Privacy Fence Railing Attachment

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Old 07-17-08, 03:59 PM
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Question Privacy Fence Railing Attachment

Hello,
I am building a 6' privacy fence using treated lumber. For my railings, I am using 2x4's. I decided to use a butt joint and toenail the 2x4's into the posts setting them long side vertical. I am using three rails for each 8' bay. My question is: should I toenail from the top and the bottom of each rail? I thought this might compromise the strength. I have already predrilled and toenailed the top of each rail with 3 1/2" screws.

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Old 07-18-08, 01:01 AM
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Toe Nailing verses another option

This is just an opinion.

Over the years I have found toe nailing to be ok the day, week, an even the same year of installation but not so ok years down the line. I believe that after years of the wood drying out the wood will eventually draw itself away from the post and the stress on that joint will begin to lessen the strength of that joint. At some point that joint will suffer the stress of separation and the toe nailing just will not do much to keep it together.
My suggestion would be to use an L bracket to support that joint throughout your fence line. It would be my suggestion to use that L bracket on the top and bottom rails.... Saving cost by toe-nailing the mid rail of the sections. But certainly , if cost is not a factor I would go ahead with the bracket on all three rails.
Also, while using that L bracket, I would be using Vinyl coated or Galvanized screws rather than nails. The best thing about using screws is that if there needs to be a repair further down the line, if a section needs to be replaced, all you need do is unscrew those brackets and pull the section out in one whole piece . The other way of doing things you would need to wip out the sawzall , cutting the nails and then have to contend with those nails being in the post exactly where you need to drive in the new section.
Toe nailing works, But in the long run, if the fence is subjected to weather that can dry your wood , split your wood and or even worse, if there is an opportunity for the wood to be eaten by insects... I would use the brackets instead of toe nailing .
At the same time , if the fence is heavy, the L brackets will help support the weight of the fence to the fence post.

But , in the other wave of things, if you choose not to use such an L bracket on your fence because of cost or otherwise, I would nail up. It is much easier to nail down while installing because it is easier holding the section with your foot and just nailing the weight of the hammer down... But if you nail up you have two advantages; 1 ) in that your nail will not leave an unsightly look after marring its way into the wood. 2) in that nailing up will help support the weight of the section of material against the post.
If you toe nail down, and only down, the wood will eventually draw itself away from the post, the wood around the nail will draw itself away from the nail and the section will slide down off the nail.

This advice is based on the many repairs of toe nailed sections over an 18 year run doing fences... At the same time , most of those fences made it at least 8 years before that had to happen. But if a fence can last 15-20 years, why should it last only 8?

Good luck !
\
Greg~
 
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Old 07-18-08, 05:11 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I will add some L brackets today.
 
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Old 07-19-08, 12:30 PM
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Your welcome...

My being an Moderator, even I am not sure if I am permitted to give out the names of the stores for people to buy things... So , In my neck of the woods there is a huge store,, Orange in color.... lol ...
There they have these brackets in their deck fittings area. Typically they are located on the ends of the isles nearest the pressure treated wood, or decking materials .
2"x2" would be sufficient . And I believe that each one costs about 30 cents...

Good luck,,, let us all know how your project works out..

Greg~
 
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