In my neighborhood you’ll find fences of almost every possible (wood) construction, from basic no-gap picket fences (like mine) built with the cheapest pre-assembled panels and 4×4 wood posts that builders could source to mega-buck 8′ board-on-board fences with outside-the-yard metal posts and fancy cap/floor finishing. Certainly if one had an unlimited amount of cash to spend, the latter would make a lot of sense. But how do these fences really rate in terms of value? And what features, if any, make more of a difference than others when it comes to function and longevity? I have a few ideas, but as I’ve owned exactly one fence (which is cheap and rotting, by the way), I thought it’d make more sense to ask TM readers who’ve maybe experienced a little trial and error.
That said, it seems to me that the board-on-board fences don’t seem to experience the same sagging problem that I see with picket fences. Mine is only six years old, yet the crosspieces are already bowed heavily, which means the boards themselves look staggered as hell. Some of my neighbors have simply capped theirs, adjusting the cap to hide the stagger, but that strikes me as a somewhat lame solution, at least if you’re planning to stay in the house. Does anyone happen to know of any other advantages to the caps in terms of functionality?
Footers look really nice, but won’t they pretty much rot at the same rate as the fence itself? I figure the only way to really make a difference when it comes to rotting would be to pour a concrete footer around the entire fence line, which (while cool) would be incredibly expensive. There’s got to be a better way to deal with this. Maybe clear out the undergrowth and treat the ground?
Clearly metal posts make a lot more sense. My wood posts have rotted out pretty heavily, and during heavy rain/wind combinations a couple of them have even started to lean. Still, I wonder if selecting better quality wood might make wood posts last a bit longer.
Finally, any recommendations on fence material? The only options I see here are cheap-ass-whatever-they-got-cheaply or cedar.
Thanks in advance for your ideas, and if the response warrants it, maybe I’ll follow up with some additional research and posts. I’m not in a position to do anything for myself fence-wise right now, but I’ve seen a lot of people go through the process, and I think a little sharing on this subject would do a lot of readers (including me) some good when it does come time to do it ourselves.