Fence Repairs: Rotten Panels and Posts
The most general types of repairs to boarded fences consist of measures to deal with fence panels or boards that are rotted at the lower edges and dealing with rotted posts. In the case of the former, if the rot is not too extensive, a gravel board may be fitted along the lower edge of the fence. Wet rot, unlike, is not contagious and it does not spread. The rotted ends of boards may be trimmed to neaten them, but if they are too fragile, they can be left untrimmed without fear of the rot spreading. The new gravel board should be secured to the fence rails, or into upright posts. 6-in. by 1-in. should be a suitable size for a gravel board, for most fences, but the board may be wider if required. The gravel board should be well coated with creosote, or any other outside wood preservative, before it is fitted, and the top edge of the board should slope downwards and outwards.
The section of wooden fence-posts below ground level will rot and deteriorate with the passage of time. This however may be prevented by periodically saturating the base of the post with fresh creosote. To do this a diagonal hole should be drilled into the post near ground level. The hole should be large enough to take the spout of a small funnel. The treatment consists of inserting the funnel in the hole and filling it with creosote or any other wood preservative, leaving the funnel in place until the preservative is absorbed by the timber. This, however, is a measure of prevention and not a cure. If the post has rotted, and is dangerously weakened at ground level, it may be strengthened in one of two ways.
In the first method, metal angle-irons with sharpened ends are driven into the ground at the accessible corners of the post. Galvanizedare then driven into the post through holes drilled in the angle-irons. Metal angle-irons for this purpose are obtainable from most local builders’ merchants.
Another way of reinforcing a weak post consists of strengthening with a spur. The spur may be of wood or concrete, and precast concrete spurs for this purpose are obtainable from local suppliers. The spur is inserted in the ground at the accessible side of the fence-post, and is then bolted through holes drilled through the unrotted part of the base of the post. If the wood spurs are used they may be preserved by covering the sloping top with a small piece of zinc folded over the edge. To be fully effective the hole for the new spur should be as small as possible, removing as little soil as can be helped. This may be dug out with a small garden trowel, or a hole may be formed by ramming a spiked metal bar into the hole and swinging the top end to open the hole.