How To Build a Privacy Fence

This was a small little custom fence project. I had to remove some old fence panels prior to construction of the fence. I will be making a more detailed post on how to build a fence but this one deserves a place on the website. I managed to snap some decent photos along the way.

If you are a visual learner like I am, you may be able to figure out some of the details just by looking at some of these photos.

A trip to the big box store is always a fun part for me. It’s bittersweet because I love jumping right into the projects but I dislike having to load the cart and load & unload the truck. Wear a good set of gloves to avoid splinters and messed up hands.

All of the fencing materials loaded up on the cart at the big box store
All of the fencing materials loaded up on the cart at the big box store
All of the fencing materials loaded up on the cart at the big box store
All of the fencing materials loaded up on the cart at the big box store

This project required removing the ugly nasty fence panels prior to construction.

A shot of the old fence panels
A shot of the old fence panels
A shot of the old fence panels
A shot of the old fence panels

I always begin by setting my 4×4 posts. I use the traditional pressure-treated 4″x4″x8′ posts and one bag of concrete on every post.

A shot of the initial base framing for the new privacy fence
A shot of the initial base framing for the new privacy fence

I didn’t take full step-by-step photos on this particular build but, if you study the photos I will explain.

I set the posts in the ground at 2-1/2′ deep and I add concrete to the base of each post. I fill the hole halfway with water and add half a bag of concrete. I level the post with a 4′ level on both sides and get it level. Next, I add a little more water then empty the bag of concrete and let the post rest for an hour prior to working with it.

Once set, I begin adding the 2×4 rails. I add 3 per section and always try to make sure the fence is symmetrical on each side.

Shot of the corner of the fence framing
Shot of the corner of the fence framing

As mentioned previously, I didn’t take progress shots of the picket installation process. I use the thicker 6″ pickets that are commonly found at your big box stores. The trick to making things look great are running a string for the top picket line.

Picket String Line
Picket String Line Shown

I make a wooden spacer block that is approximately 4″ thick to use as the board-over-board-spacer. I make sure to level each picket prior to attachment and I NEVER use nails. I always spend a little extra money and use 3″ deck screws to attach the 2×4 rails to the posts and I use 2.5″ deck screws to attach the pickets to the rails. I add 6 screws per picket.

Level each picket
Level each picket
Corner of completed fence project with trim
Corner of completed fence project with trim

After all of the pickets are installed. I add a 1×6 and two 1×4 pieces of trim at the top to simulate a crown molding look. I also add a fresh 1×6 at the bottom to simulate a baseboard. This finished off the fence nicely and helps to keep it straight over time.

Finished Privacy Fence From The Inside
Finished Privacy Fence From The Inside

A completed custom made gate
A completed custom made gate

I make the gates by using a little metal frame kit you can find at Home Depot. It is called Adjust-a-Gate found here. You can pick up a kit for $50 and it will make a world of difference when it comes to longevity of your gate and reduction of sagging. I love these kits.

You still need to build the gate in the same way you built the fence. Use 2×4 rails and use the board on board methodology.

I will make a much longer post regarding the small steps that get you to the finished product very soon.

Gate hardware
Gate hardware

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