Cut HOA Costs Save the Fence! How HOAs and Property Managers Can Save Big

Cut Costs With PM on your Fencing

Your homeowners association’s fence lines likely span hundreds, if not thousands, of feet surrounding your community. Decaying fences aren't just an eyesore, they can lead to security concerns, legal issues, and even decreased property values. Yet when a fencing emergency strikes, many HOAs realize too late that replacement costs can easily surge into the tens of thousands without warning. 

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But what if you could dramatically cut future fencing costs through proactive maintenance today? Being strategic with preventative fencing care can help your community avoid costly repairs and replacements that bust budgets. This guide will outline the true cost of delaying work, show how preventative maintenance yields savings in the long run, and detail steps to build a proactive yearly fencing plan tailored to your HOA’s needs and common fence materials.

The True Cost of Neglecting Fences

It’s easy for HOAs to put off fence care year after year until issues can no longer be ignored. But while it may not be a line item that residents see upfront, delaying inevitable repairs or replacements can lead to expenses compounding drastically over time.

Across common fencing materials, visible wear and deterioration tends to set in at varying points:

  • Wooden Fences: 4- 6 years
  • Iron Fences: 4-8 years
  • Vinyl Fences: 5-10 years
  • Chain Link Fences: 5-10 years
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     And besides visible decay, underlying issues can compromise structural integrity well before those markers. Weathering rots wooden posts, hardware comes loose, concrete crumbles below the surface, and centuries of seasonal expansion and contraction slowly pull apart the most robust builds.

    The costs associated with repairing issues as they pop up or waiting until full replacements are needed can mean massive, unexpected capital expenses:

    • Typical wooden fence board replacement: $350 per 8 ft section 
    • Wooden post replacement: $100+ per post  
    • Full wooden fence replacement: $35+/linear foot
    • Vinyl fence repair costs are comparable or often more expensive comparative to wood
    • Full chain link fence replacement: $12-20/ linear foot

    With hundreds of linear feet surrounding the average community, total replacement projects easily balloon into hefty five-figure territory. And since issues tend to compound in sections rather than evenly across perimeter fencing, HOAs are often stuck making batch repairs on multiple fronts.

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    Being strategic about fence inspections, upkeep, and fixing minor issues as they arise can help communities avoid untenable replacement costs down the line. The American Society of Home Inspectors recommends reviewing all perimeter fencing at least annually - especially important for older installs. Catching post movement early, clearing vegetation interference regularly, and sealing/staining surfaces to prevent heavy weathering all go a long way.

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    The Benefits of Preventative Maintenance

    What exactly does preventative fence maintenance entail? It’s essentially keeping up with basic tasks to avoid deterioration plus being proactive addressing issues spotted through annual inspections:

    • Staining/sealing: Protecting wood & vinyl surfaces from heavy weathering 
    • Vegetation clearing: Preventing root/vine damage around posts
    • Post stabilization: Reinforcing loose posts with bracing brackets  
    • Surface repairs: Replacing broken/rotting boards, tightening hardware
    • Drainage grading: Keeping moisture from pooling around posts 

    Built into annual HOA budgets, these standard prevention tasks cost a fraction compared to waiting years down the line. For example: 

    • Yearly fence sealing 
    • Basic vegetation clearing
    • Repairing grading issues

    Compare this to paying $25 per 10 foot run for full wood board replacements or $15 per foot for brand new chain link. Preventative care works out to just pennies on the dollar - saving hundreds or thousands in the long run.

    And keeping fences intact through preventative care yields additional benefits beyond direct cost savings:

    Improved Curb Appeal & Property Values

    Well-maintained fencing keeps properties visually appealing while deteriorating fences drag down overall aesthetics. First impressions matter, and upgrading care now preserves community appearance & property values.  

    Enhanced Security

    Compromised perimeter fencing leaves communities vulnerable to unwanted trespassing and burglaries. Staying on top of wear keeps access secure.

    Avoiding Legal Issues 

    In disrepair fences with dangerously loose boards/protruding nails pose safety threats for those who come in contact. This leaves HOAs open to premises liability lawsuits if not addressed promptly.

    Creating a Preventative Plan

    Where should your HOA start when it comes to preventative planning? Follow this framework for bringing fences fully up to par:

    Annual Community Perimeter Inspections

    Designate leaders to walk the entire community fence line, ideally during the fall after peak summer stresses. Identify vulnerable areas prone to moisture, sun damage, vegetation overgrowth, or structural issues like loose posts. Take notes on defects plus any locations needing repair beyond basic prevention.

    Prioritize Areas for Maintenance  

    Determine the worst offending areas that need immediate intervention vs issues that can wait until the next yearly inspection. For most urgent needs like compromised post stability, hire contractors right away. Consider replacing particularly problematic spans now to avoid recurring headaches.

    Schedule Ongoing Care by Material

    Tailor standard care checklists to each of your main perimeter fence materials:

    Wooden Fences:

    • Power wash & seal/stain every 2-3 years 
    • Monthly: check for vegetation overgrowth, clearing as needed
    • Quarterly: check for loosening boards/posts/hardware

    Vinyl Fences:

    • Monthly: clear vegetation interference
    • Yearly: tighten loose components  
    • Every 3-5 years: replace weather stripping

    Chain Link Fences:

    • Monthly: inspect for detached tension bands, protruding wires
    • Yearly: Check and tighten top/bottom rails, posts  

    Set aside monthly time on your maintenance calendar for these quick yet critical prevention checks.

    Get Cost Estimates into the Annual Budget

    Compare the scope of your HOA’s preventative needs to quoted contractor rates in your area. Determine realistic yearly estimates, then formally build expense projections into capital budget planning. Getting residents buy-in on the importance of regular maintenance now also makes special assessments far less likely down the line.  

    While investing in fence care may not seem an exciting budget item, staying vigilant prevents far more painful expenses over time. Allocate dollars today for community enjoyment tomorrow without breaking the bank.


    From wood privacy fences to chain link spans, all perimeter fencing eventually shows wear without proper maintenance. But with smart prevention NOW rather than reaction later, your HOA gains significant savings and avoids financial shocks from replacements alone.

    Stay ahead by knowing your fences’ lifespans, inspecting annually, clearing vegetation regularly, hiring timely repairs, and budgeting realistically. An ounce of prevention truly equals a pound in future cure-alls when it comes to maintaining your community’s protective barriers.