Fences offer many benefits to both domestic and commercial properties, including increased security, added privacy and aesthetic appeal. Fences also come in many different materials and styles, from traditional wooden fencing, to steel mesh fencing or secure iron railings.
It’s important that fencing is installed properly, for both the safety of your property and to prevent damage to the surrounding areas. Uneven or shoddily installed fencing simply doesn’t look nice either, so it’s vital to know what you’re doing. In some cases, you may be able to install simple wooden fencing yourself, but more complicated fencing will require the work of a professional. If you’re thinking about installing a wooden fence on your property and want to know more about the installation process (and when to call in the professionals), read on for our handy guide.
Installing a wooden fence
Adding a wooden fence to your garden gives you extra privacy and it’s an effective way to separate your garden boundary from your neighbour’s. You can also make fencing an attractive feature in its own right, by adding trellises for climbing plants or runner beans.
In some cases, you may be able to install a wooden fence yourself, but experts recommend only attempting this if you have a decent amount of DIY experience. You’ll also need to gather all the relevant equipment first. You will need:
- Fence panels
- Fence posts and support
- Spirit level
- Tape measure
- Claw hammer
- Wood preserver and paintbrush
- Sledge hammer
Which type of fence do you need?
First, you’ll need to choose the type of wooden fence that best suits your garden and your requirements. Closeboard fencing is the most durable and it offers complete privacy. This type of fencing is made up of overlapping vertical timber boards and the panels tend to be much stronger and heavier. If you’re still looking for privacy but want something a little more lightweight, overlap fencing uses horizontal timber boards that aren’t quite as heavy duty.
Picket fencing is a stylish, traditional alternative if you want to separate your garden borders without blocking out any sunlight. It offers less privacy but is a great way to show off your garden while maintaining boundaries. You can also install trellis panels on their own if you’re looking for a decorative border, or add them on top of fencing panels to allow climbing plants to grow.
Planning and preparation
First, you’ll need to prep the area where you plan on installing your fence and make sure all the panels and equipment are ready to go. This will eliminate wastage and you won’t have to keep interrupting the installation process to measure or trim pieces of timber. In most cases, you can build a fence up to two metres in height without planning permission, but it’s always best to contact your local council if you’re not sure. It’s also good courtesy to inform your neighbours of your plans and check that any fencing won’t interfere with their property.
Before you start, prep the ground by clearing away any vegetation and treat the area with weed killer. The majority of fence panels and posts are already pretreated with a wood preservative, but it’s a good idea to add another layer to any sawn off ends.
Choosing your fence posts
Choosing the right posts is arguably the most important aspect, as the posts are what will keep your fence sturdy and strong. First, decide whether you want wooden or concrete posts for your fence. Concrete posts are stronger and sturdier, but they do require more work so you might want to hire a professional fence installation company if using concrete.
Wooden posts are easier to install yourself, but there is a greater risk of rot. You’ll also need to set the posts; either in concrete or using metal post supports. Metal supports tend to be quicker and easier if you don’t have much time to spare, but concrete will offer greater stability.
The length of your posts will depend on the height of your fence. As a general rule, you’ll need posts that are two feet longer than your fence if you’re securing them in concrete (e.g an 8ft post for a 6ft fence). If you’re using post spikes or bolt down post sockets then the posts should be the same height as the fence.
Mark out where you want your fence to be using a line of string, with pegs to indicate where each post will go. Make a hole for your first post, ensuring that there aren’t any cables or pipes in the way. If you’re using metal spike supports, use a sledgehammer to drive them into the ground, until the top of the socket is at ground level. Then, hammer in the post using a spirit level to make sure it’s vertical at all times.
If you’re fixing your posts in concrete, then you’ll need to dig a hole roughly three times wider than the width of your post. Check the post is straight, then nail smaller pieces of timber to hold the post in place while you pour the concrete. Premixed concrete is usually the easiest; fill the hole until the concrete is just above ground level and create a slope with a trowel to allow water to run away from the posts.
Once you’ve installed all your posts, you can begin to add the fence panels. Panels will need to be kept off the ground to prevent them from rotting; you can either leave a gap of around 100mm or add a treated gravel board at the bottom. Panels need to be screwed to the posts using two to three u-shaped clips per post. Slide the panels into position and then screw in place using stainless steel screws to prevent rusting.
Once all panels are in place, trim the top of fence posts if necessary to make sure they’re all the same height. You can then add a post cap for a neat finish and to protect the top of your posts. Pre-drill a hole through the top of the cap and into the post, then secure with a screw.
If you like, you can finish the fence with another coat of wood preservation treatment to protect it from the elements. We realise the above process is rather simplified, so if in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact a professional to install your fencing for you. If you’re experienced with DIY and up for a challenge, you may enjoy installing a fence yourself, but for practicality and safety, always call the professionals if you’re unsure.
High quality fencing panels and installation – From the experts at Ilkeston Fencing
If you’re looking for the highest quality timber fencing panels for your home in Derby, Nottingham and beyond, get in touch with the professionals at Ilkeston Fencing. We’re proud to manufacture our own timber fencing panels using locally sourced materials, so you can do your bit for the environment too.
We approach each job on an individual basis and can tailor the requirements to your needs, without compromising on quality or workmanship. We offer standard timber fencing panels in a range of heights and sizes, as well as domed timber fencing and picket fence panels. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, we’ve got that covered too, with a range of extras including trellis panels, gates and sloping fence panels.
We also offer commercial fencing and security fencing solutions, including steel mesh fencing, metal security gates, anti climb fencing and more. For more information about our fencing products or installation services, don’t hesitate to give us a call today or contact us via our website.