Replace a Section of Split Rail Fence

Updated: Mar. 12, 2019

To remove a rail, first dig out a post.

replace split rail fenceFamily Handyman
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.

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Replace a split rail fence

Photo 1: Dig alongside the split rail fence post

Dig to the bottom of one side of the post that holds the rotted rail. Dig like a pro with these tips.

Photo 2: Remove the old split rail

Lift the post out of the ground and remove the old rail.

Photo 3: Slip in the new rail

With the new rail in place, set the post back into the hole and tamp the dirt back in around it.

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. Here’s how to fix a split post too.

Required Tools for this Repair Split Rail Fence 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 Replace Split Rail Fence Project

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

  • 2x4 for tamping
  • New rails