing in a new one. But if looked after well, you can enjoy your wood fence for 10 years before you have to replace it.
It is possible that your wood fence can last longer than 10 years. But for that to happen you have to stain and treat it every year. Still, 10 years is a good service life for wooden fences, which do not handle the elements very well.
Signs that your wood fence needs to be replaced
While the more common question may be on how often you have to replace your wooden fence, the more practical one is what signs show that a fence’s best days may be behind it. The type of wood used, the quality of construction, and the type of fence all affect the durability of a wood fence.
The most common woods used for fencing are pine, spruce, and cedar. Spruce is the least durable wood, lasting between 4 and 7 years, with pine fences having an average life span of 5 to 12 years. Cedar though more expensive is well worth it, lasting between 15 and 20 years.
It follows also that a well-constructed fence should last longer. Some types of wood fences, like board-on-board, also hold up better than others.
Unfortunately with wood fences, when they really need to be replaced everyone will notice. And being the most visible part of your property for visitors, it can have a drastic effect on the property’s curb appeal.
The following are some of the tell-tale signs of a wood fence that needs to be replaced:
Rotted posts and boards
It is not always that you notice signs of rot on your wood fence that you have to replace it. If it is just a couple of posts that have rotted but the rest of the fence is still in good condition, just replacing the posts may prolong its service life.
Of course, it helps if you can notice signs of rot early when the fence can still be repaired. This is possible by regularly inspecting the fence, checking the posts and boards for stability. If you constantly worry you may fall over with the fence while testing for stability, you have to replace it.
The fence is unstable and leaning to the side
Sometimes you may not see actual signs of rot on the wood fence. But you may notice that the fence is now wobbly and leans to the side in parts. That is a sign the fence is no longer stable.
Oftentimes a fence that stands askew is a sign the structural support is failing, meaning it is in danger of collapsing. More than its effects on the aesthetic quality of your fence, you should consider the safety risk this poses.
Because its weight is no longer evenly distributed, the fence may collapse at the slightest force. To protect your pets and even your small children, you should look into replacing the whole fence.
Direct sunlight and moisture all tend to discolour wood, unless if you stain and treat the wood fence repeatedly. While that weathered look may be a sign of aging, it does not always mean a wood fence needs to be replaced. If the boards and posts don’t show any warping, splitting, rot, or termite damage, the fence may be left alone, or simply be restrained and treated.
Some people actually like that silver-grey weathered look and intentionally leave their wood fences to discolour. If you too like the look, be sure to continually inspect the fence for any signs of damage so you can repair and maintain the look for as long as you can.
Too many boards that have fallen off are a sign that the fence has not been maintained well. Still, if there are just too many of them to replace, it means the fence is neither secure nor good-looking. It means intruders can get through without much difficulty, which compromises your security. It is time to replace the fence.
Repair and maintenance has become a regular chore
You shouldn’t have to repair your wood fence every week or after every strong gust of wind. Repair and maintenance need to be periodic, not a regular chore. When you are struggling to keep up with all the repairs you have to do on the fence, know it is time to replace it.