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Build a treated-wood fence

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : Week-end Project

Versatile, durable and low-maintenance, treated-wood fences are extremely popular. They’re easy to build, can be completed over the weekend, and don’t require specialized tools aside from the posthole auger. Digging holes and pouring cement is physically demanding, however. Fence posts are buried in the ground and the holes are then filled with stone dust or concrete.

Before you begin, bring your neighbors up to speed and check local bylaws concerning fence installations.


Tools and materials required


  • Posthole auger
  • Gloves
  • Hammer
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Line level
  • Electric drill
  • Circular saw
  • Mitre saw or table saw
  • Router



  • Quick setting concrete
  • Lattice panels
  • Rails (stringers), 2" × 4"
  • Lattice moulding
  • Boards, 1" × 6"
  • Boards, 2" × 8"
  • Posts, 4" × 4"
  • Stone dust
  • Decorative post caps
  • Screws
  • Metal joist hangers 

Before Assembly


Treated-wood backyard fence elevation


Municipalities have regulations and bylaws that govern the installation of fences and hedges, and it is up to you to be aware of any regulations that might apply.

Before you undertake a fencing project, locate the precise boundary of your property, lay out an installation plan, then measure the total length.

The fence can be put up in four different ways, using: metal stakes, gimlets, posts driven directly into the ground, or posts inserted into form tubes or post base hangers. This project proposes you bury the fence posts in the ground and fill the holes with stone dust and concrete. Before you insert wood posts into the ground, protect them with a wood preservative.

Screws are preferable to nails. Your overall structure will be more solid, and it will be easier to replace a board or section of the fence if you need to in the future. Use screws for treated wood (ceramic-treated) or stainless steel screws. The rest of your hardware should ideally be made of stainless steel, or at least galvanized steel.


A fence is made up of a succession of posts connected by means of horizontal rails to which vertical fence boards are attached. Calculate one post and one section per 100" length of ground to fence in. Add an additional post to complete the fence.


Treated wood should be handled with precautions:

  • Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling treated wood to avoid skin contact with and to protect against splinters.
  • Wear a dust mask, eye protection, gloves and long sleeves when sawing, sanding or shaping treated wood to avoid skin contact with or inhalation of sawdust, to protect against splinters and to protect eyes from flying particles. When making cross cuts use a cut sealer as the factory-treatment rarely goes to the heartwood.

During construction:

  • Apply an appropriate "end-cut" preservative to protect exposed, untreated wood.
  • Use nails, screws, bolts, connectors and other hardware resistant to corrosion: stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized, yellow zinc or specially coated for outdoor use. Ordinary fasteners will rust, causing unsightly stains, and will weaken and fail.
  • Make certain the wood is thoroughly dry before painting or staining, and follow the coating manufacturer's recommendations. Use only good quality oil or acrylic coatings on water repellent pressure treated wood.
  • Regularly apply a stain or a water-resistant product to waterproof the wood and reduce leaching: every two years on floors and every four years for all other surfaces.
  • Do not dispose of treated wood remnants or sawdust in compost heaps, wood chips, or mulch and do not use it as animal bedding or litter.
  • Never burn treated wood.


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