timber fencing, panels, picket, closeboard etc, is always subject to the elements. Any
timber fence post installed into the ground is always likely to rot and break at some point in time.
Regular fencing maintenance can help prolong the life of your garden fence and is worth the modest
investment of time and material. Not only will the fence look better, maintaining an aesthetic appeal but the timber will
Broken timber fence posts:
Often the best repair for a broken fence post is fitting a concrete spur post. If the attached fence panels are still connected and themselves in salvageable condition then fitting spur posts
is usually the best and most economic solution. The process
is achieved by excavating down the side of the post, breaking away the concrete foundation and fitting the new spur post. This post is either coach screwed or bolted to the solid timber above ground
level and is then itself re-concreted.
It essential that the spur post is installed correctly to the depth of at least
the existing timber post, an absolute minimum is 45cm (18” in old money!) but usually 60cm (2’) is the correct
depth. The repair spur must also sit hard against the post you are repairing so that
the fixings install correctly. Once the repair spur has been fitted you can then pour new concrete into the void. In most
cases the amount of concrete required is approximately two thirds or three quarters of the depth of the hole. And it needs to be at the bottom of the hole not as a collar around the top.
The major structural
integrity of any fence is the depth in the ground of the supporting fence posts, if these are not in far enough to support
the height of the fence it will fall over!
Extensive fence damage:
Often the result of high winds and occasionally accidents
when several sections of closeboard or fence panels have come down, fitting repair spurs may not offer the best option. Replacing
‘like for like’ fencing will often be the easiest and most economic option in this situation. At this point it is worth considering the state of the remaining upright fencing.
As unpleasant as it may be, if part of the fence has failed due to rotten fence posts and the rest of the fencing
was installed at the same time, the remaining posts may be in poor condition. There
is a very simple method to check this, go and give them a reasonable shove, if the posts crack or fall over then they are
no good! Solid and un-moving they should be OK.
Old Fencing –
Repair or Replacement:
Like many other components of your property (windows, fascias, etc) fencing will get old and ultimately will need
to be replaced. The problems are obvious in some cases; it is simply falling over or falling apart in other cases the problems
are not always apparent on first viewing and sometimes maintenance work to the fence can prolong it’s life.
This can involve replacing all the post caps and panel caps if they are present. This often helps
prevent water ingress into the grain of the timber and protects the post and panel from rot and decay.
It is also worth
not underestimating the effects of the damage caused by UV – sunlight to the fence. Certainly for timber fencing this
can be offset by a routine of applying wood preservative treatment if not on an annual basis certainly every couple of years.
This can be time consuming but is a relatively easy job and well within the realms of most ‘DIY
capable’ folk. My personal experience suggests that oil
or spirit based products offer the best protection though these are less common now than they used to be for ecological reasons. I have used brands such as Cuprinol and Sadolin and been happy with both. There are others to consider as well and don’t forget you can obtain Creocote
a solution similar to the old fashioned Creosote that was inexpensive and very effective for treating outdoor timber and fencing.
Fencing - Is it worth
need to weigh up the value to yourselves as to whether or not some repair and maintenance to an old fence or replacement with
new fencing will offer the best option. Consider what the fencing does for you, privacy or security? Maybe both, other factors
maybe how long you plan to stay in the house, are you selling up for example within the next 12 months or are you planning
to get a large dog that will roam the grounds? It is also worth considering the needs
of your neighbours and of course you may have to comply with local planning regulations regarding the replacement and alignment
of new fences.