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It’s the annual fence fix-up time. Fences take a lot of abuse and, sooner or later, they need repair work but before you start any repair, it’s a good idea to look over the entire fence. What seems like a minor problem may in fact be more extensive. The problem may be an isolated one or it may extend to a number of things along the length of the fence. A careful evaluation may reveal that it is time to replace the fence rather than to just repair it.

How to Repair a Wooden FenceYou see wood is vulnerable to nature’s punishments wind, rain, snow, and especially rotting below-ground from frost which subjects wood fences to a tremendous beating. This means you should always repair fencing with the most rot-resistant lumber like Pressure-treated lumber which has been saturated with preservatives and lasts 25-30 years, even with wood that has been buried in the ground. Cedar and redwood also stand up well to nature but are more costly and won’t last quite as long.

Your evaluation should pay particular attention to these areas:

1. Wood rot, which is a wood fence’s biggest enemy.
2. Posts that are no longer plumb and are weak or broken.
3. Bottom rails, especially if vegetation has been rubbing against them as this can trap water and cause rot.
4. Your fence boards or pickets for loose nails, warping, and rotting.
5. Anywhere where two boards are fastened to each other for rot.
6. Gates that are crooked or not working properly.

After your evaluation, if you find there are some repairs to be done but it doesn’t need replacing yet, here are some helpful steps you may need to take that will help you keep your fence in the best shape possible.

Repairing Fence Posts:

Posts are the foundation of your fence so when a post begins to wobble, determine the cause before you decide what repairs need to be made.

If the post was not set in cement and it seems intact but has come loose in its hole or is leaning from pressure on it or from the effects of frost, it can be fixed. (Post do not need to be set in cement but it does make them more solid and permanent.)

Step 1: Dig around it on the side away from the lean about a foot or 18” down.
Step 2: Then while applying some pressure to make it stand up straight pack the dirt on the side of the lean with the end of a 2×4.
Step 3: Don’t try to make it plumb all at once or you might break it. Keep an even tension on it and keep checking it with a level for plumb. Keep packing the soil on the side of the lean until it is plumb. Then refill the rest of the hole.

If the post is rotted and or broken, you will need to replace the entire post.

Step 1: disconnect the sections of fence on both side of the post. Sometimes you may be able to get away with just letting the section hang there off their other post and sometimes you will have to remove the whole section and set it aside until you are ready to reinstall it.
Step 2: Now dig around the post on all sides until you are 12” below the break and remove the upper section of the post.
How to Repair a Wooden FenceStep 3: Using your new 4×4 post as a lever wrap a chain around the end of the post in the ground then the other end around the end of your lever. Put the lever over a block and lever the old post out of the ground. Most of the time if the old post is set in cement the cement as well as the post will come out of the ground. This is good.
Step 4: Clean up the hole with a post auger making sure you are at least 36” in the ground or below frost whichever is greater.
Step 5: Now insert the new post in the hole. And with it make sure the bottom of the hole is compacted by lifting the post a couple of times and dropping it back onto the bottom of the hole.
How to Repair a Wooden FenceStep 6: At this point refasten the fence sections back onto the post making sure they are level, as it is hard to get the post set precisely otherwise.
Step 7: Now mix some premixed concrete and pour it around the post to just below ground level making sure that you hold the new post plumb while you are doing this. Fill the rest of the hole with some dirt and pack the dirt with the end of a 2×4 to make sure the post is held securely until the cement sets.

Great, one job down, now you have the most important part of the job done. Next we will work on the rest of the fence.

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