Repair Your Wooden Fences and Gates for Better Security

Time: 3-4 hours

Good fences may make good neighbors, but repairing your wooden fences and gates does more than keep out prowling thieves or prevent an eyesore from overtaking your yard. Don’t let your wooden fences and gates mold over and become health hazards — and maybe make friends with your neighbors while you're at it.

What's in it for you?

  • Increased privacy
  • Improved fence structure
  • Decreased risk of lawn erosion

Repair Your Wooden Fences and Gates

  1. Clean the fence with a power washer. Fill a power washer up with soap and water and blast away the stains on your fence just like you did with your wooden deck. Bye, bye mold.

  2. Inspect each post for damage. Walk along your fence and check each post and slat for damage — anything from chipping paint to severe cracks or breaks in the wood. Warning: Grab some gloves before touching the slats or you may get a splinter.

  3. Remove severely damaged slats. Use a crowbar to pry severely damaged slats off the fence. (You can use the horizontal bar running across the fence as leverage.) Look for slats that can’t be repaired, like those with cracks that go all the way through the board. You can recycle the boards at a local recycling center.

  4. Repair slats with minor damage. Grab some sandpaper (60-100 grit works best) and sand out minor imperfections in your wooden fence — bumps, paint cracks, and splintered areas to name a few.

  5. Install new slats. Buy wooden fence slats and nail them into place — try to get ones that look the same and use a level to make sure they sit at the same height as your old ones. Paint and stain all the slats. It’ll protect their surface from weathering damage.

  6. Improve post positioning. Sagging or leaning posts are no way to support a fence. Fix them by refreshing the cement around the post. Dig a small hole around the circumference of the base until you hit concrete. Reposition the posts so they’re straight and pour wet concrete into the bottom of the hole. Add two inches of gravel after the cement dries and fill in the hole with dirt. Done.

Pro Tip: When positioning your old posts or adding new ones, place a tarp down near the post and put all the soil on it. You can just lift up the tarp later when it's time to fill the holes around the posts with soil.

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