Many home improvement projects are put on hold during the cold winter months, but fortunately, for those looking to add a bit of privacy or a safety blanket outside the home, fence installation is not one of them. Believe it or not, fences can be installed in the winter. In fact, spring, with all the rain, can be a worse time to install depending where you live. Either way, whether you decide to hire a pro or do it yourself, see everything you need to know about installing a fence in the winter.
When Fences Cannot Be Installed
There are two situations when fence installation is not recommended.
1. Rainy season
Digging in mud is never easy, and the holes tend to fill with water. Even if you do manage to get the fence up, chances are it won’t be straight.
2. Lots of snow
Snow will cause issues with the string line as well as the fence edges. We’ll cover this in more detail later.
Fence Installation Prices
Before any project can get underway, most want to know what it will cost. Nationally, the average price to install a fence is $2,388. Of course, this price will largely fluctuate based on location, size of fence, hiring a pro and type of fence. In fact, some companies may even offer a discount during the winter to get rid of necessary inventory.
More specifically, chain link fences are the cheapest to purchase and easiest to install. If you choose a wooden fence, the costs of labor and materials will be more, but with fewer benefits compared to chain link. Nonetheless, wood fences do provide much more security and privacy. Also, bear in mind that higher fences will not only take longer to install, but also require much more work. The materials are heavier and more difficult to work with.
How To Install A Fence
As you can imagine, installing a fence by yourself is no easy task. It can certainly be done and we encourage you to take a shot, so if you are up to the challenge, below is a step-by-step guide for installing a fence.
Before you dig holes, you must check with your city and/or homeowners association. Many municipalities will have guidelines as far as how close you can build a fence to the property lines. Additionally, make sure your city or county doesn’t require you to pull any permits. If so, you or your contractor must do this before installation.
2. Call utility company
You must mark your property line and the utility lines running through your yard. If you don’t, you could accidentally cut the electricity, causing a huge headache for you and your neighbors. An easy way to find your utility lines is to call 811 or your local utility company. Once requested, they should send someone out to mark the underground lines, pipes and cables.
3. Add post holes
Beware that this section of the project may be the most difficult, especially if you are completing the project yourself in the dead of winter. A pro would most likely bring a power auger to dig the post holes, making its way through any snow or solid ice.
Make sure you are not digging on the marked utility lines. Using a post hole digger, which you can purchase at your local hardware store, dig a hole nearly two feet deep. Make sure it’s deeper than the frost line. Don’t be afraid to add extra room around the post holes. You can add the cement around the pole now or after you build the rest of the fence.
4. Make sure posts are even
A string helps you determine whether your fence is straight or not. Oftentimes, homeowners do not have flat backyards. If you have areas that drop or rise, you will need to adjust the height and length between each fence post. You can buy different-sized fence posts or dig deeper in the ground. After you are done with all fence posts, run a line or rope from post to post. Make sure the line is tight and straight. This will ensure that all fence posts are of equal height.
5. Build your fence
This section will largely depend on the type of fence you choose. Chain link fences are the easiest, but the more prevalent wood fences take longer to install and finish. As is the case with any fence, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for building any type of fence.
6. Add concrete around post holes (vinyl)
For a few types of fences, you will need to add cement around the holes to ensure they hold even in the worst of storms.Mix some fast-drying cement and pour it into the holes. Keep whatever material you used to hold up the posts in there overnight. Leave extra space for the concrete. Remove holders the next day and add extra concrete. As for concrete setting up in frozen ground, it may take longer to harden, but overall, it should do just fine.
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