A fence is much more than just a structure that divides two areas of land. Fencing can solve many problems for land or homeowners such as providing containment for livestock, increasing curb appeal, or offering safety and security. And regardless of the materials used, the most popular options being wire, aluminium, chain link, vinyl, wood and wrought iron, there are some do’s and don’ts when installing a fence to keep in mind.
Contractors should be on autopilot for the first two steps, but for do-it-yourselfers, it’s important to remember to check local ordinances for any guidelines that may apply to your fence before beginning construction, including your Homeowner’s Association. And remember to call and have all buried utility lines located and marked before digging. Looking for fencing services Melbourne services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Despite the varying options in style, materials and uses for a fence, there are some tips from a helpful article that could aid any installer to help make a fence installation even more successful.
The Do’s and Don’ts to Remember
A home fence installation enhances the aesthetic appeal and improves the security and privacy of your property. It is one of the major home improvement projects you can do, though expect some blunders and oversights to occur along the way. Before you tackle it, be sure that you are equipped with the right knowledge when it comes to installing fences. Read on to learn some of the do’s and don’ts of this project.
DO Select the Right Type of Wood
Remember that different types of wood offer drastically different levels of long-term fence-post performance. Pressure-treated wood, which boasts both durability and affordability, ranks high among the top choices. Also commonly used—and considerably more expensive (although prices vary by region)—are beautiful, naturally resistant species like cedar, cypress, and redwood. All contain resins that forestall the harmful effects of pests and moisture. Other species, including spruce, oak, and pine, may be used with the confidence only if treated beforehand with a brush-on preservative (look for copper naphthenate on the list of ingredients). Generally speaking, it’s wise to opt for darker, denser heartwood over younger, lighter-coloured sapwood, because heartwood harbours better defences, particularly against wood-boring insects. Finally, no matter what wood you select, be sure that you’re buying lumber labelled as suitable for in-ground applications. Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of Melbourne fencing services.
DON’T Make Postholes Too Small
Building codes and ordinances in your area may stipulate a legal depth and diameter for fence-post holes. If not, conventional rules of thumb offer a reliable guide. Typically, in part to ensure that posts lodge below the frost line, experts call for a hole deep enough to submerge the bottom third of the post below ground. For a six-foot-tall post, therefore, you would dig a hole two feet deep. The ideal diameter, meanwhile, should measure three times the width of the post. So, for a standard 4×4, the ideal hole would span twelve inches across. It’s important to note that fence-post holes must be flat-walled and barrel-shaped, maintaining a consistent diameter from top to bottom. If you use a regular shovel, you’ll end up with a cone-shaped hole. Instead, make quicker and easier work of the task by opting for a posthole digger (available for rent at your local home centre). Otherwise, use a clamshell digger, which will be slower going but equally effective, particularly if you’re working with rocky soil.
DO Employ a Base Gravel Layer
If a fence post fails without any sign of a pest infestation, it’s likely that the failure was caused by moisture that rotted the wood over time. To help slow such deterioration, add pea gravel or crushed stone to the bottom of the posthole. Once you have added gravel to a depth of three inches or so, use a piece of scrap lumber to tamp down the layer. Next, pour an additional three inches of gravel into the hole, tamping down a second time. This simple measure goes a long way toward helping rainwater drain freely into the subsoil. It works so well, in fact, that in mild climates, builders sometimes elect to set fence posts with gravel alone. While that approach makes sense in certain situations, for a lasting installation, experts are more likely to specify a combination of gravel (for drainage) and concrete (for much-needed stability). One type of concrete works particularly well in such applications—rapid-setting concrete-like category favourite CTS Rapid Set Concrete Mix.
DON’T Ready the Wrong Amount
True to its name, rapid-setting concrete doesn’t delay. In fact, CTS Rapid Set Concrete Mix sets in only 15 minutes. That being the case, it’s only practical to plan your approach. First, consider the size of the posthole in relation to the concrete yield. A standard 60-pound bag of CTS Rapid Set Concrete Mix yields approximately 0.5 cubic feet, so depending on the volume of your home, you may need to prepare multiple bags at once. Just be careful not to mix more concrete than you can put in place in 15 minutes before it begins hardening. After you determine how much concrete to prepare, proceed to combine the mix with water, adhering to the precise ratio printed on the package. Continue mixing for two or three minutes until you’ve achieved a smooth, lump-free consistency. At this point, with the post set in place, you can begin filling the posthole with concrete. Pack the concrete to a level slightly above the surrounding soil. Here, to prevent pooling, trowel the concrete so that it slopes away from the post. Double-check that the post hasn’t fallen out of level, then let the concrete harden.
DO Apply Caulk to Each Fence Post
After only an hour, CTS Rapid Set Concrete Mix will have hardened completely. You might consider the job done, but to further safeguard the fence post against rot, there’s one more important detail to address. Begin by inspecting the area where the post juts out of the hole. Do you notice a seam? Left as is, this seam could invite water to become trapped in any slivers of space between the wood and the concrete. Over time this moisture could lead to rot—but this scenario isn’t inevitable. After all, there’s a simple means of sealing the opening—caulk. Be proactive: Once the concrete has hardened, go ahead and apply exterior acrylic latex caulk directly to the seam, all the way around the post. (Alternatively, you can use any silicone caulk that adheres to concrete.) Be forewarned that the accumulated effect of freeze-thaw cycles may cause the seam to widen, so you’ll probably need to recaulk every now and then.
