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How to put up a new fence using metal spikes

Date posted: 6 January 2014

Fencing is a popular choice for garden boundaries because it works out cheaper than building a wall, and the job can be undertaken by most DIY enthusiasts.

You can secure your fence posts using specially-designed metal spikes, which is usually the easiest and quickest method, or you can embed them in concrete. Here we look at the metal spike method and explain which garden tools and other equipment you will need.

Tools for the job

All you really need to erect a garden fence is a bit of manpower including two pairs of hands, plus some tools.

Essentials include a tape measure, a spade, a saw, a hammer, gloves, a driver or post hole borer, a spirit level, and an electric drill.

Measuring up and buying your fence panels

First you will need to decide how high you want your fence, and then how long the total fence needs to be so that you can calculate how many fence panels you need to buy.

The length of the fence posts will determine the height of your fence. You then need to measure the total length you will need your final fence to stretch and divide this total by the width of your chosen fence panels. This tells you how many panels you need to buy. A standard fence panel is 1.8 metres (6 feet) wide, but there are other widths available so check the measurements carefully.

Avoid buying fence panels that have a large number of knots or splits as they may be weaker.

Securing fence posts into metal spikes

  1. Drive in the metal spikes and fit the fence posts
    Push your first post spike into the earth then use the sledge hammer to drive it in properly until its square base reaches the same level as the surface of the ground. You can attach a spike-fixing tool to the top of the spike to make it easier to hammer in. Continue this process with each spike, making sure you space them out correctly to fit between your fence panels, and in a straight line. If you have never put up a fence before and are worrying about spacing them posts incorrectly, you may be safer fixing the first fence post and then the first panel – before moving on to the next fence post and panel, and so on.
  2. Lay gravel boards
    To prevent the bottom of the fence from rotting over time, you need to support the panels on treated gravel boards. Lay down the boards in position along the bottom of the fence, resting on the ground. Mark where each board crosses a post, and cut it to fit. You will then need to use fence-fixing brackets to attach the boards to the bottom of the posts, using a spirit level to make sure they are horizontal.
  3. Fix the fence panels
    Position the first fence panel up to the first post, resting on the gravel board, and screw or nail the fixing brackets to the panel and to the fence using galvanised nails / weatherproof screws. You will need to use three or four brackets for each post to make sure it is strong enough
  4. Tidy up the fence posts
    To complete the job neatly, you may wish to saw off some timber from the top of each post so that they are all level. Finally, screw onto each post a post cap to prevent it from weathering.

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