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Thread: New Fence

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Festus, MO
    Posts
    21

    New Fence

    After 28 years it's time to install a new fence for our backyard. I put the current fence in on the cheap. That also describes the quality of the install. I'd like for this fence to be done right and not look like the redneck eye-sore that it has been. That said, we live on top of a hill quite a distance from the nearest neighbor and the only person who the fence has irritated is me! What I'd like is feedback on what I plan on doing. I've not yet started, so at this point I'm pretty much open to anything.

    My current plan has me setting 8 foot 4x4 pressure treated posts 2 feet deep. The posts will have their ends sealed with FlexSeal (or some equivalent) to extend their longevity. The posts will rest on a bed of gravel and I will set them in concrete making sure to extend the concrete above grade to keep soil away from the posts.

    The posts will be 92 1/2 inches apart, so I can screw 8 foot pressure treated 2x4s to their faces. Cedar or pressure treated (I haven't decided) pickets will be nailed to the fence rails. There will also be 2 gates that I'll build using half-lapped 2x4s. The only sticking point is that I'd like one section of the fence to be removable. My plan is to use a U-shaped bracket to allow the rails of the removable panel to rest in.

    My hope is that this fence will give me at least as many years as my redneck fence of 28 years?

    Thoughts? Have at it....

    John

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    My plan is to use a U-shaped bracket to allow the rails of the removable panel to rest in.
    The half barrel hinges that are often used for gates in farm fences and such might be an easy way to accomplish this. Four sets would do the job, one pair top and bottom at each end.

    Also, not sure how this is from state to state, but here in Washington there are two grades of pressure treated lumber. One grade is for ground contact and one grade is for use abobe ground only.

    That section of fence might be awful heavy to lift off. You may want to make it more like a gate that looks like the rest of the fence.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Festus, MO
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    21
    Thanks for the idea about the half barrel hinges, Jim. I had not thought of those.

    I'm sure that pressure treated lumber has changed in the past 28 years. Likely more environmentally friendly in exchange for shortened longevity. As a result my goal of 28 years for this fence is likely unreasonable. But a guy can dream.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    9,602
    What's the frost line depth in your area? I always make sure my posts are deeper, not usually a problem since the frost line is about 18" here. I put most of my posts 3' in the ground. I use a hydraulic post driver for round posts and drill a hole with an auger for square posts. My PT wooden posts always rest on compacted gravel as you mentioned, gravel around the bottom of the post, then compacted gravel or soil to the top. The PT posts rated for direct ground contact haven't been affected by the dirt. I install posts that support a significant load differently (concrete punch pad, thin gravel layer for drainage, compacted gravel around the lower part of the post, then concrete fill). If putting them in concrete you can also make a small square form or a short piece of sonotube around the top of the hole and the concrete would be a bit higher than the ground level. But I don't know anyone who sets line posts in concrete, just corner posts and maybe one or two in the middle of a long run. I like to put a little steel in concrete collers since I've seen some of them crack and split apart.

    I would do one thing different about the rails and pickets - put it together with screws instead of nails. I like to use screws for everything.

    When we moved in the deck at this house had multiple removable panels. The builder used 2x4 rails and 2x2 spindles and the ends of both the upper and lower 2x4s rested in wooden brackets. (Each section could be lifted then lowered to rest the upper rail in the lower brackets to improve the view while sitting on the deck.) This held up for 25 years then we tore it all down and built a larger deck. I suspect good steel brackets would work even better than wood brackets.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by John Leech View Post
    After 28 years it's time to install a new fence for our backyard. I put the current fence in on the cheap. That also describes the quality of the install. I'd like for this fence to be done right and not look like the redneck eye-sore that it has been. That said, we live on top of a hill quite a distance from the nearest neighbor and the only person who the fence has irritated is me! What I'd like is feedback on what I plan on doing. I've not yet started, so at this point I'm pretty much open to anything.

    My current plan has me setting 8 foot 4x4 pressure treated posts 2 feet deep. The posts will have their ends sealed with FlexSeal (or some equivalent) to extend their longevity. The posts will rest on a bed of gravel and I will set them in concrete making sure to extend the concrete above grade to keep soil away from the posts.

    The posts will be 92 1/2 inches apart, so I can screw 8 foot pressure treated 2x4s to their faces. Cedar or pressure treated (I haven't decided) pickets will be nailed to the fence rails. There will also be 2 gates that I'll build using half-lapped 2x4s. The only sticking point is that I'd like one section of the fence to be removable. My plan is to use a U-shaped bracket to allow the rails of the removable panel to rest in.

