How to Spot a Bad Metal Fence (and Why Experts Matter)

Mar 27, 2024 | Construction Materials

A metal fence can be a great addition to your property, offering security, privacy, and even a touch of style. 

But like any outdoor structure, fences always take a beating from the elements, even more so when the fence has not been properly constructed or put together using the best kinds of materials. 

Knowing how to spot a bad metal fence and performing regular inspections can save you time, money, and frustration down the line, as does working with a metal supplier that has a good reputation and whom you feel you can trust. 

If you are buying a new fence or if you want to do your own inspections, here’s what you need to look out for. 

  • Rust: This is the public enemy number one for metal. But luckily it is so easy to spot when you look for signs of rust on posts, panels, and fasteners. Surface rust can often be treatable with sanding, scraping, and a fresh coat of paint or rust-inhibiting primer. But deep pitting indicates a more serious problem that will require a little more attention. Keep in mind that extensive rust can greatly weaken the fence and it will also shorten its lifespan.
  • Warping or Sagging: Metal fencing should be straight and taut. If you see any warping, sagging, or leaning posts, it could be a sign of several issues including poor installation with improper post depth or it could be a sign of inadequate support. Weak materials that don’t have the structural integrity to withstand wind, rain, or impact can also cause warping or sagging.
  • Loose Panels or Fittings: A secure fence is a strong fence, and as South Africans, we can all agree that security should be a priority always. To ensure your fence is secure, the panels should be firmly attached to the posts with no gaps or wiggle room. Check for any loose screws, rivets, or welds. Rattling or easily shaking panels are a definite red flag, indicating improper installation or worn-out fasteners. Early intervention can prevent the panels from detaching completely, especially during strong winds.

Improper Ground Clearance: Different types of metal fences may have different ground clearance requirements. However, all metal fences need some space between the bottom of the panel and the ground for drainage and airflow. Fences sitting directly on the ground are more susceptible to rust and rot, as moisture gets trapped and accelerates deterioration.

Security fencing Nelspruit

Why Inspections Matter?

Catching problems early is key to saving money and extending the lifespan of your fence. Regular inspections (at least once a year) will give you enough time to address minor issues before they snowball into major (expensive) repairs or replacements. 

For instance, noticing a small patch of surface rust early allows for a quick fix with sanding and paint. Left unchecked, that rust can spread and weaken the metal significantly, requiring a whole panel replacement. Early intervention can extend the lifespan of your fence by several years.

Why Use a Fence Installation Expert?

Metal fencing might seem like a straightforward DIY project, but proper installation should be your main priority if you want a guarantee that the fence will be strong, secure, and built to last. Here’s why an expert is worth the investment:

  • They have the experience: Professional fence installers have the knowledge and experience to choose the right materials and techniques for your specific needs and local climate. They understand factors like wind load requirements and soil composition, ensuring your fence can withstand the elements in your area.
  • They use only the best quality materials: Reputable fencing companies source high-quality, weather-resistant materials that will stand the test of time. They won’t cut corners by using cheap, thin metal that’s prone to rusting and warping.
  • They know how to do a proper installation: Expert installers ensure proper post depth, secure connections, and a level fence. They know the correct techniques for anchoring posts in the ground to prevent future leaning or warping. Additionally, experienced professionals use strong, rust-resistant fasteners to ensure panels stay securely attached for years to come.
  • They can offer warranties: Many reputable fencing companies offer warranties on their work and materials, giving you peace of mind. If something goes wrong due to faulty installation or improper materials, the warranty will often cover repairs or replacements. This extra layer of protection can save you significant costs down the road.

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