clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How to Replace a Rotted Fence Post

Adding new life to an old fence with This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook adds new life to an old fence.


1. Mark cut lines onto post with a layout square. Position the lines above and below each horizontal rail.

2. Set the depth of cut on a circular saw to cut through the posts, but not into the rails. Saw along each pencil line.

3. Knock out the wood between the cuts with a hammer.

4. Use a cordless drill to remove any screws securing the post to the rails.

5. Slide a 24-inch-long 2x4 under the fence on each side of the rotted post.

6. Pull the fence section away from the rotted post.

7. Remove the rotted fence post and dig out any wood left in the fence-post hole. Toss the soil and rotted wood onto a tarp for easy clean up.

8. Enlarge the existing fence-post hole with a post-hole digger.

9. Stretch a tight line from one finial to the next to establish the height of the fence panels.

10. Set the new fence post into the hole, making sure its finial aligns with the layout line.

11. Connect the fence panels to the new post by inserting the rounded ends of the fence rails into the holes in the fence post.

12. Use a 6-foot level to ensure the fence panels are perfectly plumb. Then pour ¾-inch gravel around base of post.

13. Tightly compact the gravel by tamping it with an 8-foot-long 2x3.

14. Backfill around post with graded base, which is a mixture of ¾-inch gravel and stone dust. Add an inch or two of graded base, then compact it with the 2x3. Repeat until you've completely filled the hole around the post with compacted graded base.

15. Use a cordless impact driver and 3-inch decking screws to secure the new post to the fence rails.

16. Remove the 2x4s from below the fence and take down the mason's line.