Cedar Fence: Practical and Easy to Install

Compared with other do-it-yourself projects, installing a cedar fence can be labor intensive, take a lot of time and be relatively expensive. Yet, it can be one of the most rewarding if you know in advance what its challenges are, and if you have a reliable plan and good tools.

Actual installation can be done in 5 steps, but you should pay particular attention to the first one: putting together a list of tools and material you'll need. This will very likely save you from getting deep into the project, then realizing you have to stop to search for, and gather, needed tools and materials.

Step 1. Inventory tools and material you'll need

Assemble all the tools and materials you will need before you begin your installation. At the very least, find out where you can get them. If you don't have a truck to transport the larger or heavier items, such as the cedar boards, you might find it necessary to have them delivered. Tools and material you'll need include: skill saw, level, drill, wood screws, tape measure, L-supports, concrete, cedar pickets, 4 by 4 posts and 2 by 4s.

Before you begin installing the fence you will want to spend a few minutes doing some preparation. Determine the area where your fence will be built. Then, run a string line to mark fence line and locations of posts.

Step 2  Set Posts In Concrete

Dig holes for your posts at 8 foot intervals and lay the posts near the holes. This will save you the frustration of having the concrete set while you're still carrying posts to their holes. Mix only enough concrete to fill a few of your post holes at a time, because you will need to plant your posts in the concrete before it sets up. When planting the posts in the holes filled with concrete, use a level or plumb line to be sure the posts are all plumb (in true vertical position) before the concrete sets.

Step 3  Attach horizontal 2 by 4s

Attach the 2 by 4s  parallel to the posts when the concrete has hardened. The bottom 2 by 4  should be attached 4 to 6 inches above ground level. In attaching the top 2 x 4, the board should be attached in a position leaving 8 or 10 inches between the top 2 x 4 and the top of the pickets. In fastening these pickets to the 2 x 4s, leave less than the length of the 1-inch fence boards that will be attached to them. Screws or L-supports can be used to attach them.

Step 4  Attach Vertical Pickets
Attach the 1-inch board vertically to the 2 x 4s, using a level to insure that they are plumb. Leave a ¼-inch gap between of these vertical boards to allow for expansion. If there is to be a gate in the fence, frame it, using same height measurements as fence but allow at least 1/2 inch gap for the gate on each side for ease of opening the gate. Use gate hinge/latch kit and install them, using instructions that come with the kit.

Step 5  Apply Sealant

Use a protector or water sealer for a long lasting and attractive appearance. This should be done yearly or so the natural cedar appearance is not lost and the cedar does not gray. Using a deck type sprayer will make the application much easier and less time consuming.

Now that your fence is finished, you should plan to re-apply the sealant at least once each year to maintain the natural cedar look. Otherwise, the sun's UV rays will eventually turn the cedar wood gray.