Why Does Wood Fence Post Spacing Matter?

Why Does Wood Fence Post Spacing Matter?

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When you're looking to get a wood fence installed, you might think that one is very much like another, and that the only things that can have a big impact is whether you choose treated wood or cedar, or whether you have it stained or not.

However, there are many other things that could change the price and functionality of your wood fence. Let's look at some of the reasons why post spacing might be a factor.

Lumber Length

The first reason you should consider the spacing of your fence post is standard lumber lengths. If your post spacing doesn't match a commonly avaialble lumber size, that's going to mean there will be an offcut from every stringer. A few inches here and there don't matter too much, but if you're losing half a foot or more on every piece, that can add up quickly. The quote will include the cost of the full length required (plus markup) so you will pay for that waste.

More Labor to Dig Holes

If your fence posts are spaced closer together, that will mean more labour is required to dig the holes for your posts. The longer your fence line is, the more that extra labor could add up, and it will cost you more money.

And More concrete

Most wood fence posts are installed with concrete footings. If you have more holes on your fence line, you'll need more concrete to install those posts. concrete costs hundreds of dollars per cubic yard, so that can add up quickly too!

Better Wind Resistance

On the other hand, it's not all bad news when it comes to spacing posts closer together, and there might be some good reasons why your contractor has chosen to do this.

When you build a solid or even a semi solid wooden privacy fence, you are essentially creating a sail. It's going to catch the wind, and if you live in a high wind area, that could be bad news for your fence. Sometimes, fence contractors will space posts closer together to give you a stronger fence that can stand up to the extra wind load.

Dealing with Slopes

Another reason your fence contractor might decide to install your fence posts closer together is if you have slopes or gradients to accomodate.

When posts are spaced further apart, it's harder to have the bottom of the fence follow the ground. Also, depending on then angle of the slope, posts will need to be spaced closer together to accomodate the stringer length. It's because of pythagoras, but you don't have to worry about that - your contractor should do all the math for you!

Ask Questions

When you're getting a fence quote from a contractor, it's always a good idea to ask questions. So if you want to know about things like post spacing, don't be afraid to ask. A good contractor will be happy to tell you why they've priced the job the way they have.