A quality fence is a wonderful addition to any house. The fences can keep your house safe, improve your privacy, and block unwanted noise and views from your backyard. The fences are also ornamental, and a useful fence may also be a beautiful fence. A high-quality fence that complements your house can increase its curb appeal and value. But the fences, like the rest of your house, are not resistant to the ravages of time. For months and years, weather and wear can also break the best fences. Regular maintenance can do much to keep the fence as new for as long as possible. But as your fence begins to show its age, many homeowners wonder if they should repair or replace a fence. Here are some suggestions from our Tomball Fence Repair King certified fencing companies.

The 20% Rule

Maybe we start with the simplest metric to decide whether to repair or replace your fence. The fence builders call it the 20 percent rule. The rule states that if more than 20 percent of the fence needs repairs, it should probably cut out repairs and jump right to replacement. This is an easy rule to follow because it is based on an easily measurable metric. But as direct as it may be, there are also more nuances to the rule than it would seem.

The first thing you need to know about this rule is why it makes sense in the first place. After all, it seems that if a fence needs only 20 percent repaired, it should be cheaper than replacing 100 percent of the fence. Although that might be true, it does not consider what a 20 percent damaged fence really means. The fence will never be 10 percent damaged—that is unless it has collapsed completely. A fence that needs repairs more than 20 percent of its length is completely shot. With 20 percent of the fence broken, the fence is no longer useful.

Another factor in the 20 percent rule is what can happen after making repairs. The damage does not occur in a vacuum. Instead, as part of the fence shows signs of wear, the rest of the fence is also aging. If 20 percent of the fence shows obvious signs of damage, the rest of the fence is probably not far behind. So fixing 20 percent of the fence doesn’t mean the other 80 percent is fine. It only means that you may have to repair more of the fence in a few months or a year. At that point, you can end up spending as much money to restore an old fence as you would install a new one. And after you’ve spent all that money on repairs, you still have an old patchwork fence. If you have spent that money on a new fence, you might have a brand new product that looks attractive and can last for years with minimal maintenance.

Finally, repairs are actually more costly than new fences. To explain this, repairing 20 percent of your fence will probably cost more than 20 percent of what a new fence would cost. And when repairs are done, you still have an old fence.

Repairing a Wood Fence

Wood is a forgiving material which is easy to work with without specialized tools. This can make self-repairs relatively simple for most homeowners. But wood is also a natural material subjected to rot, insect infestations, and damage caused by the elements. These two facts taken together mean that you must work fence repairs into your standard maintenance plan for a wood fence. Doing minor repairs as needed will keep your fence in the best form possible for as long as possible.


One kind of damage to look for is insect infestation. Wood is a natural material, and all kinds of insects are happy to make their houses in your wooden fence or even eat it. Without having it check, insects could destroy the fence, damaging it beyond repairs. However, if you keep an eye on the fence and squash infestations early on, the necessary repairs are easy to do.

A sign of insect damage is the sawdust on the fence or beneath it. Carpenter bees and other insects that burrow into your wood can leave debris in the form of sawdust. If you find the sawdust, look up to find the source, usually a small hole in a post or picket. Depending on the type of insect, the repair process may vary. But in any case, once the insects are gone, you have to fill the hole. Many products are available in your local hardware or home improvement store only for this purpose. If you are not sure what to use, you can ask an employee for help.

Mold, Moss, and Algae

In addition to mold, moss, insects, and algae are more than happy to consume your wooden fence. Fortunately, it is not difficult to minimize the damage. If you notice mold, moss, or algae, you must kill it and then remove it. It is usually possible to kill it with a bleaching solution and remove it with a power washer. In some cases, cleaning fluids can be added directly to the power washer to clean the fence in one step.

Loose Boards

Most wooden fences are held with nails and occasionally with screws. Over time, the heat, the cold, and the moisture cause the expansion and contraction of the wood. This movement can loosen your nails, and the boards can begin to become loose. In many cases, just hammering a nail back into place can fix the problem. In other situations, you might need a new nail or screws. In any case, this is an easy solution that can head off much more expensive repairs down the road.

Holes and Cracks

Wood fences can develop holes and cracks in wood due to slow weathering or impact damage. In any case, if you can capture the damage before it spreads, it is not difficult to solve. For small holes, a little wood putty and a fresh paint coat can make your fence look new. If a board is cracked, it must be easy to replace only the broken board. A new coat of paint will help it blend.

Repairing a Metal Fence

The metal fences are a little harder to repair. Unlike wood, working with metal need specialized tools that most homeowners, even the practical ones, don’t have just lying around. However, you can do some minor repairs on your own.

The most common damage you will find on a metal fence is corrosion or rust. The metal fences are coated with a powder coating, paint, or both to seal from moisture and other weather. This can help to reduce corrosion. But if the paint or coating breaks, your fence can start to corrode or rust. About twice a year, you should do a complete inspection of your fence. Walk its length and carefully look for any flaked, cracked, or bubbling paint. In addition, look for powder from corrosion or rust streaks. If you find an area with corrosion or rust, the repair is simple if you have the appropriate tools.

First, it is necessary to remove the damaged paint. A sander is needed to remove the paint, usually a rotary sander with a particular head for metal. If you don’t have one, you might be able to rent one from a home improvement shop. Use a sander to remove any damaged paint and smooth the transition from the painted area to bare metal. If structural damage is caused by rust or corrosion, fill it with anti-rust filler putty. It is often possible to find metal filler material in auto body shops. Apply the putty based on the instructions in the packaging. When the putty is dry, it is possible to repaint the area to blend it with the rest of the fence.

Replacing a Damaged Fence

If the fence is damaged by more than 20 percent or too large to be repaired, you may need to replace your fence. Fortunately, finding a reliable fence company is not difficult when you have Tomball Fence Repair King. Choose Tomball Fence Repair King, and you’ll get the best customer service, competitive prices, and a quality product.

Contact us via our online contact form for more information about our repair and installation services.