Purchasing the supplies
As I mentioned in the last post, we made the decision to rebuild our back fence with help from our friend Dan.
The original fence had rotten posts and no longer had any support to keep it upright except the trees along the neighbor’s yard.
So we borrowed my parents’ minivan and went shopping for supplies. Nate had wisely made a round of calls to local vendors checking on supply and cost so we had a pretty good idea of what we were going to get.
We want this fence to last a long, long time so we purchased steel posts instead of wood.
After researching our options, we went with 7’6″ Master Halco PostMaster U-shaped Steel posts.
The benefits of using the Postmasters over standard posts include:
- They won’t rot and are very strong
- The have pre-fabricated holes so you don’t need to use any additional fasteners or brackets to attach rails to them
- Their design helps avoid moisture collection in the post
- They are coated with galvanized zinc that prevents rust
All in all, we paid a little bit more for the name brand Postmasters, but we think it will be well worth it considering their benefits. We are also using screws instead of nails on the install so later we can easily replace any piece of the fence that becomes damaged.
Along with the Postmasters, we bought all new wood rails and 20 boards plus 24 5o lb bags of concrete. Our hope was to reuse as many of the old fence boards as possible so we only bought a few extra to compensate until we tore the fence down and had an exact number.
Back at home
On Day 1 of the install, Dan and Nate took down the old fence panels. It always amazes me how quickly demo goes. In less than an hour, the whole fence was removed.
As the panels came off, Nate went through all the used lumber and threw them in either a reuse and toss pile. Then he began to remove all the old rusty nails from the wood.
We ended up needing more panels that we originally thought, but we will still be able to use a lot of the old panels for other outdoor projects.
Next, Nate and Dan measured out each 8′ panel using a string line and a level so they could dig the new post holes at the right increments. Of course along the way they found a bunch of impediments like rotten lumber, old patches of concrete and roots that had to be removed too.
When all the holes were finally dug, the guys remeasured and re-leveled before moving on to the concrete. They certainly didn’t want to get the placement wrong!
Then Nate kept each post level as Dan mixed the concrete into each hole until it was secure.
For the rest of the day, we kept each post well watered while the concrete cured. The water allows the concrete to strengthen while also preventing moisture from evaporating and reducing the chance of cracks.
We decided to let the concrete set a full 48 hours and focused on tree pruning on Day 2, but that’s a story for tomorrow. Stay tuned…