If you are a homeowner or a farmer, you have more than likely toyed with the idea of installing fencing at one point or another. Whether you have bitten the bullet or are still sitting on the fence, you must ensure you weigh up the pros and cons of each fencing option before you make an informed decision. But before you get started, there are a number of factors you must familiarise yourself with. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know regarding the process of installing fencing for your home or farm.
In many ways this is the most important stage in considering the installation of new fence. Before commencing, make sure you have a good idea of where your fence will run and an idea of where you will position any strainers, corner posts, gates etc. It is worth calculating this before you place any fencing order.
The process of installing fencing also differs depending on the landscape you intend to build it on. For example, panel fencing constructed on sloping ground requires a little more thought and consideration than fencing constructed on flat ground. If you install fencing on sloping ground, your panels need to remain horizontal so you need to fill the angled gap under each individual panel by cutting a board or wall to fit directly under the fence. This can contribute towards a natural, levelled appearance when viewed alongside your home, garage, or outbuilding.
Before you get to work sourcing materials, you should also determine a suitable budget . This will differ depending on the area of land you intend to cover, the preferred materials, and the purpose of the barrier. By planning ahead, you can relax safe in the knowledge that you are not overpaying or underpaying for your fencing.
Also consider Health and Safety requirements. Make sure you have all the right tools and safety equipment such as heavy-duty gloves and goggles. Also ensure you have plans in place to manage livestock in and around the area you are planning to fence. You must also exercise caution before you start digging holes for fence posts as you might need to familiarise yourself with the presence of any underlying wires or cables running below the surface of the ground or pipework. You can attempt to locate buried cables with a cable locator, request a map of local underground wiring, or hire a professional electrician to give you peace of mind if you are unsure.
Secure your posts
Once you know what type of fence you are investing in, you have a number of other options to weigh up. For example, you might have to decide what posts you need to support your fence – wood, concrete or metal. Metal or wood might be the choices for ever-popular wire fencing with metal being the more durable, long lasting option as long as the metal has been galvanised to protect it from the elements. Concrete posts are more likely to be used for wood panel fencing.
Whichever posts you are using you will need to ensure they are adequately spaced as this can prevent your fencing from loosening or sagging. This is not an area to cut corners, as badly positioned posts can end up affecting the structural integrity and shortening the lifespan of your fencing in the long run. If you are unsure, too many are better than not enough. By making the right investment in posts, or stakes, you can safeguard the future of your fencing for years to come.
At either end of a wire fence you need to ensure you position a really solid straining post. This is important as you do not want the fence moving when you build tension in the wire. Posts can be installed with a post-knocker directly into the ground, or, if necessary, and the conditions dictate, set in special post concrete.
Struts are important as they also help support the fence. For every direction change in the fence you will require a turning post and never attempt to make a turn on a standard post. Post spacing varies according to the conditions and the type of wire used. For standard mild steel wire, posts should be no more than 11ft apart, but if a specialist contractor is installing the fencing for you using high-tensile wire, this distance could be as much as 20ft. Fences should not be strained off a gatepost as they will invariably get pulled about over time. The correct technique is to put in a strainer post about 3ft away from the gatepost and fill the gap with rails. Always use high-tensile wire if you can afford it and start by wrapping this around the first staining post.
Only use ratchet clamps and chains to tension the wire as it is the only system that gives you the control to get accurate wire tension. To get the correct tension, keep an eye on the kinks manufactured into the wire. When these have been pulled out by two-thirds the wire is at the correct tension. If it is pulled until the kinks disappear, the wire will lose its spring. You can secure the fence with barbed staples that should be properly galvanised for longevity and make sure you don’t hammer them in too far and crimp the wire. This could damage the galvanised coating on the wire and it could cause it to snap over time.