First Time Fence Builder?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by JohnE, Jul 14, 2003.

  1. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    So I'm going to attempt to build an 18' section of fence and I'm looking for some advice. What to avoid and that kind of thing.

    My plan is to put in 3 pressure treated 4x4's at 6' intervals. I was going to dig the holes about 2' deep, but someone else told me to go 3' deep and layer the bottom with about 6" of gravel for water run off? Sound OK so far?

    I was also going to go with those brackets you can buy for Lowes for the backing and then just nail up the cedar planks?

    Any tips?
     
  2. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Producer

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    JohnE,

    Sounds like you may be planning a privacy fence. Is that correct? The 2' 6" actual depth for the post is probably a good idea considering the wind load of this type of fencing.
    Many people just use landscape timbers for the posts, you might compare the price.
    When you nail the 1x6s up drive in the nails at opposing angles, the boards will be much less likely to pull off.
    Whats the dirt like?

    Jim
     
  3. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    The depth of the posts is partially dependent on how high the fence will be, how dense the soil is, and how exposed/wind resistent the fence will be (ala picket=lots of holes, privacy=basic wall).

    I will typically do 8' spans, with posts 2.5 to three feet deep for a 6' fence. I wouldn't normally put gravel at the bottom, but do cap that end so the end grain isn't against the soil. You are using pressure treated, so rot shouldn't be that big a worry - just don't cut the end you put in the hole. I also usually add a bag or more of concrete for each post, especially on solid fences, as the wind will blow these over pretty easily if the soil isn't very hard.

    What type/height of fence are you planning on building?
     
  4. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    Yup, privacy fence it is.

     
  5. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Okay, that gives us a start. If you don't have them already, I suggest buying a stringline, a string level (hangs off the string) and a post level (L shaped level you elastic band to the post).

    I have always found it easiest to build as I go, after setting up the stringline so everything is straight. Run the string across the opening at the top of the fence, then double back a foot or so off the ground.

    Set the first post, put in a couple of temporary braces, and pour the concrete. Use the two 2x4s you are using as rails to set the distance to the next post, attach them at both ends, level the second post, pour the concrete, on to the next. Fill in the upright boards once everything has set.

    I know a lot of people prefer to set all the posts first, but I just find it easier to use the rails as the measure, rather than placing the post and hoping everything fits in between.

    Use a stick to agitate the mix in the hole, which makes it form tightly around the post. Remember to cover the concrete with the bags it came in, wetted down a bit, so the concrete doesn't cure too fast. If you use something like PostHaste they firm up pretty fast.
     
  6. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Jeff, that dosen't sound so bad. Would you recommend having a friend handy or can this be done alone?
     
  7. Shane Bos

    Shane Bos Second Unit

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    It is easier with 2 people.

    1. set up a stake at each end of where you want the fence. Then run a string between to keep at straight line. Dig your post holes to depth don't worry about having gravel under the posts is not necessary with treated wood especially if you use concrete. Make sue that your measurements are to the middle of the desired hole.

    2. Starting at one end put your Corner post in make sure that is straight ( use level on 2 side not just 1 ). Then fill the hole with sand and cement mix, make sure that as you fill the hole you tamp the fill as to make sure that it's good and tight and will not settle over time. Keep checking your level to make sure the post is still straight.

    3. Next Follow step 2 on the other corner post.

    4. Do step 2 for your center post.

    5. Once you've got all your post in a straight add water to allow the cement to set.

    6. After the cement has setelled (if you can allow to do so overnight). Run your stringers along the top and bottom. Then nail or screw your boards up leaving a even gap of at least 1/4" between boards (expansion gap). Do the math first to find a nice even gap between the boards.

    It's realitivly easy to build a fence. Although some people seem to be able to mess it up such as my brother-in-law. I guess he should have asked for help, but that will teach him for noth doing the math to figure out his spacing before he puts up the fence.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  9. JohnE

    JohnE Supporting Actor

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    Thanks again guys.[​IMG]

    Post holes are dug and I'm planning to get started tomorrow. Now I jsut have to lure a friend over with the promise of a barbecue and trick him into helping me. I could probably just ask, but this way is more fun.[​IMG]

    Wish me luck.[​IMG]
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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