Determining the Age of Wood Fencing in Multi-Resident Buildings – Part 4


While doing depreciation reports, reserve fund studies or building condition assessments, we often get asked how we can determine the age of a building component by looking at it. Although not without aberrations, there are some tell-tale signs that indicate the age and the remaining life of features such as windows, claddings and veneers, roofs and fencing. Architectural styles and innovations in manufacturing will also have an influence on how long certain components may last. We have written a series of articles explaining what signs we look for to determine age and remaining lifespan for our depreciation reports, reserve fund studies, or building condition assessments.

This article of this series talks about determining the age of wood fencing in Strata or Condo Corporations.

Wood Fencing

Wood fencing is commonly used around the perimeters of properties and between individual yards. They generally consist of either vertical or horizontal panels held between two rails attached to support posts that are secured to the ground. Like other building components, the observed age of wood fencing generally depends on many factors including material, workmanship, exposure and maintenance efforts.

As wood ages it begins to crack and deteriorate due to expanding and contracting over time from moisture and drying cycles. The fencing will often start to lean and panels can fall out of place as the framing becomes fragile. Support posts are the most susceptible to deterioration as they are in direct contact with the ground. Moisture from precipitation and damp soil also accelerate the deterioration process of the support posts and bottom rails. Severe rotting of the wood components, especially the support posts, will indicate that the fencing is approaching the end of its useful life. Aging wood fencing will often have a greyish-brown colour as well. Painting, installation of post caps, and utilizing pressure-treated wood are some of the ways to extend the lifespan of wood fencing.


Photo 1: Deterioration and moss growth at support posts


Photo 2: Fencing rotted and leaning


Normac is Western Canada’s premier provider of Insurance Appraisals, Depreciation Reports, Reserve Fund Studies and Building Science Services. We deliver peace of mind to property owners and managers with our industry-leading reports and unrivalled services.

For more information regarding depreciation reports, reserve fund studies or building condition assessments, please contact us at,, 604-221-8258 or toll free at 1-888-887-0002.


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