Before thinking about the installation of a fence it is important to choose the type of fence to be built. In the short term, fences are cheaper than walls, but in the long run the maintenance costs eliminate the initial savings. If you prefer a wooden fence, you need to know that the material is subject to insect attacks and putrescence caused by atmospheric agents, so it is necessary to preserve its integrity by treating the material with chemical preservatives. Instead, using plastic or concrete components, almost maintenance-free fences are built. For the construction of a fence, no municipal permits are required, but it is advisable to check any regulations regarding maximum heights, usable materials, retreating from the borders towards roads or public spaces at the Technical Office of the Municipality.
On the market there are different types of more or less resistant wooden fences. In this case it is necessary to evaluate the use that you want to make of it, because sometimes some fences are more decorative than support. – The half-timbered fences are an example of not very resistant fences particularly suitable as a support for climbing plants. The accordion trusses made of hinged strips of soft wood or red cedar are practically unusable for real fences, since their resistance is based exclusively on the posts and currents. However, similar fences made with debarked rods nailed to stakes and sturdy currents form strong and pleasant barriers, but not ideal for protecting the home. – On the contrary, plank fences form resistant and pleasant screens. It is difficult to climb from the outside on the boards fixed vertically, they offer protection both from possible intrusions and from the intrusive glances of the neighbors. Plank fences are built by nailing thin-edged boards overlapping the horizontal currents. The tapered boards are of raw wood with a thickness ranging from 1.6 cm to 0.3 cm, while the width of the boards ranges from 10 to 15 cm. The best are in red cedar but for convenience we prefer to buy soft wood boards. – Prefabricated panel fences are very common due to the particular ease of construction, in fact a fence can be made by nailing the prefabricated panels to the posts. Almost all the panels are made up of intertwined or superimposed larch boards, inserted in frames of raw wood. Standard panels are 1.8 meters wide and have a maximum height of 1.8 meters. – The intertwined board fences are made by nailing boards with squared edges to horizontal currents, fixing them alternately on one side and on the other. The spacing depends on the tastes. For privacy the edges overlap, for decorative effects they distance themselves. – Traditional low fences are still very popular as “country house style” barriers on the front of houses where tall fences are not needed. The narrow vertical slats, with rounded or pointed tops, are fixed with a distance of 5 cm. Since building by hand is labor intensive, prefabricated panels with slatted softwoods or plastic are available to further reduce the cost. – Stake and batten fences are low fences formed by simple horizontal currents fixed to short and sturdy poles are the modern equivalent of fences. They are currently widely used. They are often painted over, although wood finished with clear varnishes or dyes is just as pleasant and lasts considerably longer. For such fences, mostly soft woods and some hard woods are used, but plastic ones are becoming more and more popular, thanks to the clean, new appearance and the fact that it is not necessary to repaint them to keep them in good condition.
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In addition to wood, there are other types of fences that are less expensive and more durable.
– Wire mesh fences for example are a purely utilitarian form of barrier made by stringing the wire mesh panels between the fence posts. The real wire mesh fences are made with 45 ° inclined square mesh nets in sturdy galvanized or plastic-coated iron wire, suspended from high-strength metal wires stretched between the posts. – The fence posts and chain are purely decorative elements to prevent trespassing from paths and paved areas on flower beds and lawns. The metal chain is stretched between short stakes driven into the ground. – Precast concrete fences offer the safety and durability of low walls and require very little maintenance. The horizontal interlocking sections are laid one above the other up to the required height. The paneling is supported by grooves made in the concrete pillars which are part of the system.
Regardless of the type of fence you want to build, it is important to securely attach the posts to the ground. The procedure for setting up the posts is valid for any type of post whether it is made of wood or iron. It is the type of fence that determines whether to install all the posts first or one at a time together with the other components. With panel fences, for example, the stake is fixed in the ground while the fence is being built, while with wire mesh fences the series of posts is completed before laying the net. The first thing to do is to plant pegs in the ground and tighten the wires to keep the line straight. For good anchoring, the posts are buried for about a quarter of their height. To remove the earth and make the excavation where the stake will stick, the special hand drill is used. To support the base of the post to facilitate drainage, the void is filled with pieces of bricks or small stones. You hold the pole vertically and stop it in that position with boards nailed to the pole and to the pegs planted in the ground, checking with the level that it is vertical. Rope tie rods are used for concrete pillars. Other rubble is inserted around the pillar, leaving the hole free for a depth of about 30 cm to be filled with concrete. The concrete is prepared with one part of cement, 2 parts of sand and 3 parts of gravel. With the trowel the concrete is poured into the hole around the post and compressed with the head of a strip. You make the concrete protrude from the ground level and leave it giving it a slight slope towards the ground. The concrete is allowed to harden for about a week before removing the struts. The paneled fences are temporarily supported with struts wedged against the pillars. The terminal posts are supported by two struts placed at right angles.