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Tips for Repairing a Wood Fence

repairing-broken-fenceAll fences are subject to outdoor elements such as sun, wind, snow, and rain, which aid in deterioration. Whether you've got broken boards, sagging sections or just a drab, faded appearance, the right tools and a little TLC can keep your backyard oasis looking like new without replacing your entire fence. Here are some tips when it comes to wood fence repair.

Removing Old Fence Sections

If small sections of old fencing are beyond repair, it’s best to completely remove and replace them. Using a reciprocating saw to remove old wooden fence posts and boards can easily cut your work time in half. In addition, a reciprocating saw will allow you to cut the old fence down in sections so it is easier to remove and haul away.

Before you begin, set the adjustable pivot shoe on the reciprocating saw, which will allow you to make cuts in confined spaces. This function allows you not only to set the depth of your saw’s cut control, but it’s also more efficient because it adjusts the pivot shoe in or out so you can use more or less of your saw blade.

Be sure to select the right type and length of blade.

Breaking Up Post Footings

If a wooden fence rail needs to be replaced but concrete is holding the post in the ground, the footing will need to be broken up and removed first. If it’s just a small post footing, simply dig it up for easy removal. If the footing is too large to be moved, the best solution is to break it down into small pieces using a jackhammer.

To remove small post footings, dig around the whole perimeter of the concrete footing with a shovel or a post hole digger. It isn’t always necessary to dig until the bottom is reached; try moving the concrete back and forth every few inches. If the post loosens, simply pull it out of the ground like a tree.

For bigger, heavier footings, use an electric jackhammer. A jackhammer works by using compressed air to force a drill into the ground. This will break up the concrete into pieces that you can move away from the site with ease.

Always wear safety goggles, thick clothes, ear protection, and work gloves while operating a jackhammer. Read the instruction manual to get a basic understanding of the machine and how to use it properly. Don’t use the jackhammer perpendicular to the ground. Instead, keep it at a slight angle; this will minimize the risk of the tip getting stuck in the concrete and allow for better control.

Replacing a Fence Rail

First, check the fence post to determine whether it’s just loose and needs reinforcing or if it has rot and needs to be replaced. To check for rot, dig out some of the dirt around the post; if the wood is soft and breaks off easily, the post needs to be replaced.

To dig a hole for a new fence post, use a post hole digger or a power post auger. A post hole digger is completely manual and generally used for smaller projects. They work by digging and grabbing the soil with a clamping action, thus creating the hole.

A power post auger is a gas powered auger that digs fence post holes by spinning an earth-digging bit. These are used for bigger projects where several fence post holes need to be dug.

Anytime you’re going to be digging, check that there are no power lines, gas lines, or telephone lines underground first. Call the utility companies to come out and mark where it’s unsafe to dig.

For safety’s sake, don’t attempt to use a power post auger alone. Have a friend help position the auger in the designated area and start the engine while you hold it steady.

Need tools for your fence project? Rental Ranch carries a wide selection, including jack hammers, fence stretchers, post hole diggers, power post augers and more. Check our equipment rental page for a complete list, or just call us at 316-838-4211.