Garden Structures forum→Need advice for improving garden fence

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nhb80
Aug 8, 2019 12:33 PM CST
I recently bought a house and have begun to notice that the garden fence is not as opaque as it first seemed! As you can see from the picture attached, the lower half is a brick wall and then there is a small gap before the vertical fence boards, which are on the roadside of the support rails. The boards are separated by just a couple of millimeters, which is enough that when a car drives past you can see it clearly.

My initial idea was to get another lot of fence boards, stain them to match the colour of the existing ones and nail them up on the garden side of the support rails, offsetting the gaps in the new boards, so that the two gaps don't line up. (Are these gaps inevitable, even if I nail the boards in side-by-side, or are the deliberate to cope with expansion?) The new boards would also be about 50mm lower than the existing boards to cover the gap at the top of the brick wall.

However, I then worried that people on the roadside could push rubbish between the boards and it would be trapped (there is a bus stop there) and that any knot holes in the boards (there are a few in the existing fence) might still allow light through.

So, my second thought was that I could get more fence boards and put them horizontally, screwing into the existing fence boards. I wouldn't want any screws to go right through the existing fence and snag people on the road, so I would probably want to use screws that only went halfway into the existing 14mm thick fence - would this be enough to hold? Would it cause any problems having two layers of wood so close together? I think it would be quickest and easiest to only drill pilot holes through the new fence boards and then screw straight into the existing fence - is that likely to cause the existing fence to split and I should drill through both or will I be likely to get away with that?

The main reason for doing this is to stop being able to see through the fence, but I assume the three layers of wood would also help to insulate the noise from the road more than currently and more than two.

Thanks for your help,

N

Thumb of 2019-08-08/nhb80/07c83c

Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Aug 24, 2019 5:20 PM CST
First of all Welcome! to the NGA!!

Your first idea is the best idea, by centering the yard side pickets on the gap of the road side pickets. (Of course the yard side material must be the exact same width as the road side pickets. Thumbs up ) It's called shadow box. Typically this fence style has a wider gap between the pickets and it IS pretty private, so with small gaps, undoubtedly, you'll achieve the privacy you're looking for. You'll definitely need to leave at least a small space between the pickets, just as it is on the road side, for expansion in the warm months. If you aren't sure, perhaps you could buy just a few pickets and install them to get an idea of what it would look like.

I do not recommend your second idea. It would place too much weight/stress on the road side pickets that aren't designed to hold ANY additional weight at all (beyond decorations) and yes, most likely they would split.

As for knot holes, perhaps you might replace any knotty road side pickets with solid, knot free pickets.

I do not see the gap at the top of the masonry wall, but my educated guess would be that you could add another horizontal rail that butts up underneath the bottom rail that the pickets are fastened to, to fill the gap in good and solid, as long as that gap isn't larger than the width of a rail. Smiling

Your instincts are spot on, my friend! Hope this helps! Good luck to you!!
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Aug 24, 2019 5:36 PM (+)]
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Sallymander
Sep 2, 2019 8:15 AM CST
I believe you are right that folks would dump trash through the holes, particularly cigarette butts. I only see the one board that has a knot in it. I would definitely replace that board. If you have the money to do the garden side, I would assume you would have the money to redo the street side. I would replace what is there with tongue and groove/ lap paneling. Then you could stain it whatever color you prefer. I would hesitate to do both sides unless you plan to insulate (don't know about outdoor insulation, you'd have to ask a contractor.)

I'm curious as to what is holding up your glass roof.
Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Sep 2, 2019 11:30 AM CST
@Sallymander great idea in theory. Smiling But in practice, unfortunately, the real and false tongue and groove paneling requires more verticle support than the current posts which are spaced at 8ft apart.
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
Portland, Oregon (Zone 7b)
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Sallymander
Sep 3, 2019 8:01 AM CST
bloominholes2fill said:@Sallymander great idea in theory. Smiling But in practice, unfortunately, the real and false tongue and groove paneling requires more verticle support than the current posts which are spaced at 8ft apart.


Couldn't that be added as well? Essentially, "N" would be rebuilding the fence anyway.

While I've got you... what do you think about having the boards run at a 45 instead of a vertical? I've done that with other projects, but not with one that didn't touch a "bottom." (I tend to find the straight up and down a little boring.) "N" could run a horizontal support to give the mitre cut something to sit on.
[Last edited by Sallymander - Sep 3, 2019 8:27 AM (+)]
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Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Sep 3, 2019 11:32 AM CST
Oh, my bad! D'Oh! I was thinking of a horizontal application, where more vertical support must be added, using the masonry wall as a sort of foundation support, depending on how structurally sound that wall really is. In other words, @nhb80 would essentially be building a rough frame for a half wall, with top and bottom plates, using 2x4's at 16 inches on center, max.

