Fences

Treated Lumber Rotting

Treated Lumber RottingWe recently read a post about treated lumber rotting. The writer was surprised that the treated lumber on their deck had begun to rot. They had been assured that the lumber would not rot and would last a lifetime.

The bottom line is that all wood will eventually rot. Some will rot faster than others. It really depends on the type of wood used, the treating process and the location where the wood is placed. Treated lumber rotting is a common problem. Anytime you have moisture from poor drainage it will rot. If there is poor air circulation with moisture, it will rot. If there are insects such as termites, they will attack.

Treated Lumber Rotting

I have pulled out fence posts encased in concrete that are as good as the day they were installed after 29 years. On some posts where the concrete was below ground, the posts had begun to rot at ground level. They were exposed to dirt, moisture, poor air circulation and insects.

Deck components lasted equally well except for those pieces that were exposed to constant moisture. We had to replace the deck after 27 years. Either way this is not a bad life cycle for treated lumber.\

Bottom line, don’t expect treated lumber to last a life time and you will not be disappointed. Expected it to last 15 to 30 years under good conditions. Check the condition on a regular basis, especially as the deck, fence etc. gets older. You will avoid surprises this way.

Also, don’t you think it is time to update your deck design, fence etc after 20 to 30 years!


Repair Loose Fence Post

Repair Loose Fence PostResidential fence posts become loose for a variety of reasons. In some cases the post is not far enough into the ground and becomes loose endangering the entire fence. Always plant a fence post at least 30 inches into the ground or even 36 inches so that the base is well below the frost line in cold climates. Older fences in a high moisture environment such as lawn or shrub areas that get a lot of water will tend to rot just below the ground level. If you not monitoring the situation, the post will break at ground level. Your entire fence can fall over.

Some posts are in sandy conditions and if the sand is eroded from around the post, there may not be enough support to the post to keep it solidly in the ground. Regardless of the situation, many homeowners wonder what can be done aside from replacing the entire fence at some significant cost. There are several solutions ad some are quite inexpensive if you do it yourself.

Repair Loose Fence Posts

The best way by far is to replace the post and make sure that it is deep enough in the ground to properly hold the fence in all kinds of conditions especially in windy situations. A post can rot at ground line, while the rest of the post and fence is in perfect condition. If replacing the post is not an option, another is to drive a four inch square stake into the ground as shown in the picture and then bolt the old fence post to the new steak. Consumers would usually do this on the inside of the fence so that the exterior looks unchanged.

Dig down about a foot on the inside of the post , making a hole that is slightly larger than the steak. Drive the steak down at least 30 inches so that is well planted and solid. Fill the hole to ground level around the steak so that is also properly supported at that level. Finish by bolting the steak to the old fence post.

Another product is a steel post that can be driven into the ground along side the old post. A wooden post is then bolted to the steel stake and then also bolted to the old fence post. This works equally well and sometimes is much easier to drive into the soil, especially if you are dealing with hard clay conditions.

This approach to repair loose fence posts is much less expensive than replacing the entire fence and will give you many more years of use from your fence.


Good Neighbor Fencing

We just finished installing good neighbor fencing along one side of my lot. The existing fence was 25 years old and needed to be replaced.  As well, my neighbor wanted to also replace it and since we share it between us, this meant that not only would he help me build it, he would also split the cost of the fence as well.

We decided on a traditional good neighbor fence, with a lattice at the top to add additional privacy and decoration. We also decided on a pre-built fence section which means the bottom part was built with a boxed in effect using two by fours and the same approach for the lattice. The picture shows this superior fence. Using the two by fours as a box makes this fence a much stronger and sturdier fence. The good neighbor fence which is vertical boards on opposite sides of the fence to allow the breeze to go through and to provide a more open look. More detail is provided in the following paragraphs.

Good Neighbor Fencing

Whenever you are building fences that are between neighbors there are several rules that apply in order to maintain good relations:

  • Always split the cost of installing the new fence
  • Always agree to design, style, price and any construction details before proceeding
  • The fence should be on the property line
  • If it is a do it your self job, always help each other to build it unless there are health issues
  • When one neighbor is going ahead without the others consent, it usually means that the cost is not split and the fence should not be on the property line
  • If you hire a contractor, always make sure that everyone agrees to price, timing, style and quality before giving the go ahead

Good Neighbor Fencing Pricing

We elected to  build it ourselves on the property line and split the cost of the materials.  We initially requested and estimate from a contractor who gave us a price of $4500 which worked out to a cost of $47 a foot which included removal of the old fence, construction of the new fence and cleanup after construction was finished. This was way too much for us and we decided to build it ourselves. The final cost for doing it ourselves worked out to be $1947 or $20 a foot which was a huge savings. We split the cost equally and so we ended up paying just under a thousand dollars each.

This is a much better fence than we would have had if we had hired a contractor to build it. We compared our fence to others in the neighborhood and not only is there more material in our fence, it is much stronger than any of the other fences that have been installed recently.

Compare Pricing for Good Neighbor Fencing

Whether you have someone build it or do it yourself , it is a good idea to compare pricing for the materials as well as labor before you begin. An important factor to discuss is the design of the fence to make sure you both agree on the design, but also how much material will be needed. There are many different designs and they all take different good neighbor fence sectionsamounts of material which affects the price. We compared pre-built fence sections from two major suppliers and found one to be superior. The superior fence was more expensive, however since we had a quote from the other supplier, the second supplier matched the price. We got  a great deal, a superior fence design, quality materials all because we compared pricing. We saved at least $200 in cash and got a better fence!

Pre-built Sections or Build it From Scratch

Building a fence either way works well, however using pre-built sections makes the job go a little faster and it means that you have consistency in the fence design in all sections of the fence. We did not compare pricing, however with the sale price we received, we were happy with the final price.  With a price of $161 for an 8 foot section of fence, all materials included, we had a very reasonable deal. This includes the 10 foot 4*4 post, sono tube and cement, screw nails, auger to dig the holes and garbage removal for the old fence. We could have saved some additional money if we had removed the garbage ourselves.

We had to work very hard to remove the old posts and cement and dig the new holes to at least 42 inches. Once this part of the work was completed, the actual part of the fence building went relatively quickly. Both parties are very happy with the result and plans are underway to approach other neighbors to build the rest of the fence surrounding our lot the same way.

 

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