Constructing a 6' wood fence

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Old 06-21-06, 06:56 AM
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Constructing a 6' wood fence

Anyone know of links to fence installation? I'll be installing approximately 40' of 6 ft wooden fence (8ft sections) across a rear yard and want to be sure the posts are of a sufficeint depth and secured properly.

Oh yea it would be nice it it were straight & level also!
 
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Old 07-07-06, 01:34 PM
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Kathie,
I would put the post 2' in the ground. Start by streaching a string line where you want the fence to be, extend it a couple of feet past each end, measure the proper distance for the spacing of your post and start diging using the string as a guide. Set the post one at a time in the holes and use a 2' level to check plumb in both directions. Make sure the post is just touching the line all of the way across the face. When you get it right pour concrete in the hole and check it with the level again. The concrete should be stiff enough to support the post. Make sure you leave enough post sticking up to attach your fence to. Don't worry about the tops not being even because after your post set up you can move the string line to the top and mark them where you need to cut them off to be even. The only word of caution I can give you is to make sure they are properly spaced for your fence sections. Measure each section and that is what you will need from center to center on your post. I have seen some sections that were a little shorter of longer than the others and this can mess up your spacing. The string line is the way to keep it streight.
Good luck
 
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Old 07-08-06, 11:52 AM
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6' fence frost line concern?

I've been advised by several differnt people about the fence installation - all different answers!

I'm in NE Pennsylvania.....

THe least was 8' 4x4 posts 3' holes w/ 8 -10 " of stone before post & concrete.

THe most was 10' 4x4's 3.5' deep on stone & w/concrete.

I found 9" posts ( a bit expensive) that would split the difference.

About concrete - I was told 1 60 - 80 lb bag per post?

I didn't think about the sections being just under or over 8' long - thanks for that info.

BTW I was considering vinyl - until I found the vinyl post cover cost more then the sections!
 
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Old 07-08-06, 12:27 PM
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I dont think 2' is anywhere near deep enough .

I used 10' 4x4 went min 36" , most in the 40" or so .

Im in south fl where we dont have to worry about frost or heave or anything like that .

better to build on site then use panels due to diffuculty of getting the posts exact .
 
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Old 07-26-06, 10:38 PM
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Kathie,

Coincidentally, I just completed this exact project the other day. I put a 6ft. Dog Eared wooden fence around my pool and it came out quite nicely. It was the first time I'd ever done a fence and it was a large job. I am frugile and try to be self-sufficient so I always try to do the jobs myself if they aren't too ridiculous. I enjoy the projects and I learn a lot for the next time. On the other hand, I want things done right and I want them to be quality work that will LAST. The last thing I want to do is a half-baked job done cheaply that has to be redone in 5 years.

Here's what I did. My fence has approximately 30 4x4x8 treated posts in it. I did four sides to the fence and put in a corner gate. The two long sides are about 48 feet long and the two short sides are about 32 feet long.....give or take. My soil is VERY rocky to the point of being maddening when digging post holes. I broke a 3-point hitch post hole digger on my tractor and had to rent a two man gas motor post hole digger. I used a 6 inch auger and my wife and daughter took turns being the other "man" on the machine. It was hard work and the digger threw the girls around when the auger hit rocks. The post holes were the biggest pain of the whole project. We used our hands and a digging bar probably more than the machine. It took several days to get all 30 holes dug.

I went down as deep as possible but did not go over 36 inches. My corner posts (there are 5 since we did the corner gate) are all down at least 30 inches plus. My support posts on the sides vary from 23 inches and deeper depending on how much of a pain in the butt that particular hole was. I used the string method to keep them aligned and it worked very well. I used a two levels to keep them plumb as I put quickrete in the hole. I used one bag of 80lb. quickrete per post. If one post took a tad bit less than a bag then I used that little bit in another hole that may have needed a bit more than a bag. I did not mix the cement with water.......the reason is that a very good crew built a pole barn style garage for me a few years ago and told me that they put several bags of quickrete per post (big posts for the garage) and then let the ground water/moisture harden it. It takes too long to try and keep the posts plumb while the concrete sets up. I use this method on all my post jobs now and it works great. My posts are all set almost perfectly and they are firmly in the ground. Once the powder concrete is in the whole your post will not move unless you move it, which you can do if adjustments need to be made. Wiggle it back and forth or give some TAPS with a sledge. If you screw one up simply take the post out, dig out the powder concrete and reset the post. You can't do that very easily with wet concrete that is setting up.

