Author Topic: DIY Fence Installation?  (Read 776 times)

Knapptyme

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DIY Fence Installation?
« on: February 21, 2019, 08:52:43 PM »
Ok, I'm on the fence about this DIY :) But really. I got a quote for 100 ft. of wood privacy fence for one of my rental properties. (For those that have done something like it, terrain is flat and relatively no trees. There is a pesky, old, and broken chain link fence that belongs to backyard neighbor. That may get removed.)

The quote was for $1400 all in, but I would have to stain/paint a few months after installation. I looked up materials on the low estimate from Lowes, even though there may be a better price out there. Considering some new tools and all necessary wood, it comes to about $950 before I try shaving off some costs with coupons or other retailers. It looks like I could save $450, but at the cost of a lot of time if the videos I watched are any indication. It doesn't seem like carpentry skills that I don't already have. And it doesn't totally seem like a one person job even if the other person is just holding boards.

Even if I only spend 20 total hours on it, that's only $22.50/hour. I can earn much higher per hour than that elsewhere, but not necessarily in that guaranteed quantity. If it takes me longer, it just sucks the value of my time away.

I am prone to DIY with just about anything, but I still want to be smart about it. I'm leaning to hiring it out. Thoughts? Facepunches?

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2019, 07:23:45 AM »
I built a similar length of fence about 10 years ago.  It really wasn't that bad as a 1-person job, really. Keep in mind that the $22/ hour you save is after taxes, so the comparable pay rate is a fair bit higher. Also DIYing it will mean you get it precisely the way you want it, with no shortcuts. In my case, that meant the fence posts were longer than standard, sunk deeper then normal, and embedded in concrete rather than just into the soil. I was, after all, living in hurricane country.

Knapptyme

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2019, 05:56:23 PM »
Agreed on the custom build preferences and after tax wages. (Although, I am in the lowest tax bracket because of kids and mustachian lifestyle choices.) The fence company quoted me each post would have a minimum of 80 lbs of concrete for each post. No premade panels. And, they guarantee the work AND materials for two years. Good to know it's doable for 1-person. Do you remember how long it took you @zolotiyeruki ? Thanks.

IsThisAGoodUsername

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2019, 06:32:47 PM »
What's the value to you of how much enjoyment you'll receive from doing it yourself vs. the enjoyment of watching somebody else do it so you don't have to? (Different people may answer this question differently.)

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2019, 10:21:37 AM »
Why are you putting a privacy fence on a rental?
Wood fences have higher maintenance costs than chain link.  And are more prone to damage.
Have you thought of vinyl?

If I were to do it, I'd wait until summer, rent a powered post hole digger and hire a college student or two to dig the holes (while I supervise and help).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2019, 12:28:26 PM »
...Good to know it's doable for 1-person. Do you remember how long it took you @zolotiyeruki ? Thanks.
I'm afraid I don't remember.  I had a lot fewer kids back then.  I *did* rent a post-hole digger for the holes.

What's the value to you of how much enjoyment you'll receive from doing it yourself vs. the enjoyment of watching somebody else do it so you don't have to?
That's a very good point.  I get a lot of enjoyment out of doing a job myself (and saving money).  I have a sister who gets zero fulfillment out of that kind of thing, so she prefers to hire things out.  She's much more of a people person than I am :)

Knapptyme

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2019, 02:55:48 PM »
Why are you putting a privacy fence on a rental?
Wood fences have higher maintenance costs than chain link.  And are more prone to damage.
Have you thought of vinyl?

If I were to do it, I'd wait until summer, rent a powered post hole digger and hire a college student or two to dig the holes (while I supervise and help).

Fair questions. The current chain link fence I mentioned above is broken beyond repair, plus it has other holes from long ago, plus it's not mine to begin with. Thus, it's an eyesore. In addition to that, my tenant-to-be has a dog. The preference is to keep that dog in the yard as much as possible. The current fence situation doesn't cut it. And as a rental property, I can write the cost of it off come tax time. I appreciate the responses and am sure if it was actually going in my yard, I would do it myself.

