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Tips and Tricks for Fence Building

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


Tips & Tricks High Tensile Wire

“Sometimes I see well-built fences, and sometimes I look at new installations and think, ‘that isn’t how I would build it and hope they didn’t pay a lot for it.’” This is what Steven Sarson sees when he drives through rural America. “Sometimes it is very satisfying, and sometimes it makes me cringe,” explains the Bekaert fence pro and regional sales manager, who has worked in the fencing industry for more than two decades.

Sarson, in addition to his sales and customer support role, also spends his workweeks answering customer questions and hosting fencing workshops and seminars for fencing contractors and livestock producers. He shares a few tried and true tips he’s picked up over the years.

What Makes a Good Fence? 

It is important to know the purpose of your fence, including what animals you plan to keep in or exclude. Decide the type of fence you need. Is it a tall fence or short? Should it be barbed wire, fixed knot, or field fence? What will the stocking densities be? “Depending on stocking densities, a fence is either a physical barrier or a boundary,” explains Sarson. This all depends on what you are trying to do.

Tips And Tricks For Fence Building

Purpose-built Fence Materials

Good fences are usually made with quality materials and offers a long-term investment. Sarson would recommend high tensile wire for any fence installation.

High tensile wire is 30% stronger than low carbon options. It is tough and durable. The wire also tends to handle extreme temperatures, which means wire is less likely to buckle or sag. Having a quality fence provides benefits in the long run, such as longevity and low maintenance.

Building a fence doesn’t have to be difficult. Planning is the first step to installing a good fence. Finding a contractor is a great idea. Bekaert has a contractor locator that can find one in your area. Once you have a contractor, you can discuss the project and get ready for the installation.

There is also the product finder, which can help you pick out quality materials for your project.

Build a Strong Brace

The brace, Sarson says, “is the heart and soul of the fence.” He explains, if a brace is built incorrectly, it doesn’t matter the quality of materials or skill applied to installing the rest of the fence. If the brace fails, the fence fails. A well-built brace can absorb 6,000-pounds of pressure.

What makes a good brace? 

Round posts:

When using wood posts, DO NOT use square posts. Round posts, with all the growth rings in-tact, have the strength of the tree. “Those growth rings that make that tree stand strong, will do the same for the fence. A round post is basically a full tree treated,” Sarson says.

Square posts are susceptible to rot and are not as strong because they are either made of heartwood, which will not absorb treatment, or include only partial growth rings. Depending on terrain, availability and preference welded pipe braces are also a viable option.

Use brace pins instead of notching the wood

Brace pins

Use brace pins instead of notching the wood to hold the brace together.

High-tensile wire

Tensile strength increases longevity of a fence and reduces cost-per-foot. 

The greater the tensile strength, the smaller gauge, lighter weight and more flexible the steel, which reduces cost per roll, risk of sag and number of fence posts needed to complete the project.

Line post tips

  • 4-to-1: The best fences use one, round wood post to every four T-posts.
  • Galvanized T-Posts: Don’t scrimp when it comes to accessories like brace pins and T-posts. After investing the time to construct a good brace, it only makes sense to invest in accessories that will hold up if the brace and quality wire.
  • Spacing: The distance between posts can vary depending on stocking density, terrain and type of fence. However, every dip and rise needs a post.
  • Fasten high spots first: Fastening high spots first, makes it easier to achieve adequate tension.
  • Never hard-staple: Leave enough room between the staple and the post so that the wire can move freely. This allows the wire to flex if an animal pushes against the fence and reduces the risk of sag and applies pressure to the brace instead of the post.

More Fence Building Tips and Tricks 

Here are some additional fence installation tips for your fence project:

  • Safety should be a top priority when you do an installation. Make sure to wear safety gloves and gear during the project.
  • Install braces in a secure way. This Fence Pros video can help you set up your fence braces properly.
  • Post Spacing: Keep 15 feet max between posts and a 4 to 1 ratio for line posts. This helps prevent the fence from leaning over.
  • Pulling Fence: A good general rule for stretching out a field fence is pulling 5 feet + 1 feet for every 100 feet of fence.
  • Tensioning: Use quality tools like Bekaert’s stretcher barbar puller, or chain grab to properly tensioning your fence.

Installing your fence, the right way the first time makes for reduced maintenance down the road. Build a fence that will stand the test of time. Need more installation help? Reach out The Fence Pros today.