How to Fix a Leaning Fence: Step-by-Step Guide

Have an old fence that has started to lean? Learn how to fix it with this detailed step-by-step guide that includes tools and materials lists.
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
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Last Update:
January 16, 2024

Tools and Materials You’ll Need to Fix a Leaning Fence

Fixing a leaning fence is actually easier than you might think. It makes a great DIY home improvement project that you can even do by yourself - though having a friend to help usually makes things move even faster.

This type of fence repair can even be done with limited tools and materials. If you have any kind of tool box or shop you probably already have most of these if not all of the tools you will need for this project. Remember, don’t skimp on the safety goggles and gloves!

As for materials, you will have to assess the situation first before determining all of the materials you may need to pick up. If you are planning to do the repair on your own, you will need two-by-fours to brace the fence instead. If it is a fence post that is causing the lean, you will need a new post as well as fast setting concrete.

Tools

Saw

Pliers

Screwdriver

Shovel or trowel

Brick trowel

Gloves

Safety goggles

Materials

New fence posts (metal fence posts or wood posts), new fence pickets, new fence panels, or new fence rails (as needed)

Nails

Screws

Braces (two-by-four pieces of wood)

Fast-setting concrete mix

Step-By-Step Guide for Fixing a Leaning Fence

When you discover that you have a leaning fence, you usually do not need to fix the entire fence. Wooden fences or other types of fences like chain link fences can lean for many different reasons, including weather damage or loose fence posts. This type of fence repair is a great DIY project, but be sure to put safety first and wear your safety goggles and gloves to make sure you do not get injured in the process of fixing your leaning fence.

Step 1: Assess the Situation

The first thing to do when you see that you have a leaning fence is to assess the situation and try to figure out why the fence is leaning. There are a lot of reasons that a fence could be leaning, including weather damage, or damage from an impact like a tree branch falling, or something crashing into the fence.

Other causes for a leaning fence include:

Loose fence posts

Rotten wood

Bent metal posts

Damaged fence posts

In some cases, you may be able to simply adjust and reset the leaning posts, but if the damage is too great you will need to get replacement posts before moving on to the next steps.

Step 2: Contact Neighbors and Helpers

If you are not already sure, speak with your neighbor that you share the leaning fence with to ensure you understand whose responsibility the fence is. If neither of you know, you can contact your local county recorder or assessor’s office. If the fence is on both properties you can discuss the repairs with your neighbor and determine who is responsible for what.

It will also be good to chat with your neighbor ahead of time because you will most likely need to access their side of the fence during the repair.

As with most diy projects, having a friend to help is always good and will make the process easier. However, you can still use the two-by-four pieces of wood as braces to keep things steady if no one is available to help out.

Step 3: Move Any Obstacles

Once you are ready to get going on your DIY fence repair project, the best thing to do to get started is to clear the area of any objects or debris. This will also help you to see if there is anything pushing against the fence and contributing to the leaning.

In some cases, you may need to take off parts of the fence like pickets and panels, or rails that might make it hard to move posts.

Step 4: Dig Around the Post

After you have identified the leaning post or posts and cleared the area, you can start digging around the affected post. Use your shovel or trowel to dig up the post so you can see the underground portion of the post. Leave the rest of the fence alone.

Dig all the way down to the concrete footing. If this is damaged or missing, it is a likely suspect for the reason behind the leaning fence.

Step 5: Straighten Out the Fence Post

Once the post is exposed and you can move it around, using a level straighten the post out until it is plumb. Brace the post with the two-by-fours to keep it still once it is level.

Step 6: Backfill the Post Hole

With your post straightened out and braced, it is now time to pour in the fast-setting concrete. Follow the instructions on the bag. It should dry in about an hour, and you can start reattaching fence parts that may have been removed about six hours after it dries.

Refill soil in the post hole above the dried concrete to ground level at the base of the post.

Step 7: Reassemble the Fence

If you removed any fence parts during the process, once everything has dried you can reattach fence parts using your nails or screws.

Be sure to wait until the concrete has dried or this could shift the fence and cause it to lean again.

Alternative Methods to Fix a Leaning Fence

If your fence is not leaning because of a leaning or damaged post, then there may be some other things going on that you can also address with a DIY fix.

One easy fix is if you find there is space between your post and the concrete footing, put a wedge between the side of the post and the concrete footing. This will stop the leaning.

Another idea for a broken fence post that you cannot replace, is to brace it with stakes alongside each post. You can attach the stakes with screws to stabilize the fence as a temporary measure.

What Causes a Fence to Lean?

Fences can start to lean for many different reasons. Weather related reasons are most common and include things like heavy rain or flooding, heavy snowdrifts, or strong winds. This is especially true if you have a wooden fence, as wood posts and panels are more susceptible to weather damage like getting a rotting post.

Something could also be leaning against the fence or could have impacted the fence. Pressure from tree roots or branches is a common culprit. Animal damage is another example, whether it is your family pet trying to tunnel under the fence or larger livestock.

Creating a strong concrete footing is the best way to keep your fence upright and in good condition. It will also help ensure you do not end up with a leaning fence post. Reinforcing your concrete footings with new concrete is a great DIY home improvement project that you can even do by yourself.

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