Cost of Replacing Garden Fences
Cost guide to the supply and fit of domestic fencing
Traditionally garden fences are made from timber so even with proper maintenance, eventually, they will need to be repaired or replaced as they rot and/or get damaged by severe weather. Obviously, it is best to carry out any minor repairs as and when required to prolong the life of the fence, but this article details what happens when the fence is beyond repair and needs to be completely replaced. Removing an old fence and erecting a new one, is well within the scope of the average DIY enthusiast, but it does involve a lot of hard work, particularly if concrete needs to be broken up and removed, so many will hire a local landscape gardener or other tradesmen to take care of the fence for them. Whether doing the fence yourself of hiring a contractor, you need to discuss with your neighbours as the law regarding boundary fences is not particularity helpful and boundary disputes are a major cause of problems. Putting up a new fence can be pretty expensive as there are a lot of materials required plus it is a labour intensive job, you can, of course, save some money going the DIY route, but you need to be prepared to put in a lot of time and hard labour!
Things to consider when replacing fences
The issues of property boundaries and fence ownership have been the cause of many neighbour disputes. There are some rules which can help clarify who is responsible for the boundary fence, but they do not always apply. The legal responsibility for a fence is dependent on which property it was assigned to at the time of parcelling the land off, there are no hard and fast rules in this regard, but sometimes the situation can be clarified by looking at the conveyance deed where responsibility for the boundary fence is given a “T” mark on the side of the fence of the owner, but this is not always shown. If the ownership of the fence cannot be verified from the deeds, then it is up to the owners of the adjacent properties to come to an agreement, but you cannot force a neighbour to contribute to the cost of fencing in this case. Of course, this problem only arises with fences erected right on the property boundaries, if you erect a fence which is clearly on your property then there are no major issues and you can choose colour, style and height (as long as under 2m) of the fence without reference to your neighbours or anyone else. If there is an existing fence which is in need of repair but is owned by your neighbour, there is little you can do to force repairs or replacement, the best option may be to erect a parallel fence on your side of the boundary.
There are many different types of fencing to choose from, but the most popular types are wooden fence panels or pickets. Picket type fences are best in areas which often get heavy winds but are more time consuming to erect, whereas panel type fencing is really quick to erect but will struggle to cope with heavy winds. Panel fences do also offer better privacy, but you will generally need to have the panels delivered if doing the job DIY as they will not fit in the average car. Trellis fencing is another good option in windy areas and will offer privacy (eventually) if used in conjunction with climbing plants. There are a number of different post fixings to choose from, with steel spikes and concrete being the most popular. Steel spikes are driven into the ground and the timber post is inserted into them, whereas with concrete a hole is dug and the wooden post is inserted right into the concrete. If in a windy area, best to use concrete (and lots of it)!
Doing it Yourself
Replacing a wooden fence is a straightforward though labour intensive DIY job, though best left to the professionals if not physically fit! Assuming a typical panel type timber fence, begin the removal of the old fence by using a pry-bar to lever back the fence panel away from the post until the nails are exposed, then remove or saw through the old nails with a hacksaw and hammer in any protruding nails that cannot be removed. Repeat at each side of every fence panel that needs replaced. To remove the fence posts, use a shovel to dig out the base of the fence post and remove any concrete foundation. If a lot of concrete has been used, you may have to break it up using a sledgehammer.
To erect a new fence, it is important to be certain of the boundaries of your property and if in doubt consult an expert to check the deeds to your property. If digging new holes for concrete first double check the position of underground cables and pipes before you begin. There is no need to stain or treat the wood first as pressure-treated wood for outdoor use is already treated with preservative. Put new fence posts in using concrete or one of the easy mix type concrete products such as Post mix, which is a pre-blended, quick-setting concrete mix available from most DIY stores. Make sure the posts are dug along a straight line and correctly spaced apart for the new panels. Set the posts around 2 feet into the ground for stability following the instructions provided on the bag of concrete mix. When using ready mixed quick-setting concrete products it is possible to erect posts and panels on the same day, simply screwing the panels onto the posts ensuring the top of each panel is level.
To save money it is possible to do part of this job DIY, but at the same time get a professional tradesman in to ensure a great and long lasting job. The removal and disposal of the old fence is simple (if backbreaking) and does not need a great deal of skill, so you could ask for quotes just for erecting the new fence while you can take care of the unskilled work by removing the old one.
Replacing a fence checklist
- Have you checked the deeds to see who is responsible for the fence
- In windy areas a picket or palisade fence will last better than a panel fence
- For maximum privacy a closed panel fence works best
- Cedar and Pine fences look great and last well but need regular ongoing maintenance
- Talk to your neighbours before doing any fencing work to avoid disputes
Hiring a Tradesman Checklist
- Always get at least 2 quotes before hiring.
- Never pay the full amount upfront.
- Get the quote in writing.
- For any payment you make, always get a receipt.
- On more expensive jobs, ask for references.
- Check if the tradesman is a member of any trades associations.
- Make sure the tradesman has public liability insurance.
Do I need planning permission to build or replace a fence?
What happens to the old fencing, do I need to hire a skip?
Do I need to tell neighbours or need to get permission to replace my fence?
One fence panel to buy and replace.
Submitted by Pauline
Replace approx. 3 meters of fence which has rotted away, re sink concrete pillar which once supported it.
Submitted by Barry
Would like for an elderly mother to have access. A quote for a handrail at both sides of steps.
Submitted by Lesley
I need a new fence down my garden.
Submitted by Joyce
Replace four 6 x 4 fence panels plus replace 5 wooden fence posts with concrete ones