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  • Common Fence Building Mistakes that You Should Not Ignore

    Common Fence Building Mistakes that You Should Not Ignore Blog-Image

    Fences are built to make a demarcation to your property.  It’s simply saying, “This is mine!”  Not to boast of what you own but making sure others know where they should stand.  Not only does a fence give you a sense of ownership, but most importantly, privacy and safety, not only for you but for your loved ones.

    Because you got so excited at first to put up that fence, you decided to be the man and do the job yourself.  Tough luck, after a few years, the fence seems to bend over a little bit.  What could you have done wrong?

    DIY or not, anything built may always show some weakness after a while just like your fence.  There are fence building mistakes, innocently or haphazardly committed, that solely needs repairing or a slight adjustment.

    Common Fence Building Mistakes to Avoid 

    Building a fence may seem to be an ambitious project, especially if you plan to fence a wide area of land. Becoming familiar with the most common fence building mistakes makes you win half the battle already.

    Fence Pre Building Mistakes

    1. Property not properly Surveyed

    Oh no, you did not talk to your neighbors.  Your neighbor on the right says that parcel of land where you put up your fence is his and he says he would have to talk to his lawyer.  First thing you need?  Make sure that you will be building your fence on your own property.  Do not guess your property line.   If you do this, it could lead to a legal dispute, which will cost you a handful of your savings.  You wouldn’t like to move a built fence, either.  Save yourself money and from embarrassment.    

    Remember this for a beneficial fence design plan:

    Do your research.  Talk to other homeowners who’ve “been there and done” that regarding city and neighborhood rules that specify how you should build your fence.  Better yet, talk to municipal building code officials regarding local ordinances for building a fence.  This will most likely include:

    -Securing a permit or permits if the fence is in the public right of way
    -Building Inspection
    -Submitting a plot plan showing all structural elements at the location of the -proposed fence
    -Limit on the height of the fence, materials, or style (if you live in a historic district)
    -Inspection of the foundation or post holes

    Talk to Your Neighbors.  Part of the fence etiquette is discussing your fence project with your neighbors and giving them a heads up just to make sure that you’re not building the fence on their property.

     Get your land surveyed.  This will give you and your neighbor a guarantee that you’re on the right side of the property.  If you had this done when you bought the property, hold tight to it. Don’t presume property lines by relying on your neighbor’s memory or what the guy across the street said. 

    2. Plainly Poor Planning

    Prevent a bad fence installation by taking time to consider important factors like the height of your fence, the length, spacing, material, or materials if you want a combination, landscape, the terrain of your property, and the climate.  All of these factors will affect your decision-making on the specific fence design that would function for what your fence will be built for.  Don’t miss the significant details.  You wouldn’t want to take down a fence because you ignored or miscalculated critical factors.

    Fence Installation Mistakes

    Man Installing White Fence - Crescent City Iron Works

    1. Wrong Post Installation

    Go through the fence installation steps carefully.  Make sure that your posts are consistent with the recommendation for your area and the specific fence type that you buy or build. The strength and durability of your whole fence depend greatly on how well you installed your fence posts.

    Consider these fence building tips for your fence post:

    Fence Post Hole Depth.  Depending on your type of fence post or the material you used, stick to the recommended depth.  The general rule of thumb is that the post’s hole needs to be one-third to one-half of the actual above-ground height of the post.  Still, depending on the weight of your fence, soil conditions, and the local climate, you might need to dig deeper.  Take considerable note that depth is crucial for your post’s strength.  Anchor them well so that your fence can withstand the elements.

     Fence Post Hole Diameter.  The recommended diameter of your post hole should be three times the diameter of your post.

     Use fast-setting concrete correctly.  Again, do not rush.  Even if you use quick-drying concrete, give it enough time to harden (20-60 minutes, depending on the outside temperature) and cure (4-6 hours).  Do not save on concrete and time when you fill the holes.  Use enough concrete and allow it to set correctly. 

     Use the proper tools.   Salvage time and elbow grease by using appropriate tools to help you do the job.  A post hole auger is a tool you can rent that can save a tremendous amount of work especially when you need to dig a large number of holes to install your fence posts. Digging three feet or even deeper into the ground is no small task.

     Proper Post Spacing.  Your type of fence would determine the distance of the posts from each other.  It is generally recommended that posts should be about 6 to 8 feet apart.

     Seal Bottoms of Posts properly.  The bottom of wooden posts, especially, will become contaminated and start to rot if it was not sealed adequately. 

    2. Connecting a New fence to an Old Fence

    If different materials were used, the new fence can be contaminated by the old fence.  Furthermore, both fences will age differently, and it might cause you more harm than good with additional expenses in the future for more repairs or replacement.

    3. Facing your Fence the Wrong Way

    This may be slightly trivial for some, especially if you hired a seasoned contractor to install your fence.  But for homeowners who prefer DIY, they may encounter issues with the standard way to build a fence.  For wooden fences, the smooth, finished side should face the neighbor and the side with rails and posts showing should face you on the inside.  If you are particular with seeing the icky part in your yard, choose a good-neighbor fence that looks good and similar on both sides.

    It’s Not Too Late

    Now that you are armed with the common fence building mistakes, you should know better if a fence will work the best for you or not.  

    Think about why you are going to build a fence or if you already have one and it showed notable flaws, what remedies should you start working on?  Will you need repairs in some areas or a total replacement?  

    The second time you put up a fence, think again.   Know what you should know, do what you should do, and you will be off to a better fence.

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