wood fence advice

homeboundMarch 31, 2011

I am going to install 66' of 6 ft high PT privacy fence, probably shadow box. The ground is level enough, so I'm considering the panels from HD or Lowe's. A couple questions, if I may:

Do those panels hold up well, or do I have to worry about nails or staples failing prematurely?

As for setting posts, I would like to throw in some gravel and dry-set the posts with bags of concrete (filling with plenty of water afterward.) Is that considered an acceptable method or not? Thanks much.

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sierraeast

If you are in a freeze area. you'll want to find out what the depth requirement is in your area concerning the freeze line and run your posts substanially below that requirement. Definetely run gravel at the base and a little up the sides before concrete. I usually apply asphalt emulsion to the sides of the post that will be in the ground, but not the bottom. You want to leave the bottom bare to the gravel to let moisture out of the posts. You can use the post setting type where after you fill with dry crete, add water and it mixes itself, but I prefer the old school way of 5000 psi redi-crete, mix it up and tamp it in.

Cant comment on the panels except to say that screws are always better than nails/staples, imo.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 5:43PM
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HandyMac

Get a dig check before you dig!

Should be free. Use paint/markers for the post holes you want to dig so you can see if they will interfere with any marked undergraound lines.

Plus, a dig check removes your liability for hitting a line outside the marked area.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 7:17PM
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lesterd

Screws are always better than nails/staples.

And within the screws category, stainless steel screws won't rust and bleed on the wood as galvanized will.

If you are in a cold winter climate, I'd get the post holes down below the frost line, as well.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 2:23PM
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don92

What you are doing sounds fine. As for depth I would go between a 1/3 and 1/2 of the height above ground. Frost line depth means absolutly nothing with a fence post. What little heave you may get will never be noticed.

If you can build the fence from scratch, do so. If not, hand pick the pre-mades that look dried out and have done all the warping their going to do.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 6:18PM
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sierraeast

"Frost line depth means absolutly nothing with a fence post".

That's the attitude our neighbor had. Quickly changed when he had to re-build his fence due to major heaving. It is always dependent on geographical location and the severity of the freeze cycles.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 8:12PM
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shadetree_bob

Unless you are way south where the frost line is either nonexistant or within a foot or so of the surface, ignoring it will cause you to be replacing posts every year. I would never put a post less that 18" below the frost line, because I like to do the job once and forget about it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:33PM
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metaxa

You have a good amount of panels to buy, check with a local fencing company too.

They will be building better panels than the ones available at a big box and if they come in even close in cost that's who I'd have supply the panels.

They probably will even deliver them.

How you set posts depends on your soil and how long you want to go before you do it again. I'm on glacial till, a fast draining and gravelly soil that packs well. I dry set posts using a drain rock base for them to set on and only use concrete on end posts and/or corner posts. And gate posts.

That fence company above will probably be of help as to what would be best in your situation. At least they know the ground in your area.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:24AM
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don92

"I would never put a post less that 18" below the frost line, because I like to do the job once and forget about it"

I have installed fences in northern Il. where the frost line is 42". What you are suggesting is to dig a hole 5 feet deep to put in a fence post! I commend you on your determination.
Most fences I installed were 4 to 6 feet in height and holes dug were between 2 and 3 feet. As " metaxa" says, a good gravel base will help with drainage and if you pour concrete I would suggest crowning or sloping the top of the concrete even if it is below ground level to shed water.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 8:11AM
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