Maintaining a fence requires a fair bit of knowledge regarding the structure and type of fence. The different forms of fencing need different types of maintenance. There are also sometimes site situations and locations where the location of the fence makes it difficult to maintain.
Types of fence and maintenance issues
The different types of fencing are all very reliable structures using good quality materials:
Timber fences: timber fencing is tough. They usually last for decades unless damaged by accident. The real maintenance issues are likely to be a result of pieces of the fencing assembly being out of place.
Fencing assembly issues: Older fences tend to be affected by gravity over time, and any minor alignment issues progress into problems.
Damaged fencing pieces: These aren’t necessarily structural problems of themselves, but you need to ask how the damage occurred, and in some cases why. It’s best to replace these pieces ASAP.
Steel fences: Damage to steel fences is rare, to put it mildly. Any damage is suspicious. Structural issues may be responsible for fences being out of alignment, but actual damage to chainwire or mesh may be a security issue.
Picket fences: Older picket fences need to be watched for signs of age or deterioration. These fences are tough too, and the likely issues are split pickets or general deterioration.
Supports moving: This can be a real problem, needing prompt corrective action. Get in touch with a local fencing contractor and have the situation checked out immediately. This type of damage can do serious damage to large sections of fence, and may indicate other problems.
Location issues: Some sites are worse than others. Fences near trees, or in hot summer sun or suffering from moisture and susceptible to rot need to be watched.
The maintenance routine
Fencing maintenance for minor problems is easy enough. Replacing palings and pickets is pretty simple.
The maintenance routine can be done on a regular basis, preferably once a month, and after storms or other major weather events.
Direct physical checks: These checks should be based on looking for any changes in the condition of the fence, particularly any signs of movement or damage.
Alignment: The fence should be dead level and straight.
Cross beams: Should be level and at right angles to supports.
Supports: Shouldn’t be leaning and shouldn’t be loose at joins.
Surface checks: Look for signs of wear on timber and steel surfaces. Local discoloration may mean mould or rot with timber fencing.
When you do need help
The things you really shouldn’t do yourself are the structural jobs which affect the stability of the fence. The risks of additional damage just aren’t worth it. Talk to fencing professionals, because you’ll get a good idea of the issues, which may involve complex work most people aren’t equipped to attempt. The good news is that the experts will also be able to fix the problems, and save you a lot of money in the process.