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DIY Fence Tips: How to Build a Fence That Will Last in Union County, NJ

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

Building a beautiful and sturdy fence is a big source of pride and satisfaction for a homeowner. To achieve the best outcome, here are some DIY fence tips on how to build a fence that will last in Union County, NJ. You can consult with our experts before moving forward with your DIY fence project to make sure any measurements are correct.

1. Check local building codes and HOA rules about the height, location, and style of your fence. For example, a privacy fence may be limited to 6’ high: building an 8’ fence could be a costly mistake if you are required to take it down and build an approved fence.

2. Determine your property line at the assessor’s office, and clearly mark it. Most fences are set back slightly from the property line; find out what the rules are before starting your project.

3. Obtain a permit.

4. Discuss your project with adjacent neighbors.

5. Consult utility companies to determine the exact location of underground utilities. You would be responsible for damage you cause to water, gas, or electric lines is costly; and hitting a utility line could be extremely hazardous. It’s often recommended to hand-dig fence posts that are less than 2’ from a buried utility line.

6. Choose your fencing materials. For privacy, consider vinyl or wood fencing from ActiveYards, which come in pre-assembled panels that snap securely onto posts. If your primary objective is security, then aluminum fencing from ActiveYards presents an attractive option. These panels also snap in place. Chain link fencing is an option that lacks the curb appeal of the other materials but is extremely durable and long-lasting.

7. Plan the exact location of the fence line and gates. Measure and document these on the ground using spray paint.

8. Measure the fence perimeter to determine exactly how much materials you’ll need. If you’re using pre-assembled ActiveYards panels, divide the total linear footage by the panel length to determine how many fence posts you need (two per panel) and their location.

9. Use a string line to lay out the fence perimeter. Be consistent in marking either the outer or the inner perimeter for the entire length of the fence.

10. One option is to square corners using the 3-4-5 method: measure 3’ along one fence line and mark it; then, measure 4’ along the intersecting fence line and mark it; measure between the 3’ and 4’ marks, adjusting one of the fence lines until you get a 5’ distance between the 3’ mark and the 4’ mark.

11. Mark fence post locations according to the panel sizes. Be precise, so you get an aesthetically pleasing and sturdy result.

12. Dig post holes using an auger or post hole digger. One recommendation is to dig the holes ⅓ as tall and three times the width of the post. An 8’ x 4” fence post would need a 2-½’ deep by 12” wide hole.

13. It’s suggested to pour 3-4” of gravel into the base of the post hole for drainage and tamp it down. Position the post in the center of the hole. Have a helper measure the exact distance from the next post in line, to ensure consistent spacing.

14. You could follow the rule of thumb of pouring concrete mix into the hole to about 6” below grade. Brace the posts to prevent them setting at an angle and allow the concrete to set before filling the remainder of the hole with dirt.

15. Attach the fence panels to the posts. Have a helper ensure that your panels are level.

16. Finish your fence with post caps.

17. Install your gate.


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