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Old 06-10-2010, 11:06 PM   #1
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Hi,
I just had a new wooden privacy fence installed (Cypress). After the installer completed putting the fence up we walked the perimeter and it looked great. I wanted to be sure no wood was split during installation..and I saw NONE. A few days later I am looking at the fence and I notice that many of the boards were developing splits/crack. These apparently developed as the wood begin to dry out. Some cracks were at the top and some at the bottom. I have called the installer and he will return tomorrow. Initally he has stated the perhaps the wood was "too wet". I don't know if that is really the case or if this was poor quality wood.
Does anyone have any ideas why the wood would begin splitting with days after the installation???
He has stated he will replace the split wood..and I wonder if I will just have the same issue again.
Also, when he begins yanking those boards off will that make the supports unstable??
I would appreciate any Ideas/suggestions
thanks

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Old 06-11-2010, 05:27 AM   #2
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


i would say it the timber has notfully dryed and still green.
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Originally Posted by jesse423 View Post
Hi,
I just had a new wooden privacy fence installed (Cypress). After the installer completed putting the fence up we walked the perimeter and it looked great. I wanted to be sure no wood was split during installation..and I saw NONE. A few days later I am looking at the fence and I notice that many of the boards were developing splits/crack. These apparently developed as the wood begin to dry out. Some cracks were at the top and some at the bottom. I have called the installer and he will return tomorrow. Initally he has stated the perhaps the wood was "too wet". I don't know if that is really the case or if this was poor quality wood.
Does anyone have any ideas why the wood would begin splitting with days after the installation???
He has stated he will replace the split wood..and I wonder if I will just have the same issue again.
Also, when he begins yanking those boards off will that make the supports unstable??
I would appreciate any Ideas/suggestions
thanks

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Old 06-11-2010, 07:07 AM   #3
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Check how the boards are nailed to the frame. If there are two nails side by side near the outside of the board, the board will split as it shrinks. There should be one nail in the center of the board so the board can get wider or narrower as it gains or loses moisture.
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Old 06-11-2010, 03:34 PM   #4
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


i'd call the supplier anonymously and tell him/her what has happened. they'd explain it best.

once you understand why it is splitting the problem should be easier.

i'd certainly be there to make sure they "nicely" take off the old pickets or you'll have fence frame issues.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Jesse, I'm afraid this is an all too common problem. Almost any wood which you build a fence from is likely to split.

The least likely to split is western red cedar.

As zircon says, two nails near the outer edges will almost always cause splitting.

While it is true that a more seasoned wood is inclined to split less, it is no guarantee that it will not happen again. Unfortunately, most fencing wood does not tend to be of the higher grades, and as such tends to split more easily.

If your installer comes back and replaces the split posts, this will only be the first of many trips.

If there is any possibility of removing one of the two nails at each end of the board, you may avoid (somewhat) any further splitting.

I am going to speculate that this wood is green, i.e. unseasoned and not kiln dried, and whether or not it was nailed to a fence, it may well have split anyway.

The lumber yards up here often leave a sprinkler running on the lumber stacks during the summertime. This is to avoid excess splitting. You might try dampening the wood once or twice a day until it has settled and see if that helps.

Unfortunately, this is not a problem that is going to go away.
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Old 06-16-2010, 08:12 PM   #6
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Wood doesn't seem well-suited for this kind of application... The fancy wood fence I had on my first home was grey and looked terrible in only a year.

Next fence will NOT be wood.

JMO
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:13 AM   #7
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


I have a cedar fence and haven't had spliting problems that i have noticed. how big of a spilt are we talking about, or is it just smalll cracks? I will seal and stain mine every couple of years and looks beautiful (although it's only been one year) some people like the grey that wood becomes but i will be keeping mine cedar tone.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:09 PM   #8
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Thanks so much to everyone that has replied.
I did call the supplier (anonymously) and asked questions. He basically said.."all wood splits and some will split worse than others" He actually said don't put up wood use vinyl (he sells both).
I did expect to have some splits (over time) but not in 4 days! The installer has admitted that it has split sooner than he has ever seen. He made the statement that the boards were pretty wet when installed.
The splits on some boards are at both the top and the bottom of the board. A few at the top have gone from being a crack to gap (1/8 inch). They are nailed with two nails, side by side about 1 inch off center (so not right at the edge). I have around 70 boards currently marked for him to replace. He has agreed to "make it right". He wants to wait two weeks and see if the splits continue to get worse. I do worry about the romoval of the board..and what that will do to weaken the framing. He seems to think that is not an issue..?
Some boards are not spliting..yet! I do plan to stain the boards..if I ever get this issue resolve.
Any other suggestions/comments are appreciated. This forum is great and I appreciate your comments.
Jesse
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:40 PM   #9
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Do you have any pics of the splits ?
Friends house the Assoc went with PVC (?)
Within 3 years they were replacing multiple pieces that simply cracked & split due to the cold, kids, cars etc
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:05 AM   #10
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Jesse:

FWIW, the standard fencing system we used here was such that the vertical fence boards are not nailed anywhere. They are captured between two 1 x 1's which are nailed onto the fence framing.

It all but eliminates the problem of splitting.

If you like, I could make a small mockup and take a pic so you can see how that works.

Probably too late for this fence, but in future it might prove to be handy.
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:54 AM   #11
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


I'd like to see that mock up Coco.
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Old 06-18-2010, 01:40 PM   #12
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Quote:
Originally Posted by cocobolo View Post
Jesse:

They are captured between two 1 x 1's which are nailed onto the fence framing.
Thats a great idea
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Old 06-18-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


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I'd like to see that mock up Coco.
OK, just taking a short break from tiling...I'll post a pic later for you.
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:21 PM   #14
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


I hope you can see what I was trying to portray here.

The left side is the bottom of the fence.

A "T" is made using a 2 x 6 at the bottom with the 2 x 4 nailed above it.

The two 1 x 1's are nailed with sufficient space to hold the vertical fence boards snugly. In fact, what we used to do was to nail one of the 1 x 1's in place, stand the fence boards, and then nail the second 1 x 1 up tightly against the fence boards.

The next framing member is another 2 x 4, again with two 1 x 1's nailed to it.

Above that is another 2 x 4 with representation of lattice in between.

You do not need 1 x 1's for that section.

There were variations available on these fences.

The most common was as you see here, using 4' tall fence boards and 1 foot high lattice. The lattice may be made either square or on the diagonal. Usually it was diagonal, and we used to nail every second piece of the lattice directly on to the 2 x 4's, both top and bottom.

Occasionally, someone would request 5' fence boards and omit the lattice. This gave a solid fence nearly 6' tall providing a little extra privacy.
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Old 07-19-2010, 09:00 PM   #15
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HELP! New WOOD FENCE is Splitting


Cocobolo, Thanks for the pictures..I will definately do this differently IF I ever have another wood fence installed. I do believe the wood was more the problem than the installation. I think the wood was probably green..and I know it was wet when installed. It has now been up only 45 days and I have at least 70 boards with some measure of split..either top or bottom. I don't think it is wise to pull all those boards and replace them..at least not yet..figure I will stain the fence and see how things look in a year or so. I guess I will chalk this one up to a "learning experience"

I would like to get some suggestions on the best stain to use on it? oil? water-based? Brand?

Thanks again everyone for your comments!
Jesse

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