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Chef Free Gold Bloom
USA Fan
Area 51
Member since Dec 2019
186 posts

How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
Nothing fancy just a straight wooden fence around my back yard with 2 gates. About 90 feet down the sides and 60 feet at the back with 2 walk in gates and one 12’ double gate.

Is this something someone with no experience can do with some friends help over a couple weekends? Or do I need professional help?

I have a few quotes by they’re all between 8-10 grand. I figure overhead and labor is the vast majority of that cost. I’d rather do it myself but I don’t want it to either look terrible or have to redo it professionally anyway.

ETA:

Recommendations on type of wood to use or where to get it in the New Orleans area?

Any help or advice is appreciated.

This post was edited on 2/9 at 11:40 am


Megasaurus
Member since Dec 2017
546 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
do it yourself. there was a thread on here a few months ago with lots of info in it


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LSUEnvy
Dayton Fan
Hou via Lake Chuck
Member since May 2011
9989 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
It’s not hard. Previous thread and tips
LINK /


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East Coast Band
Alabama Fan
Member since Nov 2010
41674 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
It's not hard, but be realistic in your time expectations.
I couldn't complete 200' of fencing and gates within just a couple of weekends.
Although, I'm not a fast worker and I do all the work myself.


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oOoLsUtIgErSoOo
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Aug 2006
23313 posts
 Online 

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
I did one, but it wasn't a privacy fence. Just needed something to contain my dog. The framework would be the same. I did it myself. Here's my tips.

- get a good post hole digger.
- it's going to take some time, and it's some work.
- take your time and get your fence post all set up perfectly.

Making sure your fence post are the exact correct height, and exact space apart, will save you tons of time and headaches as you progress. It will make the rest of it a piece of cake.

- don't space your post out too far apart. I did mine too far apart. Do 8 feet max, 6 probably better. If my dog really put his mind to it, he could bust through. He hasn't tried yet though. My fence is not sturdy enough. Just make sure they are exactly spaced to whatever length apart you want them. It will save time, money and lots of work.



Chef Free Gold Bloom
USA Fan
Area 51
Member since Dec 2019
186 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
In think I’m going 6 feet apart and 3 runners instead of 2. Red cedar picketts

I just really don’t want to spend a month and all that money building it and end up hating a shoddy looking product.
This post was edited on 2/9 at 2:11 pm


gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
5188 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
Like already mentioned, it's not rocket science, but it is hard work, especially if digging the holes with a post hole digger. From your description, you are looking at 240 ft. of fence with gates and if putting in posts every 8 ft. you're looking at 30 posts. If every 6 ft. then it's 40 posts, so it may be better to rent a power post hole digger and get all the holes done in a day.

Just make sure you've got a good straight line to work off of and especially make sure you're putting up that fence on your property and not infringing on a neighbors property. Stupid crap can come about if that happens and you have a pissy neighbor.

Oh, and screw the fence boards on for a better job and be sure to use outdoor rated screws and connecting material.


Chef Free Gold Bloom
USA Fan
Area 51
Member since Dec 2019
186 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

so it may be better to rent a power post hole digger and get all the holes done in a day.


Home Depot sells gas power augers for $200. I have no problem buying one.

Like this one:

LINK
quote:

Just make sure you've got a good straight line to work off of and especially make sure you're putting up that fence on your property and not infringing on a neighbors property.


Luckily I have good neighbors on both sides and we’ll most likely be building it together and splitting everything.
This post was edited on 2/9 at 2:59 pm


oOoLsUtIgErSoOo
LSU Fan
Louisiana
Member since Aug 2006
23313 posts
 Online 

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

Home Depot sells gas power augers for $200. I have no problem buying one


I think that's the exact one I used. If I remember correctly it was about 30 post holes. It was me and another guy doing it and we had the holes dug and post cemented in after two days.

I know I already mentioned this, but I can't stress this enough. If I had to do it again, this is where I messed up. Use something to make sure you are lining up your post in a perfectly straight line, and make sure you are putting them exactly 6 feet apart.

My screw ups were I went with a rope and marked my spots before we started digging. I started using a rope when digging, but I got it caught up in the post hole digger once and pulled it up. I was still relatively straight, but not perfect and it caused issues.

My other problem was perfectly measuring the height of the post. Some were an inch or two higher than others. It's not really a huge deal, but you mentioned not wanting to regret it after you were finished, and knowing they are slightly off bothers me.

I had 8 foot runners and on a few I was like 8 ft 2 inches apart, which meant on the next board it was 7 ft 10 inches. That made work much harder because I had to cut the 8 ft board to fit the closer post and get 10ft boards and cut them to fit the 8'2" post. It was unnecessary added work, that if I took care of from the get go I would have been saved hours.

It came out plenty good enough to serve it's purpose but it's not perfect and that annoys me.


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fallguy_1978
LSU Fan
Half mile from St George
Member since Feb 2018
21062 posts
 Online 

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
I built the one on my last house. It's not terribly difficult but it sucks ass. There's a reason that labor is essentially the same cost as the materials


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LSUDUKE
LSU Fan
Lafayette
Member since Oct 2007
953 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
I bought an auger that can be operated by 1 person when I built my fence. If you want to drive to Lafayette you can borrow it.


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gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
5188 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

Luckily I have good neighbors on both sides and we’ll most likely be building it together and splitting everything.


Well, that's good news and helps defray the cost for you.

