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 & Attach Posts
  • Attach Pickets or Panels
  • 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. You may need to hire a surveyor to make sure you get this part right, because mistakes here can be devastating later.
  • Decide how you want your fence positioned in relation to your property line.
  • Determine the location of gates. Spray paint lines to indicate placement. Think about use cases when picking your gate locations.
  • Be sure to settle on your fence style to determine the required widths of your fence panels.
  • 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. Be sure to order extra panels or pickets because you may make mistakes in cutting pieces.
  • 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.

In the initial stages of constructing a fence, accurately determining the placement of your fence posts is crucial for both uniformity and effective implementation of your fencing project. At this juncture, you’ll only need a few tools: batter boards, string lines, and spray paint.

Step 1:

Utilize batter boards and string lines to align your fence posts accurately. Position the batter boards either at the corners of the proposed fence or slightly beyond them. Stretch strings from one corner to another, ensuring they are elevated 6 inches from the property boundary. The batter boards facilitate easy adjustments to the string lines as needed.

Step 2:

Employ spray paint to delineate the intervals between stakes designated for posts. Maintain a consistent distance of 6 to 8 feet from the center of one post to the center of the next. It’s advisable to have a tape measure readily available to confirm the accuracy of these intervals. Consistency in spacing is key.

Step 3:

With a pencil, mark the locations of the string lines on the batter boards. It’s recommended to remove the strings temporarily to simplify the process of digging the post holes. However, you can reattach them as a guide before setting the posts into place.

Read More at our blog: How do I measure for a new fence?

Dig Holes

With the fence layout already planned and marked, the next phase involves digging the holes for your fence posts. A specialized tool, known as a post hole digger, is essential for this part of the project. You should have already marked the locations for the posts, providing clear guidance on where to dig.

One critical aspect to consider while digging is the depth of the holes. As a general rule, the holes should be approximately one-third as deep as the height of the posts. For example, if you’re installing an 8-foot post, aim for a hole that is around 2.5 feet deep. It’s advisable to keep a tape measure close by to ensure precise measurements. Additionally, allocate a few inches at the bottom of each hole for gravel, which aids in drainage.

While you’re digging, remain vigilant for any underground utility lines or pipes to avoid damaging them. Call 311 BEFORE you begin digging.

Because the Maryland, Virginia, D.C. area is a colder climate, it’s crucial to dig below the frost line to ensure the stability of your fence posts.

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.

Attach Rails, Pickets and Panels

To attach a rail to a fence post, first ensure that the post is securely anchored and level. Then, measure and mark the desired height on the post where the rail will be attached. Use galvanized screws or nails to fasten the rail to the post, making sure it is level and aligned properly. It’s often advisable to pre-drill holes to make the attachment process smoother and to prevent the wood from splitting.

With rails in place, now is the time to attach fence pickets. 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 Long® Fence 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 a good idea to stain or treat the wood.

This is usually done per manufacturer instructions. At this point in the fence installation process, a good idea 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 fence installation experts.

Read More:

How Much Does a Privacy Fence Cost?

Components of a Wood Fence

7 Reasons for Installing a Wood Fence