my fence project, or why fence guys charge a lot.

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by David Gretzmier, Dec 24, 2011.

  1. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    mentioned that we had been buiding a fence for the front of my shop on another thread, and as I am in the holiday mood I'd thought I'd share some thoughts and photos. I also will try to update my shop thread with a photo or two as we continue to improve and finish that as well.

    This first photo shows us setting the 8"x8"x10' rough cut posts we got from the sawmill. this is white oak, which tends to be fairly weather resistant, and we coated the bottom 2 feet that went underground in cement with a paintable waterproofing tar that is used on foundations. we used a 13 horse post hole digger with a 12 inch auger bit. even though we used string lines and tried very hard to set a straight line, we still ended up being off a couple of inches. just hitting a root or rock can throw the bit off. a 16 or 20 inch bit would have allowed us to have a comletely straight line and although that would have doubled the number of bags of concrete.

    costs- we set 13 posts that cost 27 bucks each ( 50 cents a board foot )=351
    rental of post hole digger and bit 138 bucks
    26, 80 pound bags of quickcrete, at 3.50 each 91 bucks
    labor to clear tree limbs out of way, dig holes, deliver all wood ( not just posts) and set/brace posts- 260
    total so far=$840

  2. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    we then began setting stringers. you'll also noticed we set braces in 2 directions on every post, and kept them there for about 4 days, or for as long as we could as we built the fence. we used our pickets for braces. fence posts have been cut off tops and leveled at 96" above ground.

    we used 4, 2x6x10's for stringers between each post. the posts were set 10 foot 3 inches on center apart. when you get rough cut lumber direct from the sawmaill, you can specify thickness, I specified all dimensions in "full" meaning these 2x6's were actually 2x6. again this is white oak. we cut 2 inch long hanging brackets from 1/8" thick 2x2 angle iron and drilled 3/16" holes, 2 for post and 1 for stringer. we used the left over 1 5/8" green screws from my metal roof last year, I had about 500 or so left from the 5000 I bought. about 10 cents each, I think. I may have to check my notes.

    each post opening ( or space between posts ) gets 4 stringers and 16 brackets, 48 screws. 11 openings, so -

    44 2x6x10's - 50 cents a board foot- 5 bucks a board- $220
    angle iron, 2 20 foot sticks for 25 bucks each- $50
    screws- 48x11- about 500- $50.00
    14" abrasive blades for chop saw ( for the record, don't get the crappy harbor freight 5 pack of blades for 20 bucks. get 1 dewalt high performance abrasive blade for 9. learned that the hard way )- $29
    total for stringers- $349
    total so far- $1189

    photo (3).JPG
  3. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    next photo shows stringers done and caps, and to give you a feel for the height of the fortress like fence ( hey, remember, anything worth doing is worth overdoing), I also have included Jerry in the picture. Jerry, like a few temp guys I have employed, has done a little of everything. framing, fencing, decking, electrical work, heating, cooling. he has been an awesome employee, so If I can afford the labor and materials, we work.

    Jerry is also about 5'10, and it gives you a feel for how tall this fence is. with the 2x10 cap you see here, the height from the ground actually ranges from 99-103, depending on the lay of the land. we ran a string from the top of the first post to last, so the cap would follow a natural line. This is where is comes in handy to get wood from the sawmill. a 2" thick cap looks good, and they came about 10 foot 3" to 10 foot 6" long. we used every inch. so putting the posts 10 foot 3" on center worked out perfectly with the lumber. we used 3 1/2" hot dipped galvanized air nails to atatch the cap to the posts.

    11 2x10x10 - 8.33 each, $91.63
    box of galvanized framing nails, I had, but we used 10 bucks worth.
    labor to hang stringers ( forgot in last post) and caps, 2 guys for 2 days-and yes, it takes that long. $320
    add 421.63 to previous total-, new total is now= $1610.63

    photo (2).JPG
  4. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    last photo from yesterday shows 3 panels done, and we currently have 6 panels done as of today. It takes a day to do 3 panels. but it is christmas time and the 2 guys on this project seem to be stretching it out a bit. every board has to be cut and squared off, plus we do trims boards under cap on each side. the front has boards butted up against posts, the back fills in the blanks. the spacing between boards is about 3 1/2 inches. so wind can go through, staight on you get 100% privacy but at angled viewing you get about 85% privacy. each opening uses 27 boards. if I had to do this again I would use 12 foot 8x8 posts, as the fence could have been 10 foot tall for about the same cost and labor. I asked for 8 foot long pickets, full 1x6, the sawmill sold me 10 footers for the 8 foot price when I got there to pick up the order. but the 8x8's for the posts were already cut.

