How to Build a Spaced Picket Fence | The Home Depot

if you're building a traditional picket fence you have two choices you can install prefabricated panels that come with the pickets already attached to the rails or you can attach the rails to post and attach the pickets individually in this video we'll show you how to build your own fence sections we'll start by building a post and rail skeleton the posts are typically set four six or eight feet apart if you're installing the fence on sloped terrain you can either attach the rails following the slope or use a step-down technique when building a fence using the step-down process check that the rails are level when attaching them between the posts wood pickets are available in cedar redwood or pressure treated pine if you plan to stain or paint the rails and pickets it's best to do it before building your fence there are also composite pickets available these are more durable and require less maintenance but they do cost a bit more there are also many ticket styles to choose from including gothic Dog Ear and French gothic in this video we'll be installing French gothic pickets traditional picket fences will keep small children and pets contained but they don't provide much privacy or security however they do help define your property line and boost your home's curb appeal which makes this type of fence a popular choice for front yards remember before you begin any fencing project you should check your local codes and ordinances and call eight one one to have any buried utilities marked good luck with your project and thanks for shopping at the home depot as with all fence projects the fence lines need to be planned out and marked start by driving stakes into the ground at opposite ends of your planned fence line tie a Mason's line around one stake and unfurl it toward the other end stake tie the line off taut and use a line level to make the necessary adjustments until the line is level mark the location of the first line post using chalk or spray-paint and measure out six feet on center from that mark for the location of the next line post most picket fences have posts every four six or eight feet for this particular fence will be setting post six feet apart on center and trimming the rails to be toe nailed into the inside edges of these posts if the fence won't require many posts dig them with a manual post hole digger if you're planning a long fence line consider renting a gas-powered auger from any Home Depot tool rental Center each post should be set into a hole twice the posts width and to a depth of one third to one half the posts length dig down an additional six inches to allow for gravel backfill this gravel will help drain moisture away from the base of the posts and help prevent wood rot for more detailed information on setting posts please watch our installing fence post video at video Home Depot comm and click on the fencing section once all the post holes have been dug you can begin setting the posts start by setting the end corner and gate posts and concrete each post will be braced into a level and plumb position before being set to maintain a straight fence line check that each post is touching the Masons line to brace the post drive a stake into the ground and attach a 2×4 to the stake using a single screw this will allow you to pivot the 2×4 to the post and connect it with screws repeat the process on an adjacent side of the post to hold it firmly in place when filling the holes it's best to stir the concrete with a piece of scrap wood to break up any air bubbles air holes can weaken the concrete when it hardens since a space picket fence won't offer much wind resistance you can set the line posts and compacted soil and gravel pour about six inches of the soil and gravel into the hole tamp it down and then pour another level and tamp it down if you're building a fence with many posts brace only three or four at a time and reuse the braces as you work your way down the line clamp a carpenter's square to the post to serve as a guide for the saw and trim the posts to the desired height most saws won't cut through a 4×4 in one pass so you'll need to reposition the square and cut the post through again on the other side the post can extend beyond the rail when installed or they can be trimmed flush with the upper rails after they're installed mark each post three inches up from the Masons line this will be the location for the bottom of the lower rail measure up from the mark for the lower rail and mark the position for the bottom of the upper rail measure the distance between the inside edges of the posts before trimming the rails to size the rails can be attached between the posts by toe nailing them in with galvanized nails or screws always use galvanized or stainless fasteners to prevent rust and staining it's best to install all the rails for the fence before you begin to attach the pickets begin by placing the first picket flush with the end post pickets should be attached to rails with a consistent spacing between each picket creating a spacer will help speed the process attach a wood block so the spacer can hang on the upper rail freeing both your hands attach a level to the spacer to check the pickets or plum when butted up against the spacer drive two two and a half inch weatherproof screws through each picket into the rail align each picket with a Mason's line to maintain level pickets if you're ready to take on this project here are the tools and materials you'll need to complete the job when properly maintained a wood fence can last for many years to help prolong the life of your fence it should be cleaned and sealed every three years before applying a protective sealant clean the fence with a product that kills mildew as well as remove stains once dry apply a high-quality protective sealant according to the manufacturer's instructions and be sure to coat all exposed surfaces

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