Fire Recovery Realities

Tips For Wooden Fences That May Surprise You

by Matthew Fields

Wooden fences are among the most beautiful additions to any home's yard. Guides to building fences are available all over on the Internet. However, the following tips aren't necessarily a step-by-step guide to building your fence. Instead, they are uncommon, but useful, tips that will help your fence look stellar and last longer.

Choosing the Best Wood

The first step in creating a great wooden fence is picking the best type of wood. Not all wood is made equal: some wood, such as particle board, will deteriorate in the elements much too quickly. The following wood types are often considered the best for fences:

  • Cedar: naturally repels insects, due to its acids and oils. It also resists rot and warp very well.
  • Cypress: lighter than cedar, but just as resistant to destruction. Also has a lighter color.
  • Yellow pine: pressure-treated pine wood is chemically protected to protect it from damage.
  • Redwood: resists almost all rot and insect damage, due to its very sturdy construction.

Among these wood types, redwood is the most expensive, while yellow pine is the cheapest. Cedar and cypress are somewhere in the middle. However, you also need to choose wood quality: clear grade wood will look the most natural and is also the most expensive.

Other wood qualities (in decreasing expense and quality) include:

  • Premium grade.
  • Select grade
  • Standard grade
  • Quality grade

Avoiding Concrete as a Post Stabilizer

Concrete has often been used as a wooden fence post stabilizer, but many experts have advised against it. Primarily because the concrete will expand and contract and potentially cause space around the post which can lead to deterioration.

Thankfully, you can use gravel to stabilize your fence posts. Gravel won't expand or contrast nearly as much as concrete, thanks to the much smaller size of the stabilizing pieces. This process is relatively simple:

  • Use a post hole digger to dig a hole about two to three times deeper than the post diameter
  • Cut a two-by-four board to twice the length of the post diameter and nail it to the bottom length of the post with 16d nails.
  • Add six inches of gravel in the bottom of the hole and use a board to pack it dense and level.
  • Put the post in the hole, level it with the sides of the hole, and use a level to make sure it sits flat against the gravel.
  • Add six inches of gravel into the hole and pack it tightly. Continue adding gravel and packing it every six inches until your hole is filled.

Deciding Between Staining and Painting

Once your fence has been installed, you need to further protect it from the elements by painting or staining it. It might seem like a relatively simple decision, but there's more to it than you'd think. Both after specific advantages and disadvantages.

Generally speaking, paint will provide your fence with stronger protection from the elements. That's because paint is thicker than stain. However, paint is much more prone to wear and tear and will chip away quickly. As a result, you may end up repainting your fence several times over the years.

Stain tends to last years longer than paint, but offers less protection. However, the convenience of less frequent stain application makes it the choice for many home owners. The decision is entirely yours and often ends up being a question of aesthetics: painted fences will look less natural than stained ones, but may create a more diverse range of styles.

If you need help implementing these tips or are having difficulty installing a wooden fence on your own, call a professional fence installation company like All Counties Fence and Supply. They can do all the hard work for you.