A picket fence is considered by some to be one of the more classy of the various types of residential fences. The down side is that it will require more maintenance and may cost more to have someone install it for you. But if you like the looks of these fences, and if you would like to build your own picket fence and don't mind the extra maintenance, you will find the information below to be of help.
Planning for Your Picket Material
You will likely be able to purchase pre-cut pickets at your local home improvement store. But if you want pickets custom made to a particular size and shape, you will want to make your own. Keep in mind, you can avoid unnecessary waste if you plan ahead for the number of pickets you'll install on your fence. By measuring the length and height of your fence and the width you want your pickets to be, you can easily determine the quantity and size of the lumber you'll need.
Cutting and Planing Your Fence Pickets
Save time in cutting your pickets by using a circular saw with a guide, especially if you plan to rip your pickets from lumber that is wider than your pickets. Use a planer saw blade will help you avoid have to run your pickets through a jointer.
Making Your Fence Line
Your fence will be straight if you first plant your corner posts, then mark the fence line between these posts by running a taut length of twine between the posts. For a more permanent line that will not be erased or moved as you install your fence, use a can of spray paint to mark your fence line.
Planting Your Fence Posts
After determining the distance between your fence posts, make a mark on the ground where each post will be planted. For faster digging of your post holes, use a post hole digger. Your fence will be more solid if you dig each post hole depth about 30 percent of your picket length. For example: for a fence that will be 4' high, dig your post hole about 16' deep. A few inches of gravel in the bottom of your hole will give you better drainage that will serve you well if your fence is located within a sprinkler area. In filling the hole with dirt be sure you pack the fill dirt and keep your post plumb.
Attaching Your Rails and Pickets
In attaching your 2 horizontal fence rails be sure each rail is level. Attaching your rails and pickets with galvanized nails will prevent the nails from rusting. Be sure to space your pickets on the rails uniformly.
Painting Your Fence
Avoid getting splattered paint on the ground below your fence, by spreading a drop cloth beneath the fence as you paint. Although painting with a brush will take more time than using a spray gun, you will have better control with a brush, and you'll use less paint. First, you'll need to apply a primer. When this is dry, you will then be able to apply the paint color of your choice.