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Old 05-19-2010, 01:18 AM   #1
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Wood fence


Can anyone tell me how hard it is to build your own wood fence?

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:23 AM   #2
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not hard at all, it's just work.
use a machine to dig the holes takes most of the work out of it.
pre-stain the wood. use pressure treated or cedar for the posts.

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Old 05-19-2010, 11:33 AM   #3
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The biggest issue, to me, when building a wood fencing is: What does it look like when I finish and stand back to view it? The layout of the fencepost is critical, IMO. Mark all post locations before digging, get a can of surveyors spray paint. IF there is to be a gate, mark it's location first, then mark the corner posts. Once these are marked you can figure the spacing of the line post. I, personally, do not like to use 8 ft. as a standard spacing. Measure between corners, or corner and gate posts, divide by a number which will give you less than 8 ft., it will be more aesthetic. Does your land run level? I doubt it. Pull a level string along the ground to determine if you want the fence to "run with the land" or to have sections drop equally between corners/corners and gate post. I like the drop effect. Once you determine how to run the fence framework, the fencing itself will be easy. Run one or two sections, maybe even a section off to the right and left, to see what the fence will look like before completing it. Good Luck, David
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Old 05-24-2010, 07:04 PM   #4
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Thanks alot!

My husband isn't the most handy/organized person and I'm hesitant about the whole fence set up. I just wanted some ideas. Your post was very helpful.

Vanessa
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:28 AM   #5
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There are a lot of variables to consider. What kind of soil do you have? Rocks, like us? What kind of fence? How long of a fence? Are there property line issues?


You do realize "Can anyone tell me how hard it is to build a wood fence?" and "How hard it is to get DH to build a wood fence?" are two totally different questions.
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:12 AM   #6
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Vanessa:

Could you post a pic or two of where this fence will go? That would be immensely helpful.

Then let us know the purpose of the fence, such as to keep the neighbour's pet rhinocerous out, or merely divide two pieces of property...you get the idea.

A slope does complicate things a little, but there are solutions. Flat ground is usually easier to install on.

We'll get you through it, don't worry.
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Old 06-02-2010, 10:30 AM   #7
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i've repaired an old fence, but the posts were good and i did not have to replace any. i would say the initial post placement and alignment is the most critical part. i'm not sure i would want to be attempting that myself unless i knew exactly what i was doing. a couple of my post were off, and trying to nail everything up with a couple of misaligned and/or twisted posts is a pain and it looks funny when you look down the line.
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Old 06-02-2010, 06:55 PM   #8
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Prebuilt fence sections would go up quicker and be cheaper to buy but you sacrifice quality and have fewer choices. Probably a good place to start would be to plan out and possibley even builfa single 6-8 ft section and figure that your cost and labor will be that multiplied by how many sections you will need. I found the Lowes 6X8 ft dog eared sections to be adaquate for my needs and watch for sales as the summer season goes on if you go the prebuilt route.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:54 PM   #9
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Just thought I'd add, if you go the route of building a wood fence, be sure to use wood that has been treated for outdoor use, or plan on adding a lot of weather proofing.
The previous owners of our house built their own wood fence, and it looks like it probably looked nice at one time, but due to the wood not being weather resistant, there are now many places where the wood has warped very badly.
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Old 06-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #10
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I'm actually tackling this very project over the summer. How difficult it is is sort of a subjective question. What I can tell you is how I'm going about it and you can judge it based on your skill level, etc...

I need just shy of 400 linear feet of fence. I didn't even bother contacting a fencing contractor because I don't have $6-7000 to drop on a fence job. First I went to Lowes and determined that the best (6x8 pressure treated dog ear, pre-stained with stainless steel fasteners) pre-built panels were $50. That still put me up over the $3000 mark along with posts, concrete, gate hardware (I will have one double door gate) so I started really scrutinizing the panels and how they were built. I then determined that I could built a better, stronger panel for about $23 per panel. I'll be buying the pre-cut pressure treated 6' dog ear pickets from the local big box along with pressure treated 5/4x3x8 (thicker and stronger than the rails on the pre-built panels) rails. I'll also purchase the posts (4x4x8s with 6x6x10s in each corner and at the gate) and concrete from them.

All of the panel components will be sprayed with weather sealer stain on every surface prior to assembly. This will ensure that the wood is completely coated-not just on the exposed surfaces. I'll also re-spray the entire fence once it's installed. I've built a jig out of dimensional lumber to speed the assembly of the panels-it's constructed so that I can simply lay the rails into pre-cut channels and then lay the pickets across them (finishing nails serve as spacers to ensure even gaps)-at that point I'll use a nailgun to fasten the pickets to the rails. I plan to build the panels in my garage at night during the week after work and then install however many panels I've built over the weekend. Building the panels is relatively simple, it just takes some planning and having the proper tools-ie: you could hand nail the pickets but it would take a very long time at six nails per picket.

