How to Erect Fencing

Updated February 21, 2017

Erecting a fence is more demanding than it is complex. It requires no more than basic carpentry skills, but demands sustained physical effort and some upper body strength. A slat fence, the style of fence that consists of a line of vertical boards, is among the easiest fence types to install. This project can take a weekend or several days, depending on how much fence you intend to build and how many hours you want to work daily.

Buy or cut your posts and fence board to match the height you want for your fence. Check local zoning ordinances and applicable community covenants, as both or either might limit fence height. Remember that your post must be two feet longer than the fence boards because you will drive it into the ground.

Place your post cap on top of a fence post to help protect it from the sledgehammer. Draw a chalk line 24 inches from the tip of the post. Drive fence post into the ground up to the chalk line. Every three to five hammer hits, check that the post is still perpendicular to the ground. Adjust as necessary.

Repeat step 2 do drive in a second post eight feet from the first.

Install two pairs of square brackets on the inside faces of the fence posts by nailing them to the posts.. Each pair should be level to and facing each other. Set one pair in around knee level and the other around shoulder level.

Set a beam in each of the square brackets. Nail in place through the holes in your square brackets.

Set a fence board against the two beams, running parallel to the fence posts. Nail it in place with one nail per beam, driven in at the mid line of the fence board.

Set another fence board up next to and flush against the first. Nail it in position with one nail per beam. Continue installing fence board until you run out of room.

Repeat steps three through seven to construct additional sections of fence.


Eventually you'll come to a point where you'll need a section of fence that isn't exactly eight feet long. To accommodate this, cut the beams to match the length you need and drive the posts in at a matching distance.


Most fence lumber comes pressure treated, meaning it's weather resistant. If yours isn't, you will need to apply wood stain or weatherizer to the wood before beginning this project.

Things You'll Need

  • Spike-type fence posts
  • Post cap
  • Sledgehammer
  • 2-inch by 4-inch beams, 8 feet long
  • Square braces for 2 x 4 beams (2 per beam)
  • Fence board
  • Power saw
  • Hammer or nail gun
  • Chalk
  • Framing nails
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About the Author

Jason Brick has written professionally since 1994. His work has appeared in numerous venues including "Hand Held Crime" and "Black Belt Magazine." He has completed hundreds of technical and business articles, and came to full-time writing after a long career teaching martial arts. Brick received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Oregon.