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Fencing Built Right

Ike left just about every other fence down as it passed through the gulf coast area. I have seen several thoughts and questions about wood fencing, below I will offer my two cents.

DOWN FENCES

For the most part there are two different types of down fences. The type of fences that snapped at the bottom of the 4 X 4 and the fences that pushed over. There isn't much you could do about a fence that snapped at the bottom. More than likely the fence was older and the 4 X 4 was starting to lose strength. Fences that pushed over were not properly installed and should have been built better the first time. Pushed over fences where most likely not cemented properly or where not set deep enough into the ground. Too many fences today are installed with little or no concrete. Each 4 X 4 post should be set at least 24" deep into the ground with at least an 80 lb. bag of concrete per post. Fences that stretch 7' or higher plus should be set 30", 36", and plus deep. Moreover, all concrete should be 'wet mixed' and not 'dry packed'. Wet mixing is adding water to the concrete before pouring it into the post whole whereas dry packing is pouring cement into the whole then pouring water on top of the concrete. Don't let anyone tell you that dry packing works just as good as wet mixing (if dry packing worked they build a highway by laying down concrete then pouring water on top).

FALLEN OUT SECTIONS

Several fences along the coast have just parts and pieces of their fence that fell over. Many of these fences could have been fixed with on simple tip. The top rail of your fence should be built with a 2 X 4 that is long enough to cover two sections. Many fences today are built with all 2 X 4 X 8 and the fence loses strength because there is not a rail that that extends over two sections. Go ahead and toe in your bottom (and middle rail if used), but lay your top rail flat on top of your post to get the most strength of out your fence. This tip will only increase your cost about $1 dollar per every two sections, which works out to about 6 - 8 cents per foot.

$$$$

TURNKEY-You can expect to pay about $20-$23 a linear foot for a turnkey fence (which includes tear out and haul off, materials, and labor necessary to complete the required job). On top of that, you can expect to pay about $75 - $100 per walk gate.

MATERIALS ONLY- You can expect to pay about $9 - $10 a linear foot for fence materials. This price estimate includes all treated framework and cedar picket boards for a 6'-6.5' fence. Add about $75 to $100 for a pre-made gate and gate hardware. ($9 a foot usually includes a 6' cedar fence with two rails and $10 a foot usually includes a 6' fence with a 6" rot board built with three rails)

Treat boards will lower your cost $.60 to $1 per foot.

QUALITY MATERIALS -

Material quality can vary dramatically from place to place.

Cedar boards- For the most part there are four different types of cedar boards. You have builders grade, #2, #1, and clear boards. Most of the time builders' boards have several knots and are very low quality. #2 boards are much more common. They are usually a 5.5" wide board. There can be a big difference in the quality of #2 boards from store to store. #1 boards are usually 6" wide and make a nice bold look for your fence. Lastly, clear boards have no knots and cost more than the other two options. Clear boards make for a great looking clean fence, but do cost more and some people prefer to have a fence with a few small knots to give more 'character' in their fence. Cedar boards can commonly be found in 6', 7', and 8' sizes. Most cedar fences are built with two or three rails.

Treated pine boards - Due to demand treated pine has raised dramatically in cost since Ike and the cost savings over cedar are not what they used to be. Never buy a treated pine board over 6' and always use three rails, because treated boards are much more likely to warp and twist over time.

Steel Post - Sch. 40 2 3/8" -Steel of course cost much more per a post than a wood post. Moreover, not only do you need the steel post, but you also have to buy a dome cap for each post and enough brackets for each rail of fence. In the end you are looking at a cost of around $55 per post for a steel setup and $8 for a 4 X 4.

FENCE INSTALLERS

Be careful about the fly-by-night fence companies that pop up over night. Some might be thinking that $20 a foot is too much, but that is the going rate for the fence companies that have been around for many years. Be careful what you pay for and never pay all the money due until a fence is finished and built right. If someone is building your fence for a 'great deal' be sure to ask them about the materials that they are using and the specs that they use for guidelines. For a list of fence installers in the gulf coast area, visit Afence.com and click Hurricane Ike Information on the home page. Always ask for referrals.

I work for American Fence and I can help you with other questions you might have. We do not install fence, where are only a material supplier. Send me a PM or write me; [email protected]. Our website, Afence.com, also has helpful information and some pricing. We are very busy right now, but I will find time to help with any questions that other 2coolers might have. Best of luck with all of your fencing needs. God Bless
 

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Senior Member, do I get a discount?
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Thanks, I am going to be replacing my old hurricane fence, since the hurricane tore it up!
 

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I'm tired of replacing my fence because of snapped off 4x4 posts. I'm going back with the metal posts. I have one 100 ft section in rear that was rebuilt after Alicia and metal posts were used. I've replaced some of the wood but the posts are still in good condition and have never layed over. Lastly, a pox on neighbors that hang crappola on your fence on their side which makes them top heavy and also that mess with your fence by adding dirt and other stuff to the bottom of your fence to keep their dogs from digging out. It only moves the wet level up above the cement and is where the posts always fail.
 
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