Let’s be honest, Dudley and Eunice sound like the sort of lovely couple that you wave to over the fence every now and again. Unfortunately, the reality is that they’re not the names of a lovely cheerful couple, but rather the monikers of two rather menacing storms currently heaving themselves across the UK, and they’re less likely to wave over your fence than they are to try and forcefully dismantle it. The same goes for Franklin, who’s not an equally cheerful neighbour on the other side, but actually a third huge storm. With the UK still being battered by record-breaking winds – which is likely to continue for a fair amount of this week – that means there’s a reasonably decent chance that you’ll find yourself dealing with damage to your garden fence panels before the month is out.
We know it’s never a nice feeling to wake up and see your fence looking rather less…intact than how you’d like it. So if that’s a scenario you can envision happening, here’s what to do first!
Make the area safe
Before you do anything else, making the entire area safe for you and your family should be your absolute top priority. If there are still high winds blowing, it’s best not to go out there at all, and instead leave the job until it’s a little calmer outdoors.
Once it’s all clear, let’s start with any broken fence panels. If the garden fence panel is hanging off your fence, but not blown off entirely, the best thing to do is remove it on your own terms before it takes you by surprise. Remove loose nails and fixtures, and move the panel itself to a safe area, preferably by laying it down flat. Try not to lay it against anything if you can help it – they’re heavier than a lot of people give them credit for, and could end up putting something else under structural strain (whether that’s a garden chair for example, or even another part of your fence).
Next, move any garden furniture and other loose items to a similarly safe area, preferably one that’s sheltered from the wind. Anything that can’t be moved, such as trampolines, should be tied down if possible. If you’ve got any pets, it’s generally a good idea to attach a temporary metal wire fence to any openings that might be left in your fence, just to avoid any unwelcome Great Escape situations.
Assess the full extent of the damage
Now that you’ve sorted out the most immediately pressing stuff, now’s your moment to make a more detailed inspection of your fence, and assess the extent of the damage as far as you can. This will probably end up being the basis for your decision as to whether the repairs will be a DIY job, or you’ll need to call in a professional.
Look out for broken panels, discolouration, rot, splintering or warping, and any sign of insect infestation.
Equally, it’s a good moment to work out the rough amount of time and money that you’ll have to invest in the repair work. Repairs may amount to more than just replacing entire panels – you might have to fill holes or cracks, or treat / paint new boards. You’ll also need to think about whether you’ve got the right tools and PPE on hand to get the job done.
If the damage is extensive, it’s worth considering whether you’ll need to replace the entire fence. As a general rule, if the repair work requires replacing more than 20% of the fencing materials, you’ll probably want a new fence. Otherwise, there’s a good chance it won’t give you the safety, security and privacy that garden fences should typically provide!
How to replace a fence panel
Now, if it’s just one or two individual fence panels you’ll need to replace, you’ll be pleased to hear this is a relatively simple job. Just make sure you’ve got eye protection and decent hardy gloves, so that you can protect yourself against any sharp nails, splinters or similar. It’s also easier if you can enlist a friend or family member, due to the aforementioned heaviness of garden fence panels.
Now, before you start you’ll need to know how the panel is fitted into the frame. It might utilise U shaped fence clips, sometimes known as metclips, or it could have been simply nailed into place.
If the original installation job used clips, it’s mainly a job of unscrewing the remaining ones from the panels. If nails were used on the other hand, it’s easier to just cut through them, generally with a hacksaw. Then you can work out the condition of the entire panel you’ve removed, so you can decide whether to fix it (you’ll need specialised glue), and reinstall it – or simply start over with a fresh panel.
Installing a new panel is easiest if you’ve got metclips on hand. Ideally you’ll to screw in three on either side at the top, bottom and middle of each post. Then get your friend to help you lift either side of the fence panel, so that you can move it up and into position, sliding it down between the metclips. Make sure to do it slowly and steadily – it’ll be much easier and safer that way! Then, screw through the holes on the sides of the clips to secure the panel in place.
Finally, don’t forget to consider your fencing posts, especially if they’re wooden. If you’ve got wooden fencing posts that have fallen down cleanly (without breaking), then it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re fine to use again, as they could be damaged below ground level. So, if your fence posts themselves have fallen down anywhere, it’s a good plan to get them professionally inspected if you can. It’s not the cheapest of options, but it’s definitely the safest one – it’s always worth it for the extra peace of mind!
And if you’re already looking for replacement garden fence panels, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Welch Fencing we’ve got a great range of these and concrete fence posts for you to browse right here on our site. As an experienced UK manufacturer of concrete fence posts and garden fence panels, we have our very own fleet of delivery vehicles at our disposal, allowing us to get your products right to your door.
If you have any questions about any of our products, or you need any more detailed information, feel free to contact us on 01772 336 476, or fire us a quick email on email@example.com.