If privacy or security issues are keeping you out of the backyard, it's time to make some changes. With a quality wood fence you can leave your worries behind and enjoy a private, safe area outside the patio door. An easy DIY project with big benefits, these three important tips from the pros will guide you through how to build a wood fence.
1) Location Is Key
Always start by finding your lot lines, even if the fence is not on them. That information can be found on your survey, which is often supplied with the paperwork you received when you bought the house.
You need to decide whether the fence will be squarely on your property (a full 2 to 4 inches within the lines) or whether splitting costs and responsibilities with the neighbor will allow you to install it directly on the border between you. Discuss this important aspect with your neighbors well ahead of time. If that's not possible, opt to be safe and install the fence on your own property, thereby making it completely yours.
Another essential step is to find the location of any underground utility lines in your yard. This can often be done by calling a local â€œBefore You Digâ€ hotline that will put you in touch with or gather information from local utilities. Phone, cable, natural gas and hydro all need to be contacted and that information should be on hand when the posts are dug.
2) Digging Posts Can Be Tough
Depending on the soil conditions in your area, drilling the post holes can become a lengthy process. Rent an auger if possible and have a few friends help you out. Use that survey to mark the post locations with paint or stakes ahead of time. Make sure the line is as straight as you can get it and plan to hand dig any posthole that falls within 3 feet of a buried utility line.
Dig all of the holes and clean them out. You'll need to find a place to dump the dirt, but it's a good idea to wait until after the posts are set to do that.
Go slowly and remove any large rocks as you move along. Stop the auger when it begins to slip or jam. You'll end up breaking auger teeth and even the entire bit if you push the machine too far through hostile ground.
Place 4x4's or 6x6's in the holes and pour cement around the wood, filling the hole nearly full. Now look for that soil you left piled nearby. A thin layer of soil on top of the cement will allow the grass to grow right up to your posts.
3) Think About the Top and Bottom Of the Fence
After you have installed your 2x4 stringers between the posts and checked them with a level, it's time to install the fence boards. Decide whether you want the top of your fence to be level as well. Sometimes it's more important that there be no gap in the bottom of the fence. You can have both if you buy long enough fence boards and do a lot of trimming, but most DIY fence builders choose one or the other.
For a level top, you'll likely need to trim the boards at the bottom as the grade slopes. Or alternatively you can install the fence boards in full lengths and when the section is complete, snap a chalk line and zip the tips of them off to form an even line. If you want the bottom closed off completely, simply set the boards against the ground and nail into the 2x4's. The top of the fence may be uneven, but can then be trimmed if the height allows it. With a little planning ahead you can ensure the finished fence looks more professional and fulfills what you need it to.
The pros have plenty of other tips on how to build a wood fence. Wood quality, fastener options and lattice or scalloped toppers are just a few different areas to cover. These three handy tips will get you started though, well on your way to building a wood fence to be proud of.Posted by: TrustedPros