My purpose was to see if anyone else has done something like it, and if the material cost and time estimates seemed reasonable.

I did not consider vinyl. Is it less expensive?

(Note: summer is sub-optimal time to do any work outside in Florida if one can help it.)

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2019, 05:11:42 PM »

AMandM

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2019, 07:13:13 PM »
My husband and a 14yo daughter installed a privacy fence several years ago. It wasn't quite as long as yours and iirc it took a weekend. They borrowed a post hole digger from a neighbor.

J Boogie

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2019, 09:56:40 AM »
Why are you putting a privacy fence on a rental?
Wood fences have higher maintenance costs than chain link.  And are more prone to damage.
Have you thought of vinyl?

If I were to do it, I'd wait until summer, rent a powered post hole digger and hire a college student or two to dig the holes (while I supervise and help).
The preference is to keep that dog in the yard as much as possible. The current fence situation doesn't cut it. And as a rental property, I can write the cost of it off come tax time.

I don't think you can write off the costs of upgrades - I was under the impression you can write off expenses and replacing things that fail, like a furnace or a water heater or a roof. Perhaps a fence that has degraded over time might qualify as well though.

Anyways, it sounds like you might have some metal posts already cemented into the ground - if I were you, I might just trim these out with 1 by material to give the illusion of a 4x4 or 6x6 wood post. April Wilkerson has a great video series where she does exactly this. Unless they're in really bad shape or totally out of plumb, it'd be a shame to dig up perfectly good posts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3BIyCFtYPM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o76905J0Clo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dKwg6y0Z8I

HipGnosis

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2019, 09:34:27 AM »

The current chain link fence I mentioned above is broken beyond repair, plus it has other holes from long ago, plus it's not mine to begin with. Thus, it's an eyesore.
In addition to that, my tenant-to-be has a dog. The preference is to keep that dog in the yard as much as possible. The current fence situation doesn't cut it.
And as a rental property, I can write the cost of it off come tax time. I appreciate the responses and am sure if it was actually going in my yard, I would do it myself.

You should talk to the owner of the chain link fence.  They might pay you to remove it.  Could even chip in on the new fence.

I'm a dog lover, but I wince at the thought of allowing a dog that needs more than a standard chain link fence.  Bless your heart if you do, but get extra security deposit.

andy85

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 08:24:21 AM »
I built maybe a 50ft fence a year or two ago for my parents. Don't recall the price as they bought the materials, but it's not gonna be too bad if you just using the standard 4x4 posts, 2x4s in between the posts, and cheap 1x6 fence slats. It'll be a 2 or 3 day project. Day 1 will be demo and post setting. After you get the 2x4 braces connecting the posts, it is just the repetitive task of attaching the slats. It really isnt that bad as a 1 person job. Buy some clamps to make attaching those 2x4s much easier. I've always enjoyed those types of DIY projects (within a reasonable scale)...so I never counted my labor dollars, i mean wtf else am I going to be doing that weekend...just sitting around on the couch watching somebody build my fence? lol

CptCool

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2019, 01:21:37 PM »

I don't think you can write off the costs of upgrades - I was under the impression you can write off expenses and replacing things that fail, like a furnace or a water heater or a roof. Perhaps a fence that has degraded over time might qualify as well though.

Safe harbor rule allows you to expense anything under $2,500. YMMV on state taxes, but that's the federal rule. Note that you need to elect it every year you file taxes - this is a good article that summarizes it in a more consumable format then reading the tax code: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/small-taxpayer-safe-harbor-for-repairs-improvements.html

J Boogie

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Re: DIY Fence Installation?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2019, 02:34:42 PM »

I don't think you can write off the costs of upgrades - I was under the impression you can write off expenses and replacing things that fail, like a furnace or a water heater or a roof. Perhaps a fence that has degraded over time might qualify as well though.

Safe harbor rule allows you to expense anything under $2,500. YMMV on state taxes, but that's the federal rule. Note that you need to elect it every year you file taxes - this is a good article that summarizes it in a more consumable format then reading the tax code: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/small-taxpayer-safe-harbor-for-repairs-improvements.html

Nice, thanks for the tip.