Repairing Gates and Fences

If fences and gates are regularly maintained and treated with suitable preservatives there is no reason why they should not last for a very long time. It may be, however, that neglect or damage necessitates repair; in most cases, this may be done with little effort. The pictures show stages of putting up a new fence.

Fence posts

Fence posts will most likely be damaged at their base, usually where rot and damp have caused them to deteriorate. The post may either be completely replaced or supported on a concrete spur.

To replace a post, first cut the post away at each mortise, trying not to damage the tenons. Remove the post from the ground, preferably in one piece. If it is embedded in concrete a large iron bar may be used as a lever.

The old post may now be used as a guide for marking out the new. The new post should be the same dimensions as the old one. Its length must be one and a half times the above-ground height.

Once the post is marked out the new mortises may be cut with an auger bit, brace, chisel and mallet.

The post should then be treated with preservative. This is best done by soaking the base for 24 hours and periodically brushing the rest of the post with the solution. Ensure the mortises are well soaked.

Set the post in the hole and ‘joggle’ the tenons into place; there is usually enough play to enable this to be done quite easily. Ensure the post is vertical and the arris rails horizontal, then backfill with hardcore and earth or fresh concrete, and tamp well down.

Finally, drill 13mm holes through the post and arris-rail tenons and insert dowels to hold the tenons rigidly in place.

If only the bottom of the post is rotten, then a concrete spur may be used to support the good upper section. Concrete spurs may be bought from builders’ merchants and it is as well to know the dimensions of the old post, so that bolts and washers of the correct length can be supplied.

Fitting a concrete spur

First support the fence on either side of the old post (bricks and 50mm x 50mm batten braces are most suitable for this). Saw through the post, above the rot level, and then dig out the old stump.

Set the spur into the hole and pack out the base until the post and the spur fit snugly, then mark the positions of the bolt holes.

Withdraw the spur and, using an auger bit of the right size, drill through the post. The spur may then be replaced and bolted to the post. Place large washers between the nuts, or boltheads, and the timber.

Check that the post and spur are vertical, then fill in the holes with well-tamped concrete.

The temporary fence supports may be removed when the concrete has fully set, in four to five days.

Boards rotted at the base

Sometimes fences are erected without a gravel board. This omission leads to rotting of the fence boards at the bottom. With a line pinned between two posts, and parallel with the bottom rail, as a guide, cut away the entire damaged portion of the fence.

The ensuing gap may. Be filled, either by inserting a gravel board, which may be fixed to short battens nailed to the posts, or by laying a concrete foundation and building up an infill wall of bricks or screen blocks.

If the latter method is used, the fences should be treated with preservative before the wall is built.

Broken arris-rail tenons

Where the arris-rail tenon is broken, clean off the end and remove any damaged pieces from the mortise. Give the whole area a good soaking with preservative and then fix the rail back in position, using a proprietary metal arris-rail bracket.

They are made to fit over the arris-rail to which they are nailed or screwed. Similar fixings are employed to hold them to the post.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Repairing Gates and Fences


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