Fences are a great addition to any property, but they do require repair from time to time. Whether it’s a cosmetic issue like peeling paint or serious damage from weather, rot, and mold, your fence will need attention.
Wooden fences are vulnerable to the elements, so they must be repaired with the most rot-resistant lumber available. Cedar and redwood stand up well underground, while pressure-treated lumber is saturated with preservatives.
Fence posts are used to hold up fence panels and horizontal rails, but when they start to splinter, split, or rot, it’s time to repair them. This can be a simple process, or it may require more advanced repairs.
The first step to making a repair is removing the old post. This can be difficult if the post is embedded in concrete, but with a bit of effort you can get it out.
In the meantime, support your fence with lengths of timber on either side. This will help keep it safe as you do the repair.
Cut two lengths of 19mm x 38 mm timber (or similar) and nail together to form temporary props. These will hold the wooden post in place while you make the repair.
Next, remove the damaged portion of the post from its base with a panel saw and coat it with a wood preservative. Then, use a concrete spur to place it against the remains of the post and brace it with timber props made from lengths of timber.
Set the new post in its hole, making sure it’s centered, plumb, and level with all of the other fence posts. You can also add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of the post to give it a more solid base.
You can also mix and pour concrete into the post holes. Just be careful not to spill too much because it could harden too quickly and cause the fence post to become unstable. If you do, it’s best to shovel the excess concrete out before the new post is placed in the hole.
Fence rails are a key component of any wood fence. They support slats or boards that make up the body of the fence and can also be used as decorative elements. The type of wood and style of the rails will determine how your fence looks and functions.
If your fence has sagging rails, you may need to repair the rail ends and reattach them to the posts. Alternatively, you might need to replace the entire rail.
To prevent rot and deterioration, apply a generous coat of wood preservative to the damaged area before you begin working. This will keep rotting from spreading and affecting other parts of your fence.
You can then fix the damaged rail by constructing a cleat to hold it in place. To do this, fit a 2×4 snugly underneath the rail and nail it to the post on either side with galvanized nails.
Once you have a cleat in place, screw the T-braces to the rail and the post. Once this is done, paint the T-braces to match your fence.
If your fence is split rail, cut new rails from easy-to-split wood – typically American chestnut, which was the traditional choice until chestnut blight eliminated this tree. For the best results, however, use cedar.
Start by locating each corner post. Measure and mark the layout lines of where you want to position each top and bottom rail on each post. Then, transfer these layout lines to the other posts using a string and a line level.
Slats are an important part of any fence. They provide visual privacy, as well as a decorative touch. They can be made of a variety of materials, including wood or metal.
If you notice that a slat is loose or not attached correctly, you may want to repair it yourself. You can use a level to ensure that the slat is straight, then screw it onto the post.