Smithers Lumber Yard Ltd.
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Tips for Putting in Your Brand New Fence

Be sure you can handle the job:

As far as building projects go, a fence isn’t overly complicated, but you do need to be comfortable with basic construction and tools. Start your fencing project with a visit to your local TIMBER MART; we’ll be happy to discuss your project, answer your questions and provide you with the latest how-to information and all the materials you need to build your fence with professional results. If you don’t think you’re comfortable going it alone, we can point you in the direction of local professionals who can do the job for you.

Consider your surroundings:

A fence should compliment and enhance your property. It should also suit your home and the neighbourhood. While a white picket fence may be your dream, it might not suit a modern home design. The last thing you want is a fence that makes your house stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Define the function:

Although fences perform many functions, the two most popular are privacy and protection. In most fence designs the two aspects that you can change to find the ideal balance of privacy and protection are height and degree of transparency. Taller fences provide a higher degree of privacy and protection, but taller fences can also create too much of a closed-in feeling. Lattice and thin pickets are decorative and attractive but provide much less privacy than closely spaced 1 x 6 inch boards. Most typical fence designs fall into the three to four or six to eight foot height categories. Many municipalities also have regulations governing height and in some cases style. It is always a good idea to check the bylaws in your area.

Plan ahead:

Locate your property line markers and stake off the fence perimeter a little bit inside of these boundaries. This will not only allow you to estimate the amount of material required, it will ensure that your fence is built on your property. In many areas permits are also required. Whether you decide to build the fence yourself or have a contractor do it for you, you should be aware of zoning ordinances before making final plans. Check for restrictions on height, visual clearance and distance allowed from the street. It is also an excellent idea to draw out your fence plan on graph paper including all dimensions and any other details like grade changes and gate location. This is a valuable resource when developing a proper cost estimate and materials list.

Make the right material choices:

The most common choices in fence materials are natural wood, pressure-treated wood and composite material. Natural woods like cedar are beautiful and easy to work with, but require more maintenance to protect them from the elements. Pressure-treated wood resists the elements better and requires less maintenance while composite materials are virtually maintenance free. Fences are made up of three basic components:

1. Posts - The vertical components anchored in the earth. Typically 4” x 4” x 8’.  Since these posts are partially buried, they should be treated to resist moisture from the ground.

2. Rails - Connect horizontally from one post to the next and provide the framing structure for the boards. Rails are typically 2” x 4” cut to appropriate lengths.

3. Boards - Connect to the top and bottom rails vertically and are the chief privacy component. Boards that are 1” x 6” are the most common but widths vary depending on the style of fence being built. Pre-cut boards and fence panel kits in standard sizes are also available from a number of suppliers.

In addition to the lumber, you will require fasteners. Nails should be galvanized to protect against the elements. Non-galvanized nails will rust. You can also buy pre-cast fence brackets that make attaching the rails to the posts much easier. Your local TIMBER MART professional will be able to recommend the proper fasteners and all of the other materials you need. 

Adding the personal touches:

Although 1” x 6” is the standard for a fence board, wider or narrower cut boards can create a dramatically different look. Boards can also be cut to create sweeping arches along the top of your fence. Adding lattice to the top creates yet another distinct accent possibility. Depending on the material used, your options for finishing will vary, but they are still numerous. Natural woods can be stained to bring out their beauty and protect against the elements. They can also be painted, but paint does not weather as well and will require more maintenance. Composite material comes in numerous styles and colours including various woodgrain appearances that never need to be refinished. 

Whatever you’re thinking for your fence project, don’t be afraid to get creative. 
TIMBER MART has the material and the expertise to help you design the ideal fence for your space.

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