How easy is it to install wooden fences for yourself?

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Answered by: John, An Expert in the Home Renovations - General Category
It is easy to install wooden fences for yourself. This weekend project can improve the value of the property. It will also increase the privacy and security of your yard. Wooden fences are often times more desirable than chain link and some homeowners associations will not allow chain link fences. By going the do-it-yourself route, you can get the benefits of wooden fencing and still save money.



The first step in constructing a new fence, replacing or repairing an existing fence is to measure the area that you will be installing the fencing. If you are replacing an existing fence or parts of it, be sure to inspect the base of the fence posts for signs of damage. Any rotten or termite damaged posts will need to be replaced in order to guarantee a sturdy structure. Once your area is measured, you will need to decide whether to buy fence panels or runners and pickets.

Either way, the price typically comes out about the same when you count in hardware costs. Buying runners and individual pickets works well for uphill slopes and keeping the pickets all even at the top. They are also very useful for short runs since fence panels come in eight-foot lengths. However, fence panels go up quicker because you only have to shoot a few screws or nails into the runners once you have the panel level. Remember that you will want at least two runners.



Three is best.

Now you are almost ready to start putting up your fence posts. The first step is to string a line from one end to the other in order to ensure that your fence posts are in a straight line. The recommended depth is typically about two foot in the ground, however three foot does provide for more stability. Some of this depends on how far down the bedrock is. For strength, a 4x4 or landscape timber works quite well for fence posts.

Once the fence is up, you can cut off any excess length. Depending on how many fence posts that you are setting and the soil composition, it might be worth your time to rent a post-hole digger. Once your holes are dug out to the desired depth, insert the post and add concrete. Depending on the type of concrete, a day to two days is required for the concrete to cure completely.

Once the concrete has been poured, fill in the holes with dirt. It is a good idea to use some bricks, cinder blocks or boards to prop up the fence posts. This serves to keep the posts as straight as possible. This step makes it easier to start attaching your fencing to the posts.

The next step depends on whether you decided on installing fence panels or going with individual pickets and runners. For installing fence panels, you should have a helper to hold the fence panel level until it is secured to the fence post. With individual fence pickets and runners it is possible to do it by yourself, but having an extra hand to hold the picket straight while it is being secured is always useful.

Once the pickets or panels are secured, a little cleanup work is necessary. In order to extend the life of the fence post, it is advisable to cut the top of the post at an angle, or use a cap in order to prevent water from collecting on the flat surface at the top of the post. This can work out well if you need to trim the top of the post to keep it from sticking out over the top of the fence itself.

Finally, a top rail can help prevent water and debris from accumulating between the runner and fence post, further extending the life of your fence. This is easy to install, just use eight foot 1x4’s attached to the top of the post, or mount a block of wood above the top runner and attach the rail to that.

Building a wooden fence is an easy DIY project that adds value and security to your home. With a little bit of effort, you can have an inexpensive upgrade that improves the look of your home while keeping your family safe. If you decide to install wooden fences around your home, it will be a worthwhile upgrade.

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