Author Topic: Fencing project advice?  (Read 5008 times)

Making Cents

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Fencing project advice?
« on: April 18, 2018, 03:11:59 PM »
Hi all, so I am looking to install 6 ft privacy fencing in the back yard this summer and would be grateful for anyone knowledgeable who is willing to look over and critique our choices or offer any advice on finding cheaper materials without sacrificing durability, looks, or ease of installation.

My husband has every tool known to man, including a cement mixer that will help in setting the posts. Both DH and I are big DIYers but neither of us have any experience putting up a fence and our property includes some challenging slope, including a short (2-3 foot) stone retaining wall that one side of the fence will need to traverse. So here's what we've decided so far:

1) To avoid shrinkage problems and rot in a damp and termite-prone area, we'd like aluminum posts with a good warrantee that that will last longer than we intend to be here (let's say around 20-25 years). Ideally, we don't ever want to have to replace this part.

2) For privacy and aesthetics, we do want wood for the fence boards. They should be easily replaceable as needed.

3) As novices, we don't know what we don't know, so I'd be happiest with a kit or system that has clear video instructions. I don't want to pay  for mistakes!

In trying to get a ballpark price on all this, I've called a couple of surveyors to get quotes on marking the property boundaries and we stumbled across horizontal Slipfence used with pressure-treated pine deck boards sawed in half for the 6 ft intervals between posts. (Or maybe cedar would be better value longterm?)

http://www.slipfence.com

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Slipfence-Common-1-5x-1-5x-1-5x-70-5-Actual-1-5-x-1-5-x-1-5-x-70-5-Slipfence-Horizontal-system-Black-Aluminum-t-wood-Rail/1000378363

This system seems perfect for our needs but I do have sticker shock! I estimate it would run us roughly $3k. Any thoughts on whether this type of fencing is worth the money or how I might cut the price down for this or similar?

Cromacster

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2018, 03:20:40 PM »
Depending on your length 3k doesn't seem unreasonable.  Especially if you are going for more than your typical cedar plank fence.

I built a fence out of all cedar products (4x4's, slats, 2x4's) it came out to around 1600 for 160' of fence.  The biggest expense being the 4x4's.

If you set it right, cedar posts will lost a long time.  Someday I plan to upgrade the fence to make it look a bit more modern, like the one you linked. The cedar 4x4 will be well within their life to do so.

Making Cents

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2018, 03:39:30 PM »
Thanks, Cromacster. That's helpful for comparison. My biggest issue is durability. I don't want us to have to replace this in 10 or even 15 years. I'm willing to pay more for longevity.

I just went through the quote wizard on Slipfence's website. Here's what I got.

I estimate 2 straight runs with no gates. Run 1 is about 81 ft and Run 2 is about 52 ft. They quoted me $2,824.53 for the metal posts, stringers/channels, and treated wood purchased through them. Price per linear foot:$21.24

cheddarpie

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2018, 03:43:35 PM »
Yep, that price seems very reasonable to me too. I am also looking into replacing my fence, but it's beyond my DIY abilities so I'm getting quotes from contractors. So far the range for about 225' of fence is between $10k-18k, which seems insane, but I keep hearing that's just 'what it is' in Seattle. One of my friends with a double lot just got a quote for, no joke, $44k. (Ugh. Anyone in Seattle want to build a fence for me?)

I have heard and read that cedar is a much better choice than pine or treated wood for longevity, though it is more expensive up front.

Metal posts seem like a great idea. Cedar will also last a long time, or you can do cedar post on metal pipe. I have heard differing views of what's better between cedar and cedar on pipe, so if anyone here has an opinion I'd love to hear it!

I like the look of the slip fence; my only question would be how you deal with the gaps at the bottom if you have a slope.




Making Cents

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2018, 04:21:05 PM »
Yep, that price seems very reasonable to me too. I am also looking into replacing my fence, but it's beyond my DIY abilities so I'm getting quotes from contractors. So far the range for about 225' of fence is between $10k-18k, which seems insane, but I keep hearing that's just 'what it is' in Seattle. One of my friends with a double lot just got a quote for, no joke, $44k. (Ugh. Anyone in Seattle want to build a fence for me?)

