Tuesday, April 30, 2013

On the Fence

There comes a time when you have to tackle a maintenance project at your house.  One that simply has to be done because it is falling apart.  Well that is our fence.  We knew it was in bad shape, and it was on our list of things to repair, but when we had a storm pass through with high winds the fence jumped to the top spot on the repair list after a section was blown down.  We decided to replace that one side of the fence in an effort to save forking over a huge chunk for the entire thing, which we will do, just in phases.  

So we had the plan, we had the help, and we had the funds.  So it began.  This is Devin's best "Wilson" impression from the old TV show Home Improvement. 

You can see how worn the fence is and the post that was holding the fence up by the back fence completely broke off.  So Devin started demo on Friday evening.  It took maybe an hour to have all of the pickets and cross braces out.  That was the easy part.  Oh and if you really want to meet your neighbors, tear down the fence between your yards and you will get to know them quickly.  We did notify them in advance that we were working on this project over the weekend and we did get some help from them.

We were encouraged that the project wasn't going to be as bad as we were dreading it was.  Then came the posts that needed removing.  Ugh!  They were concreted in which was good, but the posts were being slowly eaten away by some kind of ant, perhaps of the carpenter variety.  Therefore, several of the posts completely broke off at the base making it extremely difficult to get the concrete out.  We rented a construction hammer tool from Home Depot to help with the task. 

It helped, but in the end it took all of Saturday and most of Sunday to get all of the posts and concrete out.  But we did have help...at least moral support.  Here she is checking out the new fencing materials which included metal posts and cedar pickets (so we won't have the bug issue again hopefully.) 

After we removed the concrete from the post holes, we tested the depth by placing one of our new posts in the existing holes.  From there we determined that the holes need to be deeper to prevent having to cut the metal posts.  So back to Home Depot Devin and my mom went to rent an auger.  The auger worked to get the holes deeper in some areas, but in the end, there was either more concrete deeper or it was bedrock that the auger just couldn't get through.  The final solution, cut the metal posts.  So back to Home Depot Devin and Mom went to rent a reciprocating saw fitted with metal cutting blade to cut them.  The Home Depot tool rental staff by this point knew Devin by name, true story.  

Devin measured each post in it's designated hole to make sure the posts were all the same height above the ground.  I don't have any pictures of that part as I was on baby duty.  (But here is a gratuitous picture of her while my sister was also here helping watch her.) 

By this time the sun was setting on Sunday evening and it was time to mix and pour the new concrete to set the new fence posts.  We bought the fast setting stuff that costs a little more but is totally worth it if you want to start putting up pickets in the same day.  That was our plan, little did we know that we would spend two days digging out the existing holes!  

This part I could help with, since it was after Vivienne went to bed.  Don't worry I had the video baby monitor at hand.  So with a big work light we were able to set the posts, mix and pour concrete, and level the posts all within an hour.

Monday morning was wood installation time.  Mom and Devin got the cross braces installed relatively quickly with Roxie's help of course. 

They measured the distance needed for each cross brace and then cut the treated 2x4s to size.  

Then it was picketing time, you know, when you install fence pickets, not protest something.  

You can see the string line Devin used to align the top of the pickets.  He simply installed the two end pickets at the correct height above the ground and them used a small nail in the top of the pickets to run a string from one to the other.  

The picket process was relatively quick also, this all relative to how long it took for those stinking post holes.  He had the majority of the pickets completed by the time I got home from work Monday evening.  He finished the whole shebang by 9pm.  He was one determined man, and that is the man I love.  I also love our new fence!  I snapped a few pics this morning before work.  

Now we can't wait to have new fences on the other two sides, but we might have to pay someone to dig those posts out for us on the opposite side.  The back fence will likely be next since it already has metal posts, so potentially easier.  

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