Top 8 Things About Installing a Fence That Your Contractor Won’t Tell You

Are you thinking about installing your own fence? If you can do this project yourself, you will save yourself a lot of money. Depending upon the size and complexity of the project, it may be something which you can realistically tackle the job yourself.

You might be pretty doubtful about hiring a contractor, but there are some good ones out there.  NJ Fence Pro, an excellent fence company based in Middlesex, New Jersey, had some great tips to share with DIYers.  If you do end up hiring pros, this is a great checklist to ensure that your contractor is doing the job correctly.

What do you really need to know before you decide whether you should take on your own fence installation? Here are some things that you need to know before you head on down to the store to buy your materials.

1) Property Lines Are Crucial

fence line photo

photo credit pasa47

The first thing which you have to consider is whether or not you are actually permitted to put the fence on the property at all. You must own the land or have the right to use it, if you want to put a fence on the property. If you skip this step of the process you may find yourself with some very big problems. There are some potentially serious and expensive consequences if you ignore this step. You really do not want to put a fence on property where you do not have the right to do so.

You should check the plans to the property to make sure that you are only working on land which you own or have permission to work on.

2) Measurements Are Crucial

measuring tape photo

photo credit wwarby

This is another essential step. Once you have worked out exactly where your property lines are, you need to make sure that you are working within them. To do this you have to make sure that you have measured properly. Never do this just once. To be safe you should take your measurements at least twice. Check as many times as you have to so that you avoid mistakes.

3) Do You Have Permission?

Once you are sure that you are actually building on your own land, there are some other restrictions which may still apply. There may be local zoning requirements which you need to comply with.

Another common restriction is that you live in an area which has a Home Owners Association. If this is so, you will have to check the regulations to see what you need to do. Many Associations require that you have permission before you make any alternations to the appearance of your property. Usually this includes fencing. There may be regulations on the material, color, location and height of the fence. If you go ahead without permission, you may be forced to remove the fence and pay a fine. It just isn’t worth going ahead without checking.

4) Don’t Cut Through the Gas Line

gas line photo

photo credit choking sun

You need to make completely sure that you are not going to be in danger of cutting through any utility lines if you are planning to dig down on your property. They can be anywhere, so you really cannot take a chance with this. The consequences of making that kind of mistake can cause serious injury and considerable expense. Check before you dig.

5) Plan Your Materials

wrought iron fence photo

photo credit Hunky Punk

Make sure that you are planning to use the correct materials. There are many different choices for materials for building a fence. Make sure that you choose the best one for the job.

One of the things which you will need to consider are weather conditions. Different materials are more suited to certain weather conditions and local climates. Consider how much maintenance your fence will need. You may be tempted to buy cheaper materials in the first place, but this will not be a good thing if they cost a lot to maintain in the future.

6) How Much Do You Need?

When you have chosen your material for your fence you once again need to make sure that you are buying the correct amount. It is so much easier if you know all the things that you are going to need in advance rather than having to keep going back to the store. This can save a lot of time on your fence project.

One thing which is very easy to forget in your calculation of materials is that there will be fence posts to hold up the fence. You need to know the measurements of these and how far apart they will be spaced. Otherwise this will put your materials calculations completely out of line.

7) Think About Posts

fence posts photo

photo credit @cdharrison

Fence posts are a vital piece of your fence construction. You need to follow directions very closely about how you need to fix your fence posts into the ground. If you do not do this, you will soon find out why it is important. Your fence will fall down if your posts are not in the ground correctly. Simple as that.

If the instructions recommend that you dig three feet down that is what you need to do. It really isn’t worth cutting corners with any of this. You want to build your fence to last and you have to make sure that the posts are in the ground correctly.

Make sure that you always complete each stage correctly. If it tells you to wait for six hours to allow for the concrete to dry, don’t cut down on the time. We know it can be tempting to try and get a job done quickly, but taking your time now will ensure that you do the job properly. Trying to get things done quickly often means that you have to spend lot of time correcting the short cuts you took. If you do the job well a fence should last for many years.

8) Is Your Ground Level?

carpenter level photo

photo credit cogdogblog

The most likely scenario is that your ground it not completely flat. That would make your project just way too easy! Most plots will have some gradient. Even if the plot looks flat you will find out when you start fixing your fence that your ground is not a level playing field. You need to know this before you start your project so that you work out how you are going to accommodate the slope on your plot.

