Gaps at the Bottom of a Fence

dogs looking under the gap at the bottom of a fence

Fences are a great feature. They secure yard areas so pets—or rambunctious kids—can't leave, offer privacy from neighbors, and keep unwanted animals out of your yard. But fences become less effective if there is a gap at the bottom. Here's what you need to know about fence gaps and how to adjust them.

Fence Gap Concerns

A small gap at the bottom of your fence may seem like no big deal, but it can become a significant problem. Small pets may actually be able to fit under the gap. And larger pets may see this as a reason to dig a hole in the area. This, in turn, will make the gap larger and damage your yard.

On the flipside, unwanted pests may also be able to get in through a gap at the bottom of the fence. Bottom line: a fence with a gap is just less effective than a fence without one.

How It Happens

metal chainlink fence with damage gap at bottom

How do gaps form at the bottom of a fence anyway? There are a few potential culprits. The first could simply be the terrain of your yard. If it's on an incline, the fence may not be perfectly flat, to begin with. Soil can also shift over time, which can move or tilt fence posts and cause a gap.

As mentioned earlier, dogs like to dig. Especially if they can hear another animal in your neighbor's yard, they may try to dig a hole under the fence to explore.

If your fence is older, the issue may be with the material of the fence itself. Take wood, for example. This material expands and contracts based on temperature and humidity. It can also rot, which makes it easier for pieces to break off from the fence.

Fix a Wood Fence

damaged wood fence with gap at the bottom

If there are gaps at the bottom of your wood fence, there are a few things you can do to fix it easily and cheaply. Start by measuring the gap to know how much material you will have to purchase to fix it. If the gap is a jagged edge instead of a clean one, you might want to use a small saw to even out the edges.

You should now cut wood of the same material as your fence to fill in the gap. Make sure to cut something a few inches larger than the hole. If the gap is large, you may want to lay multiple pieces of wood down where the gap is. You can use screws or nails to attach the new panels to the existing fence.

Make sure to fill the area around the fence with dirt as well. You may need to stain the fence at this time, so everything is still the same color.

Fix a Concrete Fence

cement retaining wall with poured concrete base

A barrier made of concrete, concrete wall blocks, or stones may be less common than their wood counterpart, but some people like the stability of these fences. In some instances, these fences can double as a retaining wall, as well.

If there is a gap at the bottom of the fence, it will be a little bit more difficult to fix than a wood fence is, but it is still a project you can do yourself with a little know-how and can-do attitude.

First, you will have to use a shovel to remove dirt under the fence. You will have to remove enough to allow you to add a concrete wall block under the existing fence. Once you have dug under the fence, you can pour sand or concrete in the area or put in the extra block or concrete stones.

Make sure everything is level. You can use mortar or another material to make sure it is connected to the rest of the fence. Then you should fill the hole. Try to do this project on a day when it's not going to rain so the concrete can dry properly.