Sunday, July 14, 2013

Repairing/Restoring Privacy Fence--replacing posts but not fence panels

Like all good DIY stories, this story, which started with a sad beginning (see here)--hapless DIY'ers start on a project that seems endless, herculean and filled with impossible obstacles--now, finally, has taken a turn for the better. Happy endings are in sight!

Quick review. Small privacy fence shown here performs necessary task of screening patio from the street, cars from the patio and yard, and garbage and wood pile from the neighbors.

Blows down in a hurricane. Turns out the middle posts are rotted through and cannot be saved. Only one fence panel remains standing, and that one leans precariously.

But true to their DIY souls, Sherry and Capel are not about to pay to replace the entire fence. They're sure the panels are still totally good for another 30 years, at least. Into the garage go the fence panels for the winter. And there they rest through the spring and early summer.

There is much procrastination, because now, two years into DIY home ownership, there seem to be more projects than initiative. And so it goes. The months tick by. March. April. May. Lots of gardening and no initiative for repair work.

After one discouraging attempt on a misty rainy day in May (recorded in the above link) ...

... they hit concrete and give up again.

Hopeless. It's hopeless. They're both hopeless. Everyone is hopeless. And so the fence sits, and the record breaking rain pours all through June, the desolate yard and garbage and woodpile growing ever more and more unsightly, until as the rain clears up and the weather heats up, our two heroes, having taken to the patio in the evenings to cool off, are forced to stare at the ugly gaping lack of fence, and finally, finally, the inevitable cannot be avoided. Even Capel cannot procrastinate one minute longer. Sherry cannot pretend that the gardening is more urgent. And so, on their first real beach day in July, in a meeting of the minds, they agree the inevitable cannot possibly be put off any longer. The fence must be repaired.

They have learned one important coping strategy in the intervening fall, winter and spring. Some one person has to be project manager of a project. Otherwise--disaster! Capel likes the idea of fixing a fence. Sherry is just tired of projects, at the moment. So our man Capel forges into the lead. This is his project.

He researches. He calls. He calls again. Does more research. Looks at lots of YouTube video. Finally, a solution is arrived at. A lumber company up north carries 5X5 pressure treated lumber. This is the right dimension. They're 8' long though, so trimming will be required. Which requires a new tool. The new tool warms Capel's little heart. The project heats up.

The posts will be rooted in quick setting concrete mixed directly in the post-hole in 5 gallon buckets with the bottoms cut out, placed on a bed of gravel. There is measuring, measuring and measuring. The posts come home in the Volvo pick-up truck. Then the gravel. Then the concrete. Separate trips because the Volvo pick-up doesn't have much hauling capacity. What, you say Volvo doesn't make a pick-up? Right, then, that would have to be the Volvo convertible.  Convertible pick-up!

Holes are dug. Stakes are driven. The posts are stained to match the original fence panels. And, finally, after months of literally imperceptible progress, there are visible results to photograph ...

The new post holes are dug 8" to 12" in back of the original fence, at least 2' deep, with gravel poured into the bottom and a 5 gallon bucket with the bottom cut out situated on the floor of the hole.

The first post--one of the middle posts, not an end--is trimmed to height, placed in the hole, leveled and then a bag of concrete is poured in after it and mixed in the hole. It becomes immediately apparent that each hole will take more than one bag of concrete. Another bag is dumped on top of it with more water. And then the post is braced and left to set up for an hour. When set, the first fence panel is attached to it.

Now, the second post--this time an end post--is trimmed to height, placed, set in concrete and then leveled and braced, like so:

Measurements are retaken, stakes and string double-checked.

Then the third and fourth post holes are dug and the buckets set.

Last, as a final check, another fence panel is brought out and placed up against the middle post, to make sure the measurements are correct for the placement of the third post. 

This is where things break down a bit. Despite careful staking and measuring with string, the third and fourth post holes are too far apart and the fence panel will not meet the third post, unless the hole is moved.

At this particular moment it is about 95 degrees in the shade, midafternoon on a blazing sunny day, and Capel has been working since early morning. After not too much urging, he agrees to call it quits. There is much cheering about how unbelievably rock solid the first fence section is.


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  2. The bridge fence collapsed under the sheer weight of too many padlocks clipped to the fence. Luckily no one was injured and contrary to many calls to remove the eyesore, authorities have chosen to maintain the fence and attraction in the "City Of Love". Security Fencing

  3. fencing and poles and replaced them. Luck was on our side because only two posts had to be removed and just taking them out took him an afternoon on each one!!!vinyl fence panels