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How to Avoid Post and Rail Fences from Leaning: Causes and Solutions 

Stop me if you’ve felt this frustration before: you’ve just invested in a beautiful post and rail fence for your property, only to watch it gradually lean and sag over time.  

 

Unfortunately, it’s a common sight on many properties that use cheaper fencing not designed to stand their ground for decades.  Whether you’re dealing with reactive soil, strong winds, or animals pushing against the fence, a leaning fence can be a real eyesore and a potential safety hazard. Understanding why your fence is leaning and knowing how to fix it is essential for maintaining a beautiful and secure property. 

 

So, if you’re annoyed with your current leaning fences or prefer a stunning laser straight fence in the future, then keep reading.  

 

At Stock and Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand. Over the years, we’ve helped numerous clients build their signature properties which have one thing in common –sturdy and upright fencing that continues to stay that way for decades. 

 

In this article, we’re going to tackle the problem of leaning fences head-on. We’ll discuss the causes of leaning post and rail fences and practical solutions to ensure your fence stands tall for years to come. By the end of this read, you’ll walk away armed with the knowledge and confidence to address this issue effectively.  

 

Causes of Leaning Fences 

 

Problem#1: Reactive Soil 

In Australia, one of the primary reasons behind leaning post and rail fences is reactive soil. Simply put, reactive soil behaves differently based on moisture levels. During wet winters, the soil tends to be expanded and posts seem to be stable. However, in dry summer months, the soil contracts and cracks, particularly around fence posts that are driven into the ground. This cracking and shifting of the soil can cause the fence posts to move as well. Slowly they become wobbly and start to lean over, ruining the look of your entire fence line and property. 

 

Seek expert’s advice: 

If you’ve recently purchased a property and are unsure whether it has reactive soil, it’s best to seek some guidance. Consulting with a local fencing contractor or the previous property owner can provide valuable insights. Typically, local fencing contractors have a thorough knowledge of the area. They can check the soil composition and provide recommendations for your specific situation. 

However, one simple way to deal with reactive soil is to install longer fence posts. Unlike shorter posts, which may be impacted by surface-level soil movement, longer posts go deeper into the ground, offering greater stability beyond the layer affected by soil expansion and contraction. 

 

Problem#2: Animal Pressure 

If you’ve got animals on your property, they will interact with fences in different ways. Sometimes horses, cattle, or llamas would lean or push against the fence and often lay all their weight onto it. This can cause the fences to tilt over time. Also, if you have a windsucker, then the fences would constantly bear the brunt of the horse, with pushing or pulling. 

The leaning of animals is especially problematic when the soil is damp and loose in winter or hard and dry in summer. 

 

Consider adding electrics to the fence: 

Electric fencing is typically effective in keeping animals off the fence. It’ll be worth learning more about the different types of electric fences available in Australia and finding the right solution for your property. 

 

Problem#3: Installation of Short Fence Posts 

Leaning fences that happen due to reactive soil or the pushing of animals are still acceptable as they are natural factors. However, the most common cause of a wobbly fence happens to be the use of shorter fence posts which is completely avoidable. Some post and rail options come in shorter and narrower dimensions. While they might seem cost-effective initially, they compromise the look and safety of your entire property.  

Short posts that do not go deep into the ground are often fragile, unstable and become wobbly soon after installation.  

 

Check with your supplier:

Choose posts that have longer dimensions and can be installed deep enough. Check with your fencing supplier about the length of the posts. We recommend buying at least 2.5 metre-long posts. This will allow you to have a good chunk of the post above ground to maintain nice visibility and the posts can also be installed deeper to achieve the required stability. A win-win! 

 

Practical Solutions to Prevent Post and Rail Fences from Leaning 

 

1.Use Longer Posts  

For a straight, sturdy stunning-looking fence, make sure to use longer fence posts. For example, our Premium Steel Fencing has 2.5-meter-long posts. This means that while 1.5 meters are above ground, 1 meter is buried in the soil. This depth helps keep the fence stable even in challenging soil conditions.  

Longer posts provide better support because they reach deeper into the ground, which is especially important in areas with reactive soil that shifts with weather changes.  

 

2. Choose Sturdy Materials  

Pick fencing materials that are naturally strong, like steel or hardwood, instead of PVC. PVC can be easily pushed over and is more fragile. It tends to flex too much, which isn’t ideal for long-lasting fences.  

Steel and hardwood, on the other hand, offer more resistance to pressure from animals and environmental factors. These materials are less likely to bend or break, ensuring that your fence remains upright and secure. Investing in sturdier materials might be more expensive upfront, but it will save you money and effort in the long run by reducing maintenance and replacement costs. 

 

3. Concrete Your Posts  

During installation, instead of just ramming your posts into the ground or filling the hole with soil, use concrete to secure them. We recommend using 60 kg of builder’s concrete rather than rapid-set concrete.  

Rapid-set concrete isn’t strong enough to provide the necessary stability. Concrete provides a solid foundation for your posts, keeping them firmly in place even when the soil around them shifts. When installing your fence posts, make sure to dig deep holes and fill them with the recommended amount of builder’s concrete. Allow the concrete to set properly before applying any pressure to the posts. This method ensures that your fence will withstand the test of time, remaining straight and strong despite external pressures. 

You can learn more about the correct process of mixing concrete for your post and rail fences. 

 

Ready to Create a Beautiful Property with Laser Straight Fencing? 

If you’re annoyed by your tilted post and rail fence, you can now find out what’s causing this issue on your property. You’ve also learnt the best solutions to tackle the problem of leaning fences, effectively. 

 

If you’re planning to build a new property, we encourage you to take a drive around your area and look at some post and rail fences. Notice the ones that are straight and the wobbly ones. Ask yourself if you would be happy with that look on your property in five years. 

 

Most fencing suppliers show photos of brand-new projects that look amazing. However, they rarely show photos of older fences. As part of your research, take the time to observe different fences in your neighbourhood. Look closely and think if you’d want your fencing line to be straight and your property to look stunning for decades or if are you simply looking for a temporary solution. 

 

  • For a forever property, consider working with a supplier that offers strong, long steel or timber posts. Superior quality materials and longer lengths can provide the stability needed to keep your fence upright for many years. It’ll be worth learning about what makes our Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing one of the strongest fences in the world, lasting over 50 years. 
  • If you’re not concerned about a little leaning, then any standard post and rail fence might fit your needs.  

 

By doing your homework and observing the fences around you, you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision. You can also speak to our team of experts for guidance on the right installation methods and finding the fence that matches your vision and expectations. They will help you every step of the way to create a safe and beautiful property just the way you imagined. 

 

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