Redwood is the one building material that can exceed all three needs: function, durability and beauty. The stability, strength and beauty of redwood make it the logical choice when building a fence, but before you buy any materials or choose a style, decide first why you need the fence. A fence that is built primarily for privacy will be dramatically different from one that is constructed to simply mark a property line. If it’s built to protect animals and children it will need to be a certain height and incorporate secure gates.
Redwood grades are defined by the wood’s durability as well as its appearance. Some grades are for general use while others have very specialized purposes. In any case, there is a redwood grade for every type of project and many redwood grades are ideal for building fences. Hayward recommends one of the Garden Grades when building a redwood fence. Garden grades include:
- Construction Heart
- Deck Heart
- Merchantable Heart
- Construction Common
- Merchantable Common
Hayward offers all of the most popular redwood fence styles:
Other popular styles include post-and-rail for long boundaries, such as in agricultural applications, and louvered, which allow for privacy and airflow. More elaborate styles include basket weave and window box designs.
Whatever your style, redwood is available in the grade, dimension and length for the job. Not only is it an attractive wood, it’s also extremely easy to work with, which is why redwood is a preferred choice for professional builders and contractors. Style is a also a serious element that can make a fence one of the most beautiful structures in the entire yard. The booklet Redwood Fences For All Reasons illustrates many of the possibilities.
How Nails and Fasteners Affect a Redwood Fence
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the fasteners that hold everything together, but their role goes far beyond the building phase. First off, there’s the choice of screws versus nails. Most builders will tell you that there are pros and cons to each, and your best bet is to use both during the fence build for different parts of the project.
You have several options when it comes to fasteners for redwood. Whether you are building a deck, fence, planter box, garden structure, or other outdoor living project, choosing the right fastener is an important part of the job. Nails and screws work well for a variety of projects you may want to build. Hidden fastener systems are increasingly popular for decks, as they leave the deck surface free of visible hardware.
The rule of thumb when it comes to fasteners for redwood is to choose one that is non-corrosive. The best options are stainless steel, aluminum, or top-quality, hot-dipped galvanized fasteners. Electro-plated galvanized fasteners are not recommended due to their low quality. Using lower quality fasteners will cause unsightly stains on your new redwood deck, fence, or garden structure, and should be avoided. The reason is because these types of fasteners will react with redwood’s natural, decay resisting extractives, which will cause staining. Other types of coated fasteners are also not recommended as the coating may wear off over time.
Tips for Building a Redwood Fence
Below are essential tips for constructing any type of redwood fence.
- Before beginning, decide whether you want to set all the posts in place then install the rails and boards, or if you want to do it in sections. Sectional building may work best if you’re using pre-fab fencing.
- Before building use string and stakes to mark off the fence line.
- Depending on the style you choose, post should typically be 6-8 feet apart.
- The number of postholes you need to dig and the soil will influence the tools that will work best. Types of tools include: post-hole diggers, power augers, clamshell-style diggers and digging bars.
- In areas where frost occurs the post-holes should be dug a foot deeper than the frost line.
- Once postholes are dug and filled with concrete, set the posts and let the concrete dry for two days before beginning the rails.
For in-depth construction details and step-by-step instructions, Hayward recommends the booklet Redwood Fences For All Reasons. It’s been to go-to resource for countless people who have used redwood to construct their fences.