Some of the most common casualties in windy weather are fences. Strong gusts can tear panels and posts down, leaving you with a great view of your neighbour’s garden, and wondering whether to replace or repair.
The cheaper option, of course, is to repair it yourself if possible – if you’re up to the job.
First though, discuss the options with your neighbour if it’s a shared boundary. You never know; if you’re lucky, they’ll be DIY enthusiasts and will happily repair it themselves as you watch gratefully from inside.
But if you’re not that lucky, you might have to roll your sleeves up and get the job done. Here’s how:
If the fencing that’s come down is panels fixed by concrete posts, check any fallen or dislodged panels to make sure they’re not bent or broken – if so, you’ll need to buy new ones.
Always repair fencing with treated timber - pressure-treated wood is saturated with preservatives and lasts much longer than untreated wood, so saving money by going for untreated fencing is a false economy in the long-run.
If fencing is down but undamaged, remove any broken or loose nails, lift the panel (you’ll probably need help to get it in the correct position) and fit one edge into the groove of the concrete post, and bend the bottom edge just enough to fit it between the posts. Then slowly work the rest of the panel in between the two posts.
The fence may have blown down because of posts that have weakened over the years. The base of wooden posts can become weaker at ground level because of the effects of moisture and soil, and if a fence post sits in clay or has been encased in concrete, deterioration may be even worse.
Posts and other fencing materials that aren’t broken or rotten can be reused, but don’t reuse old concrete that’s shifted, as it can’t usually be reset firmly. Detaching fence panels from the post makes resetting the posts simpler.
Firstly, lay the fallen fence down, picket side up.
Remove any old concrete or broken-off posts from the fence post holes as well as you can, and then dig the holes out to the original size and depth (usually about 10ins wide and 24ins deep).
If a post was broken or rotten, buy a new one from a timber merchants or DIY store, put it in the hole and add about half a bag of concrete to the hole.
Add water to the concrete and mix with an old piece of wood, before using a spirit level to check the post’s straight. Then pack the rest of the hole with soil to hold the post upright until the concrete sets.
Attach the panel to the post by lining up its edge with the outside of the post. Drive two 3ins treated deck screws through the face of the panel and each horizontal rail into the post face – use a cordless drill if you’ve got one.
Stand the second post upright in the next hole and line the unattached edge of the panel with the centre of the second post. Again, attach the panel with screws as for the first edge. Add concrete and then water to the hole and mix, before packing the hole with soil.