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9 Things You Really Have to Know Before You Start That DIY Fence Project, Part Two

Here we continue with the key things you need to know before DIYing your fence.  Read Part One here.

6) Measure Up

measure photo

photo credit Sean MacEntee

One of the most fundamental mistakes that you can make is not measuring out your project properly. This can waste a lot of time and money if you do not get it right first time. Always measure things more than once. Ideally, get someone to help you with this stage just to check that you are getting it right.

7) Don’t Forget Your Posts

fence posts photo

photo credit donjd2

When you are measuring out your project it can be a very easy mistake to forget that you have to factor in that there will be posts in the fence. If is easy to forget and just take into account the fence panels when you are in this planning stage. It becomes an annoying mistake when you realize that these add width to the fence! Make sure you take this into account when you are planning your fence project.

8) Fix Your Posts Well

Make sure that you follow the recommendations of how to fix the fence posts into the ground. If it says dig a hole two feet deep, don’t stop short. You will regret it when the fence falls down as the posts are not deep enough!

You must also make sure that if you need to let materials settle you do not skimp on time and rush the project. If you are using concrete to set the fence posts make sure that you wait the recommended time before you attach the fence panels. This is not a job to be rushed. If you take short cuts you will quickly wish that you hadn’t.

9) How Do You Exit?

fence gate photo

photo credit Simon Cuison

Make sure that your planning has accounted for a way to get out! This may sound like a fundamental mistake, but it does happen. If you need a gate in your fence, make sure that this is taken into account in your plans. The width of the gate and the posts to fix it must be taken into account at the planning stage.

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9 Things You Really Have to Know Before You Start That DIY Fence Project, Part One

One of the most common jobs which homeowners can tackle themselves is building a fence. This is most definitely one of those jobs which you can do yourself successfully, but it does take a bit of planning.

You really don’t need to pay a contractor to do most home fencing jobs, but you have to take some time to think about what you are doing so that the job goes smoothly. Here are the things that you really do have to know before you start a do it yourself fencing project.

1) Planning is Key

planning photo

photo credit owlpacino

You have to start out with a plan. It isn’t just a question of a couple of quick measurements and then heading down to your local hardware store to get the materials. A do it yourself fencing project starts with some planning.

2) Where Can You Build Your Fence?

You may think this is an easy question, but this is the key thing that you have to get absolutely right. If you build your fence on your neighbor’s land, or public land, you can get yourself into a whole lot of trouble.

You will probably have a plan of your property line. Or maybe you have the blueprints from when the house was built. You must make absolutely sure that you are only putting your fence on your own land. Disputes over property lines are one of the most common sources of arguments and legal actions between neighbors. Stop this problem before it even starts, by making sure that you are working within your property lines.

It is always best to talk to your neighbor to tell them that you are going to be working on building a fence. Usually they will be much more likely to be understanding about things if you talk it over with them before your start the work. This is the time to talk through any problems that they may have with it – not when you have completed the work and they are upset or angry about it. Stop problems before they start.

3) Are You in the Zone?

There may be local zoning laws which you need to be aware of before you start building your fence. Always check these before you start work. You really do not want to find out after you have started your project that it is not permitted by local zoning laws.

4) Can You Dig Safely?

digging photo

photo credit Ciarán Mooney

This is something which you most definitely have to be sure of before you start you do it yourself fencing project. You may have to dig down into the ground up to three feet deep – are there any utility lines under the ground that you could affect when you are working on your project? The last thing that you want to do is hit a water pipe or a gas line. Obviously this could be a very costly mistake. Always make sure that you have checked where the utility lines are on your property, and if necessary get the utility companies to come out and mark where they are.

5) Which Materials Can You Use?

vinyl fence photo

photo credit pb3131

You need to think about which is the best type of fence to build. You will have to take a number of factors into account. How do you need your fence to function? You will need to take into account the weather conditions in your area so that you can choose the best material for the job. Another big consideration is cost. Some materials are much more expensive than others.

Not only do you have to consider which is the best material for the job – you also have to know that you are permitted to use that material. If you live in an area where you are subject to Home Owners Association rules, you need to check with them about what you need to do.

You may have to get permission for your do it yourself fence project. There may be restrictions upon which materials you can use, as well as the height and the position of the fence. You need to plan ahead, as it may take some time to get your plans approved by the Home Owners Association. If you do not comply with the regulations, you may have to take your fence down and pay some hefty fines.

