Repairing a picket fence

A picket fence is the right choice for adding beauty to a front yard but it can also need higher maintenance than other types of fences. In order to keep to a minimum the number of times you have to repair a picket fence, you’ll have to paint or stain it at least once a year.


Replacing a picket fence

  1. First loosen the old picket by hammering it on the side that is opposite to the nails.
  2. Remove the fence completely and then try to get out any nails that have remained in the rail.
  3. Make a model for the new picket by tracing the outline of the top of the old picket and then cut it with an electric jigsaw.
  4. The new picket has to be attached by the rail with two galvanized nails.
  5. Apply a layer of paint and stain so that there is no difference between the new picket and the rest of the fence.

Rail reinforcement

  1. If there is rotted wood at the end of the rail just chip it away.
  2. Try to make a wooden block that has the same measures like a fence post.
  3. Fix it to the post under the rail, using two galvanized nails.
  4. The rail has to be nailed to the wooden block.
  5. Apply some paint or stain on the rail and the new block.

“Sister” post

  1. You will find how to repair a rotten underground post without losing it entirely.
  2. Cut the underground part of the post about 2 inches above the ground.
  3. If the post is in dirt just dig around it and if it is fixed in concrete, use a hammer or a sledgehammer to make a hole around it.
  4. Get rid of the underground section.
  5. Try to make the edges of the hole straight-sided.
  6. Put first some gravel or small stones into the hole.
  7. Make some measurements for the new hole.
  8. Cut a 4 by 4 piece of lumber which has a double length than the depth of the hole. The top of the new post has to be cut at a 45-degree angle in order to let the water run off after the installation.
  9. It’s time to place the sister post in the new made hole facing the old post with the longest side.
  10. Drill some holes into the old and new post of about 1 foot apart. After that, insert a lag bolt in each of the holes and fasten a nut in one of them and a washer in the other.
  11. Verify if the original post is plumb with a level.
  12. After mixing the concrete, fill the hole with it to a few inches above the ground. Use a trowel to smooth the concrete so that it has a slight slope down from the post.


  • Pay attention to soil building around the pickets because this can lead to rot and water damages.
  • If you need wood for the new pickets, try to get them from a wooden pallet using a hammer and a pry bar.
  • If you find damages on the post well above the ground is very probable to have been made by termites or ants. In this situation you don’t have any alternative than to replace the post completely.
  • If your fence is from the 1970s then you should check with a professional about the paint removal or sanding.
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