Design your WPC fence
Wood plastic composite fences—capturing the great outdoors for you
There are many ways a thoughtfully designed fence can touch your life. Once you sink the posts and set hammer to nail, the results can be transformational, especially when you work with redwood—one of nature’s most beautiful, functional and enduring materials.
Here will stimulate your imagination by providing you with a wealth of creative redwood fence designs. You’ll also find the necessary step-by-step construction techniques for planning, designing and building your fence.
WPC fences for all reasons
There is something deeply satisfying about a fence. Whether we’re talking about a simple, roughhewn structure that meanders around your property or an intricately designed barrier for a pool and patio, a fence adds quality to your personal spaces.
A perimeter fence is an attractive way to separate your property from the neighbors and to more fully personalize the land around your home. If there are children next door, a solid fence can help keep baseballs from rolling into your flower beds, and it can discourage passers-by from taking an occasional shortcut across a carefully clipped lawn.
Fences are also great for those who value privacy. Cozy spaces can be fashioned for reading and relaxing that are totally sheltered from the outside world, or you can section off larger areas—even an entire yard—to form an area that is personal and protected.
Fences also define areas for specialized use, such as a pool and patio, a dog run, or an area for a private garden, while smaller sections of fences can be employed as an integral part of the property’s overall landscaping design. For the security-minded, a solid surrounding structure serves as a psychological, as well as a physical, deterrent to intruders.
Depending on where your home is located, noise and traffic from an adjacent road can be bothersome, or prevailing winds and harsh sunlight may interfere with your enjoyment of the outdoors. By softening sounds and providing a barrier to wind and sun, a fence can extend the time you spend outdoors and increase the pleasure of outdoor living. In addition, by reshaping the exterior spaces, a fence will contribute to your home’s overall ambiance, appearance and value.
Choose the right style WPC fence
A fence is an extension of your home, and calls for as much attention to its purpose, style and design as if you were adding another room. In your planning you need to start with specific questions. Why are you building the fence and how will it complement the character and design of your home? Are you defining a boundary? Are you looking to create more privacy or shield yourself from unwanted noise? Or is your purpose to construct a wind break, add shade to a deck or discourage the family dog from running loose in the neighborhood? Not all fences are appropriate for all purposes.
Consider, too, how your neighbors will view the fence. Some fences look wonderfully finished on your side, yet present neighbors with a less appealing view, while other designs look equally attractive from either side. A friendly chat with your neighbors can lead to a design that pleases all parties, and they may even be willing to split the cost of materials and labor.
Design your fence
There are a surprising number of fence styles to choose from, many of which are included in this booklet. There are also do-it-yourself books that contain a wealth of ideas and illustrations.
You may choose to settle on an existing design, or you can create your design from scratch. You can also modify a basic design into a look distinctively yours. You’ll find it fun to experiment, and even small variations will make a big difference. Keep in mind that you only need to plan the details for one typical bay (the section of fence from one post to the next). From there you can calculate everything else you need for a fence of any length. Remember, if you’re working within a limited budget, you can still build a fence that does the job without sacrificing quality by choosing a style that uses less lumber or a more economical grade of redwood. You can also bring down costs by making the best use of standard lumber lengths.
Build your fence
At this point you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Fence building is divided into three stages. First, you physically plot the fence by staking out the location of the posts, then you install the posts and finally, you add the rails and fenceboards.
Most people prefer to set all the posts in place and then attach the rails and fencing, especially when posts are being set in concrete. Another approach, however, is to assemble the fence in sections by filling in the rails and fenceboards whenever two posts are in place. This has certain advantages when you’re working with prefabricated fences, or when you first build each section on the ground and then lift it into place.
Lumber grades and uses
No matter which approach you follow, you need to start by deciding what grades of redwood you wish to work with. To calculate your costs and materials, it is easiest to determine first what it will take to build one fence bay (usually 8 feet from post to post) and then to multiply that by the number of bays required to complete your fence. It is also best to add another 8% to your order so you don’t run out of materials. Most fences use 4×4 posts and 2×4 rails, with the boards attached to the rails. You can choose between garden grades of redwood which are rugged, hard-working and economical and architectural grades which are preferred for fences or screens that have a more decorative or architectural function.
Construction Heart contains knots of a limited size and is recommended for work on or near the ground and for posts, rails, kickboards and fenceboards. As with all heartwood grades, it is decay and termite resistant.
Clear All Heart has no knots on the best face and permits small tight knots on the reverse face of occasional pieces. Because it resists decay and termites, you can use it on or near the ground.
Clear, essentially knot-free, is useful for fine architectural fence panel designs away from ground contact.
B Heart allows limited knots and is 100% heartwood.
B Grade has limited knots, contains sapwood and is used for above-ground applications.
Whether you choose garden or architectural grades, you’ll find that a fence constructed of redwood will resist shrinking, warping and checking and not only age beautifully but often look better ten, fifteen and even twenty years after construction.