Fencing serves as a critical boundary and security feature for many properties, offering privacy, defining property lines, and enhancing aesthetic appeal. However, fences are constantly exposed to the elements, and wind is one of the natural forces that can significantly impact their durability and longevity. One of the most common questions homeowners and property managers ask revolves around the vulnerability of fences to wind damage: At what wind gust speed does fencing get damaged?

The Science of Wind Damage

Wind damage to fences is primarily determined by two factors: the strength of the wind itself and the resistance capability of the fence. Wind gusts can exert a lot of pressure on fencing materials, leading to bending, breaking, or even complete uprooting.

The Beaufort Wind Scale, which categorises wind speeds based on observable effects, suggests that winds as low as 32-38 mph (about 51-61 km/h) can start to move large branches and sway whole trees, potentially impacting less sturdy fences. However, most well-installed and maintained fences can withstand these conditions without significant damage.

Wind Gust Speed and Fencing Damage

Under 50 mph (80 km/h)

Wind speeds under 50 mph are unlikely to cause significant damage to sturdy, well-constructed fences. However, weaker or poorly maintained fences, especially those made from lighter materials such as wooden panels or vinyl, may experience minor damage such as loosened fastenings or slight displacements.

50-70 mph (80-113 km/h)

At speeds between 50 and 70 mph, the risk of damage becomes more pronounced. Wooden fencing might suffer from broken panels or posts, especially if the wood is already weakened by rot or pest damage. Vinyl fences may experience cracking or panels being blown out. Chain-link and aluminium fences, while generally more resistant, might bend or become misshapen under the force.

Over 70 mph (113 km/h)

Wind gusts exceeding 70 mph are often associated with severe weather events such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, or tornadoes. At these speeds, nearly any type of fencing can sustain damage. Wooden fences may collapse entirely, while metal fences could be bent or twisted beyond repair. Vinyl fencing is particularly susceptible to high winds, which can cause extensive damage including uprooting posts or breaking panels into pieces.

Factors Influencing Fencing Wind Resistance

  • Material: Heavier materials like certain woods and metals generally offer more resistance than lighter materials such as vinyl or bamboo.
  • Design: The design of the fence plays a critical role in its wind resistance. Fences with small gaps, such as picket fences, allow wind to pass through, reducing pressure. Solid fences, on the other hand, bear the full brunt of the wind’s force.
  • Installation and Maintenance: Properly installed and well-maintained fences are more likely to withstand higher wind speeds. Factors such as depth of post installation and the quality of materials used can significantly impact resilience.

Enhancing Fence Wind Resistance

While it’s impossible to make any fence completely wind-proof, there are steps property owners can take to enhance wind resistance:

  • Choose the right materials and designs for your area's typical wind speeds.
  • Ensure that fences are installed correctly, with posts set deeply enough in the ground.
  • Regular maintenance checks and repairs for any signs of wear and tear can help improve longevity and resistance.
  • For particularly windy areas, consider using strategic landscaping to act as windbreaks, reducing the force of wind on the fence.


Wind gust speeds can greatly affect the durability and integrity of fencing. By understanding the dynamics of wind pressure and taking proactive steps in the choice, installation, and maintenance of fencing, property owners can enhance the resilience of their barriers against the forces of nature. Whether you're installing new fencing or evaluating the condition of existing barriers, considering the impact of wind is crucial in protecting your property.