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Old 04-03-2010, 09:18 PM   #1
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To space between slats in privacy fence?

So I'm putting up a new privacy fence. Gonna go with installing individual slats as opposed to pre-bought panels. Have had "many" tips from good friends who have done the same and some who are actually semi-pro at it. Up until today, I was told to nail/screw each slat as flush as possible up against the adjacent slat as the wood would shrink over time and I WILL have spaces between them eventually. (Also advised to plumb bob the slats every few to keep them true vertical).

Well today while buying a few supplies at Big Box Store, the local pro told me to actually space my slats about the width of a #2 screwdriver apart because the cedar slats will expand when they get wet and if they are attached flush, this will cause them to warp.


(also, please advise me if I should post this on a "better" subforum; I couldn't really tell from cruisin' around here where to post this)


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Old 04-03-2010, 10:13 PM   #2
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Follow your friend's advice on this and install the boards tightly. They contain enough moisture so that when they dry, they will indeed have space between them, anywhere from 1/8" to 1/4", which will be enough to allow for expansion when they get wet again.
A decent 4' level will work ok for plumb; if you have, or can borrow a 6'er, so much the better.


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Old 04-03-2010, 10:23 PM   #3
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A lot depends on the moisture content when the boards are installed. I did a similar job a few years ago and the boards expanded and actually broke the heads off some of the screws. I would at least use a 16d nail to space the boards, after all it's outside and will be wet many times. Why take the chance for a little more privacy?
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Old 04-03-2010, 10:40 PM   #4
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Spaces. At least the width of a framing spike.
The spaces also allow the fence to pass wind through it better than when the boards are tight together.
Short of cutting off a body part, the worst that can happen in woodworking is manufacturing really nice looking kindling. --- Quoted from lenaitch
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