With the economic shut-down that has taken place, home improvement has been hot. Go into your local home improvement store and the lack of inventory will tell you that. One hot home improvement this year was installing a fence. Likely with the economic shutdown having lasting effects over the next couple of years, installing a fence on your property can be a great way to rekindle the love of your backyard by gaining privacy.
Staycation is now a buzz word. You can’t have a staycation without a good-looking fence.
1. Measure Your Yard Properly
Fencing (like all material) is increasing in price. For this reason, you don’t want to buy too much or more importantly, too little supply to fence your yard. Purchasing a laser measure or tape measure for measuring is the way to get a convenient and reliable measurement value for the distance you want to fence in. While laser makes the job easy, an open reel tape measure does the trick. Just make sure it can span the distance needed.
With the distance measured, you will be getting sections of fencing along with posts. Draw your house on paper and visualize where your gate is intended to be. Often these are traditionally 4’ to 10’ sections depending on its purpose (does it need to allow for riding lawnmowers to pass through?
2. Purchasing Posts and Sections of Fencing
Decide on a fence. Are you doing wood, vinyl, chain-link, ornamental aluminum? Is your yard level or sloped? Go online and find reputable fence suppliers. Often these fence companies may even provide a calculator to ensure you purchase adequate post and sections for your job. Home Depot and Lowes do provide fencing materials however the quality is inferior to most fence suppliers online. Notably, the vinyl fencing is one panel whereas a quality fence supplier provides vinyl fencing that are traditionally steel reinforced and have more ornamentation to them. Wood and chain link fencing from the major home improvement stores however will work fine.
Consider the length of each section of fencing and divide it by the length of coverage. Example, one distance is 100 feet and each section of wood fence is 8’ long. This would require 13 sections of fence, 12 interior posts and 2 end posts. Why does interior and end post matter? If it is wood or chain-link fencing this would not be a concern. This is more related to ornamental aluminum and vinyl fencing. The interior posts are female to female meaning they have cutouts to receive the section of fence where the end post may be terminating or corner posts. It is pretty safe to say each corner of the enclosed area will get a corner post however this may not be needed if you do not fully enclose the yard. If you purchase a corner post when it should be an end post, there will be cut outs where you may not want them.
3. Installing the Fence
Consider the terrain. Is it level or sloped? Using a line level will provide you with an idea of how level the yard is. This is going to be the main factor in how you want the fence to look. A racking fence can be installed on an incline and it contours with the grade where if you don’t do go that route, you will have to evenly step the fence down with the grade. An easy way to doing this is to use the sting level and see the difference in the slope and divide that evenly by the sections of fence you are installing. The string level also sets a line for where the panels are to line up. While you may think that because each fence section is the same, it would make sense to dig all the holes ahead of time however its recommended to go one at a time. Whether you rent a post hole digger (earth auger), or go with old fashion post hole diggers, completing this task one at time is key to getting your fence lined up property and accurately.
Digging should be more than 3 times the width of the post and at least a third of the way deep. So if your post is 4” wide and 8’ long, the hole dug should be 12” wide and about 2.5’ deep. Cement would be required for vinyl, aluminum and strongly recommended for chain link fencing however it is not needed for stockade. Get a good base of concrete about 6” or so deep prior to placing your post in. Make sure the post is level on two adjacent sides and align with the first post. Then slowly reintroduce the dirt into the hole. A tamper is needed to make sure you effectively line the post up with the prior section and insure its level. Constantly checking the level and tamping on the base where it needs to be more level. This process can take some time but making sure the fence is level and properly aligned with the string line will make a world of difference in the quality of work completed.
4. Repeat and Install Hardware
This process is repeated for each section. When it comes to hardware, you will want to make sure you buy the appropriate screws for the fence you are installing along with the gate hardware (latch, hinges, possibly an anti-sag kit if the gate is long). After the fence is complete, you can make it replete with solar lights which are now a hot item to light up your yard. In the end, its important to accurately purchase the right amount of material. Draw out the house and create a visual for the fence. All of this can be done with simple measuring tools. Save yourself some money and tackle this home DIY today.