Should Fence Posts Wobble? [And How To Fix It]

There are various reasons you would install a fence around your home, such as providing security, adding value, and keeping unwanted animals out of your yard. But, when it starts wobbling, it is time to find the best method to fix it. Are you wondering where to begin? We researched on your behalf to bring you the following answers.

Fences posts should not wobble. However, if they do, concrete is considered the best for setting your fence posts firmly in their foundation.

We shall focus on two types of fences, wooden and vinyl. Keep reading to know why concrete is highly recommended for repairing your fence posts when they begin wobbling. In addition, two other materials have been discussed here. We have also mentioned the major reasons that would cause your fence to wobble. ]

white picket fences in front of the lawn of a suburban house. Should Fence Posts Wobble [And How To Fix It]

How To Repair Your Wobbling Fence

It is the desire of most homeowners to install a fence that lasts long. So, when you start seeing it wobble, you may worry and ponder on what to do next.

Generally, a well-installed and maintained fence should last between 15 and 20 years. A wooden fence can last up to 14 years, while a vinyl fence can last between 20 and 30 years.

A fence wobbles when it becomes loose in its hole in the ground, moving back and forth. If you leave it unattended, the rest of the fence may continue to get damaged. 

Concrete is known to provide the most sturdy fence posts. In addition to being durable, It keeps out water, preventing the decay of wooden fences.

Let us look at how you can fix the two most common types of fences when the posts become unstable:

Abandoned picket fence falling over as it rots

Wooden Fences

It is good to inspect your wooden fence to know what is causing it to wobble. There could have been strong winds, a rainstorm, or it has begun to decay. 

You can correct a swaying fence by removing the affected posts and replacing them with new ones. This can be labor-intensive, therefore you may choose an easier option by adding extra posts.

The following is an example of a repair on a 15-year-old, 6-foot cedar fence that has two unsteady posts. It shows you how to add two extra posts to stop the fence from wobbling.

wooden fence in the garden

How to Repair With Concrete

As earlier explained, concrete is considered to be the best for strengthening the foundation of fence posts.

Materials and tools needed:

  • Battery-powered drill
  • A pair of gloves
  • Quick-drying cement
  • Gravel
  • Hole-digger
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • Water

The following are the basic steps to fix the loose post:

Dig The Hole And Level The Posts

  1. With your shovel, dig out the loose soil near the wobbling fence post.
  2. Take your hole-digger and dig out more soil until the hole is 2 feet deep. But also ensure it is wide enough for the post to fit in. 
  3. Dig the second hole.
  4. Pour the gravel inside the two holes.
  5. Place a post into the first hole, and check if it is uprightly straight using your level. Follow the same procedure with your second post.
  6. Brace your fence, holding it in place using wooden posts on either side, making sure it is properly leveled. 

Mark, Drill, And Secure The Posts

  1. Again, starting with the first post, on one side, mark where you will drill the bracket holes. This is at the top, middle, and bottom.  Follow the same procedure with your second post.
  2. Remove the fence posts and place them on the ground. Align the brackets to the marked holes. Drill the screws to the top and bottom bracket to secure them to the posts. 
  3. Take the first post and align it to the fence. Drill more screws to secure the brackets to the top and bottom of the post. Secure the brackets to the fence, ensuring the post is level. Do this with the second post.
  4. Secure the remaining brackets on the opposite side of each post by drilling in the screws. Keep checking that they are level.
  5. Next, drill in the remaining screws, including the middle section of each post.

Pour The Concrete Mix Into The Hole

  1. Pour in the cement, such as the product that is shown below, and add water into each hole.
  2. With a metal rod, pock holes in the cement mixture all around the posts, mixing it well. It allows the water to soak in properly.
  3. Pat to flatten the concrete.
  4. After 24 hours, the concrete will have dried and settled well. 

View this quick-drying cement on Amazon.

