Level of Difficulty: Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
Completion Time: Week-end Project
The addition of a fence can be either necessary or purely decorative. There’s no need to sacrifice your outdoor decor: choose fence panels that will harmonize with the existing elements of your outdoor environment.
Versatile, durable and low-maintenance, treated-wood fences are very popular so are composite. Installing fence panels is fairly simple and doesn’t require specialized tools aside from a posthole auger. However, you should be aware that digging post holes and pouring concrete is physically demanding work.
We recommend you have someone to help you: this is definitely not a one-person job.
- Posthole auger
- Carpenter’s level
- Line level
- Electric drill
- Circular saw
- Mitre saw or table saw
- Gravel 0-¾
- Stone dust
- Concrete mix
- Fence panels
- Form tube (sonotube)
- Screws for treated wood with ceramic treatment, or stainless steel screws
- Joist hangers
Municipalities have regulations and bylaws that govern the installation of fences and hedges, and it is up to you to be aware of any regulations that might apply.
Before you undertake a fencing project, locate the precise boundary of your property, lay out an installation plan, then measure the total length.
The fence can be put up in four different ways, using: metal stakes, gimlets, posts driven directly into the ground, or posts inserted into form tube or in post base hanger.
Screws are preferable to nails. Your overall structure will be more solid, and it will be easier to replace a board or section of the fence if you need to in the future. Use screws for treated wood (ceramic-treated) or stainless steel screws. The rest of your hardware should ideally be made of stainless steel, or at least galvanized steel.
NOTE ON TREATED WOOD
Treated wood should be handled with precautions:
- Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling treated wood to avoid skin contact with and to protect against splinters.
- Wear dust mask, eye protection, gloves and long sleeves when sawing, sanding or shaping treated wood to avoid skin contact with or inhalation of sawdust, to protect against splinters and to protect eyes from flying particles. When making cross cuts use a cut sealer as the factory-treatment rarely goes to the heartwood.
- Apply an appropriate "end-cut" preservative to protect exposed, untreated wood.
- Use nails, screws, bolts, connectors and other hardware resistant to corrosion: stainless steel, hot-dipped galvanized, yellow zinc or specially coated for outdoor use. Ordinary fasteners will rust, causing unsightly stains, and will weaken and fail.
- Make certain the wood is thoroughly dry before painting or staining, and follow the coating manufacturer's recommendations. Use only good quality oil or acrylic coatings on water repellent pressure treated wood.
- Regularly apply a stain or a water-resistant product to waterproof the wood and reduce leaching: every two years on floors and every four years for all other surfaces.
- Do not dispose of treated wood remnants or sawdust in compost heaps, wood chips, or mulch and do not use it as animal bedding or litter.
- Never burn treated wood.
1.2. Mark locations for the 4" × 4" treated-wood posts at 6' intervals.
1.3. Use a posthole auger to dig holes 8" to 10" in diameter and 3' 6" to 4' deep for optimum stability and to prevent the posts from loosening when frost occurs. The distance between the holes must be 6', centre to centre.
2.2. Insert the concrete column form tube (sonotube).
2.3. Secure the cylinder by screwing it to an outer frame.
2.4. Make sure the distance between cylinder centres is indeed 6'.
2.5. Insert the post and steel reinforcing bar into the tube.
2.6. Pour the premixed concrete and water into the portable mixer.
2.7. Close the lid tightly and mix for 30 seconds.
2.8. When the concrete is ready, pour it directly into the tube.
2.9. Maintain the post in a vertical position, then use a post level or carpenter’s level to check that it’s plumb.
2.10. Make the concrete mound-shaped around the post; this will allow water to run off and not create a pool around the post.
2.11. Fill the cavity around the tube with stone dust up to ground level.
2.12. Lightly water the surface to compact the stone dust.
2.13. Always verify your measurements before you move on to the next post.
3.2. Use a line level hanging from a string tied between your posts to check that the joist hangers are level.
3.3. Screw the joist hangers to each post at the appropriate height, securing them at the top and bottom and on both sides.
4.2. Fasten the top part of the panel to the posts.
4.3. Check that the fence panel is level and plumb.
4.4. Nail the panels to the joist hanger.
5.2. Use a circular saw to make the cuts. You will need to cut on more than one side if your posts are thicker than the blade of the saw is wide.
5.3. Nail on the fence post caps.