How to Fix a Rotted Fence


If you have a wooden fence on your property, chances are good that at some point in time you need to do some wooden fence repair. You may need to replace rotten boards in a fence panel or a rotten fence post. Either process is relatively simple if you have basic carpentry skills and a few tools on hand. Once the repairs are complete, take steps, such as painting it regularly, to maintain the fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Fencing lumber
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Stainless steel screws
  • Shovel
  • Hand-held posthole digger
  • Fence post

Fence Panel

  • Assess how much damage you need to repair on the fence panel. You may only need to replace a few boards. In some instances, you may need to remove the panel entirely and replace it.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the boards of the panel in place.

  • Measure the length and width of the boards you need to replace. Cut replacement boards to the same length with a circular saw.

  • Pre-drill holes through the replacement boards. Attach them to the horizontal cross-members with the screws you removed earlier. Replace the screws if they are rusty with stainless steel screws.

  • Remove the screws on all the vertical boards of the panel if you must repair one of the horizontal pieces. Measure and cut a replacement board for the horizontal member.

  • Set the horizontal board in position. Reattach the screws through the vertical boards.

Fence Post

  • Use a screwdriver to loosen the boards or panels attached to the fence post. You may have to undo the boards at the next fence post as well to avoid warping the boards or panels.

  • Use a shovel to excavate the dirt around the fence post. Dig deep enough to loosen the post so you can easily pull it out of the ground.

  • Clean out the posthole with a hand-held posthole digger, or jobbers. Make the hole deep enough so the bottom is below the frost line.

  • Put some gravel in the bottom of the hole. Set the post on top of the gravel along with enough dirt to hold it in place. Hold a level against the side of the post to ensure it is plumb. Once it is straight, use a hand tamper to pack the gravel and dirt in the bottom of the hole around the post.

  • Continue pushing in dirt around the post, adding three or four inches of soil and tamping it until the posthole is full. Mound the dirt around the post so that water runs away from the post.

  • Reattach the boards or panels to the new fence post to finish the job.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint or stain the entire fence when you complete the repairs.
  • While the original post may have cement holding it in place, tamping dirt firmly around a replacement post is usually sufficient to hold it upright. The soil allows better drainage, which makes the post less likely to rot again.

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