As some of you may know, Central Texas has had some of the worst weather these past 2 months, and because of that we had a little outside tidying up to do. With winds sometimes gusting up to 70 mph, our backyard fence took a beating. Three of the fence posts cracked and started to lean. Since we hope to have an appraisal done soon, fixing the fence was placed at the top of the to-do list. We don’t have any experience with fences, but after a few YouTube tutorials (we used this one), we felt we could tackle this; no problem, piece of cake…piece of crumb cake.
Step 1 was getting supplies. We went to Lowes and bought a paracord rope that was rated around 150 lbs. (I wanted the 550 lbs rated paracord, just in case I get called to action with my mad paracord skills, but marriage is about compromise.) We also purchased these USP Steel Painted Post Base brackets. (If you google them, the popular name is EZ Fence Mender.) They came in around $15 for two of them (we bought 2 packs), and considering we were quoted $300 by a professional to fix the posts, we were certainly coming out ahead. It was at this point that we should have also purchased a mallet — more on that later.
Once home, I tied 2 of the fence posts to the nearby tree to temporarily fix the lean. At this point it was still raining off and on, so I wanted to make sure that if any strong winds came around before we had a chance to fix the posts, we wouldn’t have to worry about the fence completely falling over.
When the weather cleared a few days later, I started digging around the fence posts, braving the hoards of mosquitoes, looking for the concrete that is supposed to be around the bottom of the posts. Thankfully, I did find concrete around all of our fence posts. Had I not found concrete, then I would have had to dig down an additional 6 inches and pour concrete after I used the fence mender.
I would like to say that I went into the storage shed and came back with Thor’s hammer and with the biceps to match, but sadly all we have is a cheap dollar store, very anti-climatic, tears rolling down my face hammer. I pulled the rope around the fence until the fence registered plumb on my level. Then, per the instructions, I inserted the bracket at the base of the post, at a slight angle, and started hammering away with all my might trying to force the bracket between the post and the concrete. And boy, was it ever an epic fight to make that thing move! With every swing of the hammer, I was chastising myself for not also purchasing a mallet.
After a few hits, I went for my ear plugs. (I highly suggest using ear plugs. It was unbearably loud.) I’m not certain that I got the brackets a far into the ground as they should be, but I got them as far as they would physically go. After double checking that everything was still level, I proceeded to drill the bracket into the fence post with wood screws.
I untied the paracord, holding my breath the entire time. Success! The post was upright and level. I did the same thing to the second post. Cue “Everything Is Awesome”.
Then the mic dropped. All of that awesome ended when I started the third post. When hammering into the base on the third post I notice that the bracket went right into it. The post was so rotten at certain parts that it didn’t take much strength to tear it up. I decided to hammer down as far as I could, and then just drilled the wood screws where I could. Some of the screws didn’t hold with all the rot, but others held it in enough to that the post wasn’t going anywhere. The final analysis on that one is that it needs to be replaced, but until we can get around to doing that, the bracket is holding it mostly in place; there is still a slight lean to it. It’s like one of those “Weekend at Bernie’s” kind of things — but for fence posts.
My advice for anyone else trying these type of fence menders is to make sure you have an awesome hammer, preferably a mallet. But other than that, I’d say the fence menders work! And don’t worry, we’ll give you the tell-all when we actually replace the rotten fence post.