Back to the job: My 4x4 posts are spaced approximately 4 to 6 feet apart depending on which side......I tried to make them all about 5 feet but it wasn't quite perfect in some areas. I then used a 2x4 for the bottom nailer and a 2x4 for the top nailer and spaced them 42 inches apart with the bottom one being about 6 inches off the ground and the top being about 48 inches off the ground. I measured the very first two very carefully, nailed them securely and then I simply used a level all around the fence for the rest of the 2x4 nailers, top and bottom. I used approximately 238 1x6x6 dog eared fence slats to complete the sides. They are nailed in the bottom 2x4 and top with 2 nails each and I simply used a 2x4 in between each slat to keep the spacing even. I don't have a code in my area for the spacing so my method looks nice and is safe at about 3.5inches between each slat. We had to fudge a few to make things fit properly and look good to the eye. I measured each and every dog eared slat to be 24 5/8 " from the top to the first 2x4 nailer so that the entire top of my fence all the way around is completely level. This of course makes the bottom level also, but with our hilly terrain, I had to cut just a few boards so they would not hit the ground or I dug a little bit of the ground out from underneath. Be sure to use nails or screws that are made to be used outside and with pressure treated lumber if that is what your fence will be.

After the whole fence was put up, I built a gate to match the dog eared slats and then cut the 4x4 posts all to the same height. Once they were cut I drilled a hole in the top of the corner posts and the middle post of each side and we installed solar lighting in the top of the posts. The project took some time, I made mistakes (had to completely tear down two whole sides because we didn't like the way they looked and they weren't even, then put them back up the right way) and an expert might have a lot to say about my amatuer methods.......however, with my available/limited skills, normal homeowner tools, limited budget and helpers.......I think it looks pretty dang nice. It's sturdy, level and straight. It really makes the pool look different and the lights give it a comfortable feeling at night. The whole project including materials and post hole digger rental cost us about $1100.00 or somewhere close to that. I'd have to check receipts from the last purchases to be exact.

By the way......I'm in central PA. If I can get some pics developed, I'll send you a few so you can see. If you have questions, please ask. I'm happy to tell you what we did and didn't do right. Like you, I asked and researched before I began and all I found was that I asked 20 different people and got 20 different answers. I took what I heard most frequently from TRUSTED/EXPERIENCED people and put it to use. Also, the internet is a great tool. Good luck.
 
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Old 07-26-06, 10:50 PM
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One more thing I forgot to mention........I checked and double checked about how deep the posts should be set b/c of heaving due to the freezing/weather cycles. I heard anywhere from 16" and deeper but if it's around 24" and deeper there is relatively little worry that your fence will be ruined down the road. There will be some settling/heaving but nothing to be worried about. That's why I set my corner posts as deep as I could reasonably go with 8 ft. posts in my "soil." With my other posts down around 2ft or better each........I haven't lost any sleep over it.

Before I set the posts in the holes, I made sure I cleaned the whole out from roots and rocks. I tamped the post down in the hole to try and level it out a bit and then I put a few inches of "screenings" gravel (I'm not sure what others call it, but it is sort of like cinders on the road) for drainage and to minimize decay of my posts. Then once each post was set to my satisfaction, we held it in place and poured in the bag of quickrete all around the post and used a digging bar to make sure it settled down in the hole. I double/triple checked the alignment and the plumb and went on to the next one.

