Is that old fence looking a bit worse for wear?

Maybe it was there before you bought the property, or it was one of the first yard jobs you did twenty years ago.

Either way now comes the time for replacing it, time to build a new one and improve the look of your property.

Not so fast though.

There are a few things you should know, and take care of, before you replace that rickety old fence.

A list of things to check before you replace a fence would include:

  • Know your boundaries
  • Who is responsible for the fence?
  • What lies underneath
  • Do you need a permit?
  • What are the local laws?
  • Talk to the neighbors

Know your boundaries

Sounds like an instruction from a self-help manual.

When it comes to fencing on your property, it is critical to know where the boundaries lie.

The existing fence may not be on the boundary between your property and the neighbors land.

If you build on their land, it could cause a lot of trouble.

Always consult an official boundary map and mark the boundary line on the land as you install the fence.

Who is responsible for the fence?

This point goes firmly with the boundary one.

If you build on the boundary with your neighbor, it is a good idea to discuss with them who is responsible for the fence.

Many local laws state that neighbors share the building and the maintenance costs of a boundary fence.

Annual maintenance is vital for a fence and costs can be high on larger projects.

What lies underneath?

Utility pipes and cables run under your land.

The fence may predate them on your property.

Check with the utility companies before you start digging or hammering sharp-pointed fence posts in the ground.

You do not want to strike water or electricity when replacing a fence.

Striking oil is a different prospect, however.

Do you need a permit?

In many districts and counties, you may well need a permit to build or replace a fence.

Ask at the local building office before you do any construction.

If you build a fence without a permit you may have to take it down, or you may face a hefty fine.

Usually a permit only costs about $100, and you can get one by filling out a form.

If you are using a contractor make sure they get the permit before work commences.

What are the local laws?

A similar question to the permit one.

Local laws will govern what materials you can use, what height you can go to and the type of fence you can build.

You cannot go over four-foot with a front yard fence, and you will need to leave access for emergency vehicles to the rear.

Even if the existing fence is higher than four-foot, it does not mean you can replace it with one that is the same height.

Check all the local fence laws before you replace the old fence.

Talk to the neighbors

Ask your neighbors about replacing the old fence.

They may have tips on what material works best and where to buy the best product.

You may also agree on height, color and where a fence can go on the property before you build it.

You might not realize it, but a high fence on your property may block the sunlight, rain and even the view of your friendly neighbor.

Often talking to a neighbor can help avoid any disputes from happening in advance.

Call us

At we love a good replacement project.

Have you tried our Draw it and Quote It software to help you plan the project from start to finish?

Calls us today for some friendly advice on all aspects of fencing.