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Timber Fence
This Handy Hint relates to "How to build a Timber Fence".
For best results, all Radiata timber should be No.1 grade, check with your Branch.
Most fences require firm ground for secure installation.
If digging in firm clay, fill the hole with water to soften it.
Generally, posts should have one third of their length embedded in the ground. More for corner and gate posts.
When you receive your timber, stack it at least 150mm off the ground, making sure the stack is level and the timber remains straight and covered.
Because few pieces of timber are ‘dead’ straight, sight along the fence rails so the slight crown can be fixed upwards and any subsequent sag will tend to straighten the rail.
When cutting posts, ensure that the uncut end is embedded in the ground. All cut faces must be treated with a suitable preservative.
If laying concrete mowing strips they should be about 150mm wide between posts. Do this at the same time you erect your posts.
Allow a 40-50mm minimum gap between the bottom of the palings and the ground.
Use galvanised nails, bolts or screws to prevent unsightly rust marks. Since timber shrinks over time, tighten bolts and screws after about 6 months.
Make sure the stain or paint you choose is compatible with the timber treatment and galvanised fittings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Sawn timber is best for stain finish and dressed or gauged timber is preferable for paint finishes.  


Points to Check
Make sure you know exactly where the fence should go. You will need to locate surveyors pegs if you are constructing a boundary fence.
Discuss your plans with your neighbours. You may be able to share the cost.
Generally, fences up to 1800mm high do not require building consent. However, it is best to check with your Local Authority before you start (see 'Building Consent - What to do' Project Guide).
If the fence is to act as a wind-shelter it should have equal parts of solids and gaps. Wind tunnel tests show that a solid fence creates turbulence greater than the wind it is meant to prevent.  




Points to check
Take into account the space available, where trees and gardens are now or will be placed, prevailing wind direction, summer and winter sun.
How will the site influence the structure you wish to build? Decks require firm ground for post footings. Ground and rainwater should drain clear of the posts or any part of the structure - particularly if a low level deck is to be built. Excessive ground seepage could require changing the slope of the ground. Can the structure be braced against an existing wall?
Consider the design, the number and size of the posts, bearers and joists and whether the bracing or handrails are needed.
Contact your Local Authority for information on their requirements. Conforming to the by-laws will ensure your plans receive approval if required. See ‘Building Consent - What to Do’ Project Guide.  


  • Use a sharp knife
  • Wrap the entire hot water cylinder with foil side out
  • Cap the cylinder with a circle cut from the remaining material
  • We recommend the wearing of long sleeves, gloves and a dust mask
  • Installation details are on every pack. Ask for more assistance at your local Carters store if required.  





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