I’m going to show you in some very short, basic steps how to build a picket fence (my very fast and easy way, of course…other ways do exist).
This method will result in the posts being visible between sections of fencing. This looks great when you add some character to the top of the post with a finial.
Step One – You Can Dig This
Install 4×4 posts made out of pressure treated pine.
- Use posthole diggers or a power auger to create holes about 24″ deep, four feet apart.
- Determine how tall you want your fence (usually between 24″ and 42″) and add just over two feet to that. (you’ll go back and cut the tops off level later)
- Set the posts, plumb and square to the line of your fence, and set the base in concrete.
Step 2 – Hanging Out
Once the posts are all set and the concrete has dried. Run A level string line along all your posts at a level one inch below the post height you want. Use a “line level”, a water level, or a regular level and a helper to make sure your string line is level.
Mark each post at the height of the string. That is the height of the TOP of a standard 2×4 joist hanger, available from your local building supply store. Since the fence will be completely painted white, I don’t worry about that little bit of metal that will still be showing. Using the hangers makes the job much faster.
Step 3 – On The Level, but board.
Run pressure treated 2×4 boards from hanger to hanger, between the posts. If you did your string line right, there is never a need to bring out the level again. And the hangers will give you some lattitude with your cuts. A little short is okay as long as it is well seated in the joist hanger.
Measure down from the top hanger and set all of your bottom hangers at the same distance down. Approximately 6″ above the ground to the bottom of the hanger.
Step 4 – Slat Happy
Cut slats out of pressure treated 1×4’s. I would place a board directly against each post (to cover much of the metal hanger), then measure between them and figure out even spacing. Don’t worry too much. If you have to “rip” a board because your spacing gets out of whack, it’s not a big deal. Life goes on.
You can either screw these on or nail them with a nail gun. You really can’t nail them on with a hammer very easily because of the bouncing and shaking around. If you decide to use screws you have to decide if you want to go from the front or the back.
If you have a helper, you can screw it from the back side and not see any fastners from the front, but it takes two people because the board has to be pressed firmly in place.
The easy way… air nailer. Bam. Bam. Bam… about that fast. It’s over in no time.
Remember, you can get totally creative with the top of the pickets! And you can top-off each of the post with a pre-made decorative finial type thingy-majig from Home Depot, Lowes, etc. They are made out of pressure treated lumber and have a lag bolt embedded. You just drill a hole in the top of the post and screw them down. Finishes off the post nicely.
Step Cinco – I’m Drawing a Blank
Pintura la valla blanco.