Thunderstorm season has hit the Midwest. With the recent large storm that moved through our area and left my neighbors wood fence blown down. Several of the panels and post were blown over and flattened where shear winds made their path. The rest of the fence panels were down but several post remained. My neighbor asked me several days later after cleaning up his yard and cutting the post off if we would be interested in installing a new fence. After I looked at his yard, I realized he cut the post flush to the ground. I could not tell him that by cutting the post off flush to the ground has significantly increased the installation cost of replacing his damaged fence. This is why I decided to write the to help you out and share some storm damage fence advise.
- Don’t cut off existing remaining posts. Let our fence professionals assess your existing posts and damage. Pine posts that are treated are extremely resilient and often can be reused in your new fence. The long vertical cracks in these posts are not the result of storm damage, but of the natural maturation process of the posts. Cracks have no impact on your post structural performance.
- Don’t cut off existing remaining posts regardless what you think needs done. Even if it has been determined that the posts must be replaced do to damage, do not cut these posts off. The post is a point to grab-on to and pull it and the footing out in one piece. When there is no post and just the remaining footing, it is very difficult and very time consuming to remove the remaining footing without the post. It results in a great deal of labor by hand digging around the footing until it can be broken-up and pulled-out piece by piece.
- Check your fence warranty, and not your neighbor’s fence. If your recently installed fence was damaged during the storm, your fence might be covered under warranty. Most fencing does not fall under any local or national building codes since it does not relate to a habitable structure. However, it can be reasonable understood to withstand typical storms with much lower windspeeds. On the other hand, shear winds and severe gust can be very misleading. Your fence may be the only fence damaged on your block or neighborhood. Not because it was improperly constructed when installed, but because shear winds were able to wind through your neighborhood.
- Please be patient? After damaging storms sweeps through your community or acreage, fence contractors are inundated with phone calls to repair and replace fencing. Most times, these contractors will estimate repairs with overtime wages and higher margins as they know they will have to ramp-up to meet customer demands by bringing on more staff. If you can wait to repair or replace your fence, consider giving contractors several weeks to get caught-up. The best time for an estimate on your fence is late fall or first thing in the spring as contractors are aggressively needing and looking for work to keep everyone working and employed.
- Is your vinyl fence damaged? After strong storms sweeps through your community or neighborhood, you will see an over abundance of vinyl fencing damaged versus wood or chain link. Bottom line, even well-constructed vinyl fencing is going to see damage in severe storms with high wind speeds like our recent storm. It is very typical to see all the pickets and rails blown down with the posts remaining. Don’t be misled? Often times, these posts cannot be reused. These posts may appear fine but look closer for small cracks or crimps at the base of each posts. Once these posts are slightly crimped; these posts you can be assured to fail during the next storm.
- Coincidence or consideration? After storms blow through a neighborhood, you will typically see a handful of fences that are blown over or damaged some way. Rarely do you see all the neighbors’ fencing blown over. This is usually the result of shear winds finding that path between homes and other structures. If your fence is one of those fences that was blown over in our current storm; you should give consideration to your next type of replacement fence. Instead of going with another privacy wood or vinyl fence, you might want to consider a more open design that allows for wind flow through the pickets. It is no coincidence your fence was blown over last week. High winds will once again find your fence in their line of sight, unfortunately only mother nature knows when that will be.
American Fence Company has been replacing and repairing storm damaged fence for over fifty years. We recognize we not only build fences but relationships. We want to work with you to make this a positive experience for you.