How to build a fence….

So, on to how to build a fence. Is that the correct terminology? Is it how to erect a fence? We could argue that out, or we could just find out the best hints and tips on how to get a fence up!

WikiHow have quite a good, detailed article, which can be viewed at but as a guideline, the following applies:-

What you need to get started

Boards & Posts
• Post Hole Digger
• Steel Tape
• Small Axe or Hatchet
• Nails
• Hammer
• Level
• Wood Chisel
• Wood Preservative
• Power Saw
• Paint or Outdoor Stain
• Marking Pencil
• Gravel or Sand
• Hand Saw
• Work Gloves
• Ready-Mix Concrete
• Tamping Rod

Spacing the fence posts
Generally, fence posts should be about 6′ to 8′ apart. The spacing of the posts depends on the type of fence you build, the terrain, the purpose of the fence and other such factors. The corner or end post should be set first and then stretch a line from each corner or end post to align all the posts in between. Drive a stake every 6′ to 8′ at the exact position where the post hole is to be dug. Be sure to take the time to measure and position the posts accurately. The appearance and the structural strength of your fence depends a great deal on the positioning of the fence posts.

Setting the fence posts
Set all wood fence posts with about 1/3 of their total length buried in the ground. This is especially important on corner posts and any posts that will carry heavy weight or withstand high wind pressure. Use a regular post hole digger to dig the post holes. Dig the holes straight to the proper depth at each stake marker. You can anchor the posts more firmly by making the holes slightly larger at the bottom than at the top. Place a large stone or two shovels full of gravel in the bottom of each hole. This provides drainage to avoid excessive moisture at the base of each post. Use a wood preservative to treat the section of the post that will be underground. Allow the post to stand overnight in the preservative so it can become well-saturated. You can pack the posts with either dirt or concrete. In either case, place two or three shovels full of gravel in the bottom of each hole before the post is placed into position. Be sure the posts are in an exact, upright position. You can check the alignment of each post with a level. You can also check the alignment of the posts in one direction by sighting from one end of the row of posts to the other. Brace each post with stakes after it is properly aligned. Keep the stakes in position until the concrete (if used) has thoroughly set. Remove the nails holding the braces and readjust the post until it is in accurate alignment. When the post is properly aligned, tamp it thoroughly to pack the dirt (if used) around the base of the post. Be sure you do not alter the alignment of the post during the tamping process. When the post is firmly in position, build a mound around it to help eliminate water standing at the post base. Slope the concrete slightly away from the post and round it off with a trowel. Tamp the concrete lightly to eliminate any air bubbles left in the mixture that can act as water pockets. Provide extra bracing at all corners. A corner post must carry the weight of fence stretched in two directions, so it should be set in both directions. Allow the posts to stand several days and settle firmly in position before adding the fence. The heads of posts should be rounded, capped or slanted to help eliminate accumulating water, which can cause rotting. This is well-worth the effort since it allows the posts to last.

Fixing the fence boards

Fix the first board at the start of the fence line with the top of the board 50mm (2″) above the top rail. The bottom of the board should also be 50mm (2″) from ground. Use a plumb level to ensure the board is plumb (vertical) and nail in place using 60mm (2 1/4″) galvanized flathead nails, 2 at each rail. Temporary fix another board in place at the other end of the fence line. Fix a string line to the top of both end boards, pull taut and raise slightly using a nail as a packer. Continue by placing another board against the first and just below the string line.  Nail in place and repeat that action until all boards are in place. Check, as you are going, about every 10th board with a plumb level for plumb (vertical), and make any necessary adjustments. Ensure the tops of the palings do not touch the string line, keep approx 3mm (1/8″) below. This can be done by eye.

As ever, I have credited all the websites that have equipped me with the necessary information. There is so much you can find out, and the advice that I would give on the subject of building your own fence is:-
1. Get professional guidance
2. Buy quality materials
3. Build according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
If you are going to proceed with erecting a fence yourself, then contact Forestrall Timber and Fencing Merchants who can equip you with all the necessary posts, rails, gravel boards and post mix.

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