How to install wood fencing panels using existing wood fence posts

Updated February 21, 2017

If the fence posts of your existing fence are in good shape but the fence itself isn't, you can replace the fence panels and attach them to the existing posts. To check whether your existing fence posts are strong enough to reuse, poke the wood with the tip of screwdriver. If the wood is soft to the touch or becomes smashed in when you touch it with the screwdriver, the wood may be rotting beneath the surface, and you shouldn't install new fence panels on it. All existing posts should be straight and level before you install the new panels.

Remove the old panels from the fence posts using a pry bar. Set them aside. Remove any nails remaining in the posts with the claw end of a hammer.

Use a level to make sure the posts are still straight and plumb. If a post is not straight, wiggle it into the proper position, and tamp the dirt around the post with a 5 cm by 10 cm (2 inch by 4 inch) board or a tamper. Add additional dirt around the post, if needed, to fill the hole level with the ground.

Position your first fence panel so the end of the panel is in the centre of the post. Have an assistant hold up the other end of the fence post so you can install the fence panel straight. Hammer the panel through the panel and the rail to the fence post using 8.9 to 10.2 mm (3 1/2 to 4 inch) galvanised nails, or screw the panel to the posts, using a drill.

Attach the fence panel at the other rail in the same manner you attached the first. Repeat the process at the other end of the panel.

Position the next panel so it's flush against the end of the first panel. Make sure the top and bottom of the fence and the top and bottom rail on the back of the fence line up correctly. Nail or screw the panel in place.

Repeat the process until you've attached all your fence panels to your existing fence posts.


Have someone stand behind the post and hold it in place as you hammer to keep the post from becoming slanted or crooked. Attach each panel to the post with at least two nails or screws at each rail. Do not position screws or nails so they go through the old holes. Create new holes to make your fence more secure.

Things You'll Need

  • Pry bar
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • 5 cm by 10 cm (2 inch by 4 inch) board or tamper
  • New fence panels
  • 8.9 to 10.2 mm (3`1/2 to 4 inch) galvanised nails
  • Drill
  • Screws
  • Assistant
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About the Author

Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.