Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mending the Fence

I thought I’d follow up last week’s blog post with this lovely picket fence we built.

The original fence had some nasty rot from the elements of nature especially since the posts were not in concrete.  It was one of those fences that we were legitimately scared might blow over with a bad storm since the posts were all rotted.  And actually we did have some pickets fall off during a storm.

And embarrassingly enough we had a piece of string and a steak temporarily holding up the fence.

Now onto getting rid of that monstrosity!

     1.   Demolition out the old fence.

We were happy to see the old nasty fence go!

     2.   Take a really long string and made a line where the posts were going as can be seen in the picture below (it's yellow and kind of hard to see).

     3.   Spray paint a dot on the grass/dirt at each post location spaced evenly from the corners every ~6.5 feet.

     4.   Create post holes with an auger and post hole digger to be 10-12 inches wide and 24-30 inches deep.

     5.   Place 4”x4” posts in each hole and placed concrete in the hole around the post while leveling each side of the post.  (This is best to be at least a two person job.  One person checks level and hold the post while the other inserts concrete.  I highly recommend forking up $5 for this wonderful post level even if it's a one time job.)

a.   Once each post is level, secure it with temporary wooden stakes while concrete dries.
b.   Let concrete dry for 24 hours and then remove temporary stakes.

Look how perfectly straight our fence is - not one post out of line! This is what $5 and a string will help with !

     6.   Place three rows of 2”x4” slats/cross rails as a backing to screw the pickets in place.  The first row should be 8” off the ground and the second row should be 24” above the first row and the third should be 24” above the second row as shown below.
*Hint: we made templates out of wood so we didn't have to measure each placement of each post.  Just placed the template on ground or on top of the slat, place the next slat in place, and screw.*

     7.   Start placing pickets on fence.

a.   Since we had a sloping yard (as seen in the picture below) we wanted the fence to be parallel to the slat slope.  To do this we made another template (as in step 6) and chose a height from the top of each picket to the upper slat.  This left about an inch off of the ground for most pickets.

b.   We used wood deck screws and placed two screws per slat for a total of 6 screws per picket.  This helps with any warping of pickets.
*We used these screws for everything on the fence – I know screws are more expensive than nails but our personal preference is screws since they are more forgiving with errors *

c.   Space each picket a nail width apart.

Look at cute Teddy laying in the mud.

     8.   Last, build gates (we built two).

a.   A Kreg pocket jig will be your best friend when building frames like this one!  COOLEST. TOOL. ALIVE.

b.  Place on hinge and hardware.  We chose sleek decorative black gate hinges.

     9.   We placed landscape fabric and rocks underneath the driveway side of the fence with proper drainage under the deck and away from the house.

     10.   Enjoy the beautiful new fence!

Now that the wood is completely dried out (the pre-treated chemicals need time to dry before stain or paint), we get to stain it this summer!  I personally don’t like when fences turn black due to the sun especially because it greatly reduces the life of the fence.  Any recommendations for a colored stain!?  I’m thinking about either a cedar colored stain or maybe even a white wash stain.  What does everyone think?

And Teddy hung out next to the Quikrete during our hard work while we had dirt all over our faces. #rufflife

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