Planning Your Fence

Privacy fences define boundaries, protect children, contain pets and block wind, but the primary reason for building a fence is privacy! Board fences are made up of boards nailed to a post and rail framework in various configurations and patterns. Building a fence is well within the skill level of most do-it-yourselfers, and by building it yourself you'll save a lot of money!

Material Estimating

Post spacing is usually 8 feet on center, therefore it's easier to estimate your fencing material in 8' increments. Keep in mind that additional posts and rails may be necessary for ends, corners and gates.

Please check your local codes before purchasing fencing from Sutherlands!

Material Required per 8' Section (typical)

1x4 Slats: (3.5" wide) 28 boards
1x6 Slats: (5.5" wide) 18 boards
Rails: 3
Posts: 1
Concrete or Post Mix: 1 (60lb. bag)
7d Galvanized nails (For slats): 1x4's - 112 (1.24 lbs.)
1x6's - 72 (.8 lbs.)
16d Galv Nails (for rails):

6 (.2 lbs)

1-5/8" Exterior Screws (for slats): 1x4's - 112
1x6's - 72
3" Exterior Screws (for rails): 6

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Tools Needed
      • Post Hole Digger or Auger
      • Level
      • Circular Saw
      • Hammer
      • Drill / Screwdriver bit
      • Tape Measure
      • Mason's String
Other Important Things to Consider
  • Be sure and check with your neighbors before building your fence. They might be willing to help pay for it, or have something else in mind!
  • ALWAYS verify property lines before you install a fence. If your fence is accidentally or purposely built outside of your property line, the usual solution is for you to remove the fence and re-build it in the correct location!
  • ALWAYS have underground utilities marked before you dig. This is usually a free service provided by the utilities, AND IT'S THE LAW.
  • CHECK YOUR LOCAL CODES! Many municipal codes affect how high your fence can be (usually 6'), and where you can put it.
  • POSTS ARE IMPORTANT! Not only do straight posts give you a straight fence, they support it against wind and weather. Spend extra time making sure everything is correct before you cement your posts into the ground. Always buy the best material possible, and set them in pea gravel to allow drainage away from the post underground.
  • PLAN AHEAD FOR SLOPES AND GRADE. Decide if you want to install your fencing using the step method, or parallel method as shown below.


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Sutherlands® provides these project tips and guides as a service to our visitors. Due to possible variance in conditions, equipment, materials and individual skill levels, Sutherlands® assumes no responsibility for losses or injuries incurred during maintenance or repair of your property. Sutherlands® assumes no liability for errors or omissions in the Resources section of this website. Please read and follow any safety precautions provided by tool and equipment manufacturers, and consult a building professional in your area if you have any questions about a repair project. Always check your local codes before building, and obtain the required building permits.