No matter what
you see in other fences, it is best to put fence posts every 4 feet. Eight
foot is generally standard, but with the winds we get in Texas you are safer
with posts every 4 feet. I have regularly seen fences with 8ft spacing
blown down (poles snapped off at the ground) with the storms we get
here. I put my posts every 5ft 4in (4 posts per
16-ft runner) and wish I had put them every 4 ft, because the fence could be
a bit stiffer. I subsequently filled the posts with concrete to stiffen them
Use 16-ft 2x4
runners and stagger them so the ends do not line up on any given fence post.
Use 4 2x4
runners - this will minimize fence sag.
pickets - pine or other material just won't last over time.
decide not to treat your pickets, you are just throwing your money away, as
the Texas heat and weather will just ruin the wood over time.
PICKETS AND RUNNERS BEFORE ASSEMBLING THE FENCE. If you treat the
fence after it is installed, you will miss many portions of the wood and
permit premature rotting.
suggest building a PAN to DIP your fence pickets rather than using a paint
roller. This is more efficient and does a better job than rolling or
spraying the pickets.
pickets on top of a stack of pickets so the excess stain that is spilled
treats picket material rather than falling on the ground.
Use a tarp
under your picket treatment area - the stain will kill your grass!
pickets - this will compensate for warped pickets as they are never
completely straight and tend to shrink over time.
I chose 6-inch
wide pickets, which is relatively efficient when using a 3.5-inch gap
between pickets and a 1.25-inch overlap.
should be dug a minimum of 26-30 inches deep with 26-inches of pole below
grade. This gives the fence post a good foundation and prevents the
pole from sagging over time. Use a 6-inch auger bit for the
hole. This will take 1-1.5 bags of 80lb concrete mix per hole.
Mix the concrete BEFORE putting it into the hole to ensure a solid concrete
plug. Remember, the concrete will perform better in the long run if
you don't make the mix too soupy!
DO NOT USE
NAILS TO ATTACH THE PICKETS! All pickets should be screwed in using
treated deck screws. For the inner boards I used 12 screws (4x3 count,
2-inch, Fastenal P/N 0184880) and for the outer pickets I used 16 screws
2.5-inch, Fastenal P/N 0184882). I
recommend the Fastenal TORX head fasteners for several reasons. First,
they have a modified screw thread that permits drilling into knotty
wood. Second, the use of TORX driving lessens the potential for
damaging the screw plating (and thus minimizes the chance of rust stains).
DO NOT USE LAG
BOLTS TO ATTACH THE RUNNERS. All runners should be attached using hot
dipped galvanized carriage bolts (1/4 x 2-inch) and matching nuts/washers.
I found it
useful to use wire as my string line to sight the top of the poles when
placing them. This can be used in conjunction with a couple of large
springs and a pulley hook to get a very straight sight line over a long
I found it
useful to make templates for aligning the screws when setting the
pickets. This gives the pickets a uniform look. This is
especially true for blind fastening of the overlapped pickets. Note
that these templates will allow you to properly align the screws without
having to be right in front of the picket, a useful feature in tight
situations where the fence is obstructed.
problem with most fences isn't the pickets in general, but the GATES.
Gate deterioration and sag are the most common problems with a fence in the
long run. To fix this I double-posted each of the gate posts (on each
side) and welded cross struts between these posts. Additionally, the
gates themselves comprise a H-frame welded from fence post material that is
hinged directly to the gate posts. Thus, the common problem of gate
sag is eliminated, even if the wood on the gate completely deteriorates.
I would have
placed my poles every 4 feet. 8-ft spacing is standard and won't hold
up to many of the wind storms we get in Texas. I thought that putting
4 poles every 16 feet would be sufficient (5ft 4-inch spacing), but the
structure needs a bit of stiffening over long runs with 8ft height.
So, set your poles every 4 ft and you should be fine.
I would have
substituted drill pipe every 16 ft. To strengthen the fence from wind
damage, I would have substituted drill pipe at 16ft intervals. The
normal fence pipe has approximately 0.095 wall thickness, which isn't that
strong given an 8ft moment arm. Using thicker walled 2-inch drill pipe
(2-3/8 OD) solves this problem. Alternatively, you can fill your posts
with concrete, but this isn't as good a solution.
originally planned to put the pickets side-by-side, but later decided to
overlap them with a 3.5-inch gap, even though this increased material costs
by 1/3. It was well worth the cost given the overall finish look.
I would have
rigged up a stationary drill platform to drill the post holes in the hard
Texas clay soil.