How to fix a picket fence

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Project Overview

Repairing a picket fence is usually just as simple as replacing some broken pickets. We’ll teach you how to remove the old pickets and trim your new pickets to size. You’ll also learn how to screw the pickets into place and keep the screw lines level across the fence.
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Head of hammer removing nails from timber.
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How to remove a stuck nail

Sometimes a nail is stuck solidly in place and won’t pry out easily. A good way to deal with this is to pry up the surrounding timber and then push it back into place. This should leave the nail sitting above the timber. Then you can pull it out with the claw on your hammer.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Remove the broken pickets from the picket fence
2 Trim the replacement pickets for the picket fence
3 Drill pilot holes for the screws into the pickets
4 Install the replacement picket on the picket fence
  • Step 1. Remove the broken pickets from the picket fence

    Fence pickets can be held in place on a fence rail with screws or nails. Use your impact driver to remove any screws and a claw hammer to remove nails or hammer them down. Sometimes a picket is stuck in place and calls for a wrecking bar to pry it off.
  • Step 2. Trim the replacement pickets for the picket fence

    Measure the height of your fence to see how long each of your pickets needs to be. Then mark that measurement onto the bottom of your replacement pickets with a pencil and combination square. Now use your circular saw to trim the pickets to size.
  • Step 3. Drill pilot holes for the screws into the pickets

    Hold the picket in position on the fence. Then use a pencil and combination square to mark the picket level with the top and bottom screw lines on your fence. Now remove the picket from the fence and drill pilot holes for the screws on the centre of each of these lines. 
  • Step 4. Install the replacement picket on the picket fence

    Hold the picket in place on the fence and use your impact driver to screw it in. If you are replacing a few pickets in a row, consider using a spirit level and timber clamps to keep them straight and evenly spaced. If you want your replacement picket to sit slightly off the base of the fence, keep it steady by chocking it up before you screw it in.

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Circular saw
  • Combination square
  • Drill
  • Dust mask
  • Ear muffs
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Hand saw
  • Impact driver
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Saw horse
  • Tape measure
  • Wrecking bar

Materials

  • Pickets
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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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