How to Replace Your Fence in 12 Easy Steps

Winter has finally hit Texas.  And I say “hit”, because that is exactly what happens.  Canada takes a deep breath and exhales gently and sends cold air headed down South.  This gentle exhalation picks up steam as it travels over the States and by the time it reaches Texas, it is gale force winds!

That is totally and scientifically accurate, by the way.

Okay, no, it’s not.  But it is totally how it feels!!

Anyway… I went and ran a few errands on Friday and came home to a fence section being down. I’ve decided to share my knowledge with you!

How to replace a fence in 12 easy steps

After running some errands on Friday, I came home to this:my fence fell down

I rushed inside to see if my dog had gotten loose and if I needed to track him down; however, the little dude popped his head out from under the blanket and looked at me like “shut the door, it’s cold out there!”

He’s not spoiled or anything! But he does lead me right to Step 1:

1.  Go take the broken fence panel and wedge it about 3 feet back so you can work, but your dog won’t escape.  Decide that it’s already getting late, on a Friday, you really can’t accomplish much anyway, so go inside and bundle up and catch up on your DVR

2.  Get up bright and early Saturday morning and head to Home Depot to buy a shovel.  If you wear tie-dye and have a purple purse, the employees will NOT ask you if you need help.   Home Depot profiles people apparently, so you will wander for a bit before someone finally does ask if you need help.  They will then send you to one side of the store.  The shovel you want will not be there.  You WILL run into this same employee on the way back and he WILL send you all the way to the other side of the store and out into the cold.  The shovel you want won’t be there either.  Eventually, you will discover that Home Depot does not consider shovels to be “tools” or “construction”, but “lawn” equipment and you will find it when you decide to stop and see if you need a new grill because obviously the fence isn’t happening.

3.  Buy the shovel and decide that for $30 that sucker better dig up the old fence posts without any help from you!

how to replace a fence

Stop and take a moment and admire the posts and concrete stubs that you dug out of the ground, you have totally earned this!

4. Go back and dig deeper holes because obviously the person before you didn’t have a clue how to do this properly.  When you discover a beam of your retaining wall, and a piece of some type of pipe, don’t admit that maybe the person before you did have a clue – never admit that! Just get to work on the other hole and pray there isn’t an obstruction!

how to dig holes to replace a fence

It’s perfectly normal to admire your newly dug hole and give the new shovel a pat on the back!

5.  Now that you know you can replace the posts, and you won’t have to mount the fence to the house, head back to Home Depot to buy supplies.  Wear a jacket over the tie dye shirt to see if maybe this time they will ask you if you need help.  Discover that it’s the purple purse that must be the issue, and then load up your dolly with some metal poles, brackets, 10′ 2×4’s for bracing and some panels.  Make sure you pull out your phone and take a look at the picture where you measured the space to make sure you get enough panels to cover the space.


4a. Before going to Home Depot, measure the space and then take a picture so you don’t forget!!

6.  Your dad should call about this time to see if you need help.  He’ll come over to help you mix up some Quikrete.  He will bring a magical tool that attaches to a drill that will make your life so much easier and make you wonder how you ever thought that a trowel and some sticks would ever mix up Quikrete.  Also, you will probably want to get your son out of bed, it is noon after all, and those bags of concrete are heavy! Plus, he’ll enjoy using the power tool to mix the concrete!

how to mix quikrete to replace your fence7.  Make a trip back to Home Depot, because your dad said you needed deeper holes and now it takes (2) 60 lb bags of concrete just to stabilize one pole.  Decide that this fence section will be standing long after your house is gone.

8.  Pour the concrete, level the poles and then sit back and admire.  And then stomp off because it is so cold that there is nothing “quik” about the Quikrete and you have to wait until the next day to finish the fence.

how to install poles to replace your fence

9.  First thing the next morning, let every one know how sorry you were for complaining about how cold it was on Saturday when you were digging holes and pouring concrete, because now, it is cold, but it is also raining on you.  And it has rained for hours, so the side of the house is all muddy from the aforementioned holes in the ground.  You should also stand around a bit to try and figure out how to attach the metal-to-wood adapter brackets, and get them level and hold the 2×4 in place and keep it level while you attach the screw.  You should also spill your coffee at this point.  It just makes the morning better!

10.  Give yourself massive kudos that you didn’t drill into your hand as you do that two more times!

how to replace fence supports11.  Start attaching the fence panels.  Bend two nails right off the bat.  Discover that your hands are so cold that hitting your thumb with the hammer doesn’t even hurt!  You’ll think to yourself “Self, you’ll probably feel that later!”  And you would be right, but at this moment, that’s for Future You to worry about.

12. At this point, you should decide to cheat.  Go get the drill, and do the cute girly pre-drill thing, creating holes for your nails on the panels, and then one by one, nail by nail, panel by panel, create a master piece!

how to replace a fence the finished pic

You are done! You have replaced your fence section in 12 easy steps!  All you have left to do is clean your tools, and this part is purely optional, but you can take a picture of how muddy it was and share it with the world! You know, just so every one can tell how much your really did suffer!  Again, purely optional!

muddy shoes

66 thoughts on “How to Replace Your Fence in 12 Easy Steps

  1. This is the most accurate guide to home DIY I’ve read in a while. None of the others, for example, mention how you have to visit the hardware store on three separate occasions and wander around it trying to figure out some metaphysical classification system dreamed up one night in the type of seedy bar where you can get illegal substances, and yet both these parts are (I’ve found) essential to the process.

  2. Aren’t you proud of yourself!?? I don’t think I can fix that ever! What’s the temp at Texas in winter? I’ve been there 1 over years ago and was caught in the before hurricane storm! Floods everywhere. In fact, I think the weather there is similar to Singapore but our lowest degree is only 22degC and it’s at night.