    My hope is that this fence will give me at least as many years as my redneck fence of 28 years?

    Thoughts? Have at it....

    John

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
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    1,423
    How tall? I'd go with pressure treated for cost because cedar and PT will both turn gray anyway. If you spray with sealer, it might extend life some, but its a lot of work for the benefit. Make a double gate so you can get the biggest possible piece of equipment into the yard.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    52,878
    Your post plan sounds very reasonable as long as the depth is appropriate for your area. You may want to consider using fence panels rather than individual pickets if you can get the style you want...less work. They are generally flexible enough to adapt to changing elevations, too. Using the panels may or may not slightly change your spacing. The removable panel/section is a good idea for wider access when needed...I'd look at using the type of heavy connectors uses for typical farm gates with the "L" bolts on the outside posts all facing upward so the eye bolts can slip down over them. Only about 2" of vertical lift would be required to remove the panel...two people should be able to handle that. You can provision some form of latch on the inside to insure that the panel isn't lifted inadvertently by weather or, um...curious humans.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Medina Ohio
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    3,966
    If you have freezing ground you may not want to concrete them in as the frost can lift them out

  8. #8
    Does anybody have any experience with vinyl fencing like this?

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/Freedom-Act...Panel/50374100

    Don't know if it’s suitable for cold locations.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Longview WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerome Stanek View Post
    If you have freezing ground you may not want to concrete them in as the frost can lift them out
    One of the causes for frost lifting the concrete is the top inch or two being larger around than the bulk of concrete below grade. The water under the lip is what freezes and lifts the concrete plug.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Festus, MO
    Posts
    21
    Great comments here, thanks.

    John, frost line here is generally considered to be the same as yours. 18 inches. I suspect that it's less than that in reality because one of the ways I saved money originally was to cut the posts in half and set them anywhere from 10-12 inches. My decision to dig 24 inch holes came about from the desire to add a few inches of gravel and added security.

    Stan, I'm planning to use pressure treated posts and they will be cut 3 1/2-4 feet above grade. I'll make the decision once the pickets (3 1/2 feet tall) are on. So long as I'm not like a former employee of my grandpa who once said, "I cut it twice and it's still too short" I should be OK.

    Jim, I used panels the first time and they worked fine for a portion of the fence, but for the section on a slope they only appeared plumb if you were leaving Bourbon Street after a long night. I'll give them a once over, but think pickets may be easier and better in the long run. The purpose of the removable section is not to keep things in (other than the dog) but to get the riding mower into the back yard in the fall, so I'm not concerned about 'curious humans.' If they want, they can just look over the fence, but if they mess with my hammock, we'll have words! LOL

    Mark, I toyed with going the vinyl route, but the quality of plastic seems low. Not to mention having to find replacement parts several years down the road when the inevitable branch crashes through the fence

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by John Leech View Post
    I'd like for this fence to be done right and not look like the redneck eye-sore that it has been...
    John
    Funny- Seems the popular thing right now is people paying good money for old weather-beaten rickety half rotted wood, going for the 'rustic' (red-neck eyesore?) look..

    If you're dead-set on a new fence, put the old wood on Craigslist, you may get enough for it to pay for the new fence
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    4,178
    If longevity is a concern I would look at the galvanized fence posts they make now that are designed to have a vinyl post sleeve go over them.

  13. #13
    What is the actual purpose of the fence?
    I've got lots of practice at making firewood!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Modesto, CA, USA
    Posts
    4,266
    Use a grass board. I put a tongue and groove on my boards so they overlap and add strength. I actually tongue half the boards and groove the other half to save handling. I am in the process of rebuilding my fence. They did not use a grass board So I cut off the bottom 8" of the rotten boards and set them up on a the grassboard. I have used hardiplank for grass boards. Many people here seem to think this town is dead level and make no provision for slope at all. A grass board allows for slopes to be considered. Dog eared boards hide minor differences. Concrete will rot out fence posts sooner. If you are going to paint the fence paint the grass boards before installation, even with a sprayer it saves a lot of time and trouble.
    Bil lD
    Bill D

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Medina Ohio
    Posts
    3,966
    I have seen posts that have heaved even the concrete wasn't to the top of the hole. as long as the frost has a place to grip i can lift it. When I was building pole barns we would drill a hole 4 feet deep as our frost line is 3 feet then we would put a concrete base in it. We made our own bases using a 5 gal bucket that fir the hole. then we would back fill with dirt

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