Brent Poole
Home Improvements

When is a fence meant for privacy or just decoration? I guess it depends on your neighborhood and what pleases your eye. From chain-link to the stereotypical ‘white picket fence’, we all have our own vision.

What do you do if you have a deteriorating fence on a shared property line ? Answer, knock on your neighbor’s door and hope to come to some shared cost arrangement, perhaps even offer do the job yourself.

If, however, you have a property that you wish to make a little more private, or wish to build a fence to use as a wind break there are many things to consider.

• Height
• Length
• Style
• Visual appeal
• Design
• Standard panels
• Dressed with trellis

Is your fence for privacy or just decoration?
If you’re planning on installing or replacing your fence, it is a good idea to keep in mind it’s maintenance needs.

Having made the decision to install a fence in the yard, first, it is always best to check with Manitoba Hydro. They have a program ‘Call before you dig,’ whereby they will send out a person to scan below the soil line to check for hydro lines and gas lines. This is extremely important. You do not want to hit anything like this.

Having the all-clear leads to post positioning. Typically, fence posts are spaced between six and eight feet apart. The corner posts are set first. To align all of the posts in between, stretch a line from each corner post to work as your guide.

Now comes the question I get asked most often. How deep do I put the post in? That depends on the height of the fence you will be installing. The width of the post hole would be three times the width of the post, a four-inch post would have a 12-inch-wide hole. The depth would be 30 percent of the height of the post: a six-foot post would need to be two feet in the ground. The deeper, the more stability your fence will have. 

What do you use to secure the post in place? Concrete is the best material for setting fence posts. Using premixed concrete rather than dry concrete will ensure ultimate security. While concrete is sturdy, it lacks the drainage of gravel and can trap moisture. I tend to use quarter-down limestone. It is made up of really fine pieces of crushed rock with a powdery substance. The powder makes it pack really well when wet then sets hard, similar to concrete, once dry.

Having set the posts in place, tie each post together with a ‘top rail’ and a ‘bottom rail.’ Once all of these are in place, start at one end of the fence and slowly affix the fence slats. When you are doing this, use a small measure to ensure that all slats are evenly spaced.

Some fences and top caps can be added for further decoration, another bonus to this is that the top caps protect the posts further. 

If you don’t have the tools or are looking for a professional consult your contractor for advice, they are always willing to help. 

Brent Poole is the owner operator of Handy Hands Construction, which he has run with his father Jim since 1997. A carpenter by trade, Brent enjoys all types of projects. “We’re not happy until you are happy!”