If you have an old fence that is in poor condition, you may be wondering whether you are better off repairing the existing damage and repainting, or just tearing it down and installing a new fence. This decision is not an easy one, and depends on several factors:
The biggest factor is cost. You will probably gravitate toward what is the most cost effective. The cost of repair will depend on the existing damage. Depending on the type of paint used on them, wood fences will show damage between 5-10 years since their last touch up—sooner if there have been a lot of storms, moisture, or insect infestations.
Sometimes repairing the old fence will be cheaper, but can take a long time. Repair for wooden fences usually involves hours of scraping chipped paint, cutting new boards, and replacing old ones. Especially if you don’t want this type of fence anymore, you may be better off taking it down and installing a new one, and saving time. A general rule of thumb is that you should probably replace the fence if you would have to do heavy repairs or replacement on more than 20% of it.
Desired Final Result
If you have a chain linked fence but want the cottage look of a wooden fence, you will need to replace the existing fence to get the look you want. Sometimes aesthetics and personal preference come into play, and they trump cost and time spent.
How Long You Want it to Last
It may be cheaper to repair the existing fence, but you may find yourself doing similar repairs in the next 5 years. Is it worth it to continue the maintenance of the older fence, or should you just go with a more durable material that requires less upkeep? If you have a wood fence and are tired of the constant repairs, you may decide to take it down and put up an aluminum or vinyl fence—both of which require much less ongoing work, and last longer.