Installing Fences 101

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

 Fence installation procedures vary greatly depending on your landscape and the material you’ve chosen to work with. There are some universals, however: You’ll need to sink posts, attach crossbars, and install the actual fence no matter what type of fence you choose to build. Read on for a quick primer on basic building strategies, as well as some specific suggestions for different materials.

Plan Ahead

Perhaps the biggest enemy of a new fence is poor planning. Before you start, make sure to cover all your bases. Check and see if your homeowners association has any guidelines you need to follow, and check with the city to see if any permits are necessary. Also, have your yard marked so you know where all the underground utilities are before you start sinking post holes. Finally, be certain that you can handle the job yourself. If you have any doubts about your ability to get it done, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a professional about performing your fence installation for you.

Which Type of Fence and How Much to Buy

Which type of fence you choose is really a matter of personal preference and purpose. Chain link makes for an excellent barrier if you still want to see out but need to keep the dog in. If you’re looking for a barrier between you and the neighbors, think about installing a cedar privacy fence. And if you’re hoping for an attractive, low-maintenance fence that’s guaranteed to last a lifetime, vinyl might be right for you. Talk to a fencing supply company to get suggestions about the best fence to suit your needs. When you do, don’t forget to take in the measurements of your yard as well. The supply company will use those measurements to determine exactly how much fencing you’re going to need.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

You’re Ready to Build

The first and most important phase of any fence installation is digging the post holes and sinking the posts. When you dig your post holes, make sure that you dig them so that the base is wider than the top, and also dig your hole deeper than the frost line. If you don’t follow these two critical steps your fence is likely to experience frost heave in the winter months. As a result, the freezing ground will literally push your posts and concrete up in the hole, throwing your entire fence off and undermining its stability. You can dig post holes by hand with a post hole digger or you can rent a gas-powered auger to do the work for you. If you haven’t taken the time to check the underground utilities, this is when you cut the power or phone out for the entire neighborhood. If you’ve prepared thoroughly, however, all you’ll experience is some sore muscles when all the post setting is said and done.

Finish the Job

Once you’ve sunk the posts and filled in the base of each post with a quick dry concrete, all that’s left is assembling the rest of the fence. Be sure to follow the fence supply company’s instructions to make sure your fence ends up put together correctly.

As a side note, keep in mind that this is a simplified primer for fence installation. You’re bound to run into more challenges, including dealing with sloping ground, working around utilities, trees and other obstructions, and the unavoidable mishaps that are bound to occur when you put the fence the together. In order to avoid these pitfalls, and to ensure that your fence is installed correctly and will last for years to come, talk to an experienced fence installation company about getting your new fence installation underway.

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