While fencing is an often neglected aspect of a home, it can serve a number of useful purposes and is a great investment in a property’s curb appeal and value. For instance, fencing can protect your yard from animals, prevent the entry of potential intruders, and even provide an additional barrier against loud neighbors. The process of fencing requires a significant amount of work and time, but with the right tools and knowledge, completely achievable for the homeowner.
Plan the Fence
As with most DIY tasks, start your project with research. In many areas, fence construction is generally very highly regulated – your local homeowner's association, neighborhood, or city might have particular codes set in place that you need to adhere to. Such codes usually govern particular aspects of your fence, often including height or style.
It’s also important to check and mark your property line to identify where precisely you can place fencing. Refer to your property's official that shows measurements and boundaries.
If you’re unsure of the exact property line location, visit your local county recorder or assessor's office. You can also access public maps of your street and locate your boundaries. Many counties also let you access property lines online. Taking the time to ensure you are 100% certain you have the correct placement and planning is detrimental.
An additional step, that can be easily overlooked is reaching out to neighbors when planning the fence. It’s highly recommended to review any plans with neighbors who share your property line to prevent any disagreements in the future.
Choose the Fence Type
There are numerous fencing options available in the market, one of the first questions to ask yourself, is which is best for your home? For the ordinary, budget friendly, DIY yard fence, building out of prefabricated panels is a recommended option. In this case, it’s important to determine the fence style you wish to build in order to determine what fence panel widths are available. Having information regarding the specifications of the panel will influence how you measure and plan your fence.
Measure and Mark the Layout
Once you’ve established your fence idea, the process of installation begins with comprehensive measuring. Here's how you can measure and mark the layout of your fence.
- Measure the complete fence line. Use a measuring wheel to measure the complete fence line, including gates. Then with chalk or spray paint, demarcate the fence and label where the gates are going to be located.
- Calculate the number of panels needed. Deduct the complete lengths of the gates from the total footage of the fence. Then divide the remainder by the panel length of your chosen fence style. This way, you can calculate the number of panels or footage you require. You can fill in any remaining forage with pickets or a partial panel.
- Figure out the number of fence posts you require. To figure out the number of fence posts you require, divide the length of the fence by the post spacing. Ideally, you should have a post every 6 – 8 feet.
Dig the Holes
Dig holes nearly one-third as deep as they are tall. For instance, you will have to dig a hole that's 2 feet deep for a 6-foot post. Also, dig around 3-5 inches to make room for gravel. The hole’s diameter should be 3x the post's width.
Pro-tip – Dial 811 before you start digging. Your utility provider will indicate the location of any gas, power, and water lines in your yard. To be on the safe side, dig holes that are 20-25 inches from a marked utility line.
Set Up Posts in the Concrete
Pour 3 – 5 inches of gravel down the foot of each hole for effective drainage. Next, prep the concrete mix following the manufacturer's instructions. Now place the post above the gravel in the center of the hole and add around 6- 8 inches of concrete. Make sure to slope the concrete away from the post and fill the rest of the area with dirt after the concrete dries up.
Support the posts plum with stakes and boards measuring 2-feet by 4-feet. Let the concrete set as per the manufacturer's guidelines. This can take a couple of days.
Install Panels or Rails to the Posts
After the concrete at the foot of your posts has completely dried up, you can start attaching the panels or rails to the posts. The number of rails you require depends on your fence's height. If you are building a privacy fence, you will want a minimum of three rails – one on the top edge of the fence, one in the center, and one at the bottom.
Secure each rail with galvanized nails or deck screws. Claw hammers or power drills are useful tools in this stage.
Fasten Pickets to the Rails
After installing the rails, start securing the pickets to the rails. Make sure to secure every picket with galvanized nails or screws.
Adjust the length of the fastener relative to your rail thickness and picket thickness. Be careful that it doesn't pass through the rail. Based on the width of your pickets, use 2 – 3 fasteners for every rail.
Install the Gate
If you have not installed your gate posts by now, you can do so just like how you installed the fence posts (refer to step #5). For an ordinary gate, all that is required are screws, your selected locking system, and the appropriate size hinges.
Start by measuring and pre-drill where you want to fix the hinges on your gate posts and gate section. Next, secure the hinges onto the gate and attach the gates to the posts. Then, install the locking mechanism as advised by the manufacturer.
Treat or Stain the Wood
If you chose to build a wood fence or picket fence, the last step entails treating or staining the wood. Start by applying a wood preservative around the posts to ward off rot. If you have built the fence with pressure-treated wood, allow the wood to completely dry before applying a finish or stain. Check the finish, paint, or stain manufacturer guidelines for specific instructions.
Following these steps will help you beautify your property and even keep it safe from external elements. A fenced land and property line can provide convenience to your lifestyle. While the process of fence building can at times appear daunting, at Grange Co-op, we want to make DIY projects as simple and effortless as possible. Learn more by reading our blog online, or visit us in-store to speak with a Grange Fence Expert to help you achieve your DIY home improvement goals!