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.
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:
1.1. Establish the location of your fence by pounding in stakes where the posts will go and then running a string around the perimeter. You can also use spray paint.
1.2. Calculate the total length of the fence. Plan for one section and one post per 100", and an additional post to complete the fence.
1.3. Prepare your materials for each section:
- 1 post, 4" x 4" x 10'
- 2 horizontal rails, 2" x 4" x 96"
- 1 border, 2" x 8" x 96", with a groove
- 13 boards, 1" x 6" x 60"
- 1 lattice panel, 24" x 96"
- 1 lattice moulding (“U” shaped), 96" and 2 mouldings, 16"
1.4. Cut the upper corners of the 2" x 8" x 96" border in the shapes suggested.
1.5. Use a router to cut a ½" deep groove in the bottom of the border, sufficiently wide to receive the trellis. The groove should be perfectly centered.
2.1. Mark locations for the 4" × 4" treated-wood posts at 8' intervals; they are the pillars for your new fence.
2.2. Use a posthole auger to dig holes 8" to 10" in diameter and 3' 6" to 4' deep for optimum stability and to prevent the posts from loosening when frost occurs. The distance between the holes must be 8', centre to centre.
2.3. Lay a bed of 0-¾ crushed stone 6" deep at the bottom of every hole.
2.4. Apply a wood preservative to the section of the posts that will be below-ground.
2.5. Insert a post, then use a carpenter’s level to make sure it’s vertically level.
2.6. Put in a foundation of concrete or stone dust enough to stabilize the post.
2.7. Maintain the post in a vertical position, and check that it’s vertically plumb.
2.8. The posts should be higher than the finished desired height; you can trim the posts once the installation is complete.
2.9. Fill the remainder of the cavity with stone dust up to ground level, and lightly water the surface to compact the stone dust. It is advisable to ask someone to help you for these steps. If you choose concrete, put the concrete mix and water into the portable mixer. Close the lid and mix for approximately 30 seconds. When it’s ready, pour the concrete in the holes. Note that you may also use premixed concrete.
2.10. Verify once more the distance between posts, which should be 8', centre to centre.
2.11. Make the concrete mound-shaped around the post; this will allow water to run off and not create a pool around the post.
3.1. Mark the location of the lower hangers approximately 12" from the ground, if the ground is completely level. Use a line level hanging from a string tied securely between your posts to check that the joist hangers are level.
3.2. Mark the location of the upper hangers 3' above the marks already made (for the lower hangers).
3.3. Screw the joist hangers to each post at the appropriate height, securing them at the top and bottom and on both sides.
3.4. Secure 2" × 4" rails to the joist hangers between two posts. The vertical fence boards will be screwed to these horizontal rails.
4.1. Attach to the upper part of the fence, horizontally to the upper horizontal board, the 96" lattice moulding which you will screw through the groove, first drilling holes.
4.2. Press the two 16" vertical lattice mouldings on the posts by pressing down on the preceding moulding, then screw.
5.1. Fasten each vertical board to the top and bottom horizontal rails by means of two diagonally positioned screws.
5.2. Space the vertical boards 1 ½" apart, or less if desired. Use a template for even spacing. For example: for a 1 ½" space, use the narrow edge of a 2" × 4" (which in fact measures 1 ½"× 3 ½") as a spacer between two vertical boards.
5.3. Repeat the process until the area between two posts has been covered.
6.1. Slide the trellis into the grooves of the lattice moulding.
6.2. Place the border over the trellis so that the trellis fits in to the groove, then nail it to the posts at a 45° angle.
6.3. Install a decorative post cap on each post.
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