How to Strengthen a Leaning Fence

A leaning fence is a common sight on Colorado's Front Range. What steps can you take to strengthen the fence, making it stable and reliable for ye...
Monday, 22 February 2021

A leaning fence is a common sight on Colorado's Front Range.  What steps can you take to strengthen the fence, making it stable and reliable for years to come?

Fences add so much value to Colorado Springs and Denver properties, both in practicality and aesthetics. A quality fence, properly installed and maintained, will provide you with many years of service and beauty. But nothing lasts forever, so what do you do when you notice your fence is beginning to lean? And how do you know whether to repair or replace a leaning fence?

Proper fence repair depends on several things, such as the cause, the severity of the lean, fence material, the weather, and the terrain on which your fence sits.

What Causes a Leaning Fence?

The usual culprits of a leaning fence in Colorado Springs and Denver are: 

  • Improper fence installation
  • Posthole depth and method of securing
  • Fence post material
  • Weather conditions: rain, sun, heat, cold, wind, frost/thaw cycle
  • Soil erosion, terrain, invading tree roots
  • Sprinklers “watering” your wooden fence 

Due to any of these factors, a fence will begin to lean when the fence posts become loose from rot or an unstable footing. First, you’ll want to evaluate the exact cause of the lean and then begin the repair.

Evaluate Your Fence Posts

Simple checks will help you identify if any of your fence posts are the cause of the lean:

Start by pushing against each fence post and notice how much, or how little, it gives. You should encounter strong resistance, indicating a sturdy base. If not, investigate further. Look at the base of the fence posts where you see the most sagging for evidence of rot. Check below the surface, too. You might not see invading tree roots, for instance, without going below the ground around the post.

Related: How Long Will a Fence Last in Colorado?

Partially Rotted Or Unstable Fence Posts

If you see evidence of your fence posts rotting at or below the soil level but the above-ground portion of the post is in decent shape, you have a couple of options:

  1. You can dig up and replace the fence post, aligning it with the other posts, and pour a new concrete footing (see next section on Severely damaged fence posts.)
  2. Place another, shorter post up against the rotting post and either tie or bolt the two together. 

Severely Damaged Fence Posts

If your leaning fence is due to a severely damaged post, you will need to replace the offending fence post with one that has been specially treated for use below ground.

  1. Remove all the soil around the fence post. 
  2. Detach the railings.
  3. Dig down to the proper post hole depth. 
  4. Use a level to place the post upright.
  5. Align this post with the others using a level and tying a string to each post.
  6. Pour a new concrete footing, sloping the concrete away from the post for best drainage.
  7. Reattach the wood panels.  

However, if several posts require replacement, especially if they are in a row, you may want to consider replacing the entire fence as a less expensive alternate. It may be old, improperly installed, or the wrong type of fence for your area.

Fence Posts Are Not Buried Deeply Enough

Just as a tree’s roots hold the trunk steady in a storm, the foundation, or footing, of each fence post will either hold the fence steady and straight or start leaning and eventually fall. If just one post somehow managed to work its way up, it’s an easy fix to dig it out, make a deeper hole, use a level to get it in line with the other posts, cement the footing, and reattach the panels. 

However, if one fence post isn’t deep enough, likely none of them are. In this case, it usually makes more sense to replace the entire fence, rather than digging up and replacing every post individually and using the old panels. Local fence contractors like Blick’s Fencing see this issue every week and can advise you on the best option for your fence.

Improperly Spaced Fence Posts

You may need to add additional fence posts to provide proper support to the unsupported fence panels. The size of the panels and the length of the fence will determine the correct spacing of the posts. This is another factor that your local fence repair company sees regularly.  Let them determine the proper spacing for you so the repair is done right the first time.

Fence Posts Have Shifted Shifting is usually due to extreme weather conditions, such as what we routinely experience here in Colorado Springs and Denver. If your earlier evaluation shows that the fence posts are stable, but the fence still leans, you can usually replace the affected fence panels, stand the fence up straight, and re-cement the posts.

Should You Repair A Leaning Fence or Replace It?

It’s important to know what caused your beautiful fence to start leaning so that you can prevent it from happening again. But when does it save you money to replace your leaning fence rather than repair it? This is where consulting a professional fence repair company can be invaluable, as there are many factors to take into consideration. 

At Blick’s Fencing, we understand how Colorado Springs and Denver weather, neighborhood terrain, and other factors affect fence design, installation, and repair.  Our fence experts will give you a free evaluation and estimate so that you can determine the best course of action for your leaning fence.

Contact us now for your free evaluation and estimate.

Read more about Front Range Fence Repair and Installation:

Need a Fence? 9 Reasons You Should Hire a Fence Company

Summer Wood Fence Maintenance Tips for the Colorado Front Range

How To Find the Best Fence For Your Pet in Colorado