Building Your Own Fence

Fences are amazing for privacy, but they can also make a really nice feature to accent landscaping. They come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but in this post, we are going to go over one of the most common fence type, a six foot tall all-weather wood fence. This is one of the easiest DIY projects when it comes to building, so don’t be intimidated. We’ll show you just how easy building your own fence can be!

Before you start building your fence, you might want to check into the bi-laws or possibly your homeowners association before you decide what type of fence, as there may be restrictions on the type, style, size or location of your fence. You may need a permit, depending on where you live and for sure are going to need to give Alberta one call a shout before digging any holes (they’ll come mark the places in your yard that you’ll want to avoid) Make sure you know your property line and speak with your neighbors first. It might help avoid issues down the road.

Next, you can plan your layout, draw your yard on paper (you don’t need to be Picasso), draw a line where you would like your fence and then measure each straight line where it would be in your yard. At this point you can bring your fancy artwork into Lealta and we will mark where your posts will need to be and give you a quote on what your fence will cost. But if you want some information on how that works, we simply start with a post and end with a post (corners too), and typically you would have a post every six feet. Then there are three 2X4 6’ rail boards connecting one post to another and you need 1X6 6’ boards all along your frame. Add in some screws, concrete and Simpson ties and you are ready to go. We can sit down with you and draw our own version of a Picasso on how all this works as well if you can’t picture it.

Next you would mark your fence line out with stakes and string just along the outline of where your fence will go (Think of the outside boards lining up with your string), ensuring that all is straight, square and preferably not in your neighbor’s yard. Then sit back and stare at your beautiful stake and string fence… You’re done! Okay no, but now you can get a good peek at what your new fence will be like (just think a lot taller).

Do you know someone who likes to ice fish? If so, borrow their ice auger and dig yourself some holes where those posts need to go. If you do not know someone who likes winter THAT much, you can rent them in Lethbridge at Wards for the day (And it should only take a day unless you’re building the Great Wall of China) Trust us when we say the old handheld post hole digger is a fancy form of torture and unless you are digging two post holes for the worlds shortest fence, find an auger. Your holes will need to be about three times the diameter of your posts (We like to suggest getting 4x6 posts instead of 4x4 if you are putting your posts further apart than 6’ because we live in the windiest city on Earth and it makes for a stronger fence in general) Make sure you dig lower than the frost line to prevent frost from pushing up on your posts and causing them to lean.

Once all your holes are dug, feel free to take a break. The hard part is over. Now is the time to head to Lealta and grab your lumber (You don’t want to leave treated lumber lying around in the sun for too long as it will warp) Now you will want to fill each hole with about a half a foot of gravel (Or dry concrete mix if you’d like) and place your first pole in there, tamping it down till things have settled. Brace the post in place with scrap pieces of wood (Or fence boards if you have no scraps) and ensure that it is straight and lined right up to your lovely string line. Once all the posts are in and straight, you can add your premix concrete in and fill the holes to just a few inches below the ground line. Then you can quit your work for the day and let that concrete dry.

Next you can remove the braces and mark the posts where you want your rails to be (measure to ensure your rails will be marked at the same distance from the top and bottom of your post for all panels) then you can start adding your fence ties to your posts and adding in your 2x4s. This part goes super-fast and actually starts to look like a fence and you will think “Gosh, I am almost done!” Not to burst your bubble, but the longest job is yet to come.

The easiest way to make sure your fence line is nice and straight, is done by running a string across the top of your posts, attached by a nail at the desired height, to mark the level line. Pick up a 1x6 and screw it in, using a level to make sure it is straight. Once that first one is in, you can go pretty quickly along the fence line, screwing the 1x6s in at the top, middle and bottom rails. Stopping every few boards to ensure it’s still straight with your level (You can correct anything that’s off by adjusting the next few boards a smidge until your back on track) You are using the fabulous all weather treated fence boards so feel free to butt them up tightly to one another as they will shrink a tiny bit as the sun dries them out, leaving a nice, even, thin gap between each board.

Give yourself a high five and sit back and enjoy your amazing finished work. It’s time consuming for sure, but really very simple to do. And we are here to answer any questions you have along the way, just give us a call, we know it can be frustrating if you haven’t done it before, we’re here to help out. The good news is that you don’t need to stain or paint it for at least six months to let the treatment dry out, (One test is to sprinkle some water on it — if the water is absorbed, it's ready to be painted) so for now, just enjoy your newfound privacy and experience! And be sure to take a picture and tag us on Instagram, we love seeing your hard work come to life!!

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