House 9 Remodeling: Fence Replacement – The Upgrades

In my last post, I discussed the sorry state of the fence at House 9 and the reasons why professionally built fences fall apart over time.  In this post, I will outline my plans for the replacing and upgrading the fence.

The current fence lasted only 12 years due to the materials used and the method of construction.  To improve the lifespan of the replacement fence, I will be upgrading components as well as using better construction methods.  In addition to the construction improvements, I also want to make other upgrades to enhance the utility of the fence.

The current wood privacy fence measures 5 1/2 feet in height.  This fence separates the side yard of House 9 from the backyard of the house around the corner.   The height of the current fence does not offer maximum privacy since the neighbors can easily see the windows on this side of the house over the fence.  Since the fence needs to be replaced, I have decided to take the opportunity to also make some upgrades to improve the privacy.  This includes increasing the fence height to 8 feet and changing the fence board installation method to ensure maximum privacy.

Here are the upgrades which I am looking to incorporate into the new fence.

Posts

The post is the most important component of a fence.  As a DIY landlord, I am always interested in ways to minimize future repairs with upfront investment in better materials.  To ensure the new fence post will never fail again, I will be using 2.38 inch 15-gauge galvanized steel chain link fence posts instead of wooden posts.

Since we are raising the fence height to 8 feet, we will be needing posts which are 11 feet long rather than 8 feet long. This will be the one of the most costly upgrade in the project.  For comparison, the old 8 feet 4×4 pressure-treated pine posts currently retail for $7.88 at Home Depot while the 11 feet chain link corner posts are priced at $34.50.

Rail Fasteners

To fasten the wood rails to the chain link fence posts, I will utilize the following galvanized steel adapter, which creates a far stronger joint between the rails and posts than the traditional method of toenailing the rails to the posts.

 

These adapters will also be one of the most costly upgrades for the new fence.  The adapters are $5.62 each and four adapters are needed for each post.

Screws

Nails inevitably wiggle loose over time so no nails will be used in the construction of the new fence.  Screws will be used for the attachment of rails to posts as well as for the attachment of fence boards to rails.  While they cost more, screws have far greater holding power than nails.

A box of 1,000 galvanized steel 2 inch nails run about $20.  For comparison, the same number of 2 inch deck screws is about $60.

Rails

When shopping for 2×4 pressure-treated lumber at the big box home improvement stores, you may notice that the quality of the lumber is very poor.  I usually find that about 80% of the lumber is severely warped.  To avoid using warped rails, you have to shift through piles and piles of lumber to pick out the good stock.

The other option is to purchase higher grade lumber.  For example, Home Depot sells a 2 x 4 x 8 #2 Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber for $3.57, as well as a 2 x 4 x 8 #2 Prime Ground Contact Pressure-Treated Lumber for $4.67.  From my past experience, the prime grade lumber is significantly better in quality and well worth the small mark-up.  This is the grade that I will be using for the new fence.

Fence Boards

Since the new fence will be increasing to 8 feet in height, I am upgrading from 6 feet pressure-treated pine fence pickets which retail at Home Depot for $1.68 to 8 feet pressure-treated pine fence pickets which costs $2.58 each.

In addition to using taller fence pickets, I will also be installing the fence boards in a different arrangement to maximize privacy.  The current fence has the typical fence board installation where the fence boards are laid side by side.  With this type of installation, gaps will develop between the boards over time as they dry out.  The gaps defeat the purpose and the expense of building a privacy fence.

For the new fence, I will install the fence boards using a board-on-board arrangement where adjacent boards are overlapped by 1 inch.  With this amount of overlap, full privacy will be maintained even if the boards shrink over time as moisture is lost.

Demolition and Construction

Stay tuned for our next post where we will start the process of demolishing the old, professionally-built fence and replacing it with the DIY construction of a new and improved fence!

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