A leaning fence, whether a single post or an entire section, requires some kind of fence repair, before the integrity of the entire fence line is lost. Leaning indicates the presence of some kind of problem with the fence posts. Since the fence posts are what holds the fence up, correcting this problem is essential. There are various reasons why fences lean, and how they should be repaired. Handy homeowners may be able to do some fence repair on their own if the problem is minor, but in more extensive cases, or if the problem affects more than a post or two, hiring professional fence services may be necessary.
What Causes A Leaning Fence?
Expert fence services assert that most leaning fences do so for one main reason, and that is some kind of problem with the posts that provide the base of support. Occasionally a wood fence will lean because it warps as it ages, but most leaning is caused by a problem with one of the posts, as follows:
- Broken or Rotted Post - One of the more common causes of a section of leaning fence is when a fence post becomes broken or rotted below the ground surface, reducing its ability to stay upright.
- Posts Not Deep Enough - To hold up a fence and keep it straight, it is essential that fence posts be installed deep enough to keep them secure, and prevent movement. Shallow posts frequently start to lean after a while.
- Stretched Post Hole - Wind and weather, soft soil, uneven ground, and other problems can cause the weight of a fence to put directional pressure on the posts, resulting in stretched post holes. When posts are loose in their holes, the fence can eventually begin to lean.
How to Fix A Leaning Fence
The basics behind any post repair - regardless of the problem - is the posts must be made of material that will not rot prematurely from being in the ground. They must be set deep enough, depending on the type and weight of the fencing, and they must be set in either strong enough ground to support the fence, or in cement footings.
The best way to repair a damaged or leaning fence post is to dig it out and replace it, using the proper installation method. Second to that, sometimes it is possible to repair a broken or rotted post by installing another post directly behind it for support. Although in time, the post will likely need to be replaced. When posts are not set deep enough, there are three main options: 1) pounding them in deeper; 2) removing and re-installing them deeper - both of which require raising the fence on the posts, if possible; or, 3) putting in a new fence with posts set deep enough.
When fences lean because post holes are stretched, it is possible to set the post straight again and fill the hole with gravel or cement, as this sometimes helps. Yet the best repair is, once again, to remove the posts, prepare the hole correctly, then set the posts in a fresh cement footer. Naturally, if the lean problem is due to other issues - like warped fence parts - those sections should be replaced, and the entire fence line plumbed as this is done.
What is important for homeowners to note is that without a strong base of support, most fences will eventually suffer from some kind of damage - whether they lean, boards come loose, or they fall apart in other ways. Keeping a tight, strong fence also requires periodic fence maintenance services, and fence repair when problems arise. When repairs require more than just replacing or supporting a post or two, enlisting the help of experienced fencing companies might be the best option to get the best repair, and save as much of the fence as possible!