What Causes Fence Leaning?

No matter what kind of material your fence is made of, your fence posts must bear a heavy load. They not only have to carry the weight of the fence, but they also have to resist wind, the elements, and unforeseen stressors. If your fence is designed and installed properly, it will stand for decades. If not, it can lean, sag, or collapse. The severity of the threat will tell you how critical it is to fix the problem soon. But, fence leaning only get worse over time, so sooner or later, you will need to address it.

Precipitation and Flooding

During periods of extended rain, the water seeps into the ground, making it softer and softer. The longer it rains, the deeper the water gets, making the ground mushy and pliable. After a certain point, forces that your fence would usually resist (e.g., wind) can cause the fence to teeter. Your fence posts will tip over, as the muddy earth no longer stabilizes them. Flooding and snowmelt can cause the same fence leaning problem.

There are two solutions. One is to dig a deeper hole when you install (or repair), and use a longer post. The other is to dig a wider hole and surround your post with concrete, or a composite. If using both strategies, your posts will remain vertical even when the ground is soft.

High Winds

Even if your ground is relatively hard or dry, a strong enough wind can cause the fence to lean. The force absorbed by the fence all falls on the post, causing it to break, bend, or tip over. You can avoid a broken post by using stronger materials. A longer or more secure post will not lean easily, as described in the previous section. You can also use a material that wind passes through easily, like chain link or iron bars.

Root Incursion

If any portion of your fence crosses the root system of a large tree, you have a problem. As the roots grow, they will slowly push the post like a lever, causing it to tip one way or another. This causes the fence to sag. Given that roots grow at a slow pace, it may take years to notice such a gradual change.

To fix the problem, you have to dig up the earth around the fence posts and locate the encroaching roots. Cut the roots at least a yard from the post, then burn the ends to prevent them from growing back. If your post and fencing are still in good shape, you can reset them.

Poor Installation

If you hire an inexperienced contractor to install your fence, or if you install it yourself, you may experience problems. There is a proper protocol for digging post holes, placing posts in the ground, and attaching fencing. If the installer is even a fraction of an inch off, it can add tension to your fence, making it easier to buckle. The best way to assess such a problem is for a professional installer to come out and evaluate the job. They will be able to find and rectify the problem.

Animals

There are many ways animals can damage a fence. A heavy animal can lean against it. Burrowing animals can compromise the ground’s stability around the post, causing it to tip over. Ideally, your choice of materials should account for whatever animals you wish to contain (or keep out). As for burrowing animals, each requires its own remedy.

Trees and Vines

You may need to do annual or bi-annual surveys of your property to identify any trees or vines that could threaten your fence. If a large branch threatens your fence, some care is required for cutting it down. If you lack such expertise, call a tree service; they will do an excellent job.

The same can be said for a tree that is leaning or dying. Often, it takes a tree professional to identify trees that pose a threat to your fence, or might in the future. Such people will know exactly how to cut these trees down in a way to avoid any damage to your fence. Also, they often guarantee their work.

Consult All Counties Fence & Supply

The best way to avoid any of these fence leaning problems, hire a good installer. All of these problems can be anticipated and addressed during the planning stages. If your fence has already begun to sag, don’t worry. People hire contractors to repair their fencing all the time. So any problem with sagging is fixable. At All Counties Fence & Supply, we install fencing, and we also perform all kinds of repairs. If you need help, we’re here for you.