Reinforcing wood fence rails

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Old 12-21-19, 10:14 AM
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Exclamation Reinforcing wood fence rails

I built my own fence using metal "Postmaster" posts, treated 2 x 4 rails, and cedar pickets. If you google "postmasterfence" you can see how the posts are made - the metal posts have screw holes every inch or so and you simply attach the rails to the post with screws through the holes and into the rails. The problem I'm having is that over time, the treated rails weather, dry out, and split at the ends where they attach to the posts (see attached picture). It would seem to me that a possible solution would be some kind of thin metal "cap" that could be tapped onto the end of the 2 x 4" before it was screwed into place. It wouldn't have to be solid metal - it could have some pre-dreilled holes, etc and would not have to cover the end of the 2 x 4, it would just need to wrap around the last two or three inches of the 2 x 4. The purpose of the device would obviously be to reinforce the end of the 2 x 4 and prevent it from splitting. I have found a couple of items from "Simpson strong tie" that would almost work, but I have found nothing that completly wraps all the way around the 2 x 4, which I believe is key to prevent the splits. Does anyone know of such a piece of hardware?
 
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Old 12-21-19, 11:04 AM
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Google "Simpson FB24". Its a metal bracket you could probably use as an end cap. FB26 is for 2x6.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 11:55 AM
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A couple of observations. I used those posts when I rebuilt my fence. I have not had the issues you show, though my wood looks slightly newer than yours. The end of the rail looks to have a pretty large gap between it and the post, which would increase splitting chances because of the screws being so close to the end of the rail..

Also, those posts have special screws that are meant to be used. Those wood screws pictured have more of a tendency split wood.

I've also used the FB24s. My only issue with them is the hole for the rail catches less than 1/2" of the end of the rail. I wish they made them with at least 1 1/2" tabs on the side. The holes on the postmaster post grab a lot more meat than that.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 11:59 AM
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Simpson APLH24 has a longer flange. I agree it looks like some of the cuts may have been a little short. Boards shrink in width, not length. And ur right, bugle heads will split the wood every time unless the hole has been counterbored.

You could also pretty easily remove the plank that covers the steel post and fasten a 3 1/2" x 8" steel plate across the back post, to tie both 2x4s together. Predrill some new holes to fasten the 2x4s.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 12:40 PM
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I think part of my issue is that a lot of the 2 x 4 rails have twisted and sagged, partly from the weight of the pickets between the posts. Those were cut flush when I first installed them. I'm going to pick up some new 8 foot rails and this time I'm going to stack them in my garage and let them age a bit before I use them. Originally I used stainless #8 1-5/8 screws for pickets and just used the same screws to attach the rails to the posts. I found these screws listed in the Postmaster catalog. Which are for attaching the rails to the posts?
 
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Old 12-21-19, 12:44 PM
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Likely the #10 screw. Imo you would be wise to predrill if its anywhere near the end. (Using a smaller drill bit obviously.) Those type of screws are not typically wood screws though. They look to be fine threaded screws, more suitable for pvc or metal.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 01:01 PM
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I found Postmaster's youtube video which confirms using a #10 1-1/4" screw - they're calling it a "truss lath screw" in the video. Looks like I can get them at Home Depot and yes, they appear to have a much finer thread than then the "deck screws" that they would be replacing.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 01:02 PM
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Fine thread truss lath screws strip fairly easily in wood so if you use them don't spin them once they get tight. If they spin one too many times they are stripped. But they would be ideal if you cap the ends with metal first.
 
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Old 12-21-19, 01:51 PM
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Just out of curiosity, how old is the fence in the picture?
 
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Old 12-21-19, 04:26 PM
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HD did not carry them when did my fence. Bought them through the lumber co. by the pound. It's really hard to strip them out. I put up all my rails with an impact driver into redwood and did not have a problem with stripping them. They suck up the 2X4 tight against the post. I also did not predrill the holes. Just my experience....
 
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Old 12-21-19, 06:06 PM
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Put the fence up in October, 2005. I used regular treated 2 x 4's, which I guess is pine?
 
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Old 01-10-20, 06:31 AM
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I have used those types of posts 2 or 3 times over the years. On those occasions it was purely customer requests that that I install with those posts rather a round, 2" or 2-1/2" galvanized steel post with use of the "steel to wood" brackets so easily found in any fence supply wholesaler.
The major problem was as is already stated. The 90 degree lip is only about an inch long, the hole in that lip is punched at center, giving you only 1/2 inch of the end of the wood rail to screw into. That is fine for the installation date, but as the wood begins to shrink and swell over time the screw is pulling itself out. And the eventual end is the sections of fencing pulling away from your post. If towards the top the wind can easily damage this fence. If at the bottom a dog can easily push the fence off the posts.
With use of a round post with brackets the sections meet at the center of the post and the brackets are generally about 6 inches wide... giving the screw a chance to catch at least the first 2 inches or more of the rails of the fencing. Plus these brackets have one large hole for a lag bolt and 3 smaller holes for either nails or screws, whichever you choose. As for this situation, and a fix to this problem I would choose to remove the cover board and attach a 90 degree bracket under the top rail,, screwing it into the side of the T post as well as into the bottom of the fence rail. The bracket will support the weight of the fence as well as pulling the rail towards the post... screwing the wood in a different area than where it is already cracked. Its just a suggestion.. one that I would surely do if called to fix a problem such as this. And I am sure it would work well enough to give that fence some more life.

Good luck with your repairs..
 

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