Off with the fence

Noe and Victor from Austin Brothers Fence set to work this morning taking out the tired old cedar fencing at the north side of the house, and along the back property line. Parts of the fence were already leaning. Several pickets were broken. Where the rails were exposed, we could see termite damage — in cedar.

Cleaning out the old fence was always on the list of things to get to, depending on budget, as we pivoted from saving and rebuilding the house to projects in the yard.

This accelerated when we adopted Adobe. We need to keep the deer herd out of the back yard, and a secure yard from which Adobe cannot escape when she needs to burn off thousands of crazy puppy calories. Adobe is coming up on seven months old. She really needs a safe place to run fast and hard.

As part of this project, Jacquela gets the privacy fence she wants in front of the house, between the kitchen and driveway, to shield the gravel deck off the kitchen from passersby. Jacquela and Steven found online a photograph of a horizontal fence on which they both instantly agreed. Austin Bros. said they could do it by cutting a conventional 1×4 down the middle, creating two 1x2s. The design features 1x4s at the bottom, traveling to half way up, with the 1x2s taking the top half of the fence — with an air gap between each horizontal. Fences in Austin apparently tend to be vertical pickets, or horizontals that all the same dimension.

Why did Austin Bros. get the job?  It’s run by two brothers — Nate and Jeff. And dad answers the phones and runs the office. This resonates with Steven, who works with his brothers — and misses his dad every day.

Here’s a photo essay of day 1 of 2:

1-dsc_3883
Victor, left, and Noe arrived with the trailer loaded with cedar posts and rails, and galvanized metal poles.
First job was to walk the project with Steven and lay out string lines for the new privacy fence at the side and front of the house. Then Noe, left, and Victor measured out the fence line for posts separated by six feet, and went to work with post-hole diggers.
First job was to walk the project with Steven and lay out string lines for the new privacy fence at the side and front of the house. Then Noe, left, and Victor measured out the fence line for posts separated by six feet, and went to work with post-hole diggers.
With the holes complete and several posts already cemented in behind Victor, at left, Noe sets up the corner post, making it plumb, level and six feet away from its neighbor.
With the holes complete and several posts already cemented in behind Victor, at left, Noe sets up the corner post, making it plumb, level and six feet away from its neighbor.
Victor mixed and poured the fast-setting concrete while Noe held the metal post in position.
Victor mixed and poured the fast-setting concrete while Noe held the metal post in position.
At the north side of the house, Noe and Victor have already taken out the old cedar fence and gate that had partly rotted away.
At the north side of the house, Noe and Victor have already taken out the old cedar fence and gate that had partly rotted away. The metal post at right will also be demo’d and hauled away.
Noe and Victor discovered old sprinkler lines in front of the house as they dug.
Noe and Victor discovered old sprinkler lines in front of the house as they dug.
They repaired each cut in the sprinkler lines.
They repaired each cut in the sprinkler lines.
Removing several pickets exposed and confirmed the dire condition of the fence after years of little if any maintenance. All the horizontal rails along the back property line were riddled by termites and mud tunnels. There was not much structure left to the wood. The vertical pickets behind the horizontal rail belong to the neighbor's fence, which appears to be newer.
Removing several pickets exposed and confirmed the dire condition of the fence after years of little if any maintenance. All the horizontal rails along the back property line were riddled by termites and mud tunnels. There was not much structure left to the wood. The vertical pickets behind the horizontal rail belong to the neighbor’s fence, which appears to be newer.
Victor used a sawzall to cut away sections of decaying fence. This revealed the metal posts to which the fence was attached. Several of the posts are not vertical and plumb -- they lean akimbo, which explains why the fence was decaying, rotting, bug infested and beginning to topple over on its own.
Victor used a sawzall to cut away sections of decaying fence. This revealed the metal posts to which the fence was attached. Several of the posts are not vertical and plumb — they lean akimbo, which explains why the fence was decaying, rotting, bug infested and beginning to topple over on its own.
A second clear example of termite damage to a fence rail.
A second clear example of termite damage to a fence rail.
The original plan was to leave in place one section of the back fence. It was eight feet tall and appeared to be in better condition that the six-foot-high sections. But ... as Noe and Victor cut away the shorter sections of fence, they revealed the terminal condition of the horizontal rails behind the eight-foot pickets. Steven spoke with Jeff at Austin Bros. to get a price to take out this additional section. Jeff offered to add $100 to the invoice. Steven approved it.
The original plan was to leave in place one section of the back fence about where the gray gravel field behind the garage is located. It was eight feet tall and appeared to be in better condition that the six-foot-high sections. But … as Noe and Victor cut away the shorter sections of fence, they revealed the terminal condition of the horizontal rails behind the eight-foot pickets. Steven spoke with Jeff at Austin Bros. to get a price to take out this additional section. Jeff offered to add $100 to the invoice. Steven approved it.
As the back fence came down, Steven disassembled several sections to save a supply of pickets that he will re-use to repair sections of fence that are not included in this picket. The wood is already faded by time and will match the fence where Steven has to remove broken pickets. Less waste. No additional cost for new materials that don't match the old.
As the back fence came down, Steven disassembled several sections to save a supply of pickets that he will re-use to repair sections of fence that are not included in this picket. The wood is already faded by time and will match the fence where Steven has to remove broken pickets. Less waste. No additional cost for new materials that don’t match the old.
Share. Link. Like.