Newsletter / May 4, 2018
A wooden fence can be a beautiful addition to your property, giving you privacy from the neighbors, providing additional security for your home and yard, and enabling you to keep pets and small children safely contained. Wood fences in particular are susceptible to the elements and insect damage, and require ongoing maintenance to keep them looking and functioning as well as they did on the day they were installed. Before contacting one of the handyman contractors at Handyman Connection, consider these tips for simple fence repairs to determine if you can take care of the repairs yourself.
If your fencing seems a little loose, it probably needs additional support. This can be done by adding a third rail between the existing top and bottom rail. You can either attach the new rail to the fence post with #8 deck screws, or toenail it with three-inch galvanized nails. The fence boards should then be fastened to the added rail with the same #8 deck screws.
If one of the long horizontal support rails on the back of the fence is damaged, you can reinforce the weakened rail with a sister rail. The amount of damage will determine the appropriate length of the sister rail; if necessary, it can match the length of the original. Clamp the sister rail in place above or below the original, then drill a hole through both boards and secure with ⅜ x 4-inch carriage bolts. The clamps can then be removed.
If one of the support rails is rotted through or otherwise damaged beyond repair, it will need to be replaced. To do so, you will first need to remove the attached fence boards by unscrewing them or carefully prying the boards off and removing the nails. Take care not to damage the boards as you do this so they can be reattached later. Next, take off the old rail by removing the hardware or pulling out the nails that are holding it in place, then measure out and cut a new rail to fit in its place. Once that is nailed or screwed down, you can then reattach the fence boards.
Repair of posts that are leaning is a little more involved, but still possible to do yourself. First, start by digging around the affected post until you get to the bottom. For a post set in concrete, you’ll have to break up the concrete footing surrounding it with a sledgehammer and chisel. Be sure to wear protective gloves and eyewear when doing this. After the footing is broken up, you’ll need to level the post. This is done by attaching braces to it, plumbing the post with a level, and then screwing the braces to stakes set in the ground. Once it’s secured, check the plumb and adjust the braces as needed. For the final step, fill in around the new post with concrete to form a new footing. Start by mixing a bag of premixed concrete according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it’s similar to the consistency of oatmeal. Then pour it into the hole, making sure to slope the concrete away from the post to aid in drainage. Otherwise, you may have to replace the post again in a couple years due to moisture damage or rot.
While fence repair is a fairly easy DIY project, some home carpentry projects are best handled by a professional. Check out the list of carpentry services on our website and give us a call at 1-800-88-HANDY the next time you need framing, trim or finish carpentry services.