Author Topic: Fence Repair Advice?  (Read 682 times)

Captain PlanIt

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Fence Repair Advice?
« on: December 31, 2017, 02:22:22 PM »
I'm repairing some fence posts at my parents' house that have rotted out / were kicked out by a neighborhood teenager years ago. The fence was originally assembled and mounted once it was assembled, but we don't want to take out the whole fence or damage it any further at this point. We just want to replace the posts.

So I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of 2x4s to pop in, drilled holes in the top, and mounted them on existing nails at the top of the fence. The problem is Home Depot doesn't do precision cuts, so most of the posts are too short and there are gaps left in the posts.

Do any of you have any suggestions about how to fill in those gaps without access to a table saw or anything? I'm not visiting them for much longer, so I don't have a lot of time left and I'm not looking to totally start over. I'm thinking I can push the posts up to the top of the fence, glue them, and then fill in the bottom gaps with putty or something.

The posts will eventually be painted over.


Captain PlanIt

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 02:25:19 PM »
Some images:



lthenderson

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2018, 11:13:15 AM »
There is probably no long term solution that will last very long other than starting over with appropriately sized post. Wood, especially that found outdoors, moves so much due to temperature changes that any putty or such will crumble and fall out shortly.

In a situation like that, a cheap handsaw would have been worth the extra cost.

CDP45

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2018, 04:50:41 PM »
If they're going to be there for 5+ years, just replace the whole fence. Those un-treated 2x2 won't last long... Unless you got cedar?

Also don't use nails, buy coated screws for exterior use and as you screw it in, it will suck in the top and bottom rails that are sagging. Probably need to use 3 inch long screws and predrill or use a pocket hole guide.

DON'T USE GLUE- unnecessary and probably ineffective as well.

I did a deck last summer, and I'd recommend writing down all the wood you need to replace the fence and then add 10% extra materials, and get a couples quotes from local lumber stores and then home depot.

jpdx

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2018, 06:05:19 PM »
Looks like a nice fence. Personally I would move ahead with refurbishing vs replacing. Like the poster above said, make sure you are using pressure treated wood or cedar. If you purchased untreated pine, that gives you an opportunity to start over anyway. :) Borrow a miter saw so you can make precision cuts as the sizes of the posts may need to vary slightly.

Perhaps you could fill the gaps with exterior paintable caulk, but this will be annoying and won't be as good or as strong as using the correctly sized pieces.

jpdx

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 06:09:07 PM »
Also, how are you are securing the posts from the bottom? It looks difficult to get a drill or a hammer underneath.

Captain PlanIt

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2018, 11:30:31 PM »
Man, I should have asked you guys for advice before I started. They'll probably end up replacing the whole fence at some point in the next 1-3 years, but for now it was an eyesore and I wanted to do something to help in the meantime since they haven't shown any signs that they were going to.

To make things worse, I'm only visiting for a few more days so I'm concerned that I don't really have time to start over and do it properly. I don't know anyone in the area with a saw I can borrow, especially on such short notice. I've tried filling some of the gaps with plastic wood, and I'll see how that fares once it dries. Honestly, if that doesn't work I'm thinking of just nailing in some horizontal boards instead of trying to start over with all of these posts from scratch, giving the time constraints.

I can then try to do it properly next time I visit.

There is probably no long term solution that will last very long other than starting over with appropriately sized post. Wood, especially that found outdoors, moves so much due to temperature changes that any putty or such will crumble and fall out shortly.

In a situation like that, a cheap handsaw would have been worth the extra cost.

Yeah, since it was 70 or so posts my relatives discouraged me from doing it with a handsaw, and I didn't really know any better since this is my first time doing something like this. I definitely regret the approach now.

When you mention a handsaw, do you mean an electric saw or a totally manual handsaw? I did experiment with a miter box / handsaw and couldn't even get through a single 2x2 with it.

They live in southern CA so I wonder if the temperature might be less of an issue for a short term solution?

If they're going to be there for 5+ years, just replace the whole fence. Those un-treated 2x2 won't last long... Unless you got cedar?

Also don't use nails, buy coated screws for exterior use and as you screw it in, it will suck in the top and bottom rails that are sagging. Probably need to use 3 inch long screws and predrill or use a pocket hole guide.

DON'T USE GLUE- unnecessary and probably ineffective as well.

I did a deck last summer, and I'd recommend writing down all the wood you need to replace the fence and then add 10% extra materials, and get a couples quotes from local lumber stores and then home depot.

The fence is built in two layers, and the nails to hold in the posts are in between the two layers of the frame of the fence. So if I tried to screw through the fence I would end up hitting the nails that are already in there between the two pieces. Hence trying to use the existing nails in the top.

Looks like a nice fence. Personally I would move ahead with refurbishing vs replacing. Like the poster above said, make sure you are using pressure treated wood or cedar. If you purchased untreated pine, that gives you an opportunity to start over anyway. :) Borrow a miter saw so you can make precision cuts as the sizes of the posts may need to vary slightly.

Perhaps you could fill the gaps with exterior paintable caulk, but this will be annoying and won't be as good or as strong as using the correctly sized pieces.

Yeah, it's untreated douglas green fir. So it really sounds like I should start over on the wood posts when I have more time. I tried using caulk and it was a huge pain just to try to fill in one. Plastic wood is a little easier to work with for this purpose, so it might be the short term solution I'm looking for. All of your comments are making it clear this isn't really a solution that will last for them, though. But I'm hoping it will be enough to hold them until my next visit later in the year?

Also, how are you are securing the posts from the bottom? It looks difficult to get a drill or a hammer underneath.

The posts aren't actually really secured on the bottom yet in the pictures. If I go with the plastic wood method, I'm thinking that will work as the adhesive.

lthenderson

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Re: Fence Repair Advice?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 07:23:00 AM »
Yeah, since it was 70 or so posts my relatives discouraged me from doing it with a handsaw, and I didn't really know any better since this is my first time doing something like this. I definitely regret the approach now.

When you mention a handsaw, do you mean an electric saw or a totally manual handsaw? I did experiment with a miter box / handsaw and couldn't even get through a single 2x2 with it.

They live in southern CA so I wonder if the temperature might be less of an issue for a short term solution?

I was thinking a manual handsaw since is sounds like you didn't want to spend extra money or end up with a tool that you have to find a home for or take back with you. You can get a crosscut handsaw these days for $10 on the low end and for that price, it would be disposable on a job like this. I live near a community of Amish that build entire houses and barns in a day using handsaws. It can be done, especially if you aren't trying to use an old dull one that has been hanging on a hook in someone's garage for forty years. A new sharp handsaw will easily cut through douglas fir.

Southern California will help temperature wise but any putty still won't last long. It will get heated and cooled by the hot sun and cool nights.

Probably too late but this solution came to me reading this post the second time through. You can buy a treated piece of wood to lay down on the bottom rail to increase the thickness of it and then recut all those poorly cut posts to proper size and end up with a fence that will last a long time if painted properly. It would be cheaper than starting over but still a fair amount of work.