Fencing is a complicated build that should not be rushed. The first thing you need to do is decide where the fence is going. If you’ve contracted with a professional fence company like Draper Fencing, we have already agreed upon a plan. The plan should take into account several factors:
- The fence should be on your property
- If you are building in drainage or utility easements a permit may be required
- The plan should work around landscaping and trees as much as possible
- To the extent possible, all posts should be set in the dirt
- The fence should stay away from large changes in elevation or contour of the yard if possible
- Avoid acute angles
Even if you have a plan that takes all these factors into account, at Draper Fencing we ALWAYS do a pre-installation walkthrough with our customers. This step ensures that we are all on the same page before any construction begins.
After you’ve decided on a plan the next step is to demolish and remove any existing fence, landscaping, or other obstacles. This part of fence building is the least liked but is a must to make sure your new fence is perfect. When demolishing an old fence the traditional route is to dig a few inches around the old fence posts and cut them off. However if there is exposed concrete or a hole must be reused you have to yank that post out of the ground, concrete and all. If your fence has a lot of highly exposed concrete the demolition is going to take 2-3x as long.
Once the fence line is clear it is time for some math. All fences are built in “panels”. Aluminum fencing comes in 6’ sections while wood fencing is usually built in 8’ sections. Of course, you must also make sure you’re not going to dig near any utilities. Once you know where to dig, the fun begins. At Draper Fencing Company we use Little Beaver augers to dig our fence post holes but a shovel and post hole diggers can do the trick. If you’re doing it the old-fashioned way your fence will take a lot longer to build. The process of digging the holes should take a few hours depending on the size of the fence. In Indiana, you MUST dig 30” deep at least. If you do not get below the frost line the freezing water will push the concrete surrounding the posts will be pushed out of the ground and ruin your fence.
The next step is setting your posts. There are a couple of important things to consider when post-setting:
- Do not fill the entire hole with concrete
- Add dirt back in over the concrete and tamp down in layers
- Ensure the post is straight and level
At Draper Fencing Company we always aim to have the posts set before lunch. Of course, it all depends on the size of the fence.
Once the posts are set the hard part is out of the way. Now you just have to assemble to follow the contour of the yard. For wood, you simply install the pickets to gradually rise and fall with the ground. Again you must ensure the pickets are level and straight or the fence can rapidly look wonky. Many companies build their fences as premade panels but we find it is better to piece the fence together at the job site. This ensures that it follows the contour and terrain precisely.
After the main installation is complete it’s important to step back and check for any minor mistakes like missing nails or pickets that are out of plumb. Now sit back and enjoy the beautiful addition to your yard.
For most residential yards the entire process can and should be completed in a single day. However, if you have a large yard or a lot of demolition the job could take up to 3-4 days. At Draper Fencing Company we have never had a residential job take more than 4 days. If you’ve decided to build your own fence, always remember to take your time and step back occasionally. When you are right up on your work it can seem straight and level but from a few feet away it becomes more clear.