Replace Wood Fence Panels in 5 Steps

Lead Image
  • 1-5 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-500
What You'll Need
Replacement wood panels
Wonder bar
Skill saw
Outdoor 1½ inch screws
Tape measure

Replacing wood fence panels is a project that will take a few hours of your time depending on how many you have to replace. Broken or damaged wooden fence panels can be an eyesore and serve as a convenient means of escape for a pet or precocious child. That's why it's important to repair them as soon as you can. The following will tell you how to replace your fence panels in five steps.

Step 1 - Remove Cracked or Damaged Panels

The first step is to remove the damaged panels. To do this, either remove the screws or, if they are fastened to the horizontal beam with nails, use a wonder bar to pry the nails out. You might also try hammering the backside of the panel to expose a gap between it and the beam. Then you can fit the wonder bar in and pry off the damaged piece.

Step 2 - Measure the Replacement Piece

Use the tape measure to determine the length of the wood panel. The replacement piece will have to match it in size exactly. Use the skill saw to cut it to the desired length. Many wood fence panels have both top corners trimmed at a 45-degree angle. The skill saw can take care of this if your fencing requires it.

Step 3 - Determine Where to Mount the Replacement Piece

Now you are ready to mount the first replacement wood panel. With the tape measure, determine the distance between each fence panel. Cut two small pieces of wood equal to the distance between panels. Position it precisely as you hold up the replacement panel. Use the two small pieces as guides. While holding the replacement panel against the beams, put the two small measurement pieces, one on either side, between the new panel and either adjacent panel. This way you will know exactly where to position the new panel. Mark the horizontal beam with a pencil on either side of the new panel.

Step 4 - Drill Pilot Holes

Use two screws or nails per beam to hold the panel to it, making a total of four fastening points. Hold the panel against the beams and get its vertical positioning right by holding a small length of wood atop the panels. Keep in mind the horizontal positioning with the previous marks you made. Next, mark where the panel intersects the beams. As you hold it in position, make four small pilot holes using the screwdriver and a small drill bit, making sure to drill into the beams as well.

Step 5 - Mount the Panel

With the pilot holes drilled and the vertical and horizontal positioning established, preset all four screws or nails into the panel just enough so the tips start to protrude. Place the panel in its correct position. The tips of the screws or nails should fit into the preset holes in the beams. Screw in or hammer the top two screws or nails halfway then do the same for the bottom two. Once you are sure it’s set properly, set the screws or nails completely.

You’ve just replaced one wooden fence panel. If there are more that need replacing, repeat the steps listed for each one. If your fence is stained or painted, you may want to pre-paint or stain the panels so you won’t have to do it after the fact.