Repair vs. Replace: Do I Need a New Fence?

reparing a fence

Repair vs. Replace: Do I Need a New Fence?

When your fence starts to look cracked or discolored, you may have to start thinking about repairing or replacing it. While there are obvious reasons, like extreme weather conditions or other accidental damages, the wear and tear over time can eventually lead you to replace your fence in the future.

Here are a few things you should consider:

How much will it cost to repair the fence?

If your fence has serious damages, you may want to get quotes for both repair and replacement to see which is the better option for you. In some cases, it may be smart to tear the fence down and rebuild it, rather than repair now and replace down the road.

What does the law say?

If a fence was built before a fencing law was passed, then the rules are grandfathered in, and you have nothing to worry about if you choose to repair. Replacing the fence, however, may force you to adhere to the current laws (often four feet maximum height in front yards and six feet in rear yards) or apply for a costly variance, which could also require you to obtain a permit.

Who’s fence is it anyway?

In most jurisdictions, both you and your neighbor must agree whether to repair or replace the fence and share the cost. If you cannot come to a decision, you might have to refer to a mediator or end up in a courtroom.

Does your fence have cracks, holes, discoloration, splintering or leaning?

All of these are signs that individual boards or a section of the fence need to be repaired or replaced (pro tip: seal your fence regularly to make it last longer, especially if the climate is humid). If you have damage to more than a quarter of the boards, it may be time to consider replacing the entire fence.

Was your fence hit by a vehicle, fallen tree or rampaging animal?

If so, the damage is likely to be too great for repair, and replacement should be considered. Extreme weather can also have the same effect.

Knowing when to repair or replace your fence is important. Fences play a major role in the privacy of your property. Keeping them in good condition significantly improves your curb appeal, and may even reduce conflict with your neighbors.