Installing a fence has many purposes to many different people. Whether you use your fence to keep people out or to keep the kids in, installing a fence can be a labor-intensive job for those who are inexperienced or don’t have the right tools. That’s why it’s a job best left up to the professionals. But just because you don’t do the work yourself doesn’t mean you don’t have to be in the know about fences. Use this guide to help get the big picture about installing fence.
The first and foremost task involved with building a fence is are you allowed to do it. Some areas require a building permit be purchased before allowing the construction of your fence. Always check with local building departments prior to receiving any estimates for installing fence.
Before installing any fencing, you need to know where it’s going to go. That is done by finding the property boundary markers and running a few reference string lines. It’s best to find all of the boundary markers around your property, but finding at least three will work. If your out of luck and can’t find any markers at all, you will need a copy of a property survey or plot map from your local property tax office to locate your property lines.
Once the markers have been located, a string line is then pulled tight between two stakes at each property boundary marker. The fence is then typically set back one foot from the property line. Pulling a uniform measurement off of the house can also be used to make a reference line.
Once reference points have been established, post layout can begin. Most paneled fence posts run eight feet apart, although some fence posts set six feet apart. Professional fence installers typically use gas powered augers to drill post holes to save time and labor. Postholes are dug a minimum of 1/3 of the posts length.
Securing the Posts
While concrete is often used to set fence posts, it is not always necessary. Depending upon soil conditions and your contract with your fence installer, dirt may be used to hold some of the posts in place. Many professional installers often use a wood fence slat to tamp soil tight around posts. Some installers will take it one step further and water the soil around the posts for total compaction.
Starting from a corner, posts are leveled from both sides as they are being set into place. A lateral brace on each side of the post add stability and support as the post is set and secured. Chain link and other wire fence are stretched tightly from each corner post. Corner posts are often left in place overnight to allow concrete to harden thoroughly for maximum stability.
Whether you install a wood, vinyl or chain link fence, panels are all part of the final process of fence installation. Wood panels are quickly nailed to wood posts with galvanized nails. Vinyl fencing is screwed together with zinc-plated nuts and bolts Wire and chain link fencing is bought in rolls. It is unrolled and stretched from post to post using a come-along to tightly stretch the chain links. Wire loops are added at intervals to hold the fencing permanently in place. Gates and any final remaining hardware are then attached to complete the fencing project.
Key Hiring Tips
From large to small projects, before you select any contractor be sure to take the time to properly screen them. The time it takes now to screen a contractor will help ensure success for your home improvement project and avoid problems down the road.