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TxBuilder 05-04-2006 05:22 PM

Building a Wood Fence
I am going to start next week on a 50' wood fence.

First time building one. Any tips?

What about spacing of the posts, about how many feet should they be from each other?

Square Eye 05-04-2006 05:42 PM

Hey Tx,

Privacy fence or rails?

Privacy, posts 6' apart.

Rails, 8' to 10' apart.

Keep the posts plumb as you can. Set the corners first and pull a string if you can.

If you are buying privacy panels, cull them out and find straight panels. Warped panels will not correct themselves. Privacy panels also have to be stairstepped up and down hills. Allow for this when you set the posts.

There's so much more, but I've got to go grill some chicken.
You can do it, you've done bigger things.


TxBuilder 05-05-2006 12:21 AM

Privacy fence. When you say set the corners first and pull a string what exactly do you mean? I think I have an idea and it goes with my question of how do you get the posts exactly inline with each other.

Square Eye 05-05-2006 06:26 AM

After the corner posts are set, tie a string between them. I usually drive 2 nails in the Fence side of each post, to attatch the string. One low and one high. The low nail (string position) is good for aligning the post holes. The high nail (string position) is good for aligning the post and setting it plumb.

Sometimes, if the posts are crooked or have a lot of wayned edges (missing corners where bark used to be), I cut 5, 2x4 blocks about 6 or 7 inches long. I nail 2 of these where the high string will go, 2 where the low string will go. Then I drive a nail in the back of the block so the string wraps around the corner of the block and is stretched tight against it. I use the remaining 2x4 block as a gauge. As I set the post plumb, I run the gauge against the post up to the string. When the gauge block just barely touches the string as it goes past, it's in good alignment. The reason for this is to keep the posts from touching the string and ending up with a fence that curves toward the string. If one post touches the string, it will affect the straight line of the string. I use gauge blocks because I'm a picky, aggrevating perfectionist. My guys use other colorful adjectives to describe me when I get picky, but we do pretty work. Straight, plumb, square and level; are my choice of words.

Tom in KY, picky, picky, picky.

woodworkingmenace 05-05-2006 12:59 PM

Get yourself a gas powered post hole digger, (rent-all store), to save yourslf work!

Get one of those post levels. (plastic with levels for both sides, vertical and horizontal, angled for 90 degrees and attaches with rubber band to the 4X4)
Works wonders!

Set the posts up first, and set in concrete, then, do as the above posters have stated with the curved and straight pieces and judge your work accordingly.

In my opinion, stockade fences are ugly, but thats always been a personal preference... Its what you want, to keep what ever it is, from seeing what ever you do, and is up to you. Personally, I am planting hedges along my yard, to keep the onlookers out, as they dont have regulations how high they can be, but, in my neck of the woods, they have regulations on how high the fence has to be in the front, but not on the sides and back.

Before you start, if you havent done so yet, check the codes on fence height, and what particular type of fencing you are allowed to put up. Some are specific, such as fence type, or even height regulations. While others are laxed and anything goes. Better to be safe than sorry, as tear downs tend to break people's hearts :)

Just my two cents for what its worth, and a wee bit extra for the collection plate...


erockybalboa 06-13-2006 10:15 AM

The do-it-yourself product lines of many fencing corporations have grown big in the last ten years, especially with the increase in home improvement shows and classes. Our fencing expert, Richard Novigrod, with ten years experience building fences, says before anyone decides to go solo they know what they're getting into.

"You should know that you're probably going to encounter rocky conditions, and you have to set your posts properly or else the fence is going to lean over. If you are going do it yourself, you need proper estimation of materials and proper designing of the fence. Another thing to consider is property lines. Make sure that you don't impose on someone else's property. Another tip might be to talk with your neighbor because many times you can split the cost of a shared fence line," Novigrod says.

According to the website,, if a homeowner decides to build his or her own fence, good post placement is a requirement. This is what distinguishes high quality fences from poorly made ones. If the posts are not in line, the entire fence will come out lopsided or tilted. You need to find out the exact location of your property lines and learn about any city codes that might affect you.

Next, you will want to measure the area that you will be fencing. Places stakes at the corners. Stretch a string between the stakes and use a level. Use spray paint or something similar to mark the locations for the posts. They should be about eight inches apart. Dig post holes at each of the marked areas. You can use a manual posthole digger if the ground is smooth. You can even use a power auger, if needed. It can save you a great deal of time and sweat if you have many holes to dig.

The measurement of the holes will be determined by the height and weight of your fence. A good rule idea is to make each hole as deep as one-third the length of the post. For safety, make sure you wear goggles and work gloves.

Once you get these details out of the way, you have overcome some of the hardest steps in building a fence. You can then move forward with the construction phase knowing you have a solid infrastructure.

In the end, Novigrod says proper planning is essential; without it you won't finish building your fence. If you have any questions, you can always contact a fencing contractor for some advice. Novigrod says one of the problems with first-time do it yourselfers is that they don't ask enough questions. Ask for help even when you think it's not that big of a deal. Oftentimes, the smallest details matter the most. The help is there if you need it. Take advantage of it.

spaker 06-21-2006 09:28 AM

Save your back and rent the post digger. Just make sure to mark everything out before you start otherwise your holes will not line up perfectly. cheers :)

TxBuilder 08-24-2006 10:34 PM

If I cement the cornerstone posts do I really need to cement every single other post? I will probably have 10-12 posts including the corner posts.

Square Eye 08-25-2006 02:00 AM

You could tamp in some dense grade rock..
You need something very solid in the hole though.
Dirt just won't cut it.

j&krenovation 11-26-2006 04:39 PM

Dont go with the pre-cut sections unless you want your fence to have the "homeowner special" look. Put the post 8' apart, i recommend atleast 50 pounds minimum of concrete in each hole, trust me youll regret it in a few years if you skip this. U can simply face nail 2x4's to the outside of the posts, you can use 16' boards if you like. Then you can face nail the fencing to the 2x4's, make sure to check level every few boards and adjust as necessary. attach your first two on the corners and run a string line like you did with the posts and you can keep the height of the fencing uniform. If your slope varies alot you may have to run a few strings in sections. This system comes out looking awesome, and is easy. And if you rent an auger it cuts down on the labor alot, although if you have alot of trees then id recommend just digging the old fashioned way because the roots will bind the auger.

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