Replace a Section of Split Rail Fence

To remove a rail, first dig out a post.

To replace a rail in a split rail fence you have to first dig out a post so you can slip in the new rail. We show you how.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Replace a rail

Split rail fences are sturdy and long lasting, but occasionally pieces need to be replaced because they're broken or rotted. Rails and posts are available in stock or can be ordered at lumberyards and home centers.

To remove a rail, first mark the bottom of one of the posts with masking tape so you can return it to the proper depth. Dig out the post (Photo 1).

Pull out the damaged rail (Photo 2), then set the new piece into the slots and lower the post back into the hole (Photo 3). Hold the post at the right height and line it up with the other posts as you pack the soil down.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Posthole digger

You'll also need a shovel.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • New rails
  • 2x4 for tamping