    • It is 40 dg F now, and that’s freezing to us! We do get below freezing, usually for about a week, and we’ll be cold for most of January and February, but I’ve been in the pool as early as March! We are so close to the equator that we don’t get super cold for long periods of time, so that’s why it’s a big deal when it happens!

  3. jeff7salter says:

    been there, done that. but I already had the shovel. And I need that drill attachment you dad brought over — I’ve usually mixed it in a wheelbarrow with a shovel. Rain & cold can take an awful outdoor project and make it like two days in Hell.
    Next time, go to Lowe’s — their workers usually walk over to the shelve/area WITH you, so it burns their calories along with yours if they told you wrong.
    It was a BOLD decision to put down your own metal poles instead of just screwing a piece of treated lumber into the mortar grooves of the brick wall (on one side) and mounting another to the existing fence (on the other side). I congratulate you on a THOROUGH job.

    • Thanks Jeff! Dad did suggest that if I couldn’t dig out the old footers that I’d have to mount to the side of the house, and I really didn’t want to do that… so I was highly motivated! Of course, the cold was horrible, that was the most miserable I’ve been in ages, but when it’s got to be done, whatcha gonna do? 🙂
      Thanks, again!!!

  4. Saving My Belly Button Ring says:

    Kate, this was a *fantastic* read!!! I have done many a handy things but nothing that even comes close to this. I wouldn’t have a clue. Good for you!!!

    • Well, it helps that my dad was willing to come over! He’s great at sharing the real world experience that I just don’t have – like actually measuring how deep the holes are instead of saying “they look right” 🙂 But, thank you!

      • Saving My Belly Button Ring says:

        I am still impressed. Dad’s help or not. And I would have gone the whole “they look right” and guess what, I am always wrong. hahaha

  5. Great job Kate! We decided to paint/varnish our fence a few years ago and after the first few panels we started to regret it but we couldn’t go back. We had the opposite weather and decided it should be done in a heat wave 🙂 Great feeling of accomplishment when it was done but next time I’m calling a real painter lol

    • I love my tools, I’m not going to lie, I am very protective of my tools!! The fence was a totally new experience, though, at least, doing it from the ground up! Of course, if I have to do a span longer that 44″, or where I’d actually have to run a string and level that, yeah, I’m out!

  6. Kate, if you keep posting things like this- I am going to have to delete you from my reader. I had barely gotten over the flour-less, chickpea cookies from scratch, and now this?!?!? 🙂

  7. You can’t see me, but right now I’m making the fingers for “the worlds smallest violin playing sad songs for Texans” Today it was 8 degrees here. EIGHT. Fahrenheit.
    Very funny post. I love when you post easy steps to do stuff, always makes me laugh. 🙂

  8. You mislead me with the 12 Easy Steps part, that not only doesn’t look easy I was mentally thinking of who I would call to do all that…you’re now added to the list Kate. 😉
    Oh and by the way, Canada is known for it’s politeness and sharing, we just love winter so much we thought it only polite to share. 😉
    Nice work Kate, good luck with the shoes. 🙂

    • I’m a little tired of Canada sharing, I’m just saying! But, what cracks me up, is the bad name Texas gets in your weather dept! I can’t remember what it’s called, but there is a Texas front or something that apparently heads up to Canada sometimes – that truly cracks me up!

      I started to title the post “How to replace your fence in 50 steps or less” but that didn’t have the same ring to it! 🙂

  9. Well done Kate! Btw, what’s with the tie-dye and purple purse? Does it read “I’m a hippie and therefore, am an expert on DIYs and everything that goes with it? 😉 Love tie-dye, btw. Used to have loads of tie dyed shirts and even tried doing my own 😉

    • Pretty much all I own are tie-dye – and yes, you would think that it should signal that I am in tune with Mother Nature and am ready to get to work!! But apparently all the guys at Home Depot didn’t see it as such! It was so surprising, as they are normally the most helpful store!
      And I’m glad you are a fellow lover of a world of color! 🙂

  10. Nicely done. You will never know how right your dad was about the deep holes. I owned a semi-detached (common garage wall only) with a shared driveway (actually two side by side). My neighbor and I both put up regulation basketball hoops for our sons – co-incidentally around the same time , with the neighbor, John, going first. A week later when i installed ours, I followed the instructions and dug a 4 foot hole – not easy in clay (as I see you too have per your shoes) whilst John tormented me by saying i was wasting my time and only needed 2 foot hole like he dug. I poured the concrete ( because i had more than you I bought a little round drum with a plastic screw lid [about $20] designed for mixing concrete. You put all the ingredients in, screw on the lid and then call the kids to kink and roll it all around the yard until well mixed). the i set the pole and waited for the concrete to dry before hanging the hoop itself.

    Flash forward to a year later – John’s pole had a decided lean into the driveway and was leaning more all the time and mine was straight as the day ot was installed. I was proud. When I moved, 5 years later, my pole was still perfect and John’s was gone – he didn’t want to replace it when it fell down.

    You did a fine job of fence repair. Now that you are secure again, we have this way bigger wind that we want to try sending your way – are you ready? Ha!

    • LOL! That story about your neighbor vs. you is greatness!! And that makes me feel better about the deeper holes! I told dad “they look about 3′ deep” and he pulled out the level with the handy-dandy measure stick on the side… they weren’t even 2′ deep!!!

      And no!! I’ll never be ready for more! The problem now is, that cold wind you are sending is about to mix with a storm that California is brewing up, which means freezing rain for me! Ack!!

      🙂 Thanks for the compliment Paul!

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