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Is it Time to Replace your Fence? 6 Ways to Check As Per Our Experts 

Post and Rail Fences play an important role in creating an effective boundary, enhancing the overall look, and value of your property and also ensuring the safety of your animals. However, over time they lose their sheen and start failing to do their job. If you’ve started noticing the same trend with your fences but aren’t sure if it’s the right time to replace them, then keep reading.  

The signs of a deteriorating fence might not always be obvious, especially if you see it every day and have grown used to its appearance. Understanding the common issues that signal the need for a replacement can save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. 

We understand the concerns you may have about the integrity of your fence and the potential costs involved in replacing it. It’s not a fun task to add to your already long list of to-dos. At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end properties across Australia and New Zealand. With our extensive experience in fencing, we can guide you through the process of identifying whether your fence needs to go or can stay for a bit longer.  

Drawing on insights from our fencing experts, we’ll explore 6 key ways to check if your post and rail fence need to be replaced, and the signs of damage on different fencing materials along with their average lifetime. By the end of this article, you’ll have enough information to make an informed decision whether to go ahead and order a new fence or continue with the old one. 


Look at your fence. Get close and look again.  

The first step in assessing your fence is a thorough visual inspection. Take a walk down the fence line and observe the overall condition of the fence. Look for any obvious signs of wear and tear.  

How to Check the Posts and Rails for Damage 

Move closer to your fence and inspect for the following.  

1. Are the posts leaning or sinking into the ground? 

This could indicate that the structural integrity of the fence is compromised. 

2. Are the posts wobbly? 

Examine the timber posts closely. If they appear wobbly or have sunk into the ground, the posts have likely rotted out. Sometimes, the posts may still be resting on the ground but have lost their structural integrity.  

3. Is your post falling with a simple nudge? 

A gentle push can often reveal if the post is no longer stable. A fence line that looks perfect at first glance can, upon closer inspection, show signs of severe degradation. 

4. Have you checked for any termite activity? 

Termites can wreak havoc on timber fences by eating the posts from within. Look for signs of termites, such as hollow-sounding wood or visible termite trails. Termite damage can severely compromise the strength of your fence, needing immediate replacement. 

Here are some other signs of identifying and managing termite damage on your property. 

5. Are the rails straight or bent? 

Look closely at the rails. Over the years, animals or heavy objects leaning on them can cause significant damage. If you notice any bent, broken, or missing rails, it’s a clear sign that your fence is not performing its job effectively. 

6. Do You Have Any Loose Fixings? 

Check if the fixings that hold the rails on the posts are loose. This can be an early sign of the posts shrinking or the timber drying out over time. When fixings become loose, it often leads to rotting or further structural damage. Also, look for cracks and splits in the timber, as these are indicators that the integrity of the fence is deteriorating. 

You might be accustomed to seeing your fence every day. We recommend walking down the fence line and paying close attention, so you can find any of the above issues before it’s too late. 


Signs Specific to Different Fence Materials 

Every fencing material has its tell-tale signs. They can differ based on the quality and treatment given to the post and rail fence before installation. 

Timber Post and Rail Fence: 

For timber fences, look for signs of rotting and termite damage. These issues can rapidly ruin the fence’s structure, making it unsafe and unsightly. 

PVC Post and Rail Fence: 

PVC fences that have become brittle or discoloured are indications that the material is degrading. Warping and extreme moss build-up are also signs that the fence may need replacing soon. 

Steel Post and Rail Fence: 

Inspect regular steel fences or Cattlerail for rust and structural damage, particularly after severe weather events. Bent posts or rails from storm damage or animal impact should be addressed promptly to maintain the fence’s strength and appearance.  

Thankfully, Premium Steel Fencing comes with enhanced protection against rust. And if any damage is caused to the rails due to extreme weather conditions, replacing it is a breeze. As one of our clients commented, “It’s so easy, you can do it with a beer in one hand” 

Premium steel post and rail fencing - Queensland - horse property


How Long Do Different Post and Rail Fencing Materials Last? 

Timber Fences: 

The lifespan of a timber fence varies depending on the type of wood used and the conditions it’s exposed to. Treated pine fences typically need replacement every 7-10 years, while hardwood fences can last anywhere from 15 to 30 years. However, factors such as soil type, quality of timber and the presence of termites can significantly affect these lifespans.  

PVC Fences: 

PVC fences are known for their durability but can become brittle over time, especially when exposed to harsh weather conditions. If your PVC fence has become discoloured due to moss or has started to warp, it may be time for a replacement. On average, PVC fences last between 7 and 15 years, depending on the quality of the material and environmental factors. 

Metal Fences: 

Metal fences, particularly those made from premium steel, are renowned for their longevity. If you have Cattlerail check for rust marks at the ground level, especially if the posts are concreted in. Any rusting joints or metal ends that haven’t been treated properly can weaken the fence. Premium steel fences can last from 30 to 50 years and continue to look beautiful, however, regular inspections are essential to ensure they remain in good condition. 


Is Your Post and Rail Fence Ready to be Replaced? 

We understand you want your post and rail fencing to last for decades, without any need for maintenance or replacement. Our Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing does come close to this dream, creating a beautiful boundary for generations. However, if you’ve got timber or PVC fencing, this isn’t always possible. Ultimately, you don’t want a poor shabby-looking fence ruining the look of your property and bringing down its value, along with making it unsafe for your livestock.  

Now you know how to check for the signs of replacement and change your fence before it becomes a safety hazard. Whether you have a timber, PVC, or metal fence, understanding its lifespan and the specific issues that can arise will help you decide about when to replace it. 

Overall, regular inspection and timely replacement of your fence are crucial to maintaining your property’s security, aesthetics, and value. By keeping an eye out for the signs we’ve discussed, you can avoid the last-minute hassle and take your time to find the right fencing solution for your next post and rail.  It’ll be worth finding out the overall maintenance requirements and costs of different fencing materials. 

Investing in a new post and rail fence, when necessary, not only enhances your property’s appearance but also provides peace of mind knowing that your boundaries are secure and well-defined. If you’d like to know more about fence maintenance or find the right solution that matches your needs, budget and vision our experts can help. They will guide you every step of the way to create a safe and beautiful property, just the way you imagined. 


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