How to Repair and Restore Fencing Before the End of Spring

Old Fence

As summer approaches and the weather gets hotter and wetter, you’ll want to be sure that your fencing not only looks its best, but also fulfills the function for which it was intended.

An Atlanta fence company can help you repair and restore your fencing before the end of spring, or you can do it yourself. The steps you take will depend on the type of fencing you have installed, and the condition it is in. However, whatever sort of fencing you have at home, before you get started do a thorough inspection to see what needs to be repaired or replaced.

Repairing and Restoring Wooden Fencing

Whether you have solid wooden fencing, picket fences, palisades, or split rails, the problem areas to look for include splitting wood, rotten posts, and broken rails.

If wood has split badly or is broken, you might be able to fix the break with scrap wood or offcuts, although if you decide to contract an Atlanta fence contractor to help you, the more professional approach will be to replace the wood. If you decide to replace rails, boards, pickets or any other parts of a wooden fence, you’ll need to remove screws or nails, taking care not to damage adjacent elements. You can do this using a spanner or screwdriver, or if you can’t access these fasteners, with a crow (or pry) bar. When you replace parts of a wooden fence, be sure to use the same sized planks or boards, and to fix them securely with suitable nails, screws or bolts that won’t rust.

atlanta fence contractorIf any part of the fence is rotting, it’s best to remove the rotten wood and replace it. This applies to posts and rails, even though digging posts out of the ground can be time consuming and challenging, especially if they were set in concrete when the fence was installed. If a post is rotting or damaged in some other way, a “sister post” can be used to reinforce it. This would generally be the same width of the damaged post, but half the thickness; and it gets bolted against the damaged post. It won’t look as neat as it would if the post was replaced, but you can camouflage it by planting creeping or climbing plants next to it.

It is possible to replace short sections of rails, by removing the damaged section and splicing a new piece to replace it. An Atlanta fence contractor would probably cut the joining ends at an angle and bolt these together.

If there is no damage, you might only have to clean wooden fencing and possibly re-stain and reseal it. Scrub with a mild detergent and then flush with clean water; allow it to dry thoroughly before staining and/or sealing. If there is mildew on the surface of the wood, a diluted bleach solution will normally do the trick, but be sure to wear rubber gloves because bleach and other chemicals can harm the skin.

If wooden fencing has been painted, clean the same way as for vinyl fencing (see below). If the paint has blistered or is peeling, scrape the loose bits and sand, or strip completely, before repainting. Unless a self-priming product is used, any bare wood should be coated with wood primer before repainting.

Repairing and Restoring Metal Fencing

 

Whether it’s made from wrought iron, mild steel, or aluminum, metal fencing is generally secure and serviceable. But it does sometimes get damaged, and both iron and steel can rust if they haven’t been suitably finished, or are not maintained regularly.

If metal has been painted and the paint is peeling, now is a good time to repaint. Like wood, loose paint should be scraped away before the fence is repainted. Alternatively the whole fence could be stripped using a proprietary paint stripper. Before repainting, a metal primer should be painted onto bare metal. Just remember that the primers used for aluminum are not the same as those used on other metals.

Where metal isn’t painted but has rusted, loose rust should be removed and the fence coated with a rust converter that will stop further corrosion. Of course if the rust has gone right through the metal, sections may need to be replaced. Anyone with welding skills can do repairs and replace parts of metal fencing, but if you don’t have these skills, it’s advisable to use an Atlanta fence company to do the work for you.

While aluminum can also be welded, aluminum fences are often screwed together, which makes them easier for a handyman to fix.

Repairing and Restoring Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing is tough and long lasting and doesn’t rot or rust. However it can collect dust and become grimy over time. Vinyl fencing may also be damaged in storms, and can break if subjected to force (for example if something was to crash into it.)

To clean vinyl fencing, use a few tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (bicarb) in warm water and use a cloth to wipe clean. Alternatively use sugar soap (if available), mixed with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse thoroughly with clean, potable water to remove all residual dirt and cleaner. Usually a hosepipe is adequate for rinsing, though pressure washers can also be useful, and can help loosen stubborn dirt.

Repairing and Restoring Chain Link Fencing

Coated chain link fencing (sometimes called wire or diamond mesh) can be hosed down to clean, but you may need a wire brush to clean it if it isn’t coated – especially if it has begun to rust. If a lot of dirt has accumulated on the fencing, a pressure washer might be the best solution.

A good solution for rust is to use a spray paint that contains a rust converter. The only drawback for DIYers is that it can be a time consuming business that an Atlanta fence company like FenceWorks could do more quickly and more efficiently.

If chain link fence is damaged, it’s best to remove the damaged sections and replace them. You can remove a whole section, between two upright posts, or you can cut the damaged part using wire cutters, and attach the cut end to a new post that you will need to concrete into the ground. Before you add a new section of chain link, you may need to replace the straining wire that supports the chain link. It must be taut and secure. Attach the ends of the chain link fencing to the straining wires using pliers and binding wire.

Cobbling small bits together with bits of wire can work, but it will tend to look like an amateur job.

If chain link fencing is badly damaged, or needs replacing, consider contracting an Atlanta fence company like FenceWorks of Georgia to do the job for you. Contact us before the end of spring to get the most of your fencing this summer.