Taking Care of Your Fence After Snow and Ice

Don't let your beautiful fence succumb to the damage caused by winter weather. Our blog offers expert tips and guidance on repairing and maintaining your fence post-snow!
Veda Yalamanchili
Veda Yalamanchili
Last Update:
June 18, 2024

Did a recent snowstorm damage your fence? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Winter can be a real beast on our fences and many homeowners face this issue, especially after a tough winter. Heavy snow, ice, and cold can harm your fence, whether it’s a traditional wood fence, a strong metal fence, or a contemporary vinyl fence.

This blog post will guide you through the steps to check, fix, and shield your fence from winter’s harshness.

We'll cover everything from checking for damage to easy fixes and preventative measures to keep your fence looking sharp all year round. So, let’s get started with another interesting home improvement guide.

The Impact of Winter on Fences

Impact of winter on fence

Winter storms brings with it a host of challenges for homeowners, and privacy fences are no exception. The heavy snowfall and ice accumulation that come with a harsh winter can have a significant impact on your fence, regardless of its material.

The weight of snow and ice can cause bending, leaning, or even collapse of fence posts and fence panels. This is particularly true in the case of a snowstorm where the snow build-up can be substantial.

Freeze-thaw cycles, common in many parts of the country during winter, can cause cracks in wooden fences. These cracks can lead to long-term damage if not addressed promptly. Also, Ice dams can form behind fences, causing water damage. This is especially problematic for wooden fences, which can rot when exposed to excess moisture.

Impact of Winter on Various Fence Materials

Wood Fences: Wood fences are most susceptible to warping and rotting from moisture. The freeze-thaw cycles can cause the wood to crack, and ice dams can lead to water damage and rot.

Metal Fences: Metal fences, while generally more durable, can become brittle in cold weather and prone to bending. They are also susceptible to rust, which can be accelerated by the increased moisture during winter.

Vinyl Fences: Vinyl fences are generally more resilient but can crack under extreme pressure, such as that from heavy snowfall or ice accumulation. However, they are less susceptible to the issues that plague wood and metal fences, making them a popular choice for many homeowners.

Post-Winter Fence Inspection

After the winter season or even a storm during the winter is over, it’s crucial to inspect your fence for any potential damage. Here’s how you can do it:

Snow Removal

Start by gently removing any snowdrifts leaning against the fence. This can help prevent additional pressure and potential damage to your fence.

Use a soft brush or broom to remove snow and ice buildup from your fence. Avoid using shovels or metal tools that can scratch or damage the fence material.

Cut back any tree branches hanging over the fence. These can add weight during snowstorms and potentially damage the fence. Overhanging branches can also break and fall on your fence at any time due to the weight of snow.

Inspect for Damage

Once the surroundings are clean and don’t pose a threat to your fence, check the fence itself. Start with your fence posts for any signs of damage. Look for cracks, leaning posts, or loose hardware. These could be signs that the winter weather has weakened the structure of your fence.

Next, inspect the fence panels themselves. Look for warping, splintering, or rotting, especially on wooden fences. These are common issues that can occur due to the freeze-thaw cycles of winter. For vinyl or metal fences, check for any cracks or dents. Identify any loose panels or broken connections. These could compromise the integrity of your fence and may need to be repaired or replaced.

Finally, take a step back and assess the overall structure of your fence. Is it leaning in any direction? Are there any sections sagging or bulging? Addressing minor issues early on can prevent bigger problems down the road.

Repairing a Damaged Fence

As mentioned before, winter can be tough on fences. But, Depending on the extent of the damage, you might be able to tackle some fence repairs yourself. Here’s how you can do it for each type of fence:

Wood Fences: Minor damages like loose boards or small cracks can often be repaired by homeowners themselves. This might involve replacing the damaged board or filling in the cracks with a wood filler and then applying a sealant for added protection.

Metal Fences: Rust is a common issue for metal fences. This can be addressed by sanding down the rusted area and applying a rust-resistant paint. If the damage is more severe, such as a bent post, it might be necessary to replace the post.

Vinyl Fences: Vinyl fences are generally more resilient, but they can crack under extreme pressure. Small cracks can be repaired using a vinyl fence repair kit, which can be found at most home improvement stores.

The Role of a Professional Fence Company

While minor repairs can often be done by homeowners, more significant damages usually require the expertise of a professional fence company. They have the necessary tools and experience to ensure that the repairs are done correctly and safely. This includes repairing or replacing damaged posts, straightening leaning fences, and installing new panels if necessary.

Here are some signs that it's time to call a professional:

But if your fence has suffered extensive damage, or if it’s old and has been repaired multiple times, it might be more cost-effective to consider a new fence installation. A professional fence company can provide advice on the best type of fence for your specific needs and weather conditions.

Preventative Measures for Next Winter

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true when it comes to preparing your fence for winter. Here are some steps you can take to protect your fence from the harsh winter weather:

Consideration of Snow Fences

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, consider installing a snow fence. Snow fences are designed to reduce snow drifts by causing windblown, drifting snow to accumulate in a desired place. They are typically installed upwind of the area you want to protect. Vinyl and metal fences generally fare better than wood in harsh winters. You can also install a temporary snow fence over your main fence. These will help redirect snow accumulation, preventing drifts from forming and putting excessive weight on your fence.

Use of Sealant

Applying a high-quality sealant to your wooden fence can provide a protective layer against the elements. For wooden fences, the sealant can help prevent moisture from seeping into the wood, which can lead to rot. You can also add a sealant to metal fences to prevent rust.

Snow Removal

Regular snow removal is crucial in preventing damage to your fence. Allowing snow to build up against your fence can put a lot of pressure on it, leading to potential damage. After each snowfall, take the time to gently remove the snow from around your fence. Remember to use a soft brush or broom to avoid damaging the fence material.

Landscaping and Tree Branches

Proper landscaping can play a significant role in protecting your fence. Trim any tree branches that hang over your fence to prevent them from breaking and falling on your fence during a snowstorm. Additionally, consider planting shrubs or bushes around your fence as a windbreak to protect against high winds.


Dealing with the aftermath of winter on your fence can be a daunting task. But by following the tips we shared in this blog, you can take charge and ensure your fence survives the cold, snow, and ice, remaining a beautiful and functional addition to your property for years to come.

Remember, a little spring cleaning after winter and some smart preventative measures can go a long way. Whether you’re planning a new fencing project or looking to maintain your existing fence, remember the importance of using high-quality materials and proper installation techniques. With these in mind, your fence can remain strong and beautiful, no matter what the winter weather brings.

If you are looking to repair your fence from winter damage or planning on installing one that would stand the harshest weather for years to come and want help, contact Ergeon. Our team of experts would love to be a part of your fencing journey.

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