As far as the layout I'm using surveyor's stakes ($9.00 for 25) planted at the location of each post. I used my plot plan and reference points (distance from the house to the property lines, etc...) to lay out the location of the fence lines. A surveyor's tape (basically a 100' or longer tape measure), masons line (nylon string you can use to mark a straight line between points), and spray paint are invaluable here. Double and triple check your measurements and locations-if your fence is over the line or not within setbacks you could end up having to tear it down! Anyway, I have a relatively simple layout-a big rectangle. My lot slopes to the rear though so I'll need to gradually step the panels down, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Digging the post holes is going to be handled by a heavy duty earth auger. We have heavy clay and rock here and I have 47 holes to dig. I'll be renting the auger but should be able to do all 47 holes in one day. If you have lighter soil (sand. gravel, etc...) you might be able to get away with a two or one man earth auger. Ask the folks at the local rental place and they'll set you up with the right equipment for the area. Each post hole will be just over 2' deep (just over 4' for corners and the gate) as each hole will have a concrete disc (cheap .99 patio paver) placed in the bottom as a "footing." The post will rest directly on that and concrete will be poured around it. The concrete will be shaped into a sort of "cone" around the base of the post so as to shed water. Those little copper or aluminum "hats" for the tops of the posts are cheap insurance too-they keep rainwater from pooling on top of the post and rotting it down the middle.

All in all I determined that this project will cost around $2700 (as compared to about $3500 if I were purchase pre-built panels, and who-knows-how-much if I hired a contractor), but your mileage may vary for the following reasons:

-I'm borrowing an airless paint sprayer, a nailgun, and a compressor from my father, so if you don't have either of those or a way to borrow them you'll need to factor in rental costs.

-I own a 1 ton pickup and a trailer large enough to transport all of the materials in one trip-if you can't do that you're probably looking at at least a $60 delivery fee.

-A close relative works for a large industrial supply company and is purchasing all of the fasteners and gate hardware (all stainless steel) for me at cost.

-I'm renting an earth auger at $100 per day for one day. If you need it longer of course that will affect your bottom line.

So as I said before I should be saving about $1200 by building the panels myself. That may not seem worth the hassle, but I see two good reasons for doing it this way. First, this is our first home and we're trying to make as many improvements as we can as cheaply as possible for re-sale value because we hope to start having children soon and would like to be in something larger in about 10 years. I figure if I really put a lot of work into the initial construction of the fence it will still look good when its time to sell the house and require little maintenance in the meantime. Second, by building my own panels I'm getting a studier, stronger panel than I could buy. There's nothing worse than looking at a sagging fence. I plan on posting pictures as I go, so once we get back from vacation I'll start a new thread on it. Hope that helps.

Last edited by Badfish740; 06-14-2010 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:59 PM   #11
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If you can find 5/4X3X6 PT rails you would be better off in the long run. six foot sections would require more posts but would sag less over time.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:40 PM   #12
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If you can find 5/4X3X6 PT rails you would be better off in the long run. six foot sections would require more posts but would sag less over time.
I batted that one around in my head for a while. I should have mentioned that I'm doing three rails per section-some of the cheaper panels I looked at use only two rails per section.
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Old 06-14-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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In my area if any part of the fence is on your neighbor's property you both co-own the fence you put up.

With a clam-shell digger it takes me 0.7 hr to dig a post hole 2' deep in clay.

With a gas powered digger every time it hit a root I was thrown to the ground, plus you get to breathe CO from the engine.
I've never taken such a beating in my life.
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:48 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
In my area if any part of the fence is on your neighbor's property you both co-own the fence you put up.

With a clam-shell digger it takes me 0.7 hr to dig a post hole 2' deep in clay.

With a gas powered digger every time it hit a root I was thrown to the ground, plus you get to breathe CO from the engine.
I've never taken such a beating in my life.
Those gas powered hand held augers are more of a workout then just digging the hole most of the time.

Digging clay isnít so bad with a good breaker bar.
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Old 06-14-2010, 08:21 PM   #15
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With such an investment, research a lot before you build. Not encasing the wood post in concrete, using gravel as back-fill and underneath for drainage, waterproofing treated wood (it's treated against bugs and fungi- not water) especially field cutting, are just a few points to ensure against replacing posts in 10-20 years from now.
http://books.google.com/books?id=1gg...num=3#PPA31,M1

http://rockproducts.com/mag/rock_agg...prevent_frost/

http://www.sustland.umn.edu/implemen..._footings.html

http://www.thompsonswaterseal.com/advice/faq.cfm


Be safe, Gary

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