Is it worth it to restore your fence or should you just remove it?
Have you got a timber fence that you want to restore? Being a handy person myself, I appreciate anyone who wants to ‘give it a go’ and try to do it themselves.
With the right tools and adequate planning, your timber fence will look as good as new in no time and just as good as if a fencing contractor did it!
Having a fence around your property is an asset. Depending where you live, your fence may serve the purpose of giving your property protection from intruders, or it perhaps it may just be a decorative feature.
Many people decide to invest in installing a fence around their property for 3 main reasons:
- Protection from intruders
- Privacy from neighbours
- Safety for kids and pets
You will also find that it will cost significant money to remove and dispose of your timber panels, more than what you might anticipate due to timber fences traditionally being installed with cement underground to prevent the fence from leaning.
Considering the amount of time and effort it would take to remove the fence and dispose of the materials properly, you are much better off restoring your fence and if it’s in bad shape, just replacing the panels that are affected.
When you think about the benefits of having a fence such as protection, privacy and safety, it is a better investment of your resources to restore your fence than to replace it or remove it completely.
The 3 steps to a successful fence restoration:
1. Know what you’re working with!
Before you get too carried away with your restoration project, make sure you know the extent of the damage you will be restoring. A timber fence may appear fine from afar, perhaps it has a slight lean and it is looking a bit dull, always take the time to zoom in on your project, inspect the panels one by one to count how many will need replacing, how many need significant restoration to get them looking uniform again and what panels just need a new varnish.
By taking the time to properly inspect the panels you will get insight into the cost of the project, how much time you need and also how many helpers you need.
An idea could be to get an onsite free quote from a fencing contractor, these quotes are usually obligation free and you can ask them contractor all about how many panels they would replace, what they think is salvageable and what they would charge to do the work. Because you may think that you want to do it yourself, but if after inspecting the fence closely and you realise it’s a much bigger project than anticipated, you may be better off hiring someone to do the work for you.
When inspection your existing fence, check for:
- Damaged timber panels (rotten, broken, splitting)
- Nails that stick out or are nowhere to be found
- areas or rotting timber at the bottom of the fence and on the posts
As a guide, these are the things you are looking for when inspecting your fence, especially taking notice of the rotting timber because you can paint those panels all you want but eventually the wood will rot out and you will need to replace them, it is up to you as to your budget and how much restoration you are willing to do.
In a mild climate, fencing contractors will recommend that you inspect your fence annually, this will ensure that you get onto fixing any damaged bits before it becomes a huge job. If you live somewhere with a lot of rain and harsh UV rays, you may want to inspect your fence twice a year to be safe. It doesn’t have to take more than 30mins but you will save yourself the hassle of restoring your fence more often than you need to.
When you know what you’re working with, look at the weather forecast and book in your calendar when you have consecutive clear, dry days, this is important so that your project doesn’t get drawn out and you protect throughout the restoration process.
Gather your equipment, know how many panels you need to replace and buy enough plus few extra, just in case.
2. Clean and replace
Give your panels a good clean with water and a brush, or if you have one, use a high pressure hose to clean off any mould or discolouration. Keep in mind that you have to be careful with a high pressure hose as you don’t want to make irreparable damage in your cleaning efforts!
If your fence needs some minor repairs, remove the damaged panels, and replace them with new timber that matches the rest of your panels. If after cleaning you notice that rot is more widespread than you thought, you may want to speak to a fencer about what products to use on the timber to prevent rot from spreading to undamaged timber.
Replacing panels can be expensive but nothing compared to replacing your hole fence, therefore in restoration of a fence, be ready to invest in multiple panels to save the rest of the fence.
3. Improve the aesthetics
Once you have good, healthy timber to work with and you are happy that your fence is clean and dry, you are ready to stain and seal your timber.
We recommend applying the stain and sealant to the entire fence rather than patches to give you a smooth, even finish at the end.
Invest in a spray gun, you will thank yourself when you are able to stain and seal the entire fence in a few hours compared to doing it with a paintbrush or roller. Consider hiring the equipment if you don’t already own a spray gun.
With the right equipment and enough people working on the project, anyone with a good work ethic and a well-planned project will be successful in restoring their fence. Invest in inspecting your fence first, so that you can be well prepared when the project begins. A day or two of hard work and your fence will look as good as new!
Joshua Bruce is a contractor for fencing and lanscaping in Bundaberg. He loves the transformation that takes place when you invest time and effort into a yard. Particularly focused on building things that last, he loves giving advice on how to best protect and ensure your investment into your yard will be there for decades to come.