One of the best parts of owning a home is the ability to make it your own. One feature that many homeowners choose to add to their landscape is a fence. Fencing can be an excellent DIY project for the handy homeowner, however, it’s important to be aware of the common mistakes that are often made during the installation process that can impact how the fence looks and functions.
Avoid Common Fence Installation Mistakes
Installing a fence doesn’t have to be a colossal project that causes extreme stress. However, it’s important to understand your own strengths and weaknesses as well as the common mistakes that are made during the installation process.
Don’t Fail To Have A Fence Installation Plan
Before buying fencing materials and tools it’s important to have a plan in place. One of the most important steps that needs to be taken is to get to know your property.
First, every property owner needs to know where their property lines are. This can be accomplished by visiting the local county assessor’s office to obtain a copy of the map showing your property lines. Or, a professional surveyor to mark the property edges.
Local zoning laws should be reviewed – fences aren’t always allowed in all areas and many local counties have restrictions on fence height and boundary requirements. Homeowners who live in an HOA should also contact their HOA regarding any rules about fencing. Many HOA’s have regulations that indicate where a fence can be installed and what type of fencing can be used.
Walking the property is a vital step in the planning process. Potential obstacles like rocks and trees should be assessed. Slopes in the ground should be reviewed as this can impact how the fence is put in place.
Always Call Before You Dig
Whenever you dig you run the risk of hitting a pipe or utility line. Always call the utility companies before you dig!
Measure, Measure, Measure
Once you’ve decided on the type of fencing you’d like to install you need to determine the length of the sections that it will come in. Then, use stakes and string to create an outline of where the fence will go. Be sure to account for post holes. Measure the entire length and account for any slopes that occur. If modifications need to be made to a section, it’s best to know this in advance.
Decide Where To Put The Fence Gates
Gates can’t be installed anywhere. The area around the gate should allow for the gate to open and close without being hindered.
Gates should also be placed in a level area so that there isn’t too much space beneath them when closed and so that the bottom doesn’t scrape the ground while in motion. This could damage the gate hardware.
Dig Post Holes Deep Enough
Vinyl fencing needs to be set deep into the ground to prevent leaning later on. Fence posts should be set at least two feet into the ground and in some areas, where the soil may shift easily, three feet deep. The hole should be about 10’’ in diameter.
While digging a hole is an excellent workout, it’s typically easier to rent an auger to do the work for you.
Be Sure To Set The Vinyl Posts Properly
In addition to making sure that the posts are level, it’s important to use the right material to set the post. Once a string line has been run and braces put in place, use a few inches of gravel at the base and then fill with cement.
A DIY Fence Installation Is Possible – But Not Alone!
The biggest mistake that most DIYers make is thinking they can install their new fence alone. This type of DIY job is best done by at least two people. Enlist a friend to help and you’ll get the job done in no time at all!