When we moved into our house eight years ago, it came with a post-and-rail fence – the kind with round posts and round rails. It was looking a bit worn at that time with some bent rails and moss growing, but all the rails were at least intact.
However, over those years the moss gave way to rotting wood, split posts and broken rails. It’s one of those things that you know looks pretty bad, and every time you drive in you think, “we gotta fix that fence…” but then the house needs to be painted, the carpet needs to be ripped out, or the kitchen needs to be remodeled.
There was also the little fact that we had no clue how to repair a round post-and-rail fence since the round rails fit tightly into the holes on the posts – and ripping it out completely seemed like a huge job.
Another thing we weren’t sure about was this odd part of the property where the fence just stopped. The former owners had added an access drive that was only very occasionally used by us – but notice how there’s not any fence on the other side of the driveway access? That’s always been weird to me.
I really didn’t like how the fence stopped in the middle of the yard and was voting to get rid of it completely when Brian discovered an easy fix for the whole thing after discovering round rails for $5 each at a local farm store (Wilco) that were slightly longer than the space between our posts and were pointed at one end only. And since only one of our posts needed to be replaced, we could simply replace all the rails and keep the original posts.
Here’s Brian’s simple system for repairing round post-and-rail fence rails:
- Insert flat end of round rail into existing post hole as far as it will go.
- Hold pointed end against post where it would need to be inserted into the opposite existing hole.
- Mark where the post hits the pointed end (the portion to be cut off).
- Use a handsaw to saw off the pointed end at the marking.
- Push cut end into the hole in the post.
- Center the rail between the two posts so equal amounts of rail are in each corresponding post hole.
We were both really happy with the results – and that it took him about 5 minutes to do!
Here you can see a comparison between the old and the new rails. They obviously aren’t the same – they’re a bit thinner and right now they’re lighter than the posts – but don’t they look SO much better? And after one winter I’m sure the post and rails will be weathered to the same color.
As for the weird part of the fence that stopped halfway through the yard – that took a bit more time since we had to dig post holes and secure them with cement. Luckily we had old fence posts that we reused by cutting to the height we needed.
We decided to make the post in the middle of the access driveway removable – we actually don’t think we will remove it, but someone down the road might want to, you just never know. Brian’s solution was to cement a gallon plant pot in the hole, put the post in the pot and then fill tightly with rocks all around until the post didn’t move. Hey, whatever works!
I’m loving that the fence finally goes across the entire front of the property – and that all of the rails are intact! While it would’ve been cheaper to remove the fence completely, we do like the definition it gives to the property and in the realm of home-improvement projects, $200 isn’t bad for a much-needed upgrade.
What would you have done – remove or repair?
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