The video below shows how to reinforce a loose wooden post:

You could also reinforce a wooden fence by using galvanized steel posts as explained in the video below:

How to Repair Without Concrete

You could choose to use foam instead of concrete to repair your wobbling fence posts. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Dig the hole 2 feet downwards from the top of the ground, and place your fence post inside. 
  2. Take the bag with the foam in it. Gently massage it for 30 seconds to activate the foam.
  3. Tear the bag open and pour the contents all around the post. 
  4. As the foam expands, hold the pole and use your level to ensure it is uprightly straight.
  5. Wait for 30 minutes for the foam to harden. Cut off the excess and cover it with the soil. 

The following video shows how to use foam to fix your wooden fence post:

Below is another video that compares the above two methods, one using concrete, and the other foam.

Vinyl Fences

Typically, vinyl fences are manufactured from a light plastic material. They can withstand the wind when it is windy. This is normal as most vinyl fences allow the wind to pass through. 

However, if you see the whole fence wobble, there could be a much bigger issue. So, don’t wait until it is too late, but act now and repair your fence.

How to Repair With Concrete

Don't worry if your vinyl fence is broken. Dig around the post, and lift it out. If this proves difficult, try cracking the foundation. Take a sledge hammer like the one shown below and hit it repeatedly, removing the concrete bit by bit. 

If you find the hole was not deep enough, continue digging further down until it is 2 feet deep. This could be what caused your fence to wobble. Remember, at least 1/3 of the post should be below the ground. 

After removing your broken vinyl post, you could take it to the fabricator. They may be able to replicate the same piece, or you could decide to buy another one that is similar. 

Place the new vinyl post inside the hole and pour the concrete mixture, which constitutes cement, gravel, and water. Allow the concrete to dry, and then cover with soil. 

View this sledge hammer on Amazon

White wooden picket fence with water, foliage and coastline showing in the distance

How to Repair Without Concrete

You can fix your vinyl fence without using concrete. Let us assume you have a 3-rail vinyl fence with two broken fence posts. The instructions are:

  1. Start with one post. Cut the vinyl post, which is hollow. Level it to the ground using a circular saw like the one shown below. 
  2. Place inside a 5-inch by 5 inches, 3 feet long steel insert. It will support the fence post.
  3. Take your new vinyl post and slide it over the steel insert.
  4. Align the height of this post with the adjacent posts by using a piece of string and mark. Cut off the excess height. 
  5. Drill holes at the bottom and rivet the post to the steel support. 
  6. Fix the rails by attaching them to the posts. 

View this circular saw on Amazon.

The video below shows how to fix a vinyl fence post without using cement:

What Causes Your Fence to Wobble?

There are various reasons your fence would start wobbling or swaying. The major reasons causing this to happen include:

Weather Elements

Your fence is exposed to all the weather elements, which can cause the soil around the post to loosen. Rain and snowstorms are examples of extreme weather that can destabilize your fence. Freezing temperatures could also cause the ground to swell and contract, thus loosening the fence post. 

Infestation and Rot

This happens mostly to wooden fences. Your wooden fence will slowly wear out and may finally decay because it is exposed to water when it rains or snows. Insects could also attack by eating or digging holes through the wood. In both cases, the fence posts will weaken and become loose. 

Poor Installation

If the initial installation was of poor quality, the fence posts will deteriorate. Unfortunately, this is one of the major causes of a wobbling fence. If you do not follow the instructions carefully you may not install your fence the right way. Yet, others may advise you that you do not need to use concrete. 

White Fence post

In Closing

A wobbling fence needs to be fixed before it worsens. You can use concrete to repair your fence posts because it creates a sturdy foundation that can last longer. However, there are other options besides concrete that you could use.

Whereas there are various reasons that would make your fence post wobble, it could also be loosened by extreme weather, poor installation, or rot and insect infestation.

Thank you for reading this post, and we welcome you to read more of our previous posts:

Should You Concrete Chain Link Fence Posts

Can You Use Post Hole Digger To Plant Trees