As for lining up the posts and having them evenly spaced. Run a string line and pull that booger tight. Measure off every 6 or 8 ft. for your post placement and use a piece of 6 inch PVC pipe about 4 inches tall and center it over where the hole needs to be. Then use fluorescent spray paint to spray inside that PVC where the hole needs to be dug to clearly mark the spot. Even if it rains that should remain visible until all the holes are dug.


Chef Free Gold Bloom
USA Fan
Area 51
Member since Dec 2019
186 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

use a piece of 6 inch PVC pipe about 4 inches tall and center it over where the hole needs to be. Then use fluorescent spray paint to spray inside that PVC where the hole needs to be dug


Are you a wizard?
This post was edited on 2/9 at 5:50 pm


gumbo2176
Member since May 2018
5188 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

Are you a wizard?



No, just an old dude with some common sense and a way of trying to make work easier.


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51
fightin tigers
Downtown Prairieville
Member since Mar 2008
48904 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
Run two string lines, 1' off the ground and 6' or so off the ground.

Space your post 7'8" apart. Allows for error.

Paint the stringline at the 7'8" marks.

Rent auger from home depot.

Dig all your holes. Put 4x4s in. Pour in dry concrete. Put water on top and level the 4x4. No need for tie backs to keep the poles straight.


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60
Capital Cajun
USA Fan
Over Yonder
Member since Aug 2007
5030 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
Hardest part is digging the holes and setting the posts in a straight line.


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30
LSUengr
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2005
1274 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
Lots of great tips here. Couple more:
Rent the towable hydraulic auger for 30 posts, can do all 30 in a few hours. 8" auger bit you have to be a little more precise but will use less concrete. 10" bit will give you more wiggle room but use more concrete.

Mark your post every 8' and use 16' runners. That way you only have to precise on every other hole.

String line and paint to make sure your holes are lined up.

Use 8' 4x4 posts and put them 2' in ground. Then just cut them off once your runners are in place so they are below fence picket level.

Use screws to attach runners to posts.

Set your first picket and then put one near end if it is flat whole way. Run a string from top of one picket to other so you just slide your picket to string line and fasten.

I tack pickets with finish nails in nail gun and then come back and screw once all pickets are up.


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20
akimoto
LSU Fan
baton rouge
Member since Jun 2010
488 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
I also recommend the tow behind auger from Home Depot. I dug all holes in under Two hour, about 36 holes. Just run them up and down a couple of times to get the dirt out. Also make sure to fill your holes close to when you dig. I had a couple weeks gap and the holes filled back in so I had to dig a bunch out manually and with a bunch of water to deal with.

I got my lumber from 86 Lumber on airline and they deliver for $75. They were cheaper than Home Depot and Lowes. They sent me 10 ft posts for the costs of 8 ft posts so it was easy to cut the extra off and didn't have to be too precise with the depth of setting the posts.


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convertedtiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Aug 2010
2609 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
All great info. Are you building a 6' or 8' fence? I suggest 8' if you are in doubt. If you are a perfectionist like I am, pick your own posts. From experience, the 10' posts will look better and twist less than the 8'. Pro tip, look for posts that were cut further away from the core of the tree. Many 4x4 posts are peeler posts and are likely to look like a dog leg in a year. Also, the 12' gate really needs 6x6 posts to support the weight. There is a lot of weight in a 6' wide gate and that puppy will sag with a quickness using a 4x4. Corner posts would benefit being 6x6 as well. You will end up with a much sturdier fence for just a few dollars more. Like others have said, set you end posts first. Then put a screw in the back side of the posts. Run a line from the screw and around the front of the post. Pull it tight and you will get a much more true line to set your other posts to. Buy a box beam level. They are cheap and worth their weight in gold. Get more rubber bands for the level because the one that comes with the level will last about 3 posts before snapping. Better yet, have someone hold it to the post. Get the posts about where you want it then fill with dry concrete mix. Then get the post lined up and the face leveled with the string. Mound your cement up a bit around each post to make a little hill sloping away from the post. This will help channel water away from the post. A putty knife or taping knife works well for shaping the wet cement. Pre-drill the stringers before screwing them in place. They will last longer and you will have much less splitting. If you have dogs, set your first stringer about 4-6" up from the ground. It helps to keep the pickets from warping and making wiggle room for the dog to get through. Another tip, Take a flat spade and remove about 2" of dirt between each post. Buy a few more bags of concrete than you need and pour it in the trough between the posts. Much less weed eating and much harder for critters to dig under. Both Lowes and HD offer quantity discounts on concrete over 40 bags. You will need over 40 bags for that run of fencing.

If you can afford it, red cedar pickets will always look better than treated pine. Don't worry too much about the heights of your posts. Set them high and just cut them off to match. A recip saw with a 6" blade will make short work of the posts. It is a good idea to cap or treat any cutoffs. If your neighbors want a good look in their yard as well, look up shadow box style fences. It is more pickets and a little more setup but it makes for a beautiful fence on both sides that will actually hold up much better in high winds. If you use treated pine andf just one side of pickets, butt the pickets up when you attach them. They will shrink and give you spacing between the boards when they dry. Put a level on the edge of the picket at about every 10 or so and straighten the board up. If you are really out of true, make adjustments over a couple of boards until you are back to true. The gap will be much less evident. These are just a few tricks I have picked up over way too many feet of fencing installed over the years. It's not hard at all to do. Planning and set up can make a world of difference on how it goes though.


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Jimmy2shoes
LSU Fan
The South
Member since Mar 2014
6740 posts

re: How hard is it to DIY a wooden privacy fence?
quote:

better to rent a power post hole digger and get all the holes done in a day.


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