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Tuesday, September 03, 2019
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. “Sometimes I see well-built fence, 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.’”
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.
Before purchasing fencing supplies, take some time to consider the fence’s purpose. What type of livestock will it be keeping in? Or, what type of wildlife will it be keeping out? And, what will the stocking densities be? “Depending on stocking densities, a fence is either a physical barrier or a boundary,” explains Sarson.
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.
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 to hold the brace together.
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.