How to Spot a Bad Fence Contractor
- by Karl
Have you ever wondered if there was a secret set of rules to differentiate bad vs good fence builders? I think I’ve figured it out! I’ve decided to break this down in 3 steps that will make it easy for all of us. Some of this will clear up some questions for the DIY’ers.
1. If you’ve agreed to hire a specific contractor to build your fence, how much does he need up front? Keep in mind- this is different for all types of fences and all sizes. Just like any range of products, material cost % is rarely the same when talking about various products. If your contractor requires more than 50% before the shovel hits the ground, you should hit the road. Also, you should make sure to hold off about 10% until the project is completed in order to make sure all your needs/wants were assessed that were mentioned before the start of the project.
2. Have you ever wondered why fence posts get raised up from the ground? Too much concrete! Sometimes “less is more.” This happens when the concrete pours out over the grade of the earth. When the ground freezes and moves, it grabs the ring around the top of the hole and begins to push it up. Gravity can’t save these posts from mother nature.
Another problem we see in contractors pouring cement is the fact that air bubbles can easily escape the human eye. Air bubbles water a nice comfy home to hide up until winter comes. When water freezes, it expands creating little hairline cracks in the dry concrete. These hairline cracks will get bigger and bigger as time goes on eventually compromising the integrity of the post completely.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s standard pour the concrete in our hole after properly positioning the post and make sure the concrete is below grade by about 2 inches. A water injection system is best practice and should be designed so all air bubbles are forced upwards out of the cement. This process has been proven and tested since 1984 years without any splitting and cracking.
3. Proper fence framing: Common sense would tell you that since a 2×4 is thicker on its side, you should probably build your fence so that the thicker side takes the bulk of the weight. Most fences are built this way but I often see newly constructed fences already looking worn out. Fences could sag for a couple reasons:1. Having only 2 stringers instead of 3 for a 6 foot fence instead of 3 and 2. Fence stringers should be installed sideways instead of flat. Fence framing should be 3 2×4’s on their side attached to each post with properly coated (to prevent deterioration) fence brackets. Something so simple could easily prevent your fence looking like this.
Having to choose between price and quality.
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Have you ever wondered if there was a secret set of rules to differentiate bad vs good fence builders? I think I’ve figured it out! I’ve decided to break this down in 3 steps that will make it easy for all of us. Some of this will clear up some questions for the DIY’ers. 1.…