How to Replace a Rotted Fence Post – This Old House

How to Replace a Rotted Fence Post – This Old House

so Roger we've got ourselves a cedar fence with some pretty beefy posts to finial up on top see the rails and see the boards with a nice little cap on the top pretty good condition I mean it's weathered but it looks nice yeah it's pretty the gates pretty solid but down here look at this you got a little sway in your fast that is a lot of play so something is going on down beneath right I bet ten to one you ready let's go take a look hit oh yeah that's not good we got to replace that post so I went down to my local fence company looking for matching posts and I found them you can see these are cedar posts with a finial on the top the holes line up with the exact rails we have so they're perfect now you look at this post here it looks brand-new right what I actually did is found these in a leftover pile they're already weathered they look just like the fence the new one was fifty dollars the old one I found out in the odd was twenty dollars less money and the look we want that's great a perfect match now the first thing we have to do is remove the old post and we don't want to take the whole fence a pot the first thing we're going to do is I'm going to draw a couple of lines and then I'm going to have you take the circular saw and make a cut here and here we're going to take out that piece of wood and release the rails by cutting the post above and below the rail we're gonna release the rail so they can swing out and then we can work on the post now we'll just bang out the pieces of the post with a hammer Kevin let's check the other side to see if there's any screws going through the post and into the rails oh yeah you got a couple top and bottom I'm just gonna slide these two two by fours underneath the fence to give it something to rest on when we take it apart all right keV you all ready yep we're gonna do it just take it slide the whole section out bring it out oh how bad was that huh that was pretty rotted yeah yeah things gone I got to be honest with you in most cases they don't break off like that and you can slide the whole post out now we got to dig around and get that rotten piece out of the ground I got the shovel all right I want you to throw everything on the top call me when you get that dug out Oh let's dig around it a little more and we'll get on each side Kevin and see if it'll pop like an old tooth how shitty coming there you know you got it good job number three bicuspid all right Kevin now with a posthole digger I want you to open that hole up and see if you can go any deeper Oh Kevin that pink line is attached to the base of the finial and it runs up to this post up here and is attached at the base of the finial and that's gonna give us a height line where we want to set this post so we're gonna set it in the hole let me get this onto the front side so we can see it how's that wet down a little bit but it's kind of loose in there ooh that is well a little more one more all right perfect all right cap go around the other side okay now we're gonna lift up slide that in the bottom yep all right let's line up the mid 1 min Oh ones in ok push it in good and tight yeah ok no we're ready for the next section I'm gonna tip this back to you as far as I can tip it down a little can you just tap that over to me a little bit there you go line up the middle one little ones there okay now we're gonna start tipping up to me and top one's gonna go okay stay right there for a second all right how's that look pretty good coming down there yep yeah a little more yeah okay now we just got to plumb it up all right keV take that bottom a little to me once more perfect hold it let's grab the buckets of gravel and put them around the post the leading cause of rot in these posts is excess moisture so what we're gonna do to try to extend the lifetime of this post is to put some three-quarter stone in the bottom of the hole for drainage all right Kevin you just pack it in with this 2×3 all right keV that should be good now we're gonna use some grated bass and we're gonna pack that around the post and that's really gonna hold it in place Kevin this mixture a 3/4 stone and stoned us it's gonna drain but it's really gonna pull the post in place beautiful let's take the other bucket and put it on the back side just pin these rail post calves I filled in the top six inches of the hole with loam we're off set let's see how they feel well you're more than all set that's not going anywhere nice job Roger thanks keV

43 Replies to “How to Replace a Rotted Fence Post – This Old House”

  1. I hope Roger gets back to game shape like he was in this video…:(…Seeing a big guy like him on the other side of a bad sickness is sad to see…

  2. 4:31 "…the leading cause of rot in these posts is excess moisture." Actually the leading cause is wood touching soil. Since they dug the hole why didn't they pour a concrete footing, add a fence post base bracket, and then reuse the upper, non-rotted piece of the old post? Here's another This Old House video showing how it's done.

  3. @4:50, this "graded base", otherwise referred to in clip as stone dust, it seems dark, is there soil in it? Do Home Improvement stores or local topsoil companies refer to this as "base sand"? Is there a recommended crushed screen size (i.e. 5/8", 1/4" minus crushed?). Any recommended distributors, Brands, names to look for?

  4. Roger got a matching post, didn't use it and they ended up using the new one after all ??? I suppose in the long run it really doesn't matter anyway.

  5. I know people are asking why not go down 48 inches for frost, but over my 65 years in New England I don't ever recall seeing frost more than about 20 inches, and that was a darn cold winter! BTW, I just installed city water and the inspector wanted the main at 48 inches as well, but when I asked why the outdoor meter pit had pipes within 18 inches of the surface he didn't have an answer!

  6. This video ends with finding the exact same post with the exact same cap and rail holes at the local fence company. My dog could replace the post at that point.

  7. what if you waxed the bottom that's in the ground? Like just used a bunch of candle wax or something similar to prevent moisture from getting in? Or would that cause more problems because now moisture can't exit from the bottom

  8. 4:32 "The leading cause of rot in these posts is excess moisture."

    It looks like the cause of rot is wood touching dirt. That's a code violation for the house structure, but people still build fences that way. What happened to metal brackets bolted to concrete footers?

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