Build a Master Bath Using Cultured Marble Dear Pat: I want to add a second full bathroom to my house. I want to use materials that are easy to clean, so I am considering cultured marble instead of tile. Is it durable, and how do I install it? — Sissy G. Dear Sissy: Ceramic tile is the …Read more. Which Is the Best Circular Saw Blade for Various Projects Dear Pat: I plan to do a project that requires power saws, but the blades are old. I went to get new ones, but I do not know how many teeth the saw blades should have. Are the ones with more teeth better? — Abbey T. Dear Abbey: People …Read more. How to Add an Extra Room Over a Garage Dear Pat: I need some additional living space for my family and for an apartment in which my parents will live someday. I was thinking of adding a room above my two-car garage. Is this a feasible project, and how should I design it? — Jen D. …Read more. How to Use Glue and Clamps Properly Dear Pat: I am making some cabinets for my kid's playroom to save a few dollars. I plan to use glue instead of screws to assemble them. What is the best glue to use, and what types of clamps should I get? — Janet W. Dear Janet: For the nicest, …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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