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Old 01-01-2017, 04:07 AM   #1
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Fence building general questions...

Hello, I wasn't really sure what forum was appropriate for this topic, so forgive me if it's in the wrong place. I plan on having a privacy fence installed in my backyard this spring. I realize this is a DIY forum, but I plan on having a fence company do the install. I just want to know what kind of questions I need to ask, or building demands I need to make to ensure I get a fence that will actually last a long time? Most of the fences in my neighborhood look like crap and are warped, busted up, twisted, etc etc. I think I would like to do a cedar fence, as I think they look better and I've heard the wood is better than pine because it doesn't warp and crack like pine does.

With that being said, I have some additional questions....a coworker of mine is trying to advocate to me on using galvanized posts instead of wood. I like the idea of the metal posts being stronger and not rotting like wood, but I don't want to see metal posts along with my wood fence. I think that would look tacky. I understand there are certain kinds of brackets you can get though that allow you to construct a wood facade around the post.
....If I don't go metal posts though, and go wood, is it better to go with pressure treated posts, or cedar posts? What is the best way to set the posts that I need to make sure any contractor I hire will adhere to? I have seen articles talk about setting the posts on top of gravel, then filling with concrete, and having the concrete come up out of the ground a little bit and slope away from the posts....additionally caulking around the post where it meets the concrete. But I have read other articles that say don't use concrete at all as it will absorb water and accelerate post rot. I just don't know what to think or believe. I really want a fence that's going to last at least 15-20 years if I can. I don't mind spending a little more money up front if it will mean much better longevity and less work down the road. Thanks.
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Old 01-01-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
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Re: Fence building general questions...

There are many ways to build fences, and if you ask three people on this forum, you will get four opinions, each equally convincing sounding. Very difficult to distinguish solid information form dross on an internet chat forum like this. I recommend you ask each fence builder to give you three references for local fences they built at least five years ago, then look at the fences to see how they held up. Hard to do better than actual results to evaluate the quality of a contractor.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:12 AM   #3
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Re: Fence building general questions...

Materials and maintenance can be just as big of a factor in older fences as the installation

Just get customer references. Look for local forums on various topics specific to your area. I get most of my references from a fishing forum local to the city i live in.
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Old 01-03-2017, 12:37 PM   #4
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Re: Fence building general questions...

Just for some perspective: A PT pine 4x4x8 fence post runs about $8 from a local big box. An 8' steel galvanized 2-3/8" diameter post probably runs about double that, call it ~$16. Figure the labor to dig the hole and place/set the post is the same for wood and steel.

Ozco makes a couple different brackets that allow you to wrap a steel post with wood. Something like the OZCO JawsII. Or the OZCO IS-FBL.

For either bracket option above, you are probably looking at about $10-12 in brackets and hardware, plus ~$8 in lumber per psot to wrap them. That's on top of the cost of the post itself, so for total materials costs you are in the neighborhood of $30-35 per post . . . and that is ignoring any additional labor required over the wood option.

If they are available in your area, the Master Halco Postmaster posts offer a long-lasting, easy to conceal solution for fence posts. I want to say they are 3-4X the cost of treated pine posts if you can find them.

Either way, wrapped steel posts are going to SUBSTANTIALLY increase the project cost. If it were me, and I planned to live there a long time, I'd go with steel posts but skip wrapping them.
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