Wood fences vulnerable in storms
Fences that flush against vegetation are also vulnerable. If possible, trim the bushes and shrubs to create a gap between fence and vegetation.
Vines and other vegetation also aren’t a good idea because they add weight to the fence and make it top-heavy.
‘Shadowbox’ fences, with alternating boards on each side, let some wind through but not enough. Fences with open spaces between slats are less likely to come down, but probably still will fail in most storms.
Don’t try to remove one slat on each fence; it’s a waste of time.
Shore up fences before storm
Make sure fence posts are buried deeply in concrete in solid soil. Posts will come down in soft or loose soil.
Posts will most often break at the base, which is rotted, or otherwise weakened, by moisture, sprinklers, sun, lawn care or insects.
If a fence panel breaks at the post, it won’t do much good to try to raise it again, even with temporary bracing. It also probably will be too heavy to drag to the curb.
Try to lean it against something nearby. In most cases, the panel can be reused once you sink a new post.
Watch for exposed nails!
PVC fence better than wooden one
Often it’s more practical to replace the entire fence.
Depending on your needs and the aesthetics of your yard, you might consider replacing a wood fence with a chain-link or PVC fence. Be sure to check your local zoning rules and homeowner associations before you act.
Companies offering fence repair and replacement will be swamped after a storm. Expect to wait weeks, maybe months.
Beware of fly-by-night outfits. Check for proper licensing and insurance and don’t give a deposit if the firm can’t provide those. Where possible, get referrals.
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation: (850) 487-1395, www.myflorida.com/dbpr/
BBB of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean: (561) 842-1918, www.seflorida.bbb.org