When faced with the choice of either repairing a fence or replacing it, many people think fixing it will be less costly. This is often true but not always the case. To determine which is the better choice, homeowners should consider the following factors.
Much of the expense associated with a new or repaired fence is the cost of materials.
- A new fence, whether it is aluminum, wood or vinyl, requires posts, caps and fasteners. It may also require gates with latches and landscaping. Wood fences need stain or paint after installation.
- Fence repair generally requires fewer materials if the posts, caps and hardware are in good condition. In this case, the homeowner will only need to purchase some pickets or panels. When the fence is old or the brand is not known, it may be more difficult and expensive to obtain parts.
Another assumption with fences is that installing a new one will incur more labor charges than a repair job.
- For a new installation, the fence company will measure the yard and take account of any unique challenges. These factors plus the linear footage of the fence itself are considered in the estimate. Everything is accounted for once work begins.
- A repair estimate may turn up unexpected problems, such as extensive damage or missing parts. It is also possible that the fence will need to be taken apart, which will result in a higher labor charge. The fence company may need to spend time trying to match the materials already present in order to avoid an obvious patched look. This also adds to the cost.
Some homeowners decide to skip labor expenses by installing or repairing a fence themselves. This is a viable option only if there are no time constraints. Those who are inexperienced will likely spend more on materials because they cannot get the wholesale prices offered to contractors. In addition, all the nights and weekends spent in the yard will put a limit on socializing and relaxing. Some other factors to consider are:
- Trees, rocks or other yard obstacles. If the homeowner wants to save a tree, or there are boulders, sheds or other landscaping features that must be worked around, it can become very costly in terms of materials.
- Grades. If a yard is sloped or the ground is not even, this will present challenges with installation. Building fences that fit the contour of a yard require considerably more materials and labor.
- Permits. A new fence will require a permit, but an old fence that is being replaced may not. It depends on the laws of the particular city or area. Homeowners doing their own fence work are responsible for any needed permits.
A fence is an attractive addition that also adds value and security to a property. Whether it is a new installation or replacement, getting a professional assessment will help a homeowner make the right choice.