Our quick expert guide on how to fix a leaning fence

If you’ve got wooden fence posts rather than concrete fence posts between your garden fence panels, then this is that time of year when you may well find yourself having to deal with a leaning fence. There are various reasons why fence posts can start to lean – it might be because of shallow post placement or ageing materials, but the most common cause by far is extreme weather, like wind and heavy rain.

fixing a garden fence

Now, if your fence does start to lean, it’s something that you’re going to want to get sorted fairly quickly, because otherwise it can quickly start to pull down the rest of the fence.

You’ve essentially got two options for dealing with the issue. Option one: you can place another shorter post up against the leaning post in order to stabilise it, and bond them by either bolting them or tying them together.

Alternatively, you can dig up and replace the fence post. If you’re going with the second option here’s a quick walkthrough on how to do it!

Assess the damage

First things first – it’s good to start by checking whether the entire fence post does indeed need replacing.

Begin by spreading out some tarpaulin nearby, and remove the soil around your leaning post. Transfer this displaced soil to the tarp – it’s going to make it much easier to prevent a mess spreading around your garden, and it’ll make the job a lot faster a bit later on. If you used cement footing for your post, then you’ll first need to use something heavy like a sledgehammer to break it, and dig out your post.

Then, check the post itself to find out how far the rot has spread (or even if it’s rotted at all). You can do this by pressing a screwdriver with moderate force into the wood. If you struggle to penetrate, then that’s good news, as it means your fence post has retained its integrity – in that spot at least. However, if it sinks in easily, then the post is rotten. A significant change in colour can serve as a decent clue, too.

If you are indeed dealing with a rotten post, then you can choose to cut out the rotten section and fill it in before covering it with a preservative, or simply replace the entire post. To be honest, in most cases the second option is the most straightforward (and the safest!).

Replacing a rotten fence post

If you’re replacing the fence post with a brand new one, make sure that the fence post’s hole is three times its width, and its depth should be a third of the fence post’s height. (That means a six-foot fence post, for example, will require a hole that’s two feet deep.)

The next step is to secure it properly so that it stands straight – you can brace it by nailing in stakes to the ground to keep it steady. Then, check it with a spirit level to make sure that it’s properly upright, and in line with the other fence posts.

From there, you’ll need to pour in a new cement footing. If you’ve not used any cement footings for your fence, all you need to do is re-fill the hole with soil. If you’re using cement, don’t forget to slope the surface of it so that water drains away from the fence post and doesn’t pool near the base. This type of pooling is one of the key causes of so many wooden fence posts turning rotten, so it’s worth taking an extra moment to ensure you’re futureproofing your fence!

Finally, pack down the soil around the base to leave it looking as good as new, and put the tarp away. Problem sorted!

Of course, if your wooden fence posts have undergone more than one repair recently, you may well find yourself considering upgrading to concrete fence posts instead. And that’s exactly where we can help here at Welch Fencing. As well as our extensive selection of garden fence panels, we’ve also got a range of concrete fence posts for you to choose from, providing you with a one-stop shop to get your garden fencing looking exactly as you’d envisioned.

Feel free to take a look around our site – and if you’ve ever got any questions, don’t hesitate to check out our article on the three most common questions about concrete fence posts. Alternatively, give us a call on 01772 336476, and we’ll be happy to help however we can!