How to build a timber fence
Building a timber fence can be a great way to give your property and garden some extra privacy and security with the added benefit of noise reduction at an affordable cost.
Worried about where to start and how to build a fence? Check out Speedy's step-by-step guide below, with helpful tips on how to get you started and what to do. Building your own timber fence has never been easier.
Start to transform your home today with our how to build a timber fence guide and be the envy of all your neighbours with your top DIY skills.
What tools do I need to build a fence?
- Spirit level
- Tape measure
- String line & chalk
- Post hole borer
- Circular saw
- Power drill
What materials do I need to build a fence?
- Fence posts, rails & boards
- Fence paint & brush
- Wood treatment
- End caps (optional)
What PPE safety equipment do I need to build a fence?
- Safety goggles and gloves
- Knee pads
- Steel toe-capped work boots
Before you build a new fence
To ensure you get the best finish possible for your DIY project, please read our check list below including whether you need planning permission for fences, how to prepare for your fence, and safety precautions to be carried out before starting to build a new timber fence.
1. Check with local planning authority to know if you need a permit
Before you start any work on your new fence it is vital that you contact your Local Planning Authority (LPA) for planning permission and if a permit is required. Find out more by visiting Planning Portal. Most fences will not require permits, but you need to stick to lot boundaries, and ensure your structure does not affect any neighbours or other private land.
2. Check for underground utilities
Before your start any work on your new fence we advise you to contact PlanToDig to identify an underground utility lines or cables that may prevent construction and digging plans.
3. Plan the size of your new fence
Draw an outline plan of your new fence and include accurate measurements. As a guide one third of the post’s height should be buried underground so the fence will be stable. These should be secured with cement.
- Speedy Tip! Install posts about two or two and a half metres apart, as you will need rails to attach the posts together horizontally on the top, middle and bottom. You can then install the fence boards between the fence posts by attaching them to the rails
4. Determine the material required & costs
Use your outline plan to calculate how much material you need to purchase, and equipment hire costs. This includes all of your wood. We say over-purchasing is better than under-purchasing, especially if any wood becomes damaged.
5. Safety & PPE equipment
Keep materials and sharp tools out of children’s reach, and wear the correct safety PPE equipment as listed above.
How to build a new timber fence
You should already have all of the materials and equipment you need, so are ready to start the job.
Step 1: Mark out your fence area
- Mark out your fence area using a tape measure, chalk and string for a fixed outline.
- Level out the ground use a spirit level to check this.
- Work out where the end posts and centre posts will be.
- Work from the outside in where your remaining posts need to fit in equal spacing.
Step 2: Dig the holes for the posts
Use a shovel or hire a post hole borer to dig enough holes for all the posts you will be using as a guide between 60cm and 80cm deep.
Step 3: Prevent posts from rotting
To prevent your wood posts from rotting underground, treat them with wood preservative if they are untreated. Do this before you dig them in.
Step 4: Place the posts
Use a sledgehammer to drive the first post straight into the ground hole in the centre of your marking until it is level with your required height measurement.
Step 5: Pour concrete
When your first set of posts are in place and level, pour the concrete into their bases.
Step 6: Install the intermediate posts
Place the intermediate post along the centre of the fence line following your markings, use a spirit level to check they are all aligned.
Once all the posts are in place and level pour concrete into their bases.
Step 7: Fit the horizontal rails
Start at the first post, screw your bottom horizontal rail between the first and second post just above ground level, hire a heavy duty saw if cutting your own rails to size.
Install all bottom rails, then top rails and lastly the middle rails.
- Speedy Tip! Using a power drill and screws will make it easy to assemble your fence.
Step 8: Fit vertical boards
Install each board vertically along the fence to cover the length, use the spirit level to make sure each board is straight then screw it on to the rails top, bottom and middle.
Step 9: End caps
To prevent your posts form rotting from the inside out fit end caps to prevent rainwater from seeping down the wood, alternatively fix a piece of roof felt to the end of each post or cut them at an angle so water will run downwards.
Step 10: Treat or Paint the Fence
Once you have built your fence it’s time to finish it by painting or treating to protect from extreme weather conditions. Pick a colour that complements you or your home.
Congratulations! you have now built your own new timber fence, relax and enjoy!