How to Build an 8-Foot Privacy Fence
An 8-foot high wooden privacy fence using treated lumber can be built over the course of 2 days, depending upon the length of the fence. It is a moderately easy job. A fence built in this manner will withstand gusty winds and if it is treated with water-repellent coating, should last for approximately 15 years.
Calculate the length of the fence. Because it is designed for privacy, you will nail boards alternately on the front and backs of the fence frame overlapping slightly. This allows for an attractive fence for both you and your neighbor while blocking views of each other’s backyards. Your 8-foot 1-by-4 boards will be overlapping by ½ inch so include this calculation when you order your lumber. You will use your 2-by-4 framing boards on both sides of the support posts for strength.
Calculate the number of 4-by-4 posts you will need. With this design, you need to place a post every 8 feet. These will be 9 feet long so that you can sink them a foot into the ground. You will need one metal post foot per post.
Using a measuring tape and a chalk line, lay out a straight fence line, snapping down the chalk line to mark your way. Make a cross line every 8 feet where each support post will be set. With a post-hole digger, remove a foot of soil at each cross line, insert a post foot and mix enough quick setting cement to fill this hole. Set the post in the foot, pour in the concrete and make sure it is straight by dropping a plumb line or using level. The cement will set quickly and you can move on to the next post. After all of these posts are set in place you can spend the rest of Day 1 staining them and both sides of the fence boards and framing boards.
After the posts set in concrete have cured overnight, build the frame. Nail framing cups in place on each post to hold the framing boards. Nail the frame boards into the framing cups on both sides of the posts, 4 inches down from the top and 4 inches up from the bottom. Use a level so that they remain straight.
Using galvanized fencing nails, nail your fence boards vertically to the frame using a plumb line or level. The first board will be nailed next to the support frame, and the next board will be nailed to the other side of the frame, overlapping ½ inch. Repeat this pattern until the desired length of fence is reached.
Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.