Building & Repairing Fences

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Published: 23rd December 2010
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How to repair a fence
All timber fences will need some sort of maintenance or repair during their lifetime. This may could consist of dealing with rotten timber or stabilizing the fence. Whatever the dilemma, it should be dealt with promptly.

Spurring a post
On most timber fences, itís the posts that determine stability and this is where the bulk of repairs will have to be made. As fence posts are bedded within the ground, a comparatively typical occurrence is rotting. Having said that, this does not necessarily mean that the whole post needs to be replaced. You may secure the sound timber to a concrete fence spur that serves as an anchor and is fixed in the ground in the exact same way as a post. Check that the spur is upright and that its longer face is against the post. Use the pre drilled holes within the spur as a template and transfer them on to the post. You'll then have to drill holes inside the posts and bind the two together making use of coach bolts.
Gravel boards
If you have a gravel board that has rotted, then replace it without delay to prevent the vertical boards being attacked by the damp. It is best to first remove the rotten boards, and then clear away the soil that will hinder you from fixing the new ones in position. Gravel boards are fixed into recesses cut inside the fence posts or nailed to blocks called 'cleats' fixed to the bottom of the posts. If necessary, cut new cleats from 50mm sq timber. These ought to be 150mm long and you will have to nail them to the inside faces of the posts. Use 150 x 25mm timber for the new gravel board. Nail to the blocks and check that there's no soil piling against the board.

Concrete post
Your fence may well have concrete posts, in which case you'll have to cut longer building blocks, about 600mm in length. Drive these into the soil so that they butt up tightly against the inside face of the post. Be sure that only 150mm of the pegs project from the ground, then nail the board in position.

Replacing boards
Sometimes on a close-boarded-fence individual boards will have to be replaced. Begin by removing the old one and extracting the old nails. If this is impossible, drive them into the arris rail. Then punch by means of the nails holding the thicker outer edge of the adjacent board before slipping the thinner edge of the new board under it. You are able to then nail through the two boards and the thick edge of the new board where it overlaps the previous one.

Panel fences
With panel fences, repairs are not quite so basic, specifically with inter woven fencing. It is not easy to obtain individual slats to fit into a panel and to do so you will in all probability have to remove a slat from a damaged panel. If you do not have any damaged panels, ask at a local garden centre. To replace a slat, lay the damaged panel on firm dry ground. Remove the central vertical support band on the upper side and one of the two battens at every end. Carefully remove the damaged slat and replace it with the new one, taking care not to disturb the position of the other slats. You'll be able to then replace the vertical battens and fix the panel back into position. A simpler method would be to replace the whole panel then proceed as if erecting a net/panel fence. A damaged board in a panel of horizontal close boarded fencing could be replaced.

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