DON’T Neglect to Do Due Diligence
Be responsible. Before getting underway with your project, consult with municipal officials to confirm that your planned fence doesn’t deviate from any specifications of relevant building codes or ordinances. Some localities enforce strict regulations. Also, as you would for any project that involves digging deep down in the dirt, dial 811 (or visit call811.com), do this about a week before you plan to start the work, so the utility company will be able to come and mark the approximate location of any lines that run under your property before you begin digging. Make no mistake: Digging can be downright dangerous if you don’t know what lies a foot or two below the ground. As long as you give a wide berth to any buried lines, you should be perfectly safe. As for the posts themselves, a little regular scrutiny and maintenance will help ensure a long life for your fence. Inspect your posts at least once a year, ideally in spring or fall, and reapply paint or stain as necessary to protect the wood and keep your fence looking its best.
Other Things to Keep In Mind
- Do double check to make sure you have received all parts and materials before beginning construction.
- Do make sure the concrete, for corners and ends, is completely set before tightening the monofilament line or hanging the fence mesh.
- Do use a level as this will ensure perfectly plumb posts.
- Do mound the dirt around your posts slightly to prevent pooling of water.
- Do add gravel or crushed stone to the bottom of your postholes. This gives posts a solid base but is unnecessary when installing in areas of heavy clay and rock.
- Do plan your gate placement before beginning construction to avoid issues with post and brace placement.
- Do dry fit all parts before drilling or installing.
- Do install your post extensions and post caps before installing the posts.
- Do use at least one zip tie every foot along with your line posts.
- Do stake your fence to the ground every 5 feet. Deer will always try to go under a fence before over it.
- Do use a product such as the BECK® Fence Stapling System which includes air-driven fence stapling which boasts holding power and superior corrosion protection, making these staples a reliable long term fence fastening solution.
- Don’t install the fence without first checking your property lines carefully.
- Don’t eyeball post-placement. Measure carefully for evenly spaced fence posts, making sure to mark all post placements in a line before digging.
- Don’t skip corner bracing. Corner posts carry the weight of your fence stretched in two directions, so this means bracing should be added in each direction for a more secure fence.
- Don’t just dump the soil in around line posts and tamp down with your foot. Add soil in increments of 6 inches and firmly tamp with a wood post or tamping device before adding the next 6 inches.
- Don’t skimp on the depth of your postholes. Corner posts should sit a few inches below the frost line to prevent posts from heaving. This means in most areas your post should be dug to a depth of 30-36″.
- Don’t install your line posts before the monofilament. Installing the monofilament line first gives you a perfect guideline for placing your posts.
- Don’t forget the post caps. Without the post caps, your posts could fill with water and deteriorate faster.
- Don’t weave the monofilament line through the fence. This will cause bunching and create a wavy finished look. Use hog rings or zip ties instead.
How to Strengthen Fence Posts Without Pouring Concrete
Fences outline property boundaries and provide separation between your home and the rest of your neighbourhood. Poured concrete is a top choice for setting fence posts in the ground, and while it makes a strong anchor, the solid block makes it difficult to move the fence in the future. Gravel is one of the main ingredients in concrete, helping to bind the cement material, but gravel actually makes a strong, sturdy base for posts if properly compacted. Gravel allows better drainage around fence posts and makes it easier to remove fence posts if you change your mind about the fence. Check out our Melbourne fencing services services here.
- Dig the post hole to at least 24 inches deep, using post hole diggers and a digging bar or a mechanical soil auger; for the best chance of preventing upheaval, set the post as deep as 40 inches if possible. The hole should be about two to three times the diameter of the fence post.
- Cut a piece of 1-by-4-inch or 2-by-4-inch lumber to twice the length of the fence post diameter. This piece, called a deadman post support, helps anchor the post in the ground and is especially helpful if you can’t dig the post hole 40 inches deep.
- Nail or screw the small lumber piece at the bottom of the fence post with 16d nails or 3-inch wood screws, running perpendicular with the fence post. Attach the board to the bottom of the fence post length and not to the bottom end of the fence post.
- Pour about 6 inches of gravel or crushed rock in the bottom of the post hole; use gravel with irregularly shaped pieces of varying sizes, including some gravel dust for the best compaction.
- Pack the gravel or rock with the flat end of a digging bar to form a level base; check for level with a small torpedo level.
- Set the post in the hole, check the sides with a level and adjust the post until it is plumb. The horizontal lumber piece should push snugly against the sides of the post hole.
- Fill in the post hole around the post with about 6 inches of the gravel or crushed rock. Push the gravel or rock securely around the deadman lumber support. Pack the fill tightly with the blunt end of a digging bar.
- Check the sides of the post with a level for plumb and adjust, if necessary, before continuing.
- Fill the rest of the hole with 6 inches of gravel or crushed rock at a time, packing the aggregate with the digging bar and checking for plumb before moving on to the next layer of gravel.