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About to build/install wooden privacy fence with pre-built panels

About to build/install wooden privacy fence with pre-built panels


Old 09-07-07, 09:26 PM
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About to build/install wooden privacy fence with pre-built panels

In doing some research on putting up a fence I came across this forum and thus gained a good deal of general knowledge from the various posts. As I have never built a fence before, I am not completely sure of the best way to do this. If anyone sees anything wrong with what I'm planning, please let me know.

First, a little background. I decided to build a 6' wood privacy fence on both sides of my house. The fence will run from the middle sides of the house out to the property line, and then back to the rear property line. As I have fairly limited time and don't want to spend a small fortune hiring a contractor, I will be DIYing it using pre-built board-on-board 6' x 8' panels from Lowes. I've ordered the panels, 4" x 4" x 10" PT posts (I get the impression wood posts aren't terribly popular here....too late now though), bags of rock, many bags of Quikrete, and stainless steel screws.

My plan is to start at the house and dig post holes between 36" and 42" deep (the deeper ones on the corners) every 8ft. I'll be modifying this spacing in two areas where there will be gates. I'll then drop a bag of rock into each hole, then place the 10' post into the hole and brace it. I'll then mix the Quikrete, place in hole, adjust so it is level and 8' OC between posts, then slope concrete away from post.

After the concrete sets, I'll cut tops of posts (45 degree angle) to uniform height....like 5 1/2' above grade (anyone know if a standard circular saw will do the job here?). I'll then place the panels against the posts and screw each one down.

One question I have is this: Is it better to have the concrete slightly above grade, thus the post in hole would have rock on bottom, then post surrounded by dirt for a foot, then the concrete......or is it okay to do rock then post surrounded by concrete, then dirt on top? I want to sink my posts pretty deep but don't want to have to throw 6 bags of concrete in each hole just to make it to the top.

Next question is this: Is there an easy way to ensure accurate spacing between posts? As I'll be screwing the panels onto the posts, I'll need the edge of each panel centered on the posts which seems like it may be tough to get the posts that perfectly spaced.

Finally, I read some instructions for building a fence with these panels where the author said to attach the fence panels to the posts before setting the posts in concrete, i.e. assemle the fence first and then lift up into place, brace, then pour concrete into the post holes. This seems a little nutty and not terribly practical, but maybe someone has heard of this?

Thanks for any advice!
Old 09-08-07, 02:39 PM
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Welcome to DoItYourself.com and the Fence forum.

You're right -- I'm one of those who doesn't have a very high opinion of wood posts stuck in the dirt, but since that's what you've got, go with them.

The reasoning behind pre-assembling the posts to the panels before burying the posts is to eliminate the problem of getting the posts perfectly spaced. (I'm not a fan of the pre-made panels, either, for just that reason!) Using the pre-made panels and pre-assembling, you'll have to build the fence one panel at a time. Start at one of the back corners, set the corner post, and you can work in two directions from that. You can get several panels a day in by bracing the posts to keep them plumb, and it takes the guess work out of post spacing, which has to be perfect.
Old 09-11-07, 08:57 PM
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Is it too late to change your mind about the panels? Panels are - not good. If you do a search, there was someone that posted just a couple weeks ago that their panels were warping and self destructing after a short period of time. I've checked them out. The pickets are very thin and the backing rails are also smaller than the usual 2x3 size.

I'd call your local fence supply company and see what some panels from them will cost. (With real 2x3 backing and 3/4 thick pickets.) If you're on a budget, check out spruce stockade fencing and use a high quality sealer to help preserve it.

Last edited by twelvepole; 09-12-07 at 07:22 AM. Reason: Bashing company names and products not allowed
Old 09-12-07, 07:25 AM
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Most areas require a building permit for fences. These often dictate height and type of material used. Some housing developments also have restrictions as to type of fencing materials to be used.
Old 09-16-07, 06:36 PM
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having just built about 60 linear feet of wooden fence, I'd say that it seems that pre-built panels might be more of a pain than youd think. My fence post spacing required some variability in each post- big root, chunk of concrete from old fence, etc. It really wasn't that hard- of course my father in law helped and he has built about 10 fences in his day. Anyway, so much of it seemed to require small variations that I don't see how you could do it off site, with panels. Plus, supposedly those big store panels are pretty bad. None of it was that hard, just do it by scratch! 4x4 posts, 3 2x4 rails, 2x8 or whatever rot board, and nice pressure treated pickets. Hardest part is getting the posts in straight and level, after that it is pretty easy.
Old 09-18-07, 05:24 PM
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Thank you for the advice....I really appreciate it.

My current situation is that I own my home but am planning on selling in the next year (definitely) and thus am just looking to add something to the house while not breaking the bank. If this was the house I was going to stay in, I would look hard at building the fence from scratch, however due to an extreme lack of time (work full-time, go to school 3/4 time, have a wife and son) that wasn't an option at this point.

That being said, I was fairly impressed with the board-on-board panels I got from Lowes. Time will of course tell how well they stay together, and I'm sure the fence would be better quality by far if built with better wood by myself, but still they look good and are sturdy and straight. The area I needed fenced was flat with zero obstructions, thus spacing posts every 8 feet was no issue.

To give everyone an update...the first weekend I put in all posts (between 36 and about 45 inches deep dependent on their location) with concrete. This past weekend I put up all panels and was surprised with how well they fit. It rained most of Sunday afternoon and thus I didn't get to building the two gates.

I'll snap a few pictures and post once those are up.

Thanks again for the advice guys.

Old 08-04-10, 04:55 PM
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How are the panels holding up

After 3 years how are the panels holding up? Just curious as a few said the panels are cheaply built.

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