For a vertical application, as you're thinking, the necessary support with the existing 4x2 top and bottom rails, should suffice, but adding another rail in-between, might not be a bad idea, for extra support. Smiling Assuming the existing posts are structurally sound, and supported with the necessary hardware.

Of course, a full inspection of the existing material and the existing fasteners, that would remain for the project, is absolutely necessary, regardless of which application "N" chooses.

@Sallymander, Our century home has beaded tongue and groove boards on the ceiling of our front porch, where it's more protected from the elements. Honestly, I personally would not choose wood tongue and groove for fence panels. Not even dutch lap or ship lap due to exposure to the elements on both sides, which might result in warping, cupping, and/or twisting and the eventual unseating of the tongue and groove. Have you used this application in an unprotected outdoor location, specifically with wood material? If so, how has it held up?

I could see using composite material, for vertical tongue and groove fence panels, with an additional center horizontal rail or two, due to the weaker structure of composite material lends itself to bow more than solid wood.

I would love to know whether "N" has completed the project, and if so, what they did, and include photos of the finished project. Smiling Smiling
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Sep 3, 2019 11:40 AM (+)]
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Sallymander
Sep 3, 2019 11:53 AM CST
It's been so long since I did those projects, I honestly don't remember how long they lasted. I don't believe I had any problems with warping, but that might be me wishful thinking.

Wouldn't the stain/paint finish help with warping?

I think either a dutch lap or a shiplap siding would work just fine for that application. In fact, a horizontal fencing might look cool. If N put a cap piece over it, I think it would do great.

My experience has been, make sure the wood is DRY before sealing. I went to a lot of work one summer building a deck for my mother with wood that wasn't as dried as I was told it was. It rotted from the inside out within a few years.

I'm building some benches for my son and daughter in law, and I' frustrated that the wood is too wet to stain. I think the benches will have to be stored in the garage for the winter while I wait for the wood to dry. Angry I don't want a repeat of what happened with the deck.
Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Sep 3, 2019 12:00 PM CST
Understandable. Thumbs up I do like your idea of 45 degree panels. Smiling I'm one to easily get bored with the typically typical, myself. Hilarious! Hilarious!
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
Hallsville Texas
AWC1
Oct 3, 2019 3:55 PM CST
If it was mine, I would invest in some metal roof panels. I believe you can get these panels almost the same color of your fence. Cut the panel the length you want them to cover any areas or holes you want covered, Install them standing up right on the outside of your fence in question. This will fix all your cracks and make your fence much more stable for years to come needless to say solve your problem.
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 15, 2020 8:33 AM CST
Are you attached to that fence?
You have a lot of suggestions to work with, but they all sound pretty expensive, time consuming and labor intensive. Given how tight you want these tolerances, the issues with garbage, have you considered replacing the wood with solid PVC panels? It might be the right answer; fast, economical, no gaps (you would have to do something about the bottom since a natural stone wall won't ever be smooth and level across the top) no knots, no staining. Buying boards, cutting and staining, you'd basically be constructing a second fence from scratch, and given what you've said about tucking garbage in gaps I don't know that you'd be 100% happy with the outcome... that's a big investment for an uncertain outcome.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: James
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deepsouth
Mar 15, 2020 9:42 AM CST
if it were my fence ...and the fence had no rot & still had years of service ahead of it ...

I wouldn't replace the fence to "fix" the gaps and holes ....instead I would get a few cans of
expanding insulation foam

most expanding foam types are paint-able ....
and a few are waterproof (the difference: open cell foam = not waterproof -or- closed cell foam = waterproof) ....

with a helper on one side of the fence holding a board, piece of cardboard or even a plastic garbage bag - to control the expanding foams shape or texture

Once dry - can cut, saw or sand

the one drawback - it can get messy real fast ....
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 15, 2020 10:40 AM CST
Really really really messy. It might be a good idea to put a little under the fence, between the stone wall and bottom rail... a VERY LITTLE... (you can always add more) sine you won't see it, but between the boards... DONT DO IT. IT WOULD BE A DISASTER.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
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bloominholes2fill
Mar 15, 2020 10:54 AM CST
I agree
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 15, 2020 11:51 AM CST
James, I respect your brainstorming ability, on the face it sounds like it could work, but I have handled this stuff before. It's a nightmare.
You'd seal the gaps, but It would be so ugly, so messy, so labor intensive, so expensive, and ugly and messy. Best case, you'd have to go out and cut it back manually, then sand all of both sides of the fence, attempt to refinish it, and a section that tiny sanded smooth, In the end would easily fall out of the cracks within a year.
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: James
North Louisiana (Zone 8b)
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deepsouth
Mar 15, 2020 11:57 AM CST
naw ...it would work

