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How To Fill Gaps Between Fence Boards Or Slats?

One of the best features of a beautiful, tall wooden fence is the privacy that it can afford. Unfortunately, over time, the ground shifts, and slats can shrink, creating unsightly gaps that allow any passerby to see into your private space. You may be wondering how to fill the gaps in your fence. We've thoroughly investigated and have found some great ideas.

There are a variety of ways to fix gaps in a wooden fence. The method you choose will depend on how much time and money you are willing to invest as well as how important the appearance of the fence is to you. The top ideas for covering gaps in a fence are as follows:

  • Replace existing panels
  • Shift boards and add new slats
  • Cover gaps with vinyl strips
  • Use hanging plants to fill gaps
  • Plant bushes or trees along your fence
  • Create privacy with fence decorations
  • Hide gaps with craft sticks
  • Cover the fence with a privacy screen

We know that is quite a list. We'll break down each method for fixing the gaps in your fence and discuss when each method might be useful. Keep reading as we discuss some cost-effective ways to close the gaps. We'll discuss ways to fix your fence to keep the original look or to completely change the look to get more privacy.

Background or pattern of slat for interior., How To Fill Gaps Between Fence Boards Or Slats?

Filling Gaps Between Fence Boards Or Slats

Replace Existing Panels

If you only have a gap or two that you are wanting to fix, one of the more cost-effective options may be to replace a slat next to the gap.

Remove the slat either with a drill if it is attached with screws or with a pry bar if it's nailed in place. Measure the space you want to fill, cut a piece of replacement slat to fit the space, and secure.

Wooden boards can be purchased and cut at any local home improvement store. There is often scrap wood put out on trash days in many neighborhoods.

If you are experienced at minor repairs around the house, this is an easy one to do yourself, or you may call a professional carpenter, fence installer, or trim installer to fix minor gaps.

Shift Boards And Add New Slats

If wear and tear over time have caused a major shift in the fencing and there are noticeable gaps throughout, you may want to look at doing a more intensive fence repair project. Experts and DIYers found that the best method of fixing gaps was to shift the boards and add new ones to complete the fence.

Though it may cost you more time than any of the other methods, the result is a more permanent repair and allows you to keep the original appearance of your fence.

This will work best with fences that are screwed into place. You would unscrew the whole section of fencing that has gaps. Reinstall the slats close together, closing the gaps.

You would then add new fencing slats to the end of your project to complete the work. Some professionals can do this type of work, but it is rated an easy if not a time-consuming project to do yourself. Once you complete the repair, the fence can be repainted or stained so that it regains its uniform look.

Cover Gaps With Vinyl Strips

If the overall appearance from the inside of your backyard is not important, this may be an easy and low-cost way of covering those gaps. You'll need a staple gun and a vinyl woven strap. Line up the woven strap over the gap and measure and cut. Staple along both sides of the strap to secure.

This YouTuber shows how to cover the gaps both on the fence during installation and what you would do on a fence that is already installed.

These strips come in many different colors. Choose to create contrast and use it as a decoration or use a more subtle color.

Vinyl strips are recommended over construction tape and other adhesives due to the breakdown of adhesive during inclement weather. Vinyl or poly strapping, also known as utility webbing, is weather resistant.

Click here to see straps for covering fence gaps on Amazon.

If you don't have a staple gun, you can get one at your local general merchandise store or home improvement store. One can also be purchased online. For this project, it could be just a basic model which you can get for $10 to $20.

Click here to see a staple gun on Amazon.

Use Creeping  Vines To Fill Gaps

Wooden wall with leaves climbing. Natural vine leaves in yellow and green on rustic wood background.

If you have a green thumb and enjoy natural scenery, consider having plants that creep planted along your fence. You would need to install a support system as the plant grows to train the plants to vine where you want them to go.

This can be a simple process done with common wire and eye screws. Get everything you need to make a trellis to train your plants in one kit at your local home improvement store or online.

Click here to see a trellis kit for your fence on Amazon.

For more on how you can make a trellis on your fence and for ideas on what types of plants work well, see our article: How To Build A Vertical Garden On A Fence

Plant Bushes Or Trees Along The Fence

Dense hedge along the boardwalk - high evergreen arborvitae as an ornamental plant on a private site

Tall bushes or evergreen trees can be a low-maintenance option and have been used by many to create privacy.

Many plant nurseries sell bushes that are already large enough to cover your fence or that are nearing maturity. This is not a low-cost option, but it is a permanent solution; some bushes stay full year around to provide maximum coverage.

For more about using bushes for privacy and to get some ideas on the best plants for you, see our list in our article: 17 Best Privacy Bushes And Shrubs

Create Privacy With Fence Decorations

Many different shapes bird feeders birdhouse for nesting box hanging on wooden fence.

A fun way to restore your fence could be to decorate it. The possibilities are endless. Use your fence to showcase your personality and creativity.

Some homeowners turn their fences into a condo for birds with multiple birdhouses or hang garden decorations or garden tools over the gaps. This works well if the gaps are not even from top to bottom. The decorations can be used over the larger parts to break up the view.

For fuller coverage, home improvement experts recommend that you install shelves or cubby holes for plants or other items. One expert recommends installing metal cages and building a lumber or rock wall.

Photo

This video has many ideas that can provide inspiration or be modified to cover your fence.

Hide Gaps With Craft Sticks

Another popular way of fixing gaps in the fence is to put wooden slats over the gaps. If done carefully and repainted or stained after, the results will maintain a pleasing appearance. Craft sticks are inexpensive and can be purchased at any craft or general merchandise store. You can easily find them online as well.

When choosing which sticks to purchase, pay close attention to length and width, as craft sticks can come in many shapes and sizes. 

These craft sticks, also referred to as a lath bundle, are 15.7 inches long and come in packs of 100. 

Click here to see craft sticks on Amazon.

Cover The Fence With A Privacy Screen

The easiest solution may be to purchase a privacy screen made for use over fences. If you only need to cover a portion of your fence, consider decorating it with a bamboo screen. It can also provide a stunning backdrop for flowers planted along the fence.

Click here to see a bamboo reed privacy screen on Amazon.

There are also utilitarian screens available for fences. Black, green, and grey are popular colors for these mesh screens. Choose a screen that rolls out or one that you can fix in place.

Add greenery to your backyard without the added labor with faux vines and flowers. Some screens provide minimal coverage for a few gaps while others provide full coverage for large sections of fence.

Click here to see this faux hedge for privacy on Amazon.

Should There Be Gaps Between Fence Boards?

Most fences can be installed with gaps to accommodate expansion. Often fences that are installed without gaps get them over time due to shifting in the ground or the wood contracting due to weather conditions. Privacy fences should not have gaps, yet it is common for gaps to appear.

How Can You Block A Gap In A Fence?

Farm fence with looming sky.

If you have a horizontal fence or gap that you are wanting to block so that rodents don't get in and companion animals don't get out, you can line your fence with chicken wire or vinyl fencing. There are many materials that can be stapled to the backside of fencing with large gaps.

Adding a mesh or lattice material to fencing works especially well for fences that were originally constructed to mark territory.

If privacy is not a concern, the materials will keep your animals in and pests out while maintaining the original purpose and look of the fence without detracting from the appearance.

Click here to see deer fence netting on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have some ideas for filling in the gaps in your fence, make it a project and have fun! Get a piece of paper and brainstorm. Pick a fun idea or a fast solution. The possibilities are truly endless.

Need more inspiration? Check out the following:

Fruit Trees As Privacy Fence – How To?

11 Tall Flowering Shrubs For Privacy And Hedges