Your fence has been holding up against the weather and has been through several seasons. However, this winter it might be a bit different. If you need to get your fence repaired, you can search for a “fencing company near me” and hire professionals to do the job for you. Let’s check out why your fence may not hold up this winter.
- Rusting – Homeowners think that once they erect a metal fence, they are free from all sorts of worries. While a metal fence will last you for the longest time, it isn’t immune to damage. Rusting is one of the most common forms of damage that can be inflicted on a metal fence. Wrought iron fences don’t get rusted as long as there’s a layer of paint protecting them. However, as soon as the layer of paint gets chipped away, the exposed iron gets easily rusted. Moreover, the rust further spreads deeper and across the metal stakes or bars.
Even if you don’t have a metal fence, your fence isn’t immune to rust damage. For instance, if you have a wooden fence, you probably have steel-reinforced concrete at the base. When the concrete layer gets cracked due to constant freezing and thawing cycles during the winter and the steel gets exposed, it starts developing rust. If the rust spreads deep enough then it can cause the entire fence to collapse.
That’s not the end of rust damage. Even if you erect a vinyl fence, it will often require steel hardware. Over the years, as the galvanized layer of zinc gets eroded away and the steel is exposed to the elements it starts to rust. When that happens, your fence weakens at the joints and hinges and may fall down during an extreme winter weather event.
- Moisture damage – While rust is a byproduct of moisture damage, it isn’t the only kind of moisture damage. Winter brings a lot of precipitation in the form of rain, hail, and snow. This can be devastating to wood fences. When your wood fence is constantly exposed to moisture, it can cause the wood to crack and warp. When the water damage is extremely bad, it can also cause the wood to slowly rot and give way. Paint chipping is the least of your worries when there’s moisture damage.
Moreover, exposed concrete bases of the fence can be compromised due to moisture damage. When the base starts developing cracks, it can allow moisture to seep in and rust the steel. However, it can also accumulate inside the concrete and constantly contract and expand inside the concrete. This can make the concrete develop more cracks. In severe cases, the concrete can also spall and fall away. It’s a very dangerous situation since the damage is mostly hidden. One day the fence is fine and the next day you wake up to a backyard without any wooden wall blocking the view.
- Soil shift – As mentioned above, when water freezes it expands to a certain temperature. Similarly, when wet soil freezes, it also expands. While the actual soil isn’t expanding, the water particles trapped inside turn into ice and push the soil in all directions. If you haven’t noticed, your fence stands on the soil. It relies on the firmness of the soil to remain upright.
That becomes exceedingly difficult when the ground becomes crooked and unstable. This means strong wind during a winter storm or just snow accumulating at the base of the fence are forces capable of bringing your fence down. Stone and brick fences are even easier to topple since they usually don’t have a deep foundation.
- Temperature swings – Winter weather is evidently fickle. The temperature isn’t constant throughout the day or with progressing days. The temperature changes are quite drastic and can swing by 20 or even 30 degrees. Drastic temperature swings are very harmful to the fence. Wood and vinyl are especially vulnerable to temperature swings. They can get warped or cracked. The damage is even greater when moisture adds its wrath.
- Pressure – In the winter season snow accumulates at the base of the fence. If you’ve been ignoring that snow buildup over the years or even been lazy enough to shovel more snow from the tard towards the fence, then it may come crashing down this winter season. Snow can be dense and in large quantities can add a lot of weight near the base of the fence. When the fence is under so much pressure it starts leaning towards one side. Repeat this over a few years and you have a fence that may come down easily during a strong weather event.
- Measures to prevent fence damage during winter – All the above-mentioned situations can be avoided with a bit more effort on your part. Before the winter season hits, get your fence inspected by professionals. They should be able to assess the damage above the ground and have tools to figure out if the concrete base has been damaged. This allows you to get your fence repaired so that it can make it through the winter. If the damage is extremely severe, you may need to get the fence replaced.
You can also take precautionary measures before every winter season to minimize the damage to your fence. For instance, you can check if your fence is chipped, cracked, broken, or damaged at certain places and get them repaired. You can also check the hardware and get them oiled regularly. Also, make sure to seal the fence or coat it with paint after a certain period for weather protection.
As you can see, there are many factors that influence your fence. Weather elements can have direct and indirect effects on your fence and may chip away at its strength till it gets damaged or falls down. That’s why you need to maintain your fence in pristine condition and repair it when necessary. In order to do that you can hire professionals by searching for “fencing company near me”.