using something flat ...absolutely flat, on the opposite side of the fence while spraying ...then pressing another flat object into the foam just after release ... would fill gaps with limited mess - if prepared for what happens after button is pushed -

wear gloves and do it all on a drop cloth

been there - it works

Name: Paula Benyei
NYC suburbs (Zone 6b)
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Turbosaurus
Mar 15, 2020 9:27 PM CST
Deep,
.. it expands for 8 + hours..
Show us anything even remotely close to what you're talking about..


No way.

The plural of anecdote is not data.
Name: Cinda
Indiana Zone 5b
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gardengus
Mar 20, 2020 5:40 PM CST
While this looks like an interesting conversation the original poster has never replied or had any other activity on this sight
...so you all may just be wasting your time and ideas. Shrug!
Keep believing ,hoping,and loving
all else is just existing.
There is More to Life Than Now
Name: Henster Stanley

HesterStanley
Nov 6, 2020 6:28 AM CST
I recently bought a residential building and noticed that the garden fence is not as unclear as it first seemed. As you can see from the picture attached, the lower half is a brick wall, and then there is a small gap before the vertical fence boards, which are on the roadside of the support rails. The panels are separated by just a couple of millimeters, which is enough that when a car drives past, you can see it.
My initial idea was to get another lot of fence boards, stain them to match the color of the existing ones, and nail them up on the support rails' garden side, offsetting the gaps in the new boards so that the two holes don't line up. (Are these gaps inevitable, even if I nail the boards side-by-side, or are deliberate to cope with the expansion?) The new panels would also be about 50mm lower than the existing boards to cover the gap at the brick wall's top.
However, I then worried that people on the roadside could push rubbish between the boards, and it would be trapped (there is a bus stop there) and that any knotholes in the panels (there are a few in the existing fence) might still allow light through.
The main reason for doing this is to stop seeing through the fence, but I assume the three layers of wood would also help to insulate the noise from the road more than currently and more than two.
Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
Region: Ohio Composter Birds Garden Photography Garden Ideas: Level 1 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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bloominholes2fill
Nov 6, 2020 6:07 PM CST
Welcome! @HesterStanley Welcome! Glad to have you!!

gardengus said:While this looks like an interesting conversation the original poster has never replied or had any other activity on this sight
...so you all may just be wasting your time and ideas. Shrug!


Being that this thread is still active, admittedly on a very periodic basis, I beg to respectfully differ. Smiling

Seeing as you've been a member for quite a while you are aware of certain things. For instance, the NGA community is very diverse. Smiling Also, typically, every thread on this site has considerably more thread readers than responders, for as many reasons as there are thread readers. So, this thread might very well be educational for someone who is new to construction and learning to solve similar issues, or it can be something for anyone in the field to put in a mental file for the future, or, some people, such as construction nerds like me, just like the challenge to solve similar repair issues! Quite frankly, there's a lot to consider in this repair, which makes for a great challenge! Smiling

I don't ever think that educating is a waste of time. 🤷 I love learning, especially in this subject area. If someone has a different solution than any other solution mentioned thus far, I'm very interested in analyzing and learning, even as a former Residential Building Designer, with a wide range of knowledge and experience. I never think that I know everything there is to know, in construction, bc something new ALWAYS comes along. Smiling Smiling 🤔🤔 I'm no longer in the business, and I still love to discuss and learn in the field, and I always will! Did I mention I am a construction nerd? 😂😂

So, what some may find as a waste of time, others may find this thread to be a great education, and that's okay! I love the diversity of the NGA community! Anyhow, whether one might be a DIY'er, or in regards to one's career or schooling in the field, or as an assignment for a teacher or professor of the trades to challenge their students, this thread can be very informative.

The best thing about this challenge is that there's no right or wrong answer, but a solution that best meets the person's needs. Smiling Smiling
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)
[Last edited by bloominholes2fill - Jan 10, 2021 12:46 AM (+)]
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Name: Dana P
Canton, OH (Zone 6a)
Project Junkie
Daylilies Butterflies Hummingbirder Cat Lover Dog Lover Roses
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bloominholes2fill
Nov 26, 2020 9:59 AM CST
Welcome! @JeanMilburn Welcome! Glad to have you on the NGA!! Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
"The heart is happiest when the head and the hand work together" ~ Jay Leno (I think)

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