10 Ways To Repair a Fence

Updated: Aug. 18, 2023

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 Sky
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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 Development
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Wood Fence: Straighten a Leaning Gate

The two most common reasons why wooden entrance 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 paint
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Wood Fence: Reinforce 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.
  • Removing the support blocks.
  • Stain or paint the fence panel to match the rest.
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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. Learn how to restore a fence.
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The barb and net
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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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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 using expanding foam or concrete and let it setup 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 fence
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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 fence
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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 Field
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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 the split rail. 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 Fence
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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. Learn how to remove wooden fence posts.