Want more? Continue with the key things you need to know before DIYing your fence – Part Two is here.

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8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Own DIY Fence – Part Two

We continue here from Part One where we talked about some of the mistakes made in the planning and construction of a fence.  A fence can definitely be a DIY project, as long as you pay attention to the details.

 

5) Measure Out the Job

You need to be careful that you know exactly where each fence panel and post is going. You will most likely be using materials which are sold in fixed lengths, so you need to know where each part of the fence material is going. Do not forget to take into account the fence posts.

If you do not go through this planning stage it can cause a whole lot of problems during the installation. It is like putting together a puzzle, but you really need to know exactly where each piece of the puzzle is going to go before you start. This is not a difficult process, but it is one which you really cannot skip.

6) Set the Posts Properly

The posts are going to be the foundation of your fence. They are the part which holds up the fence, so it is very important that you get this part right. Follow the recommendation for the type of material that you are using, but be aware that most fence posts have to be set at least two feet into the ground. If you skimp on this part, you will regret it. You want your fence to last for as long as possible. Depending upon where you live, your fence may have to weather storms and bad weather on a regular basis. Setting your posts correctly is the key to a long lasting fence.

Make sure that your fence posts are properly fixed into the ground before you fix your fence panels onto them. If they need time to settle, make sure that you give them at least the recommended minimum time. If you have set everything up correctly, but do not give the concrete enough time to dry, you will very quickly regret that! Your posts need to be firmly fixed in the ground and standing up straight before you start to fix the fence panels onto them.

7) Think About the Gradient

There are not many sites where you are going to find that the ground is perfectly flat. You are going to have to think about how you are going to deal with the issue of the gradient of your plot. You have to think about this in the planning stage so that you know how you are going to adapt the fence for the slope on your property.

8) Plan Your Way Out

It is essential in the planning stage to think about the type and the position of any gate which you may need in your fence. Always remember to account for the gate when you are at the planning stage of your project. Getting in and out of your property is an essential consideration!

photo credit Field Outdoor Spaces

photo credit dailyinvention

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8 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Own DIY Fence – Part One

One of those projects which you can do easily for yourself instead of paying a contractor to do it is to build your own fence. Many people still find this task a bit daunting and worry that they do not have the skills to do it themselves. It is a straight forward do it yourself job, if you just follow some basic guidelines. Here are some mistakes to avoid when you are taking on the task of building your own fence.

1) Have a Plan

Before you go out and start to buy materials to build your fence, you need to have a plan of exactly what you are going to do.

2) Stay Within the Lines

An essential thing that you make sure of before you even start to think about how to actually build the fence is that you must know where your property lines are. Disputes with your neighbors are never fun, and many of them arise out of infringing on property lines. You also definitely want to avoid putting any part of the fence on public property, as this can bring a whole set of problems.

You should have a plan of your property line, or some blueprints which show you exactly where the boundaries of your property are. If you make a mistake this can be incredibly costly, so we cannot emphasize enough that you have to be very sure exactly where you are placing your fence.

If is always a good idea to let your neighbors know that you will be doing some work and building or repairing a fence. Unfortunately, neighbor disputes about boundaries and fences are common. Anything that you can do to help prevent these problems starting before they even begin, is time well spent.

Always make sure that you measure your property at least twice. Even if you know where your boundaries are, you have to make absolutely sure that you have marked them correctly. You really do not want to make a mistake on this part as this could be a very costly mistake.

3) Check Zoning Laws

It is essential that you check your zoning laws before you build your new fence. You may not be allowed to put up a fence of your chosen material as it is not permitted by zoning laws.

If you live in an area with a Home Owners Association you have to check with them as to what permissions that you have to have. Remember to do this well in advance, as you may be required to make an application to the Home Owners Association to have the design and material of the fence approved. There can be lots of restrictions relating to the height, material and color of the fence.

There are special considerations if you are building a pool fence. You need to check that you will be complying with all local and state laws if you are doing anything in relation to a pool fence. Failure to do this can have very serious consequence and legal penalties.

4) Check Utilities

Some fence posts need deep holes to fix them in. The last thing you want to do is to dig your hole and find a utility line in your way. This can not only be an expensive mistake, but a very dangerous one. Always call to find out when utility lines are under your property before you start any project which is going to mean digging down into the ground on your property.

 Part Two of our fence mistakes is here.

photo credit @lattefarsan

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