Last year was a record-setting one for California’s capital city. Sacramento experienced its wettest day, its highest temperature and its lengthiest dry spell across a 12-month period.
The meteorological data is indisputable: Sacramento has been experiencing some troubling extremes in weather that have brought the global issue of climate change to the city’s backyards.
Wood privacy fences are a favorite among Sacramento’s residents. In neighborhood after neighborhood, you can see the wooden planks standing like sentinels, parceling off each homeowner’s domain and safeguarding their right to privacy.
Unfortunately, Sacramento’s extreme weather—both the relentless heat and the torrential rains—can raise havoc on the common plank privacy fence. “Wood fences are popular, but they need to be maintained. The kind of extreme weather conditions we’ve seen in northern California is really taking its toll and shortening the life of many backyard fences,” says Frank Scherer.
And he should know. One of the main services of Scherer’s company, Sacramento Handyman, is fence repair in Sacramento and the surrounding area. The company has seen a sharp increase in calls received from homeowners whose fences are in need of some professional TLC.
“Some of the more common Sacramento fence repair needs are slanting posts and stretches of warped or broken slats. In more extreme cases, when fences endure prolonged exposure to moisture, the wood can grow mold or even start to rot,” says Scherer. “Although vinyl fences aren’t as impacted by moisture, they can still be home to unsightly mold.”
He adds that while the rain and prolonged moisture can bring the threat of warped and rotted boards, long hours in extreme heat and sunlight can also damage fences, particularly those that have not been properly maintained with a water-repellant preservative or sealant.
Homeowners Ryan and Katie migrated to northern California right out of college nearly a decade ago to launch their careers. The Midwest natives aren’t sure how old their privacy fence is—the wood planks and posts marking their backyard perimeter were there when they bought their home in 2014. But they admit, as first-time homeowners, they had underestimated the amount of maintenance their fence requires.
The couple says they’ve noticed an increase in wear and tear of their fence, a problem they attribute to the growing frequency of extreme weather conditions. At least once a year, they clean any debris off the fence and check for loose or broken boards as well as posts that may have started to lean or loosen. They combat the effects of moisture by reapplying sealant, a ritual they’ve undertaken every other year since moving in.
While Sacramento Handyman may feel more like Sacramento Fence Repair these days, given the escalating number of calls regarding weather-damaged residential fences, Scherer says homeowners are smart to call in a professional to protect the life of their investment.
“If it’s just one loose board, a homeowner can nail that back into place. But more and more, we’re seeing fences with posts that have begun to slant. In those cases, companies like ours have the equipment to reset the post in the ground, ensuring a safe and sturdy fence,” Sherer says. “We’re also seeing long stretches of fence that have become warped or otherwise damaged by the elements and in need of replacement.”
Extreme weather conditions have brought change to many areas, with the growing need for fence repair in Sacramento a prime example of how climate change has hit home. Ensuring wood fences are properly sealed can go a long way toward avoiding the effects of extreme temperatures and prolonged rain. But sometimes, the best way for homeowners to maximize the life of their fence is to call in a professional.