A well-designed backyard sanctuary and enclosure in the vein of Little House on the Prairie is no longer a far-fetched dream for millions of Americans. The versatility of wood fencing has provided Americans with an opportunity to beautify their landscape, yards and gardens and afforded the latter more functionality, security, and privacy. Numerous surveys corroborate the notion that well-maintained wood fences accentuate the aesthetic appeal and boost the property value of real estate.
Homeowners may choose from among a wide variety of wood for private residential fencing, including the following:
- Cypress hardwood
- Northern white cedar
- Douglas fir
- Red cedar
- Treated wood
Cedar and Treated Wood
While cedar is the priciest option, it is the superior wood for fencing purposes. It is the only wood that does not necessitate annual treatment since it is both durable and strong. Pressure-treated wood costs less than cedar but is equally known for its longevity when treated and installed properly. Treated wood is optimal for humidity and insect-prone environments since it prevents rot and infestation.
Choosing A Fence Design
Homeowners shopping for a wood fence should evaluate their needs as well as the compatibility of the fencing design to the style of their home and landscape. A myriad of wood fencing options is at consumers' disposal. Some of the most ubiquitous styles are as follows:
- Split-rail wood fencing is characterized by rough and weathered rails and posts.
- Estate-style fencing is the most commonly-utilized design, featuring two 2x4- one on the top rail of the fence panel and the other on the latter's bottom rail.
- Privacy wood fencing, a type of security fencing, creates a solid boundary between properties and offers protection against UV rays, wind, and noise, as well as safety.
- Spaced picket fences, which are popular and simple to assemble, establish an effective border between adjoining properties and offer an open view. They are commonly installed on side and front yards and match well with cottage-style residences.
- Basket weave fences, which are very sturdy and provide considerable privacy, are typically installed on sloping land. Homeowners may manipulate the height of the posts. Basket weave fencing looks great from both sides and provides a captivating background for plantings.
- Lattice top fences enable homeowners to capitalize on privacy while, at the same time, allowing them to enjoy the view through the fence's open design, which also serves to reduce wind intensity.
- Solid wood panel fencing, which is easy to construct, offers both privacy and a barrier. Homeowners may choose the desired height and even place a cap rail on simple wood fences to give the home the appearance of an estate.
- Shadowbox fences, which are also simple to build, permit the entry of breezes and are aesthetically-inviting from both sides.
Preparation For Installation
Consumers should engage in thorough planning prior to installing their wood fences. It is recommended that they enlist the help of an assistant to carry and move fence panels and set up the posts or even hire a contractor. It is also important that homeowners be equipped with the proper tools which include the following:
- wood preservative
- tamping rod
- wood chisel
- ready-mix concrete
- power saw
- small axe
- sand nails
- marking pencil
- measuring tape
- outdoor stain or paint
- post hole digger
- carpenter's square
- posthole auger
Homeowners should ascertain the precise location of their property line and contact their building or zoning board to find out the design or height limitations. They should also ask their utility company if there are any power, electric, or gas lines underneath their property.
The Installation Process
The first and most important step in setting up wood fences is to properly affix the fence posts. A professional installation of the fence posts will ensure a durable and attractive fence. In general, posts should be set between 6 and 8 inches apart, with one-third of their length plunged underground. For decorative reasons, homeowners may choose posts that are higher than the top portion of the fence. They should wait at least 24 hours before attaching the fence sections.
The second step involves connecting the rails or horizontal support mechanisms to the posts. Wood fencing utilizes top and bottom rails and at times middle rails as well. Finally, homeowners must install the boards or panels. Alternatively, they may purchase pre-assembled wood panels, which expedite the installation process.
Customizing Wood Fences
Consumers may add a few decorative touches to their wooden fence, thus adding to its elegance and beauty. For instance, they may use gate arbors, lattice, trellis, custom post caps, fascia boards, pergolas, and caprails to enhance the look of their property.
Painting & Staining
To preserve their wood fences and protect them from rot, homeowners should stain and seal the wood every three to five years. Fences should be painted prior to installation, and a quality sealant or outdoor paint with UV protection should be applied.
Benefits of Wood Fencing
There are numerous advantages associated with wood fences including the following
- Barrier against noise and visual intrusion
- Containment of animals to the lawn
- Exclusion of unwanted animals
- Ease of painting and staining
- Security for the home
- Contribution of warm appearance to landscape and property
- Wide selection of wood species, sizes, colors, textures, and grades permitting homeowners to find a design that matches their residence
- Enhancement of property value
Homeowners should request quotes from a number of different lumber yards and inquire as to the cost (per foot) of the materials and home delivery of the latter.