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10 Ways To Repair a Fence

It isn't that hard to keep your fence in great shape. Most fence repairs are DIY-able, although you may have to do some digging.

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Cedar Picket Fence and Skyduckycards/Getty Images

Wood Fence: Replace a Post

This is a common repair because wood posts rot, resulting in a leaning fence. This repair isn’t difficult. You’ll need 2×4 bracing, a reciprocating saw, a digging bar, concrete, a drill and some screws.

  • Brace the fence panels on both sides of the post from both sides of the fence.
  • Cut the nails holding the fence rails to the post with a reciprocating saw.
  • When the post is free, muscle it out of the ground, then break up the concrete with a sledgehammer and dig it out of the ground.
  • Set the new post plumb, brace it in position and backfill the hole with new concrete.
  • Reattach the fence rails with three-inch screws and remove the braces when the concrete hardens.
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Fence of Housing DevelopmentThomas Winz/Getty Images

Wood Fence: Straighten a Leaning Gate

The two most common reasons why wooden gates lean are loose hinge screws or gate posts.

  • If a leaning gate post is set in dirt or gravel, you can straighten it by driving a fence repair spike into the ground next to it and screwing the post to the spike.
  • If the post is set in concrete, it’s better to reset it in new concrete, following the technique described in the previous slide.
  • When loose screws are the issue, remove them and replace them with longer screws.
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Wooden garden fence coated with medium oak colour paintrichard johnson/Getty Images

Wood Fence: Replace a Fence Panel

If your wood fence features 4×8 panels and one is damaged, here’s how to replace. You’ll need a drill, screws and some scrap wood.

  • Screw blocks of wood to the posts on either side of the damaged panel and just under the bottom rail.
  • Remove the screws holding the panel to the posts or cut them with a reciprocating saw. Let the panel fall onto the blocks. Remove the panel.
  • Set a new panel on the blocks.
  • Drive holes for pocket screws in the rails, then drive three-inch screws to hold the panel to the posts.
  • Finish by removing the support blocks.
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Chain Link Fence: Replace a Bent Rail

A falling branch or other heavy object can bend the top rail of a chain link fence. When that happens, replace the bent section. You’ll need linesman’s pliers, a reciprocating saw, a new section of railing and a coupling sleeve.

  • With linesman’s pliers, remove the ties holding the bent rail to the fencing.
  • Cut both ends of the bent section of the rail with a reciprocating saw. Remove the bent rail.
  • Slip the crimped end of the new railing into one of the cut ends.
  • Cut the other end flush with the existing railing, then slip on a coupling sleeve.
  • Join the ends and slide the coupler over the joint.
  • Reattach the fencing with fence ties. The old ones should still work.
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The barb and netPCharnnarong/Getty Images

Chain Link Fence Repair: Replace Damaged Fencing Fabric

Sometimes you need to replace a section of chain link fence fabric damaged by weather, critters or a misdirected vehicle. You’ll need linesman’s pliers and a roll of new fencing.

  • Start by removing the ties holding the fencing fabric to the top and bottom rails.
  • Choose one wire on either side of the damaged area. Untwist in at the top and bottom with linesman’s pliers and remove it by twisting in counterclockwise, like a corkscrew.
  • Measure a slightly longer replacement section and remove it from the roll by untwisting a wire in the same way you did previously.
  • Install the replacement in the existing fence by twisting the wire sections in the reverse direction (clockwise), then tie the top and bottom of the new fencing to the railings.
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Fencetitaniumdoughnut/Getty Images

Chain Link Fence Repair: Replace a Bent Fence Post

When a chain link fence post bends, you have to replace it — there’s no other option. This is one of the more challenging fence repair jobs. You’ll need lineman’s pliers, a new post, some concrete and an adjustable wrench.

  • Disconnect the fencing from the rails on either side of the post.
  • Disconnect the tension bars in the ends of the fabric from the posts by loosening the clamps with an adjustable wrench.
  • Work the post and concrete out of the ground, set a new post in concrete and let the concrete set for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Reattach the rails first, then attach the fencing fabric to the rails so it hangs loosely.
  • Pull the fence tight enough to secure the tension bars to the posts with tension clamps. Use a come along tool if you can’t do this by hand.
  • Permanently tie the top of the fencing to the rails.
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New White vinyl fenceghornephoto/Getty Images

Vinyl Fence Repair: Replace a Damaged Slat

When one or more slats of a vinyl fence are damaged, it’s easy to replace them. The only tool you need is a screwdriver.

  • Tap the caps off the posts on either side of the damaged section with a hammer and chisel.
  • Reach inside the hollow post with a drill/driver and loosen the screw that holds the top railing to the tab inside the post.
  • Slide the railing to one end, lift the other and remove it.
  • Pull slats off the bottom railing one-by-one until you get to the damaged one.
  • Replace it, then set the other slats back in the same order you removed them.
  • Replace the top rail, screw it in place, tap on the post caps and you’re done.
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New and modern garden fenceU. J. Alexander/Getty Images

Aluminum Fence Repair: Replace a Damaged Panel

When part of an aluminum fence panel suffers damage, you need to replace the entire panel. This fix takes a reciprocating saw, a drill/driver, some self-tapping metal screws and some railing brackets.

  • Start by cutting the panel free from one post with a reciprocating saw.
  • Remove the screws holding the other end of the panel to the post, then pull the cut end of the panel toward you to disengage it from the other post.
  • Insert the rails of a new panel into the slots in the post where you removed the screws.
  • With the saw, cut the rails at the other end to the proper length.
  • Slip railing brackets onto the rails and screw the brackets to the posts.
  • Replace the screws in the other post.
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Fence In FieldMike Perkins/Getty Images

Wood Split-Rail Fence Repair: Replace a Damaged Rail

The rails on a split-rail fence fit into holes in the posts. When a rail rots, you’ll need to lift the post to get it out and replace it. This takes a post hole digger and a rounded-end shovel.

  • Shovel around the post with a post hole digger until the post is loose enough to move.
  • Lift it up far enough to pull out the damaged rail, then pull the rail out from the adjacent post.
  • Insert a new rail into the hole in the adjacent post. Then lift the post you dug out and insert the rail into that one.
  • Backfill the hole with tamped dirt or gravel.
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Iron Fencetillsonburg/Getty Images

Wrought Iron Fence: Repair a Break

When the decorative sections of a wrought iron fence separate, the usual method for rejoining is welding them, something a pro would normally do. However, you can make a repair that’s almost as sturdy with an epoxy repair putty such as JB Weld.

  • Clean off any rust with a rust remover and a wire brush.
  • Mix the putty with the hardener according to instructions and apply it to the joint with a putty knife.
  • Clamp the sections together with a C-clamp.
  • Wipe off excess putty while it’s still soft, then wait at least 24 hours before removing the clamp.

Chris Deziel
Chris Deziel has been active in the building trades for more than 30 years. He helped build a small city in the Oregon desert from the ground up and helped establish two landscaping companies. He has worked as a carpenter, plumber and furniture refinisher. Deziel has been writing DIY articles since 2010 and has worked as an online consultant, most recently with Home Depot's Pro Referral service. His work has been published on Landlordology, Apartments.com and Hunker. Deziel has also published science content and is an avid musician.