Chain-link fences are practical to fence off your yard, and if you are looking to build a front fence then this could be your ideal fence. However; some people love the idea of a white picket fence or a totally natural wooden fence. There is something special about wood, perhaps because wood is natural and it creates a certain ambiance to your front yard. If you are on a tight budget and the fence is for a practical reason like keeping the family dog within the yard, then a chain-link fence could be all you need.
However, if the fence is for another part of the yard where you might want privacy from your neighbors or the street, a wooden fence is a good choice. A chain-link fence will not suit a backyard as you would not have the privacy you need. Fortunately, there is a way to get the best of both worlds by remodeling your old chain link fence into a beautiful new wooden fence all by yourself.
Get Rid of the Old
Begin by removing all the rusted and unusable metal from your chain link fence, keeping the posts intact whenever possible. The posts and rails can be used for your new wooden fence and this will mean a stronger, more durable fence over time. The chain-link mesh, however, can be disposed of. Your contractors might offer to remove it, if you are using a fence contractor or you can have a recycle company collect it for a fee. But pulling down a chain-link fence is relatively easy and requires the use of one tool; a ratcheting socket wrench, so many homeowners elect to save money by doing this work by themselves. You will need to decide if you want to re-use the metal rails as well as the posts.
Using the Metal Rails
If you have chosen to keep your posts for an extra strong fence, you might want to consider keeping the rails too. You will save money overall on the job and there will not be as much work involved. You will need to get your rails ready to attach the wooden slats. It might be a good idea to drill the holes in the rails, so that you can get to work attaching the wood slats when you get them. Whether you have hired a contractor or not, if you choose to do some of the work yourself then you will also save money.
Many people like to build things and a fence is not a difficult thing to erect. There are a few things you will need to know, however. The wooden slats should not be any longer than four feet long. So when you purchase the wood, have the hardware store cut them for you; this will save you some time and perhaps headaches if you make a mistake. Make sure you get a quarter of an inch, carriage bolts to attach the slats. Before tightening up the bolts, ensure that every slat is level.
Basic Tips to Remember
You might wish to hide the metal with your wood. This can be done, however you might want to think this through. What kind of condition are the metal posts and rails in? If a huge gust of wind blew against the fence, would your fence be strong enough? If you have any doubt, then don't try this. Hiding the metal rails involves unscrewing one of the bolts and your fence will not be as strong without these bolts. If a huge storm hit, then you might just lose your fence. That's not an ideal situation. Also, if the metal posts are not as strong as they once were, you might be better off replacing the ones that have seen better days and go without trying to hide the metal rails. While a fence made from all wood will look really nice, you will really need to think about this.
Building your New Fence
Make sure you have bought all galvanized bolts, nails and screws. This will ensure they will hold up to the elements and will not rust out and will last for much longer. You will need U shaped conversion brackets to attach to your posts. They make your job so much easier when you get to the stage of connecting your wood to the metal posts. If you do decide to remove your metal posts and go with an all wooden fence, some experts in the field recommend that you hire a professional dig your holes for your wooden fence posts.
A professional fence contractor who does this has special equipment and will get the job done much faster. It is hard work to dig holes for your posts and you might hit rocks, which you might not be able to remove. You also could get injured. This will save you time and cost a little more, but the time and energy saved is probably worth it. If you are going to build an all wooden fence, then you will also need to decide how many rails to use. Most fences depending on height should have two, sometimes three. A four foot high front yard fence usually has two, but a six foot backyard wooden fence will sometimes have three.