When a wooden fence becomes worn, it can be more than just an eyesore and a hit to your house’s curb appeal. It can also be a hazard.
You may think that bringing life back into your old fence is a job for professionals, but most fence-related repairs are easily done with a little DIY spirit and the proper guidance. Check out these tips for revitalizing your wooden fence!
Take a Careful Assessment
Make sure to take a careful assessment of the situation before doing anything. It may be clear that the fence needs a good scrubbing or maybe some paint. What could be less evident is any broken boards or rotten fence posts.
Walk along the fence and inspect it for any damage. Existing damage can be worsened from a pressure washer, which will result in more harm than good. Identify problem areas in the fence, decide what course of action should be taken in each case and mark them to come back to.
Reinforcing Fence Rails
If you find that your fence is loose, one way to deal with this is to reinforce the rails that run horizontally. This can be done by fastening a 2×4 cleat to the fence post just beneath the rail to stabilize and reinforce it. You can use a deck screw or 3” nail to attach the cleat to the rail.
A second way to reinforce a rail if it has a break in it is to attach a sister rail, or a 2×4 that runs the length of the rail. This will prevent you from having to completely take the fence apart.
Replacing Fence Rails
Fences are divided into sections, so you shouldn’t have to take an entire fence apart to replace a fence rail—only a portion of it. This includes unscrewing each board in that section and laying it aside. Remove the old rail and switch it for a new one. Then, replace the previously removed fence boards.
Repairing Fence Posts
If all you wish to do is repair a fence post, you can add a sister post in much the same way as a sister rail is added. Simply fasten a similar piece of lumber to your post and the adjoining rails.
Replacing a Fence Post
Replacing a fence post may prove a bit more labor intensive than some of the other previously mentioned upgrades, as fence posts are often set in concrete.
First, dig around the concrete that the post is set into.
Once you have gotten the concrete loose from the earth, you will need a three-pound hammer and cold chisel to break the concrete up and remove it from the hole.
Brace the new post to keep it in place, making sure that the post is set plumb.
Fill the hole with concrete, making sure to slope it away from the post for drainage.
Now that you’ve repaired any existing damage to your fence, it’s time for a good cleaning. There are a couple of different methods recommended for cleaning a wood fence, however, the method you choose will depend on the size and condition of your fence as well as your own personal preferences.
For smaller fences, use a bucket of warm water and mild cleaner to remove any stains. Add 1 to 2 cups of bleach in place of the cleaner if you’re going to be dealing with some pretty tough stains. Then, use a fiber scrub brush to scrub the fence.
A pressure washer is better suited for cleaning especially large areas. They can effectively get to hard to reach places, such as the interior portions of a basket weave patterned fence.
Make sure to use no more than 1000 psi when pressure washing your fence. Be careful of any “sore” spots you observed when inspecting previously in your fencing to prevent escalating any damage. Once you are done washing your fence it may take quite a bit of time for it to fully dry.
One of the easiest ways to liven up an old wooden fence is to stain or paint it. The first step in this process is to seal the wood. If you choose a wood sealer with color in it, you may not need to stain it. Choose a shade that is a little darker than the one you want as the sun will fade it over time. Be cautious, however, about choosing a shade that is too dark. A dark shade will absorb heat which will cause the wood to warp over time.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Because your yard is the first thing people see when coming to your home, your fence is an important part of the impression people take of you and your home. Keeping it tidy and in good shape will not only improve your home’s curb appeal but will also help keep you and your family safe in the long run!