There is very little maintenance of a wind fence required. We are however dealing with industrial environments and equipment where “stuff happens”, and also with storms where records are still being set.
The following are the general instructions – specific sites and situations may have slightly different requirements.
Types of maintenance issues that may be encountered.
- Mechanical damage (cuts). The fabric has vertical and horizontal threads, which are very strong compared to the threads in say clothing. For this reason, cuts less than about 5ft (1.5m)long usually do not tear and get larger, though they will fray a little as the fabric flaps in the wind.The only reliable way to repair the fabric is to take the panel down and sew in a patch that is the full height of the panel. At this point it is easier and usually cheaper to simply replace the whole panel. Regarding the effect of the cut on the wind control efficacy, in general terms a cut simply changes the local porosity. Studies have shown that the windbreak effect is related to the average porosity, and the effect of holes and gaps are quickly averaged out.
We therefore recommend that small cuts not be patched, and large cuts (say longer than 4ft (1.2)) be repaired by replacing the panel. The exception is where the cut is adversely affecting the aesthetics or the efficacy of the windbreak.
- Burns (fire and exhaust). The fabric is unlikely to burn on its own, but it will melt if placed in a fire or if it rests against something like a vehicle exhaust. The treatment here is generally the same as for cuts. The advantage is that the damaged edge will be cauterized and so is much less likely to fray.
- Storm damage- black clips. After a major storm it is a good idea to look at the windbreak to check for possible problems. The first sign of a significant storm is that some of the black clips may have broken. They are set as a release mechanism against overloading the structure. When they break, it is usual that most of the clips on that panel will break. If there are broken clips simply replace them after the storm has passed. Leaving the occasional broken clip will increase the likelihood that all the clips in the panel will “unzip” in the next storm.
- Storm damage- hem cables. If a panel has unzipped, the hem cable will take some of the load, but will stretch and can break if left. Broken hem cables can be rethreaded with a new cable while the fabric is still on the structure. Joining a piece of hem cable is not recommended, but it can be done with a figure “8” knot and clamps holding the two protruding ends back onto the cable.
- Other problems. If any problems occur beyond those mentioned here, please contact Mike Robinson on 604 351 1175 asap. A photograph can be very handy to quickly explain the problem and work out the best solution.
If you have any questions about maintenance of a wind fence please contact WeatherSolve Structures today!