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These Are All Normal, After-Install Occurrences

Any of these may occur after installation for which contractors who stand behind their work and products will quickly fix.

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SUBMITTED:       Pro Fence Design

POSTED:               April 2022

Installers may joke that "Mother Earth does not like us putting holes in her" and that the natural settling of the fence into her soil may produce some typical occurrences - all of which a professional contractor is familiar and ready to address. You should expect a contractor to provide you 1-3 year warranties on their workmanship to fix any of these issues caused by the following natural events; 

  • Ground Settlement 

  • Wood Curing 

  • Seasonal Changes

Ground Settlement 

Putting fence posts in the ground has been a fairly traumatic experience for your yard.  Digging out soil, removing rocks, and adding concrete footings shift the surrounding soil and grade. In the weeks, months, and years to follow your soil will re-settle. This process may make a once straight line, cant to the left or right. 

Below are items which may be affected by ground settlement;


    This normally happens during concrete curing or in the fence's first season after installation (see more below). A fence post may develop a slight lean or even twist to the left or right a few degrees. The post will need to be reset. 


    What started as a perfectly straight or level line along the top of the fence may produce a dip during concrete and ground settlement. Resetting and raising the posts in question will readjust this to a straight-level the top line.


    Gate posts bear a lot of torsion weight and stress.  When their posts settle, this may result in the gate failing to close property. For these very slight alignment issues, a simple hinge adjustment can resolve it

Post shift or lean

Change in line level

Adjustment of hinges

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Wood Curing

Wood is a beautiful fence material. Its natural composition and ease to customize makes it a fence contractor favorite. That said, its "nature" is subject to "natural imperfections" which may be easy to resolve or require replacement. 


    Panels that have been recently installed may show slight differences in their color or tone. This is simply a function of the moisture content of the wood which can take up to a month for tones to homogenize. If panels appear to have mis-matched colors, let them acclimate for a season and then take a look.

    As wood fully dries, you should expect to see a crack here or there. A split is a different story. If this happens the fence component should be replaced. 

    Painting or staining a fence and particularly a privacy fence may look great the first weeks after coloring. Later, fine lines may occur between pickets as the paint dries. This causes the wood to shrink ever so slightly and expose fine gaps between pickets.  This is expected and requires touch ups.

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Color and tones will match over time 

Replace cracked pickets.

Touch up paint once wood dries

Seasonal Changes

From extreme summer heat to freezing cold nights, your fence will also expand and contract during the seasons. It is not uncommon that vinyl can grow or shrink up to 1/4" between seasons. This can cause rails or pickets to unseat form their channels.


    This is needed most often by installers who simply use click tabs to attached fence panels. When a rail unseats, it is usually a very easy fix to reseat it. 

    This is more the case for vinyl pickets since they are NOT fastened to their rails, but simply "sit" in them. When a picket unseats, it is also a very easy and quick fix. 

Re-attaching rails and reseating pickets.

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Should any of the above occur a professional and reputable contractor will resolve them.  The minimum workmanship warranty is one (1) year which will give a fence four seasons to display any of these natural occurrences. Higher grade contractors will provide two (2) and/or three (3) year workmanship warranties. The gold standard however, is two (2) years as anything beyond these eight seasonal cycles is just marketing fluff.


Beyond the workmanship warranty, product warranties for wood tend to be 2-years for wood, metals 10-years and vinyl 20-plus years.  You should expect to hear similar product warranties from your contractor and obtain the same in writing from them. 

For more information like this, click below to go to our posts.
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