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How are you at fencing?

Filed Under: backyard science

If you're a homeowner with a backyard, you most likely have a fence of some kind. Those fences serve to divide properly lines, keep dogs and kids in check and provide privacy for those backyard parties and barbecues. That is, unless yours is on the verge of collapse.

Ever thought of erecting a new fence to replace an old, decrepit one -- or just installing a fence where none exists? For wooden, stockade-type fences, the pre-built sections can be had pretty cheap from many hardware superstores and fence companies. To install the vertical fence posts and get everything put up right, though, takes some elbow grease and careful measurement and planning.

But, it can be done. While I didn't follow the directions here for installing a new fence, I've been down this road before a few times. After ingesting these detailed directions, I have one word of advice if you're planning a new fence (wooden ones, to be exact): use metal posts and clamps for those fencing slats or sections. Nothing is worse than having those wooden posts rot five years later, causing your beloved fence to need yet another replacement. You'll spend a bit more on metal posts, but they'll last forever. Want to get more exotic? Check out the new poly fences from many manufacturers. These things look like wood (well, somewhat), but never rot or change color. Maybe wood is on the way out.


  • trey

    todays wood treating process is light years ahead of where it was twenty years ago. if posts rot in five years... they were untreated! many d.i.y'ers go the cheap route and buy the "landscape timbers" those 4x4x8 pieces with two rounded sides. these things rot, twist, warp and discolor rather fast! the prefab panels you mention are great if you plan on selling your home in the next few months... if not...beware, most all of them use 2x2 bracing and are held together with staples! the sun will make the thin (.375") pickets curl and pull out of the 2x2 bracing! if buying pickets, 4x4x8 and 2x4 bracing, ask for cypress pickets... they will not rot and are generally about .625'" in thickness. while they cost about a third more than pine they are cheaper than cedar and will maintain their color better than the other two! i would recommend using galvanized screws for all fencing duties! nails dont hold as well and if are not galvanized will leave rust stains on your new fence! good luck...

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