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Fencing can be divided into three categories: ready-made panels to be fitted between posts; loose fencing materials with which to make panels, and fence kits.
Decorative trellis, sturdy posts and fence fixings are all essential buys – find out what to use where, and how.
Putting up a fence is a two-person job, although you can do much of the preparation on your own.
Using post sockets, you can put up readymade fence panels quickly and efficiently.
1. Mark the line Start by determining the line of the fencing. On a property boundary, mark the boundary line with twine, bearing in mind all posts and fencing must be on your side of the boundary marker.
2. Drive in the first post socket. At the start of the fencing run, drive in a post socket, keeping the clamp face of the support facing towards your side of the boundary line. Fit the first post into the socket and secure in place. Use a spirit level to check it is straight.
3. Drive in the second post socket. Temporarily prop the first panel against the post. Drive in a second post socket at the end of the panel, keeping the socket face aligned with the panel edge. Set the panel aside and fit the second post.
4. Cut and fit the first gravel board. Cut the first gravel board to length to fit horizontally at ground level between the first two post sockets. Secure the gravel board to the socket at each end with fixing brackets and either black japanned or other plated, round-head screws.
5. Fit the first panel Refit the panel between the posts on top of the gravel board and secure with fence panel clips – two or three at each end; the triangular section of the clips slots behind the timber framing. The panel should be located centrally on the posts.
6. Complete the run Repeat the sequence for the remainder of the fencing run.
7. Fit post caps To finish, fit a post capping to each of the posts.
8. Protect and colour the fencing. Coat all the timber with a preservative to prolong the life of the fence.
A continuous, flat run of timber fencing is most susceptible to wind damage. If possible, incorporate 90-degree returns at the ends. Even a slight change of angle between panels, or a zig-zag pattern, will provide a valuable bracing effect.
Featheredge fencing (see Fig. 2) consists of posts, post supports, arris rails (in 2.4m (7ft 10in) lengths) and brackets, and gravel boards, plus featheredge boards.
Pick the right materials
Although sections of fencing can be made up to 2.4m (7ft 10in), it may be better to work in 1.8m (6ft) runs in particularly exposed, windy areas so that there is a shorter span between posts. For a 2.4m (7ft 10in) run, you will need 32 pieces of feather-edge boarding; for a 1.8m (6ft) run, you will need 24 pieces of boarding. Each length overlaps the previous one by a minimum of 19mm.
Get boarding lengths correct
Featheredge boarding is available in 1.5m (5ft), 1.8m (6ft), and 2.4m (7ft 10in) lengths. So, if, for example, you want a 1.2m (4ft) high fence, the 2.4m (7ft 10in) lengths should be cut in half.
Choose arris rails and posts
For fences 1.5m (5ft) high, three arris rails per panel are required; for 1.8m (6ft) high fences, you need four arris rails per panel; for a 2.4m (7ft 10in) high fence, five per panel. The fence posts should be tall enough to cope with the height of the gravel board (150mm) and the featheredge boarding, plus they need to be set 600mm into the ground.
If the gap between the posts is smaller than the ready-made panel, remove the end batten, measure between the grooves in the concrete posts and mark this on the fence. Cut the top and bottom batten, allowing for the width of the side batten, which can then be re-fixed. Finally, cut down the edge of the side batten, trimming off the unwanted part of the panel. You can do this with a handsaw but a circular saw or jigsaw will be quicker.
Consider design alternatives
Alternate panels can have the thick edgesof the featheredge boarding facing inopposite directions. This creates noconstruction problems, and merely meansfixing the boards from a different end foreach panel.
1. Erect the framework Featheredge fencing is built by erecting the main framework for the entire run before the boarding is fitted. Start by marking the fence line as described in step 1 of putting up panel fencing.
2. Drive in post sockets With the firstpost socket driven in at the starting pointand a post fitted, use a length of arris railas a guide to spacing, drive in a secondpost socket and fit the second post.
3. Fit the arris rails Check all the arris rails are exactly the same length, then connect the two posts with them, using arris rail brackets. Ensure the rails are horizontal with a spirit level, and set back from the front face of the post by at least the thickness of the featheredge boarding. Position about 200mm from the top and bottom edges of the intended position of the feather edge boards.
If using concrete, either for Wedge Grip Concrete Post Supports or for concreting timber posts directly into the ground, support the posts or fence panels with temporary bracing for at least three days, until the concrete has had a chance to cure.
4. Fit the gravel board Fit the first gravel board between the post supports as described in step 4 of putting up a fence panel, but with the face flush with the front of the post ( see Fig. 7 ).
5. Finish the framework run Continue building the framework to the end of the fence run ( see Fig. 8 ).
Pre-drilling the post cap before nailing it in place will stop it splitting. To help prevent wood rot, do not allow earth to come into contact with the timber.
6. Fit the featheredge boarding Start by securing the first length with its thick edge against the post at one end of the section. Use 38mm galvanised wire nails and ensure they go into the centre of the arris rail. Since it can be difficult to space out the lengths with equal overlaps and achieve a perfect fit at the opposite end, ensure all the remaining pieces are initially only lightly pinned to the top arris rail. Adjustments can then be made before the lengths are finally fixed. At overlaps, the nails should be driven in through the thickest part of the board to miss the thin edge of the board behind, which could split ( see Fig. 9 ).
7. Finish the fence Complete the fencing as in steps 7 and 8 of putting up panel fencing.
Metal post supports and gravel boards help keep the timbers proud of the ground, but don’t then spoil this by banking up earth for flower beds next to the fence.
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Pre-Treated Timber Fence Posts