I have heard and read that cedar is a much better choice than pine or treated wood for longevity, though it is more expensive up front.

Metal posts seem like a great idea. Cedar will also last a long time, or you can do cedar post on metal pipe. I have heard differing views of what's better between cedar and cedar on pipe, so if anyone here has an opinion I'd love to hear it!

I like the look of the slip fence; my only question would be how you deal with the gaps at the bottom if you have a slope.


Wow... you have my sympathies! Fingers crossed you find somebody good.

Yeah I'm considering cedar boards with the aluminum posts, but since my garden raised beds are cedar installed 2 years ago and will need replacing definitely within another 5-10 years I'm thinking I may be willing to go with whatever treated wood (pine?) this company supplies initially and then we can reevaluate when it is time to replace them. One of the things that appeals to with this horizontal fencing is that it seems pretty easy to just swap out whatever boards need it without messing with the posts, digging, or resetting.

Gaps at the bottom aren't really a concern for us. They won't be more than 6" (the width of one board) at the bottom. Our cats roam so will find a way around the fencing anyway. (So unfortunately will the squirrels that plague my garden.) If we think they look weird, then either DH will cut the bottom boards to follow the slope or we will place rocks or plantings strategically to hide them.

It'll look something like this:

http://sierrafencetx.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Horizontal-style-fence-with-black-posts-stained.jpg

Basically we need this fence because we have a huge window in our kitchen that looks directly into our neighbor's yard. We really like these neighbors but it is super awkward when they are outside in their garden looking directly into our house. No pajama breakfasts!




« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 04:24:22 PM by Making Cents »

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 05:18:24 PM »
We learned a few year ago - skunks climb wooden fences - I saw it.
So did one of my dogs.

Sharing this info with whoever might need to know.

Scrapr

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 08:47:57 PM »
Here in Bend, Or there is Lava rock everywhere. The fence companies will sink a steel post in & set it. Then slip a wood cover over the steel post. Then the sections are wood. 2x stringers. Then 1x6 face boards. The big box stores (HD & Lowes) will even sell you the sections.

What you are't paying for is the steel stringers and the "system" upcharge. If you are DIY you can easily go to a lumber store & buy the materials. Get them delivered and go. You may want a fence company set the posts if it's rock. Otherwise you've got the mixer. Draw it up, order the material and get at it

Oh, get the utilities out to mark the underground. Don't ask me how I know this
« Last Edit: April 18, 2018, 08:58:16 PM by Scrapr »

dragoncar

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2018, 04:41:40 AM »
Subscribe!  I see so many fences falling down around here that I want to know How to do t right but also cheap (ie avoid boring into the earths core)

shelbyautumn

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2018, 01:47:48 PM »
Thanks, Cromacster. That's helpful for comparison. My biggest issue is durability. I don't want us to have to replace this in 10 or even 15 years. I'm willing to pay more for longevity.

My husband and step-dad replace our fence in 2016. The original fence was still standing from 1957 (it was a bit wobbly, but still a fence). In Colorado Springs (read: crazy weather). I would be shocked if you had to replace cedar posts within 10-15 years.

That fence was so freaking beautiful. We were doing a ton of other yard work at the time, but I think we paid around $3k for the fence materials and rentals. Our quotes were around $6k+. It was a ton of work, but it was so worth it.

We rented a post hole digger from Home Depot and my husband and step-dad dug the holes. Then they set the cedar posts in concrete and let that cure. Once it was dry and solid enough, they attached the rails. I don't think the pictures show it very well, but they did the rails in between the posts, rather than on top of the posts, that made for a flat surface to attach the pickets into. We also used screws rather than nails for the pickets. I attached a picture of the posts and rails. I tried to attach more (I was SO proud of that fence) but can't get them to upload :)

We don't live in that house anymore, but if that fence is still standing in 30 years I won't be surprised. 

We moved to Mississippi last summer and bought a house in October. We have 2 dogs and needed a fence put in ASAP so we paid someone. It was just under $4000 for 220 feet.

« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 01:49:28 PM by shelbyautumn »

fixie

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2018, 02:27:17 PM »
My place had the usual steel cyclone fence(I called it prison fencing) when I moved in.  I wanted to replace it with cedar and wire panels and also just cedar for privacy on 2 sides.  Total length ~215ft, both flat grade and on a slope:
1.  I removed and sold all the fencing parts(craigslist) except for the galvanized posts(5 foot tall) set in concrete(~$750).  Spacing was about 10ft.
2.  Next I made my own slip-style fence posts out of cedar boards(Cedar posts are crazy expensive! ).  Basically a box that slips over the steel post.  Left them at 8ft to be cut later.  The ground end was dipped in a bucket of outdoor sealer and the rest of the post was finished in same sealer.  Set them a few inches above grade to avoid rot, secured with 2 galvanized carriage bolts, washers and nuts through te steel posts.  (Since your hubby has a bunch O' tools, he might like this option)
3.  I bought 5x16 foot hog panels, basically a 4 inch grid of 1/4inch galvanized wire.  These were set on the street side and wrapped in cedar.
4.  For privacy on 2 sides I just built a fence between the posts in the normal fashion.
Total Cost was ~$1600 all DIY.
5.  I geeked out and made my own structural/decorative brackets to add even more strength where the horizontal stretchers attached to the fence posts.
Perhaps you could get a fencing company to set all the posts at the desired interval and you could do the rest?
Have fun!  Not sure if the pic will show up, but the fence has held up really well over 8 years.  Haven't done a lick of work on it.  You can see I did not follow the grade, just stair-stepped down on the slope.

fixie

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 02:52:24 PM »
Yep, that price seems very reasonable to me too. I am also looking into replacing my fence, but it's beyond my DIY abilities so I'm getting quotes from contractors. So far the range for about 225' of fence is between $10k-18k, which seems insane, but I keep hearing that's just 'what it is' in Seattle. One of my friends with a double lot just got a quote for, no joke, $44k. (Ugh. Anyone in Seattle want to build a fence for me?)

I have heard and read that cedar is a much better choice than pine or treated wood for longevity, though it is more expensive up front.

Metal posts seem like a great idea. Cedar will also last a long time, or you can do cedar post on metal pipe. I have heard differing views of what's better between cedar and cedar on pipe, so if anyone here has an opinion I'd love to hear it!

I like the look of the slip fence; my only question would be how you deal with the gaps at the bottom if you have a slope.

cheddarpie I built my fence in Seattle...  ;)  To me, anything over 10k is ridiculous.  Like I said in another post, my costs were around $1600 all DIY.  You are right, there ARE gaps at the bottom of my fence, since I stair-stepped down.  However, if you are just doing all wood, then the cedar stretchers can hug the grade, then measure up and place a parallel board...then the vertical wooden boards go up.  Rinse, repeat on down the line.
-fixie

cheddarpie

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 05:16:45 PM »
cheddarpie I built my fence in Seattle...  ;)

Are you volunteering? ;) I have too many hip surgeries and back injuries under my belt to DIY this one. So, while I'm not excited about the cost of hiring it out, I'm less excited about the idea of going through that again...


Making Cents

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2018, 09:15:12 AM »
Thanks to all for your responses... all useful info. TWH, I will watch out for those skunks! Best of luck to the Seattleites.

crimwell

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2018, 12:55:14 AM »
I've used the Master Halco brand metal fence posts on two fence sections I've built over the past 2 years
Link: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Master-Halco-7-ft-6-in-Postmaster-633663/202091158
Around here they cost about $30 each, which is about 40-50% more than regular 4x4 wooden posts, but similar to actual cedar posts

Everything else is regular wood (2x4 stringers, whatever wood pickets you want)

Obviously I can't vouch for longevity since the older fence is still only 2 years old

We used 3 stringers across for strength


crimwell

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Re: Fencing project advice?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2018, 12:57:20 AM »
Overall this project should be quite easy for experienced DIYers. Don't get a system unless you really care how it looks, don't pay anyone to do it, just do it yourself. The nice part is that it's outside, each segment basically stands alone, and no one is going to spend a lot of time close examining it, so you can get away with a lot lower quality work