Repairing Frost-Heaved Fence Posts

Straighten up the heaved fence posts damaged by winter frost and have a stronger fence.

Last winter was tough on fences everywhere.  Maybe your wood fence is leaning or the sections are beginning to bend and crack.  If your fence posts have shifted up or to the side, it’s likely a result of frost heaving the concrete around the post.

A lot of homeowners find this a particular problem with wood gates.  If your gate worked fine last season, but seems impossible to open now, your post probably experienced some heaving over the winter.

It’s time to call a pro to correct the problem.  Or with some hard work and a friend or two to help you out, this can be a great DIY project.

First, detach the section from the post.  If the wood was screwed in place, simply unscrew and lay it off to the side.  If it was nailed (as is more common), cut the nails off against the post and remove the whole section.

Now it’s time to dig out the fence post.  You’ll have to get all the way around the concrete and lift it straight out of the ground.  Take a sledge hammer to the concrete and smash it off as much as possible.  If you’d rather, picking up a new 4×4 is just as easy.

Clean out the hole in the ground.  Make sure you dig it deeper to get below the frost line so that the same problem doesn’t happen again.  Get at least 42” deep, but all the way to 48” inches in depth is better.

Once the holes are ready, set your post back in and mix some quick setting concrete.  Use the quick setting brand so that you can get the fence back up as soon as possible, for safety and convenience.  Repair all heaved fence posts at one time to get the best use out of the concrete mix (and those friends who offered to help out).

Check that the posts are level and in line with the fence.  Finally, re-attach the sections.

Pat yourself on the back.  You’ve tackled the frost damage yourself and now have a stronger, taller and straighter fence.

How can I prep my deck for winter?

Your deck often serves as an exterior living room during the warm months from spring to fall.  Like your interior rooms, a quick assessment and a tidying will help you to enjoy it more when the snow’s gone.

Whether your deck was installed with Pressure Treated, Cedar wood, Composite or Vinyl material, the surface will benefit from a cleaning at this time of year.  Come to our location in Baden to pick up a good quality cleaner that is designed for your materials.  Also, sweep off the leaves, needles and debris that can accumulate.  If left to get wet and trampled on, vegetation may leave stains on your deck boards.

Look over your patio furniture for any rusting spots, which can leave marks on your deck if left exposed.  Spot repair as you can, and if possible, store your patio furniture away until spring.  If space is an issue, invest in a good quality patio furniture cover.

If your BBQ is portable, consider storing it away as well.  Permanent BBQs can be covered well for protection and longevity.

Empty patio planters and turn them over to prevent them from filling with water and cracking when the freezing temperatures hit.  If you prefer to leave your planters out, it’s a good idea to put spacers between the deck surface and the base of the planter to allow airflow.

Fall is a decent time to stain your wood deck if needed.  Be sure to check the stain can for minimum temperatures and try to time your work with the weather.  Superdeck Stain is a good quality product that requires only one coat, which makes for quicker, easier coverage.

Many areas of your backyard can use a little loving care in the fall and will reward you with more enjoyment and ease come springtime.

Lots to come!

Once spring comes expect to see a great selection of tutorials explaining how to do a wide variety of projects in your backyard.

-Shane

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