Do it yourself fencing repair can be a challenge for the inexperienced but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing times are tough and as a thirty year veteran I will try to make fencing repair, changing rotted fencing posts and replacing panels in your fence doable for those who like to do it yourself and save money. I will address:
* Do it Yourself Fencing Repair
* Replacing rotted Fence Post
* Cedar fence Fence Post
* Treated Wood Post
* Galvanized Metal Fence post
* Changing a Wood Fence Picket
* Adding or Changing Fence Rail
There are as many How to Wood Fence and Fencing Repair as there are nails in fence pickets. The way that I describe here has worked for me here in the Dallas Texas metro area for many years.
Do it yourself fencing repair: Is easy if you go about it the right way but is very hard if you go about it the wrong way and can get very frustrating and costly.
Replacing Rotted Fence Post: Replacing posts in a Fence is one of the hardest things about fencing repair. I have seen DIYer’s try everything to get broken fence post out of the ground. One of my favorites is what I call the Grand Canyon. This is when a DIY will dig a hole so big around the fence post that they almost need a cement truck to bring in enough concrete to fill it. Have you ever dug a hole for a fence post? If so use the concept of digging a 8 inch diameter hole for a fence post against the concrete of the old fence post about 2-2 1/2 feet deep. Then take a sharp shooter shovel to clear a little dirt from each side of the concrete. Use post hole digger to remove the little bit of dirt that you loosened from the post hole. You now have a hole that is deep enough that with a little effort you can use a rock bar to lever the broken post and concrete into the hole you just dug so that it will be easy to lift out.
Put the new pole in the hole, take the old hard concrete and use as filler in the hole and put as much premixed wet concrete in the hole as needed to fill to the ground level then plumb the pole with a level. You can then wait 24 hours for the concrete to harden around the new fence post the nail the fence panels to it or you can go ahead nail the old or new fence panels to it, re-level the post and then use an old fence board to support it.
If you would like the easier way out then you can install a new fence post in next to the existing so that you do not have to dig the wood post out.
Cedar Fence Post: Cedar is naturally highly resistant to rot, decay, warping and bugs when used above ground. If it is saturated with moisture when installed in the hole with concrete around it and dries out, it will shrink leaving a void that will take on water. This creates a premature rotting process. This can also happen at the ground level if the concrete is not poured to a level that will help repel the water away from the fence post. You can use a good weather treatment to soak the post end prior to installing to extend the like of a cedar fence post. I have used Behr and Olympic with good success.
Treated Wood Post: Pressure treated wood post have a chemical that is resistant to rot and bugs. The tag on the end of the post at most retail chains like (Home Depot or Lowes) will tell you if it is good for ground contact. I have seen a lot of Landscape timbers used for posts in a fence. These usually do not have the proper treatment that will give it the rot protection so unless someone is on a very tight budget I will not recommend this type of wood post for fencing. Pressure treated pine fence post can warp or check from drying and shrinking (looks like a split). To minimize warping and twisting make sure that you attach the fence panels with the correct screws or nails. They need to be long enough to penetrate through the rail and the post by 2 1/2 – 3 inches. Also make sure that it is a Hot Dipped Galvanized screw or nail so that the chemicals in the wood do not deteriorate them.
I have seen that pressure treated wood post will last several years but can dry rot at the ground level but you can also minimize this by soaking the part that will come in contact with the ground in a good weather sealant.
Galvanized Metal Fence Post: Galvanized Metal Fence Post are my choice to use for fencing a backyard or changing out a rotted fence post. When they are installed correctly they can last a lifetime. Diameter of the hole they are to be cemented in to should be 8 – 10 inches and the depth should be a minimum of 30 inches and up to 48 inches. The type of soil and ground condition as well as the freeze line for your area will dictate this. They will cost a little more but in my opinion are worth the difference. Make sure that you get a heavy gauge like a.095 and put a dome cap on it so that it doesn’t act like a rain gauge. The appearance is not as natural as wood fence post but this can be easily by boxing it with a fence board or two.
Changing a Wood Fence Picket: Changing a Fence Picket is almost self explanatory. In the Dallas Texas metro the choices of fence pickets are starting with the best then to the last are Cedar (3-4 different grades), Composite ( recycled materials like Trex, Correct Deck ), Pressure Treated Yellow Pine and Spruce – Fir – and White Pine ( These are all in the white wood category). The white woods typically have a longevity of 7 – 10 years unless a good weather sealant is applied.
Once again make sure that your screws or nails are of the proper length and either hot dipped galvanized or aluminum.
You can attach a fence board to the top of the pickets or a nylon string to use to keep the top straight as you fasten them to the rails.
Adding or Changing Fence Rail: I have had the most success changing a fence rail by leaving the fence panel attached to the post. Use a sawzall with a metal cutting blade. Slip the blade in between the rail and the post so you can cut the nails or the screws. Use a Wonder Bar and a hammer so that you can wedge it between the rail and the fence board. Pry the fence board away from the fence rail. Follow the same procedure with all the fence boards. Take the fence rail out. Cut the new one to the same length. Drive the nails through the fence picket leaving the nail in. Insert the rail. Hammer to nails back into the fence rail. You then can use 3 1/2 inch hot dipped galvanized nail to hammer through the rail into the fence post.