It is thunderstorm season in the Nebraska and Kansas which typically leaves us with a great deal of damaged fence. Just recently, a storm moved through the area and left my neighbor with his wood fence blown over. A handful of the wood fence panels flattened where shear winds made their path. My neighbor knocked on my door after a couple days of clean-up and asked if we would be interested in building him a new wood fence. Surveying his yard, I noticed he had removed all the old fence and cut the existing posts off flush to the top of the grade. My neighbor was so proud of all his effort in removing all the storm damage. I didn’t have the courage to tell him after all his hard work that cutting those posts off greatly increased the cost of replacing his damaged fence. It also promoted me to write this blog and share some damaged fence advice.
• Don’t cut off existing remainder of posts. Let your fence professional assess your existing storm Damage. Treated pine posts are extremely resilient and often can be reused. Long vertical cracks in these posts are not the result of storm damage but of the natural maturation process of the wood posts. These vertical cracks have no impact on its structural performance.
• Don’t cut off existing remaining posts, even if it has been determined that the posts must be replaced, do not cut these posts off. The contractor will need the post as a point to grab-on to and pull it and the concrete footing. When there is no post and only a remaining footing, it is very difficult and time consuming to remove the remaining concrete footing. It results in a great deal of hand digging around the concrete footing until it can be broken-up and pulled-out piece by piece.
• If your recently installed fence was damaged during the storm, your fence may be covered under warranty. A large majority of fencing does not fall under any local or national building codes because it does not relate to a habitable structure. However, it can be reasonable understood to hold up to typical storms with lower wind speeds. Your fence may be the only fence damaged on your block. Not because it was poorly or improperly constructed but because shear winds were able to wind through your neighborhood.
• How patient are you? After damaging storms sweeps through your town, fence contractors are inundated with phone calls to repair or replace fencing. Often times, these contractors will estimate these damage repairs with overtime wages and higher margins as they know they will have to ramp-up to meet customer demands. If you can wait to repair or replace your fence, consider giving contractors a few weeks to get caught-up. The best time to estimate your fence repair or replacement is late fall or first thing in the spring as contractors are aggressively looking for work to keep everyone working.
• Vinyl fence damage? After storms sweeps through a newer community or neighborhood, you will see an abundance of vinyl fencing damaged versus chain link or wood. Bottom line, even well-constructed vinyl fencing is going to get storm damage in severe storms with high wind speeds. It is very typical to see all the rails and pickets blown down with just the posts remaining. Often times, these posts should not be reused. These posts may appear fine but look closer for small cracks at the base of the posts. Once these posts are evenly slightly crimped or cracked; these posts are assured to fail during the next storm.
• Consideration or Coincidence? After storms blow through a neighborhood, you will typically see a handful of fences that are blown over. This is usually the result of shear winds finding a path between homes and other neighborhood structures. If your fence is one of those fences that was blown over; you should give consideration to your next fence. Instead of going with another privacy fence, you might want to consider a more open design that allows for more wind flow. It is no coincidence that your fence was blown over. High winds will once again find your privacy fence in their line of sight.
American Fence Company has been replacing and repairing storm damaged fence for over fifty years. We recognize we are building not only fences but relationships in the community. We want to make this a positive experience for you.