Like I said, I have a few errors in the work but nothing that you would say "who the !!!! did that job?????" I'll try and get the pics posted so you can take a look. If I think of anything else, I'll post it.
 
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Old 07-27-06, 10:09 AM
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constructing a 6' wood fence

Thanks for all the info - I look forward to seeing the pictures!
 
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Old 08-22-06, 07:08 PM
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Well, first off you need to find out how deep your local frost line is. Here in Indiana it's said to be 36", you can set fence posts here at 28" - 30" deep and it will stand plumb until the fence falls off.
I was talking to someone from Maryland ealier today and he said their frost line is 50" inches deep. So it's pretty variable.

BUT, a good rule to follow is try to get 1/3 of the post in the ground.

On a 6' Privacy fence we use a 8' post (ACQ treated pine) and set it 31" deep. The amount of concrete we use depends on how we dig the hole. With a 6" auger you can get it with about 50lbs. of concrete mix, an 8" augered hole will take about 80-90lbs. With setting the 8' post 31" deep that leaves 65 inches above grade.

Since your fence will be 72", this will put your 7 inches above the post top.
 
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Old 08-23-06, 06:53 AM
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6' wooden fence

Thanks for the replay - I'll probably be using 10' posts and cut them th height
 
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Old 10-07-08, 11:11 AM
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Replacing a 4 foot fence with a 6 foot

Rather than replacing the old 4 foot posts I was planning on putting the 6 foot posts inbetween each 4 footer. Is this a good idea? Since the corner posts are gonna be 4 foot will this matter? I figured the 4 footers would just act as extra stability. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 10-30-08, 11:57 AM
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Building 6' Fences

First of all I use only cedar or red wood when building wooden fences, since pressure treated lumber tends to warp due to shrinkage and heat.

The depth of your fence post will vary depending on where you live. In the south, 24" depth is acceptable since there is no frost. In the north, a minimum of 36" is needed to be below the frost line. Always use cement when setting your post and mix it instead of dumping dry cement and then adding water in the hole!

For increased stability, space your post 6' but no more than 8' apart, add cross support 2x4 treated lumer at the top, center and bottom. (some installers skip the center support to lower cost) When installing your fence boards, allow a minimum 1/8" to 1/4" gap between each board to avoid wind shear damage.

Cedar looks best as it ages, so wait a couple months before sealing or staining your fence if your HOA allows it. Always pressure wash any fence before sealing or staining if you want to avoid doing it over in a year or so.

Good luck,

Cesar960
 
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Old 10-31-08, 02:35 PM
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Fence

If you are using prefab panels, I would set the first two posts and then attach the first panel. Then install each panel with its post one at a time rather than installing all the posts before installing the panels.
 
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Old 11-10-08, 05:15 PM
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Careful when you pressure-wash

Originally Posted by cesar960 View Post
First of all I use only cedar or red wood when building wooden fences, since pressure treated lumber tends to warp due to shrinkage and heat.

The depth of your fence post will vary depending on where you live. In the south, 24" depth is acceptable since there is no frost. In the north, a minimum of 36" is needed to be below the frost line. Always use cement when setting your post and mix it instead of dumping dry cement and then adding water in the hole!

For increased stability, space your post 6' but no more than 8' apart, add cross support 2x4 treated lumer at the top, center and bottom. (some installers skip the center support to lower cost) When installing your fence boards, allow a minimum 1/8" to 1/4" gap between each board to avoid wind shear damage.

Cedar looks best as it ages, so wait a couple months before sealing or staining your fence if your HOA allows it. Always pressure wash any fence before sealing or staining if you want to avoid doing it over in a year or so.

Good luck,

Cesar960
You want to be careful when you pressure wash because if your pressure treated lumber was treated with CCA, or other arsenic-based chemicals, (which are now banned) it can leach out into the soil and skin. Before pressure washing or handling PT wood, check to see if it contains arsenic NoAds.com
Remember that arsenic is a known carcinogen and that's why it was taken off the market.
 

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