Wood Fence Installation
Installing a wood fence can be a daunting task. Building one yourself can be a great experience, but not everyone has the time or skill to do it correctly. Here are some things to keep in mind as your new fence is going up:
Installation: Getting Started
The first step in getting your new fence off the ground is to decide who will install it. Some wood fencing retailers offer an array of options, ranging from full installation to simple delivery for the do-it-yourselfer.
Full professional installation. If you want it done fast, a reputable professional should be able to put your fence up within a week in the off-season and within up to four weeks in spring and summer. Having your fence installed usually comes at additional cost, but proper installation can guarantee a trouble-free fence for decades.
Partial installation. Some professional installers will perform post settings, meaning they’ll measure your yard, dig the holes, and set the posts. It’s up to you to finish nailing up the boards, which means you also get the bragging rights that come with building your own fence.
Do-it-yourself. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, nothing beats the pride you’ll feel when looking at your own handiwork. This is usually the least expensive installation method, but keep in mind any mistakes can cause problems in the long term.
Whichever method you choose, a key tip is to use 5×5-inch pressure-treated posts, which are cut from larger trees than typical 4×4-inch boards. They provide extra stability and have a negligible cost difference.
Before You Build
- Before installing your fence, make sure to properly assess your property line. Fewer things are more awkward than setting up a new fence that’s technically in your neighbor’s yard! The best way to do this is to request a land survey.
- Investigate the local zoning ordinances. Some residential areas have restrictions on the type of fence you can construct.
- If there are any underground utility lines running under your property, schedule a time for utility companies to check out your chosen build site. Most utility companies will send representatives out as a free service, so you have nothing to lose.
Tips for the Do-it-Yourselfer
Now you’re ready to start. If you’ve decided to install your own wood fence, here are some tips to help you set the posts properly:
- To provide proper support for the boards, most types of wood fences should have posts spaced no more than 8 feet apart. Beginning with the corner and end posts, dig a 2-foot hole for each one. To help measure spacing, hang string along the tops of each post, making sure the line is taut.
- Plan for 6 feet of your fence posts to be exposed above ground. Since most wood fence boards measure 5 feet, 10 inches, this will allow a few inches of clearance and prevent the boards from sitting on the ground.
- Once all your posts are ready to be set, prepare your concrete by mixing it as directed. Hold the posts in the holes and gently pack the concrete along the sides. Make sure to avoid getting any concrete under the post, as doing so can cause structural problems in the future.
- When each post is secured, spray each concrete base with a hose until water stops disappearing into the concrete. Once the concrete has been watered down, it is recommended that you wait three days before resuming work on the fence.
Wood fence gates shouldn’t be longer than 48 inches wide to prevent sagging. For increased stability, plan for your gate to be 36-42 inches in width. You can also install a steel-reinforced gate frame for extra protection against sagging and natural wear.