I am excited to share this guest post by James Niehaus of Perfect Cuts and Miters with all of you! He is sharing with us the simple 11 Steps to Installing Your Own White Picket Fence. Doing your own DIY projects at your home gives you a sense of accomplishment and saves you money. Thank you James for this great article!
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A white picket fence is the quintessential scene for an old-fashioned American house. It represents all the ideals associated with our country like justice, freedom, and neighborly harmony.
Designing your own white picket fence is not that hard and you don’t have to pay a huge amount of money for a carpenter or landscaper to build and install one. Since these kinds of yard fences are typically short in stature, use only one color, and have a very basic design, they can be built in no time at all and with very little effort.
If you follow the steps outlined in this how-to article, you will find that building your own white picket fence will not take you very long, drain your pocket, or drain you physically by the end of the project.
Materials Needed for Installing Your Own White Picket Fence
Before getting into the actual steps, let us first discuss what you will need in order to set up your white picket fence.
Most of the materials are pretty basic and can be found at your local hardware store and even in some supermarkets. In addition to a high-quality table saw you will need:
- tape measure
- 2X4 Redwood/Cedar Stock Lumber (pressure-treated)
- posthole digger
- screws (waterproof)
- gate with latch
11 Steps to Installing Your Own White Picket Fence
In order to calculate how much of the above materials you will need to complete your project, you are going to have to take some measurements. Some common measurements are listed below to help you with the measurement process.
For standard white picket fences, you will need enough material to cover posts that are 4-feet in height. Also, figure in white pickets that are spaced approximately 2-4 inches in between each other.
The posts will be placed eight feet apart, so after you have the perimeter measured you can easily calculate how many actual posts you will need.
2. Cut Pickets
The second step requires figuring out a design for your pickets. The usual design consists of a flat piece of pressure-treated lumber with an arrow-head shape at the top.
This design can easily be accomplished by creating a template from your design idea and then using the template you created to cut the lumber using the jigsaw setting on your table saw.
3. Corner Holes
Using the posthole digger, dig holes in the ground for the corner posts which will surround your perimeter. Each corner hole should be deep enough to drive 1/3rd of each corner post into the ground.
4. Concrete and Gravel
During step 4 you will lay the foundation for the posts with gravel and concrete.
First, fill each post hole with gravel.
Second, pour 6-inches of concrete over the gravel. Three of the six inches of concrete should protrude above the ground surface.
Lastly, let the concrete set overnight before you proceed to the next step.
5. Line Post Installation
First, run a string along the corner posts as a guide for where each line post should go. After that, dig holes for the line posts the same exact way you did for the corner posts.
Again, after you pour the gravel and concrete into each line post hole, let the concrete set overnight before proceeding to the next step.
6. Cut Rails
Now you will use your table saw to cut 2 rails from your 2X4 pieces of Redwood or Cedar Stock, pressure-treated lumber.
Insert the 2 rails you have just cut in each post.
7. Rail Installation
First, install the bottom rails. Use your screws to attach them. After you have finished with the bottom rails, set the top rails in the same fashion.
8. Picket Installation
After you have finished setting the rails, it is time to install the pickets.
Here are the steps:
Align each picket, one by one, with each post.
Screw each picket into the rail it intersects with.
Make sure each picket stands four inches apart from the other.
Keep doing the above steps with all your pickets until they fill in the gaps between posts.
9. Gate Installation
This is perhaps the most labor-intensive part of the process as it involves more steps. That being said, it is still not that hard to do and should not take that long to complete.
Here are the steps:
Cut 2 rails as wide as you want your gate to be. Be sure to subtract a half inch from the measurement when doing so.
Set each rail on the ground next to the fence. Each one should be parallel to the other.
Spread them out at the exact distance you want them to be.
Screw each picket with each rail.
Reinforce the pickets with a brace. The brace should run diagonally from the top left corner of the rail to the bottom right corner.
Screw each picket into its corresponding brace.
10. Latch Installation
Before installing the latch to the gate, you will have to screw the gate hinges on the front side and connect it to the post.
Install the latch to the back of the gate after you have installed the hinges.
11. Paint and Waterproof
After the fence is set up, it is time to paint your gate. You can seal or stain it as well, but if a white picket fence is what you are after, it makes sense to paint it white.
Once you have finished painting your fence, weatherproof it so that the paint does not get damaged the first sign of rain, snow, or wind storm.
There you have it! Full directions on how to build your own white picket fence in just 11 easy steps. Once it is all set up, don’t be surprised by gawking neighbors. A white picket fence is a sight to see and is the envy of any old-fashioned American homeowner.
Thank you James for showing us all how easy and doable it is to make our own white picket fence!
To learn more about James Niehaus and Perfect Cuts and Miters, connect with him on:
He can also be found on Google+ by searching Perfect Cuts and Miters.
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I hope you have enjoyed learning about his home DIY project! I’d love to hear about how this fence project went for you, drop me a comment sometime:)