5 Fence Building Rules Everyone Should Follow

Aug 22, 2007 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

5 5 Fence Building Rules Everyone Should Follow For those looking to pay a builder to install their fence, following the five rules below just might save you from strangling someone when everything blows up in your face.

Rule #1: Do Some Research
Know something about fence building before you bring someone in to build your fence. It’s a heckuva lot easier to spot mistakes or crappy labor when you know what to look for. So when you see that your ten foot posts are more than 8 feet above ground you’ll know you have a problem on your hands, and a serious one at that if you live somewhere that faces yearly frost lines. You’ll also have a better chance of noticing whether your fence posts aren’t evenly spaced, though even the untrained eye of a two-year-old could notice something as obvious as that.

“Daddy, that space is bigger than the other ones.”

“I know, punkin.”


“I don’t know punkin…I don’t know,” I respond in a muffled voice, burying my face in my hands in exasperation.

Rule #2: Identify the Man in Charge
When the crew arrives, find out who is in charge and make sure that guy or gal knows what they’re doing. How will you know? Ask. It’s that simple.

“Do you know what you’re doing?”


“Prove it.”

[blank stare]

If you happen to see four dudes hop out of a couple pickups looking like they’re coming straight from The Outsiders movie, get on the horn and call the man in charge. If he happens to be one of the guys struttin’ around in your yard, compliment his hair and keep your kids inside.

It’s also a good idea to know something about the company you’ll be working with. Get some references and look at some of their previous work to help you make a more informed decision.

Rule #3: Discuss The Plan
Go over the entire plan before any digging begins. Property lines and how far the fence should be set back from sidewalks, driveways or anything else should be covered when the crew arrives, not with the foreman over the phone after all the posts are set incorrectly and you’re gently recovering from a mild stroke.

Rule #4: Demand Restitution
If something isn’t right, call them on it. Even if you’re afraid the crew might slash your tires for ratting them out. And even if it means the 34 posts that were sunk have to all be ripped out and replaced with new ones. It’s your house, your fence, and your money. Don’t settle for anything less than perfect.

Rule #5: Skip the Subcontractors
In particular those who are contracted by the large home stores that most of us frequent on a regular basis. In my experience many are less dependable and provide lower quality work than what you would get if you were to work with a local builder directly. You never know who you’re going to be working with and you have no way of ensuring they’re capable of handling the job in a professional manner.

Those are my rules. And since all of the examples I provided apply to my current fence building nightmare, I can say with a high level of certainty that each of my rules are extremely valid.

If only I had known…

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