Lets break down a typical fence by its top 3 failure points and look at them individually to understand why they fail.
We will start at the ground and work our way up!
This very simple question can easily be answered by observation and common sense. To paint this scenario with a very broad brush, in general we mostly see poor choice of material, and poor assembly of those materials.
The "Rails" are the skeleton of the fence. Their job is to tie everything together. If the skeleton is weak or over spanned, it will sag and begin to fall apart from simple stress, gravity and soil movement.
We ONLY use 13 gauge pipe, spaced no more than 6' apart and a MINIMUM of 36" deep, set in concrete for great wind load strength. We also offer a "schedule 40" pipe that is almost twice as thick as our 13 gauge. 40's are expensive, but are really stout. Our 13 gauge posts serve most situations quite well.
Steel posts are the best choice for fence as long as they are USED PROPERLY! The photo above is a great example of steel posts gone wrong.
Many posts sold at the big box stores are thin wall steel to be used with chain link fence ONLY. Chain link has minimal wind load whereas a solid fence must be built differently. The average consumer will select the cheaper post not knowing all steel posts are not equal.
Commonly found on builder grade fences. These are as cheap as it gets. Common problems are warping, splitting and rotting at ground level, which causes them to snap. These posts are dipped in preservative and not pressure treated. Dipping only preserves the outside of the post. These posts rot from the inside out, to the point of failure.
Due to another (and there has been several) competitor's being caught copying our photos and information to their website and passing our material off as their own work ... let it be known that ALL photos and information contained in this website are the sole private, property of Hancock Fence LLC and are NOT to be used, referenced or copied, by any fence builder for any reason.
If we find a competitor using our photos (and we will) our attorneys will prosecute you to the full extent of the law.
Hancock Fence LLC 2016
We stopped installing wood posts in 2003 for all the above reasons.
Wood posts are almost ALWAYS the point of failure.
Hancock Fence focuses on using only components that will maximize the time on your clock. We want our fences to stay together & look better longer than our competitors. We believe this is where the value factor really kicks in and keeps thousands of our past customers smiling at their Hancock Fence for many, many years to come.
Fences that are assembled incorrectly will not stay together. Brackets, nails and screws cant do their job if they are not used correctly.
In order to build a long lasting fence, these materials and methods MUST be avoided. When your new fence is built, imagine a timer being set. No fence will last forever, so the clock is ticking. Time on the clock is limited or substantially reduced if one of these items are installed on your fence.
There are 4 types of posts commonly used in our area.
Rails are the second biggest point of failure we see.
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8' post spacing is VERY common. This is too far apart to suspend an average fence panel. Saggy panels and failure are on the menu as soon as its built. Many builders will simply set the fence on the ground to stop sagging. Now they have created a situation where the bottom of the fence will rot and possibly attract termites.
These are one step up from landscape timbers. These are pressure treated so the preservative is forced through the entire post. Rotting and snapping usually is not a problem. However treated posts are almost guaranteed to warp, split and twist causing distortion of the fence. Exactly how much is anybody's guess. As the fence distorts, the fasteners are pulled, they loose their grip and pieces and panels begin to fall off.
Cedar posts are one step sideways from treated posts. Cedar posts are the best choice in the wood category BUT they are soft. Weed Eaters (string trimmers) will easily damage these posts to the point of failure. Warping is rare. Splitting is common, but usually does not effect performance. Typically these will last about 10-12 years before they rot and snap. Cedar posts limit the life of the fence dramatically. When the posts fail, they take the whole fence with it no matter how well the fence was built or cared for.
Please visit our "Treated vs. Cedar Rails" page for photos and information on rail do's and dont's.
Each time we replace a fence we evaluate what we see and ask ourselves
"What is the point of failure on this fence?"
Why does this fence need to replaced after only 6-7 years?
Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
We are always happy to help!
THANK YOU FROM:
Dutch & Tyler Hancock
Plus the entire staff at
Hancock Fence & Fabrication LLC