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How to Keep Your Fencing Strong and Sturdy

Fence Contractor Summerville serves many purposes on a property. It helps keep stray animals or wildlife out of a yard, making it more difficult for burglars to break into a home.

However, a fence can get damaged over time and needs regular maintenance to stay in good condition. Here are some common signs of a fence in need of repair:

Fences are strong and durable, but even the most resilient fences may suffer damage or age over time. When your fence starts to show signs of wear and tear, whether it’s a sagging fence or one with gaps, there are many easy-to-follow steps to ensure it stays strong and sturdy.

The first step is to assess the problem. Determine what’s causing your fence to sag or have gaps, and determine how severe the problem is and whether it needs to be addressed immediately. Depending on how bad the issue is, you may need to replace one or more of your fence panels.

Sagging fences can often be remedied by tightening the screws or nails that hold your panels in place. This can secure the panels in place and will usually provide sufficient support, but if your fence is sagging in the middle, you may need to add braces or other forms of reinforcement.

If you have a wood fence, consider applying a new coat of stain or paint to the panels to rejuvenate them and keep them looking great. You can also use a waterproof sealant on the wood to help it resist moisture and weathering, keeping your panels looking nice and strong for years.

For chain-link fences, you can close gaps by attaching a tension wire along the bottom of your fence. This will prevent unsightly sagging and create an effective barrier to discourage unwanted visitors from entering your property.

If a fence post is leaning, you can correct the issue by digging about 18 inches around the base of the footer to reveal a large chunk of concrete. Once you’ve removed this prehistoric chunk of concrete, remove any rotted material that has formed beneath the surface and refill the hole with about 120 pounds of ready-mix concrete to stabilize your fence post.

If your fence is a scratch-built project, you can often replace the stringers by prying the old ones loose from the metal fence rail brackets and then pulling them out. Use a level to ensure that your fence is straight, then replace the stringers with new ones and mount them to the rail brackets using a drill/driver.

A leaning fence post is more than just an eyesore; it can also be a safety hazard. Whether it’s caused by shifting soil or by an external force, a crooked post can easily collapse or bend, potentially resulting in expensive damage to your fence panels and property. Fortunately, with some determination and the right tools, you can fix a leaning post without replacing it entirely.

To start, examine the degree and direction of the lean-to figure out why it’s happening. Then, clear away any dirt or debris covering the base of the post. Next, use a level or plumb line to determine the extent of the lean’s influence on adjacent fence panels. Finally, press down on the post to assess its strength and stability. If it gives way easily or feels loose when you touch it, it’s time to take action.

Before starting the repair, it’s a good idea to contact your neighbors if your fence borders their land. You’ll need to get on their side of the fence and work on this project, so it’s important to give them a heads-up about what you’re doing so they can prepare accordingly.

Once you have access to the affected fence post, use a shovel or other digging tool to dig out around the original footing of the post. You may need to dig down as much as a foot to expose the concrete. Once you have removed the old footing, inspect it for damage or rot. If the post is rotten, loose, or bent, it should be replaced immediately with a new one.

After removing the old footing:

  1. Dig a hole the same size as the old one and add a gravel or concrete mix layer to the bottom. This will help ensure the new footing is sturdy and solid, providing a stable foundation for your fence.
  2. Reattach the fence post using screws or nails.
  3. If you’re using a concrete mixture, mix it as per the instructions on the package and allow it to set for at least one day before working on the adjacent posts.

Brown and white fungi can cause wood rot, but it’s best to catch the problem early to prevent its spread. The first step is always to find the source of the damp or moisture causing the rot. Once that’s fixed, the rot must dry out completely before it can be repaired. This could take days, weeks, or months, depending on the season. Blowing air across the surface of the wood or using a heat gun can accelerate the drying process.

Once the wood dries, it will be much more difficult for the fungal spores to grow and cause new problems. However, if the fungus is still present in the wood, using a fungicide to kill it and prevent its spread is a good idea. Once the fungus is dead, removing it with a wood chisel or wire brush will be easier.

The wood must be treated with a preservative wood hardener, such as copper or borate. This will help restore the wood’s structural integrity and protect it from future fungal invasions.

Fungi are essential to the decomposition and nutrient cycles in forest ecosystems, but they can be problematic when they invade houses and buildings. Fungi that invade timbers and masonry are called saprophytic and are often responsible for decayed wood. They are part of a complex community that includes beetles, worms, and protists.

Wood affected by fungus often appears soft, mushy, and dry and crumbles easily. The fungus penetrates the grain and creates a network of hyphae, or thread-like structures, that extend into adjacent wood cells. The hyphae secrete cellulase enzymes into the wood cells, which break down cellulose and hemicellulose.

Fungi also inject lytic acid into the cell wall, which disrupts the cell membrane and releases sugars absorbed by the fungus. In advanced stages, the fungus may start to form rhomboidal cavities in the cell wall, creating the characteristic signature of brown or white rot. The fungus can also spread to unaffected timbers and masonry via water, air, or insects.

Wood can fade from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. This happens primarily due to the sun’s UV rays, which cause the pigments within the wood to lighten or darken. Some wood species fade more than others, depending on their natural color and finish. Choosing lighter-engineered hardwood planks or natural wood species can reduce the fading in a space.

Wood may also fade because of weather conditions, like humidity and temperature. This can lead to cyclical shrinking and expansion that affects the integrity of the wood. The result is that the wood grain can become raised or recessed, causing discoloration.

Restoring dull and faded wood is fairly simple, but you should know a few things before beginning. First, you should clean the wood as best you can using a moist cloth or cleaning agent. Next, you should sand the wood. You can sand by hand or use an orbital or drum sander with coarse grit (20 to 36). After filing:

  1. Vacuum the sanded area to remove the wood particles from the air.
  2. Once you’ve removed most of the previous finish, go over it with medium sandpaper (50 to 60 grit), then fine sandpaper (80 to 100 grit).
  3. Apply a gel stain to match the original wood color and help blend the repaired areas into the surrounding veneer.

Another option is to apply a new coating of polyurethane or varnish to the surface. These products are designed to protect and shine the wood for a long time, but following the manufacturer’s directions is important. The last thing you want is to end up with a chipping, cracking, or scratching product.

Many chemical products on the market claim to restore faded wood, but these chemicals can damage your health and the environment. Try applying coconut oil to the discolored wood for a safer and more eco-friendly solution. This natural remedy will not only bring out the wood’s natural color but will also moisturize it.