House 9 Remodeling: Fence Replacement – Day 2

In the last post, I discussed our first day of fence reconstruction at House 9.  On the first day, Mrs. DIY Landlord and I removed the old fence posts and dug new post holes for first 40 feet of fencing.  With the hard work out of the way, we moved on to the easier and much more enjoyable part of the project: the framing of the fence and installation of the fence boards.

We began first by installing the galvanized steel framing brackets on the posts. These brackets are secured on the posts with bolts. Once secured, they provide a support for the 2×4 rails for the fence. The 2×4 rails were cut to length and then attached to the brackets using 1-5/8 inch screws.

Four brackets, each spaced 25 inches apart, were installed on each post to allow for four rails to be installed to support each fence section.  This spacing between the rails situates the bottom rail about 5 inches off the ground.  This is an ideal height.  Mounting the bottom rail higher than that would leave more of the fence boards unsupported and likely to shift if the fence boards ends up warping after installation.

Once all the rails were installed, we took a break for lunch and headed out to pick up a load of 120 8 foot pressure-treated pine dog-ear fence pickets.

Upon our return, we proceeded with installation of the fence boards. One of the issues with the previous fence installation was that the fence boards were all installed in contact with the ground.  The contact with ground moisture eventually led to rotting at the bottom of each fence board.  To prevent this issue, we laid a fence board on the ground to act as a 1/2 inch spacer.  We sat each fence board on this spacer prior to attaching them to the rails with 1-5/8 inch screws.

Fence boards are commonly installed side by side.  However, over time as the moisture from the chemical pressure treatment dries up, the boards shrink and small gaps develop between each fence boards.  Depending on the shrinkage, the gaps may be as large as 1/2 inch in some cases and what may have started out as a privacy fence becomes not so private.  To avoid this issue, we installed the fence boards in a board-on-board arrangement.  In a board-on-board fence board installation, fence boards are installed 3-1/2 inch apart.  The first set of fence boards form the first layer of fencing.

After the first layer of fence boards is installed, a second layer of fence boards is then installed on top of the first layer, hence the name board-on-board.  Each fence board is 5-1/2 inch wide.  When the second layer of fence boards is installed, each board is centered over the 3-1/2 inch gap between the boards in the first layer.  When centered, these fence boards overlap the two boards underneath, one to the left and one to the right.  Each overlap is 1 inch and therefore no gaps will develop unless  the top board and the bottom board both shrink over 1/2 inch, which is rather unlikely.

We were able to get all the fence boards installed by the end of the day 2.  The demolition and reconstruction of the first 40 feet of fencing is now complete.  This leaves another 60 feet of fencing on the side of the the property as a project for another weekend.

To create a more polished look, I trimmed off the dog ears which protruded over the top rail of the fence.  This creates a nice, clean top edge which is much more pleasing aesthetically. Here’s a side-by-side comparison before and after trimming the tops of the fence boards.

In our next post, we will review our progress thus far in this DIY landlord remodeling project and discuss our plans for the second phase of this DIY fence reconstruction.

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