    On ebay, I bought 3600 stainless steel 3 inch twisty nails for my coil framing nailer. be aware that 3" of oak is very hard and you need a very good gun to sink the nails. the 3 1/2" nails from my ridged stick nailer needed a few taps from the framing nailer here and there. the bostitch coil nailer can do up to a 4 inch nail and is designed for those LVL glue lam beams. so it had no problems. I bought 220 pickets, I will run out and have to buy more- but the math below assumes I bought enough.

    you also may have seen the 4x8x16 inch blocks in the previous photo. to prevent sag in the stringers, we sunk the blocks in the middle of the openings, and ran a 2x10 wood block from the concrete to the bottom stringer. with all the pickets and bottom and top trim nailed in, the panel feels incredibly stong.

    nails, box- $85
    27 1x6x10's per opening, x11-( they only charged me for 8 footers or 2 bucks each ) $594
    circular saw blade- 10 bucks
    labor- estimated- 4 days x 2 guys. $640
    total for pickets and trim boards, -$1329
    grand total without stain and gate- $2939.63

    so your thought is wow, this fence is expensive. and it is. 110 linear feet and we are at 3 grand, and it aill probably get close to 4 grand once we stain and gate it. but it allows us to park our trucks in front of the gateto open it now, and it really gets rid of a bent and ugly chain link fence on the front at least for now. once stained red, it will blend with the barn and make the property look very nice. It also shields the box trucks and employee cars, and makes the place look nice. we also went to a 20 foot wide opeing from a 16. next photos and posts will be the gates, probably built by next week.

    photo (4).JPG
  5. cmturner

    cmturner LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    Wow, when you build, you flat out build for life. I hope that you don't have a bad curve in front of your place, if anyone ever hits that fence they will know it for sure. Its possible that they wouldn't even make it through the fence.

    Is the gate going to be built similar? Whats the plan for sag on the gate?
  6. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,433

    Wow you trying to build a fence to withstand a EF5 toronado? LOL

    I would have done 8x8's as the end posts and 6x6 for the running posts. If you wanted to make it stronger, design it with more corner posts (corners make fences stronger with long runs). You can extend them by cutting "L" shapes into them and caraige bolt them together, save the saw dust to make your own wood fill so the cracks to blend the two together.

    If you planing on the gates swinging away, the posts on the end that span the gate, I would have sunk them deeper and given them a bigger concrete footing and making them a little taller to distrubute the wieght of the gate. To fix sagging, run steel cross members behind the gate forming a "X".

    But at 20ft span you might want to look into a steel frame rolling gate, like the chainlink gate but no chainlink, fasten you dogear or pickets to the frame. The steel frame will handle the wieght of wood better and stop sagging. Also this will be flush to the opening as well.

    Edit: also if you want to make it taller, you can fasten a latice type of topper to the top of your fence, It'll kind of split it up but still allow air movenment instead of acting like a giant sail.
  7. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,495

    Looks like the sound barriers they build along the interstate...that thing is freakin huge. You don't exactly cut corners do you?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011
  8. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,735

    Now that's a fence. Great job
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. Kingfish

    Kingfish LawnSite Member
    Messages: 215

  10. OP
    David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    thanks for the comments guys.

    I was going to use 12x12's for the corners and gate. but the biggest bit for the 138 buck digger was 12". I would have had to rent a skid steer at 400 plus per day, plus delivery and pickup, to dig bigger holes. or pay a guy all day to dig 2-3. I may do that next time when this fence wears out. but going bigger, there is also the issue of weight. when using white oak ( all this sawmill cuts is pine and oak logs), it weighs about 80 pounds per cubic foot. the 10 foot 8x8's are 350 pounds. it was all my guys could do to carry one beween two guys. a 12x12x10 weighs about 800 pounds. I am not sure 4 guys with a sling could move those. we would need a flatbed and a off road forklift to play with them.

    Cedar weighs about 1/2, probably would have lasted longer, but man, the price. a 8x8x10 cedar post is 250 bucks each. ten times what I paid. cedar 12x12x10 is 460 bucks each. I called a local logger to see if he could find some cedar trees for a fence, and he told me to get on a 2 year waiting list. any cedar tree bigger than 10" in diam. is already spoken for for the next 2 years.

    the gate will be 2 10 foot wide swingers. 2x10picture frame, 7 feet tall. in the middle of the picture frame running the 10 foot length will be a 2x6, and all wood unions will have 1/8 steel L corner ot "t" brackets. we will probably cut those ourselves. running top to bottom every 3 inches inside the picture frame will have 1/2 galvanized electrical conduit pipe.

    I will weld a 1 1/4" square frame with corner braces and screw it to the back side of each gate to keep it square and support hinge. may bump that to 2" square once I get a feel for the weight.

    the posts for the gate actually had deeper holes and the longer 8x8's. we used 3 bags of concrete for those. but maybe not enough. the fact that thre gate is cut in and not along the length of the fence also means it may sag. but I hope not.

    I got some hinge brackets from a fence company. they are crazy looking strong, require a 1 1/2" round tubing to act as pins. this will be welded to the frame mentioned above. each hinge, I will use 5/8" bolts, 9 inches long, drilled through the post. so each gate gets 4 of those.

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