how to extreme

Composite Fencing with FenceScape

Construction How-To, Fences, Fencing, Outdoor Living November 9, 2010 Sonia


By Mark Clement

 

Fences are game-changers-for both homeowners and their neighbors. Here’s an alternative to the traditional wooden fence.

 

An alternative to an all-wood fence is one built from composite material, taking a cue from recent trends in the deck-building industry. The material featured in this article is called FenceScape, and it’s actually manufactured by TimberTech, a popular manufacturer of composite and PVC decking. Like synthetic decking, this composite fence material offers two major selling points: longevity and low-maintenance.

And, the benefits of composite material don’t end there. With its integrated color, no painting, staining or sealing is required. Importantly, this means no repainting or re-staining down the road. The material won’t split, warp, crack, splinter or succumb to termite damage. Furthermore, FenceScape features UV-inhibiting pigments so fading will be minimal.

The fence boards feature a natural wood pattern along with the same versatility of design as real wood. It works like wood, requiring no special tools or fasteners, and the fence can follow the contour of the terrain for safe containment of the family pet.

My FenceScape project is a 6 foot, three-rail privacy fence running 18 panels long. It strikes a line between three urban back yards. Each end-panel swoops to an elegant and friendly finish.

 

Step 1: Layout

I mapped this fence run from control-post to a stake because it ended at an imaginary line between two houses, but I wanted the string to run all the way to the property line to ensure accuracy.

If you're going to re-use string, make sure to coil it back up carefully. Jeez!

If you’re going to re-use string, make sure to coil it back up carefully. Jeez!

Clement Carpentry Tip: Use a carpenters pencil as a spool to play out the string. If you plan to re-use the string, roll it back up carefully.

 

The hollow composite posts make full-size templates of the layout easier.I marked the center of the post with brightly colored kids' driveway chalk.

The hollow composite posts make full-size templates of the layout easier. I marked the center of the post with brightly colored kids’ driveway chalk.

Because FenceScape posts are hollow I used the fence parts for layout; not the U-jig I usually employ with wood fences. To mark the post-hole centers, I dropped brightly colored kid’s driveway chalk into the center of the post cut-off that I was using as a template.

 

Step 2: Posts & Rails

Install post heights wild. You can trim them to size later.

I rented a Dingo because I can maneuver the Dingo’s auger to pinpoint layout. This is a huge time-saver compared to manually digging the post holes.

Set the post in the hole. Use rail stock as a gauge-stick and plumb both faces of the post.

Set the post in the hole. Use rail stock as a gauge-stick and plumb both faces of the post.

Tamp the soft earth with the blunt end of a digging bar.

Tamp the soft earth with the blunt end of a digging bar.

 

Since I used a 12-inch auger there’s fudge factor to shift the post. Before setting the post, tamp the soft earth in the bottom of the hole with a digging bar.

Set the rail layout on the high side then level over to the low side, mark the post and set the bracket.

Set the rail layout on the high side then level over to the low side, mark the post and set the bracket.

The hollow posts are easier to move than solid posts. Once I got them located and plumb, pouring in 4 inches of gravel traps them in place.

Mark the post height, mark the rail location and install the rail bracket. Or, use cleats as in a wood fence.

Mark the post height, mark the rail location and install the rail bracket. Or, use cleats as in a wood fence.