wood fence repair

I have about 350 feet of privacy fence which is unfinished wood. The house is 14 years old so it can be as old as that. I moved in 4 years ago.
Some of the vertical pieces are becoming loose from the horizontal pieces. It looks like they are secured with BIG staples---about 1 inch long.
I would like to be able to periodically go around, re-securing those slats that are starting to get loose....so my dogs don't get loose. Is the stapler used for this sort of thing a professional item that is too expensive for this kind of casual use? It would be very tedious to go around with screws.
Thanks for any advise or suggestions, Bonnie in NJ
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Bonnie wrote:

Bonnie,
Most homeowners w/o benefit of air nailers or staplers use galvanized nails for fence repair. Screws can be tedious but will out perform the nails over time because they won't come loose and you have less chance of splitting the pickets when applied. A decent cordless screw driver and the screws are all that's needed.
If the pickets (slats) are in bad shape, cracked, split badly or rotten, neither may suffice for long or even be worth the effort.
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Are the slats thin, like lattice? If so, you probably shouldn't use screws anyway because they're likely to split them. Otherwise, galvanized or exterior coated screws will be your best bet because they'll tighten up those joints, not just pin them. Just knock off a few sections every weekend to dilute the tedium.
Alternatively, you can rent a compressor and power stapler. But my mantra is that every homeowner should own a compressor because they're just too cool not to have. Compressed air has so many creative uses.
Steve Manes Brooklyn, NY http://www.magpie.com/house/bbs
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I use my cordless screwdriver and some special zinc coated deck screws. It is fast and fun. I believe mine are 1inch screws and they work perfectly.
I always try to use the holes that are already in my boards so I don't split them. If you can't use the staple holes then you may split an occasional board but who cares.
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______________
they are regular dog-ear slats---probably 4 inches wide by thick. I think I will do the galvanized screw thing---and do a bunch every weekend.
Thanks for everyone's advise to use the screws.
Bonnie
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Bonnie wrote:

You mean the staple legs are 1" apart or the staple legs are 1" long. Better be the former as 1" long would only penetrate the holding board by 1/4." Professionals often use air tools. If you already have an air compressor you could think about getting a stapler but they are expensive. You can get a fair nailer cheaper, but you are talking about at least $100 for the compressor and $100- 200 for a nailer.
The standard for the do it yourselfer is 8 penny galvanized nails (dipped, which are rougher that plated). (Assumes your upright boards are 1" thick.) I just finished tightening about 80 feet of my nearly 30 year old cedar fence. You need two people--one to hold a heavy hammer on one side and one on the other side to drive the nails. It will take you a few hours (like maybe 10 hours) to do 350 feet depending on condition.
If you use an air tool you only need yourself. Personally, I would use a hammer and invite a friend or hire a kid to help you do it every year or so.
The cheapest alternative for a single person is probably to use screws. Get the brass colored drywall screw (coarse thread about 1-3/4") or stainless steel deck screws. Get a cordless drill in the 12-14 Volt which will be much cheaper than buying 4 100 extension cords. A 14 V cordless drill at Harbor Freight is about $16. A contractor type will cost you over $100.
Good luck
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

My Mekita with fresh batteries would not drive a 2-1/4" screw (or very many) in a fence picket. I used a 3/8" 120v drill without a hiccup.
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Bonnie wrote:

Hi, Nail is better than staples, Screws are better than nails. There is spiral nails also. Tony
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HeyBub wrote:

Depends on the wood. My fence is entirely cedar which is pretty soft, so my 12V Harbor Freight would be suitable; probably not too good with hardwood posts. Nonetheless, I used it to drive 2" screws to tighten a floor--3/4" chipboard on top of tongue and groove 2x6 pine/fir. I switched to a corded drill when I hit knot because the corded drill has much more power. Corded drill would give more power at the expense of of four 100 foot extension cords.
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