Replacing Wood Fencing

I was visiting my friend, Jack, a while back with my dog, Max. Jack’s yard was fenced by wood fencing. However, three sides of Jack’s yard was enclosed with a nice privacy fence. But, the fourth side had a white picket fence. Really, it was gray not white and very rickety.

Max could have easily jumped the fence or knocked it down if he had pushed. The neighbor did not want to fix the fence and did not care if Jack replaced it, so he did!

Here Max is looking over the fence.

Jack decided to change the style of the wood fencing that was a picket fence to a dog eared privacy fence to match the other three sides of his yard. The dog eared pickets measure 5 1/2 inches wide and 6 feet high.



The replacement process for this wood fencing is really easy! Here is how it is done:

  • Measure the fence line where you will be placing the new fence.An upright 4×4 post should be spaced every 8 feet.
  • Order the material accordingly and have it delivered.





  • As soon as the materials are on site, remove the old fence. Knock off the existing boards leaving just the posts.Most of Jack’s boards were already pulled anyway from the posts. Only one post was still solid enough to hold everything up and it snapped off with one smack of the hammer.
  • Haul everything to a trash pile.
  • Stretch a string along the ground where the new post will go and measure in 8 foot increments.
  • Simply spray paint the marks on the string and then spray an X on the ground at those points.
  • Dig the holes, at the Xs you have placed on the ground. Make them about 2 feet deep.This is where a 6-inch gas powered auger comes in handy. All 9 holes were dug with it in less than 1/2 hour.
  • Drop the 4x4s into the holes. Measure again to make sure they are where you want them.
  • Mix and pour into each hole one 60-pound bag of concrete. Use a level and a tape measure to make sure that each pole is spaced 8 feet apart measuring edge to edge from each other and that the pole is vertically straight in the hole.It is really easy to make adjustments at this point. It is not so easy in few hours when the concrete has set.
  • Let the concrete harden overnight.




A nail gun was used for this job. It was a Bostitch framing nailer. A nail gun makes the job go MUCH faster.

    • Nail the 2 x 4 support beams parallel to the ground approximately 1 foot above the ground and 1 foot below the top of the fence. Once again, use string to make sure everything is level before nailing. Use 2 to 3 nails at each junction.

The nails that were used for this wood fencing to attach the support beams were Bostitch Ring Shank thick coat galvanized 3 1/2 inch by .120 inch . These nails are designed for use in pressure treated wood. Also, these nails will not pull out.

    • Now, nail the first dog eared picket board at one end of where the fence is going to be and make sure it is level. Shoot the nail at a slight angle due to the length. Use 2 nails on every board and support rail location. Use 4 nails total per board.The nails used for this part were Bostitch thick coat galvanized 2 inch by .113 inch. These nails are designed for use in pressure treated wood.
  • Go to the other end of the fence and temporarily install a end dog eared picket board. Put a single screw in to the top of each board and tie a string between to 2 boards. This is done at the top of the fence.
  • Once everything is level, start nailing the remaining dog eared pickets in place.Jack placed them right next to each other because they were delivered wet and it was cold. He kept the gaps as small as possible. Over time as they dry, they will shrink and the gap will become 1/8 to 1/4 inch wide.
  • Finally, trim the top of the 4×4 posts off after the wood fencing is set so they are all even.

This whole project took less than 10 hours over 2 days.

Dave Altman

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