Fence Maintenance: What to Do After a Storm

Kimberly A. Parker

Winter is right around the corner, and with it comes the year’s nastiest weather. Wind, rain, hail, snow – all are possible, if not likely. Most people are concerned about the ways bad winter weather can affect their homes, but what about the ways it can affect your fence?

An ugly winter storm can wreak havoc on a wood fence, and many homeowners don’t know what to do when that happens. Luckily, there are a few easy-to-remember tips you can follow to salvage a wood fence that has been damaged by a winter storm. But remember — if any of these steps seem too complicated or difficult, call a professional.

Assess the damage

The first step in repairing storm-ravaged wood fencing is to assess the damage. This doesn’t mean only damage to the fence, but also damage to the landscape around it. Once you’ve made sure the area surrounding the fence is safe, approach the wall and determine what parts need to be repaired or replaced. If the storm was especially bad, make sure you check for downed power lines or tree limbs.

Remove large tree limbs or debris.

One of the biggest threats to a wood fence during a storm is fallen tree limbs and debris. If necessary, remove stalks and branches with an ax or saw, making sure not to cause further damage to the fence. Also, clean off any yard debris that may be stuck to the fence, including leaves, mud, grass, and weeds. These can contribute to wood rot over time.

Get supplies

Once you’ve assessed the damage and removed significant obstacles, it’s time to get the supplies necessary to repair the fence. Wood fences are made of relatively common materials, so you should be able to purchase everything you need at a home improvement or hardware store. Talk to a store representative if you have any questions about the materials or tools you might need.

Reinforce fence posts

Much of the damage a storm can do to a wood fence is not immediately apparent. Wind, rain, and heavy snow can loosen the fence posts, weakening the fence’s structural integrity and causing leaning or collapse in the future. Check to make sure all fence posts are still sturdy, and if not, reinforce or replace them. Strengthening wood fence posts can be done in various ways, including installing wood braces on the bars and resetting them in fresh concrete.

Call a professional

It’s a fact — not everyone can pour concrete or set a new fence post. If you aren’t 100 percent certain you can repair or replace the storm-damaged fence yourself, you should call the premier fence company in New Orleans professionals if you live in this area. It may seem like a more costly solution. Still, if you take the DIY route and mess up, you will probably need to call a professional to replace the fence anyway. Many wood fencing professionals will do a free evaluation, so there’s no risk for contacting them. Better safe than sorry.

Play it safe

If you choose to repair the damaged fence yourself, remember to keep a few safety tips in mind. First, always check for downed power lines. Most municipalities are good at taking care of downed lines in a timely fashion, but there may be one near your fence that hasn’t been reported yet. Second, always wear appropriate safety gear. This includes heavy gloves, boots, pants, knee pads, and safety glasses. Third, don’t take on too much. Trying to move a branch or a fence post by yourself can cause damage to the fence as well as to your body. If you don’t want to call a professional, at least ask a friend to help.

Winter storms can damage a wood fence. Still, by following the above tips, you can repair or replace the damaged parts and prevent worse headaches down the road.

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