How to Build A Wood Fence

Residential Wood Spaced Board Fence

Planning and building a wood fence can be a complicated process. We recommend hiring the professionals at Long Fence, but if you want to tackle the job yourself, here are the steps to building a wood fence.

  • Planning & Preparation
  • Measure for Posts
  • Dig Holes
  • Fill with Concrete
  • Stain or Treat Wood

Building a fence for a home property is an effective and popular way to improve home security, keep unwanted critters out, and improve the general appearance of a home or property. Fences are generally made from wood, vinyl, or metal. Differences in the quality and the style of fence are often reliant on fence material.

With their traditional look, wood fences are still one of the more popular options for home and property owners, even if they require more upkeep. Wood fences usually require upkeep over the years that vinyl or metal fences will not. Vinyl fencing, which comes in picket and rail fencing, does not require as much maintenance as wooden fences, but it does require the occasional rinse.

One trendy type of fence is the privacy fence. This fence is popular for property and homeowners who want their new fence to serve as a visual barrier to passers-by. Homeowners who own a pool or jacuzzi or happen to live in a densely populated area may also want to consider a wood fence. With all of this in mind, let’s learn how to plan, build, and maintain a wood fence.

Fence Planning & Preparation

The construction of a wood fence requires planning and preparation. One serious thing to consider is the homeowner’s association guidelines that govern fence style, size, and placement. These codes specify all requirements that need to be covered before a fence can be installed on any kind of property. It may also be necessary to procure a permit. When building a fence, plan to build the fence that fits your home and neighborhood. Here are some necessary rules of thumb to cover before launching into your project:

  • Determine your property line, and as a general courtesy to your neighbors, review your plans with them.
  • Decide how you want your fence positioned in relation to your property line.
  • Determine the location of gates. Spray paint lines to indicate placement.
  • Be sure to settle on your fence style to determine the required widths of your fence panel.
  • Subtract gate footage from fence footage. This will give linear footage of the fence. Divide the linear footage of fencing by panel length. This will determine the total number of fence panels or pickets you need.
  • Determine a layout that will allow you to use full pickets at the corners.
  • Plan to have help. Building a fence isn’t a solo project, generally, and you will need help.

Feel free to reach out to LongFence, your wood fence installation expert, at any point in this process.

Measure for Posts

Early on in the fence building process, it is necessary to measure and lay out the exact locations of your fence posts. This ensures uniformity and efficiency in the execution of fence building plans. Batter boards, strings, and spray paint are the only tools required at this point in the planning process.

Step 1:

Batter boards and strings are useful to help line up fence posts. Place batter boards at the fence corners or just a little beyond where they are expected. Run strings between the corners, keeping the strings 6 inches off of the property line. The batter boards allow for the easy adjustment of strings.

Step 2:

Spray paint is an excellent way to mark spacing between stakes for posts. Keep 6 to 8 feet on-center between posts. A tape measure on hand to ensure accurate spacing is also a good idea. Make sure spacing between posts is consistent.

Step 3:

Use a pencil to mark string positions on batter boards. Remove the strings as it makes digging post holes easier, but you can reattach them before you set the posts.
Dig Holes

Now that the fence’s parameters have been planned, it is time to move forward with the installation. Generally, the next step is to dig holes for the fence posts. A post hole digger is required for this step in the fence building process. Your mark for posts should already be planned so that as this step begins it is clear where holes will be dug.

Another important consideration when digging holes for posts is the required depth. Dig the holes about a third as deep as they are tall. This means that an 8 foot post needs a hole that is 2 1/2 feet deep. Again, it is a good idea to keep a tape measure on hand to ensure your measurements are exact. A few inches for gravel will also need to be accounted for at the bottom of the holes. While digging, keep an eye out for utility lines and pipes as you’ll want to avoid these. If you live somewhere cold, you will need to dig below the frost line when digging your post holes.

Fill with Concrete

Once the holes are dug, you’ll need to add concrete, gravel, and posts to the holes:

After the holes are dug, 3 to 4 inches of gravel should be poured into the hole for proper drainage.
Once the gravel is set, plan to add 6 to 8 inches of concrete mix to the holes.
Position the poles in the middle of the concrete mix and be sure to slope the concrete mix away from the post. Here you will want to plumb the post with a level to ensure it is up straight.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to allow concrete to dry properly. This may take up to 3 days.

With rails in place, now is the time to attach fence pickets. Be sure to secure each picket with a no. 8 2 ½-inch deck screws or galvanized 10 x 3-inch nails. Feel free to reach out to LongFence for assistance in this process or the concrete pouring step. We are your wooden fence building experts.
Stain or Treat the Wood

After the fence has been installed, it is now a good idea to stain or treat the wood
This is usually done per manufacturer instructions. A good idea at this point in the fence installation process is to apply wood preservative around the base posts to prevent wood from rotting.
Pressure-treated wood should not be stained or finished until the wood has fully dried. It will also not require more water-proofing or preservation.
Re-coats every other year. The day before application, be sure to clean the fence with a wood or fence cleaner.

Contact us:

Feel free to reach out to Long® Fence for help or assistance planning or building your wooden privacy fence. We are your go-to wooden fence installation experts. Reach us at 1-800-917-5664. We are also available on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Get in touch!