Today’s Checkatrade expert is Dave Green, owner of Wesson Fencing.
Putting up a fence is not rocket science but you need to know what you are doing to avoid costly accidents, such as busting through a power cable or sewage pipe while digging post holes. For those who enjoy a DIY challenge here is a step by step guide to outing up a fence:
1. Check with the neighbours
Before building a new fence be sure to have a word with the neighbours to check property boundaries, otherwise you may have to take your fence down and start again. If you are replacing an old fence make sure it belongs to you or you have the owner’s permission to remove it. You can build a new fence alongside an existing one as long as it is on your property.
It is also easier to put up a fence if you can work from both sides, so ask your neighbours for their permission to go on their property if necessary.
2. Clear the area
Ensure the area to be occupied by the new fence is clear of plants, debris and old fence posts before you start. Cut climbing plants you wish to keep to ground level (they will re-grow around your new fence) and spray weed killer on the ones you don’t want to grow prevent them returning.
Next you need a good string line stretched tight set about a foot off the ground to establish the boundary of the fence. Make sure this isn’t snagged on anything otherwise this will divert the line of the fence.
3. Dig your first fence post hole
Dig out a hole for the first post, making sure it is big enough for you to be able to move the post around, line it up and get it level. For a standard four inch post the hole needs to be 600 millimetres deep and 200 millimetres square. Ensure you leave room for adequate concrete around the outside. Put the diggings from the hole in buckets for disposal to reduce the need for clearing up afterwards.
4. Insert and secure the fence post
Insert the fence post into the hole, using rubble around the base to support large posts. The best concrete comes in a special ‘post-fixing’ mix, which will set quickly. Mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions and pour into the hole, adjusting the fence post as necessary to ensure it is level before the concrete sets.
5. Mark out the next fence post
Ask someone to help you mark the position of the next post once the concrete holding the first sets. The best way to do this is by placing the fence panel against the first post and marking where it ends on the ground. Dig out the second post hole.
6. Attach the fence panel
Use panel clips spaced evenly up the fence panel to attach it to the first post, nailing them to the post before you nail them to the panel. Post caps can be added as a finishing touch. To avoid the bottom of the fence panel rotting ensure it does not touch the ground.
5. Insert and secure the second fence post
Insert the second fence post in the hole and use panel clips to attach it to the other end of the fence panel, asking someone to hold and support it while you do this if necessary. Like with the first post, ensure it is level and secure it with post-fixing concrete.
6. Repeat, repeat, repeat
You’re now set to continue this process all along the boundary of the new fence. To put a trellis on top screw it to the posts. To avoid splitting the wood make sure you drill he holes first. When fencing on a hill or slope it is easier start at the top and work downwards.
If you are inexperienced at DIY or have time or budget limitations then we recommend calling in the professionals to put up your fence. Wesson Fencing offers fencing of all types and varieties for domestic and commercial applications in Surrey.
Checkatrade provides this regular column for HouseFixer.co.uk. Checkatrade is a vetting service to find genuine trades people and combat rogue traders. For more information visit the Chekatrade website.
* Pictures sourced for this article come from Thinkstock.