Select Smaller-Sized Tools Ideal for Women to Use Dear Pat: I am a recent widow. My husband promised the kids a deck, so I have to build it myself. I am petite, so his shovels, posthole digger, etc., are hard to handle. Are there smaller tools for women? — Karen W. Dear Karen: With the proper …Read more. Install Your own Interior Louvered Window Shutters Dear Pat: I would like to have more privacy at my windows and also block neighbors' floodlights at night. I would like to use louvered shutters and mini-blinds. How should I install them and on which windows? — Keri G. Dear Keri: Many …Read more. How to Install Plastic PEX Plumbing Dear Pat: I am converting my old garage into a room for more living area. It has copper plumbing now. I need to add a wet bar and am thinking of using PEX. Is this a good idea, and how do I install it? — Leslie A. Dear Leslie: Making a garage …Read more. Soundproof Your Existing or New Home Dear Pat: We hear a lot of road noise in our house and noise from room to room from the kids. What can we do to make it more soundproof? When we build a new house soon, what soundproofing features should we include? — Michelle A. Dear Michelle:…Read more.more articles
Building a picket fence within a budget is possible
Dear Pat: My children just brought home a small stray dog, which gives me an excuse to build a decorative picket fence in front of my house.
How can I build one inexpensively myself? - Sherry W.
Dear Sherry: You should be able to build a picket fence yourself within a reasonable budget. The more decorative you make it, however, the more expensive the materials will become. Also, the pickets will have to be close together to keep a small dog in your yard.
Building codes are often strict for any front-yard construction. Check your zoning office for the requirements of maximum height, inset from the lot line and acceptable designs. In most cases, an average-size picket fence does not violate local restrictions.
If you are not best of friends with your neighbors, make sure you know exactly where your lot lines are and have them surveyed, if necessary. It is better to be safe than to tear down your new fence because it is a couple of inches on the neighbor's property. Determine the locations of underground telephone lines and TV cables before digging post holes.
Keep it simple: Almost any picket fence will be somewhat decorative and enhance the appearance of your house. Because you are on a budget, you can make it appear more decorative by selecting more ornate posts. This often looks good with a Victorian-style home. Standard straight posts are consistent with a Colonial-style.
Your first step is to lay out fence-post locations. It is important to get them lined up perfectly.
This is the most efficient use on standard 8-foot-long lumber with minimum scrap to control your materials budget. Make postholes big enough for a clearance of several inches around the posts. Dig the holes slightly deeper than the frost line and taper them out a little at the bottom.
If you are confident in your measurements, rent a gasoline-powered posthole digger and have a friend help you dig the holes quickly. If you have plenty of time, use a hand posthole digger, allowing you to build the fence from post to post to make sure it is spaced properly. Once you have a corner post and the adjacent one set in concrete or packed gravel, nail or screw the upper and lower horizontal rails in place.
Now you must decide on the spacing and width of the pickets you plan to use - this will impact the styling of your fence. Many picket fences are painted white; therefore, standard lumber is your least expensive option. For a unique fence, use cedar or redwood and stain it. These woods are almost as weather-resistant as pressure-treated lumber, but they are more expensive. Always use galvanized or stainless steel nails.
Tools and materials required: circular or handsaw, posthole digger, hammer, screwdrivers, tape measure, line, nails, screws, gravel or concrete, lumber.
Send questions to: Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
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