Constructing a privacy fence to border your yard might be high on the “want” list, but with questions around permits, tools, materials, and the physical build, it might be one of those projects that you prefer to put off until next summer.
Last week we talked about some of the rules and regulations around building a fence in our area, as well as the materials you’ll need, and some simple tips to help ease the process. This week, we’ll talk about what you’ll need to do to get that fence up and protecting your yard.
Fences aren’t just your typical wood slats anymore; nowadays they are often constructed in six to eight foot long panels, which can be made from wood, vinyl, steel, or other materials. The panels make a fence much easier to install with a few tools, some precision, and patience.
Once you decide on the type of fence you want and the size of the panels, you’ll start by measuring the area that the fence will border. Draw the fence line with spray paint and then measure the line using a measuring wheel to get the exact length. You’ll also want to mark and measure your gates according to their size. Remember to subtract the gate widths from the total length of the area, as these spaces will not require panels.
Once you have the area measured and marked, you can determine where your posts should go. One post will need to be installed every six to eight feet, dependent on the length of your panel. Your posts are your anchors so be diligent about this measurement or before you know it, that new fence will come crashing down. You can use chalk lines as a guide, but make sure the post’s position is consistent all around the area.
Once your posts are marked, you can begin to dig. You’ll need a post hole digger for this part of the project and you’ll want to ensure your holes are at least three times as wide and half as deep. I always suggest digging below the frost line since our winters can get pretty brutal. Once your holes are dug, you can add about six inches of gravel to the hole to ensure proper drainage, followed by around six inches of mixed concrete. Set your post into the hole and level the concrete around it, sloping the mixture slightly away from the post. Now make sure to let it dry according to the time specified on the packaging. Do not install your panels until the concrete has properly cured, which can take up to a few days.
Once your concrete is set, you can attach the panels using deck screws or nails. The type of fence material you’re using will depend on the best fastener – nails are good for wood while deck screws are a better option of metal or vinyl panels. Either way, make sure your fasteners are long enough to secure the panels tightly. A two or three-inch nail or screw should do the trick, depending on the thickness of your panel.
Finally, you can attach your gates. Also, if you have them, you can add caps to the fence posts by using a rubber mallet to ensure they fit snugly on top.
There you have it, a brand new fence to keep your family secure and keep out prying eyes. Now go pour yourself a tall glass of lemonade and relax the rest of the afternoon away. I won’t tell! Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone.