7 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Farm Fence

7 Fencing Mistakes

Are you thinking about building a fence?  Be sure you don’t make the following mistakes or learn how to fix some common problems you might have with your own fence.

Fencing Mistake #1 –  Too much slack in the fence material.

Tension a sagging fence

Use a part of pliers to bend the links in the same direction. Complete as many columns as needed until the fence is tight again.

Too much slack is hard to fix once the fencing has been stapled in place.  For this reason, it is best to properly tension the fence the first time.  The professional tool would be a woven wire stretcher.  You can also use two 2×4’s the height of your fence with bolts sandwiching the end of the fence together as  puller.  You can create the tension with ratchet straps too.

Lets say you goofed like I did my first time.  For welded wire, there is an acceptable plan be as shown in the picture.  Use pliers to put bends in each section to make an artificial tension.

Fencing Mistake #2 –  Using Screw type gate hinges

Most gates come with a set of hinges similar to these.  They are simple to use hinges – drill a hole and screw into the hole.  However!  The screw type hinges require you to take off your gate if you need to adjust it for sagging.  Your gate will sag through the seasons.

I adjust for gate sag about 2 times per year.  With the proper hinges, adjusting is almost fun (actually I do enjoy it).  For any gate that is more than a few feet wide, you will want to use only bolt style gate hinges.  Here they are in a variety of lengths for different width posts, 6″, 8″, 10″, and 12″.   Buy one that is 2″ longer than your bracing post

Bolt style gate hinges also allow you to move the gate closer to or farther from the post itself.  This can be useful when putting a lock on your gate or making smaller gaps.

Fencing Mistake #3 –  Not properly bracing end posts

There is a lot of misinformation out there on fence bracing.  Properly bracing involves a horizontal brace and a diagonal brace.  The whole point of bracing is to put the tension force on the ground (strongest part) of the post next door.  If you skip bracing for end posts or gate posts, you will have a significant amount of sag within a year or two.

Avoid this fencing mistake by learning about proper fence bracing.

Fencing Mistake #4 –  Not setting fence posts properly

Maybe obvious, but posts should be a minimum of 2 feet in the ground.  At only two feet, you should use concrete and tamping techniques. (Learn about tamping fence posts).  At three feet, tamping only will be fine unless it is an end post.

Fencing Mistake #5 –  Using posts too small for the job

It may seem like a good deal to save money on posts, but cheap posts will rot more quickly.  Worse, the posts could bend, twist, or break off at ground level.  A 4×4 post might hold a 14″ drive gate temporarily, but it will fail within a few years.  In short, get decent regular posts and beefy end or brace posts.

Why not use landscape timbers?  That will save lots of money right?  Hah, please know that is sarcasm.  Posts must be treated specifically for “ground contact” or they will rot where they meet the ground.

Fencing Mistake #6 –  Not using a guide line

Even one post out of line or not level is an eyesore.  Set your end posts and tie a piece of twine between them to know where to dig your holes.  Make sure none of your posts push on the twine while you’re working.

Fencing Mistake #7 –  Using the wrong fence staples

I’ll admit, I fell for this fencing mistake the first time.  I wanted to save money so I bought small fencing staples.  Horses and weather soon had knocked out all of the staples . . .

Use at least 1 1/4 inch fencing staples with barbs(here) if you can find them.  Use a hammer to drive them in or . . .

If you have OCD (Obsessive Contraption Disorder), you can buy a pneumatic stapler.


Whether you’re trying to save money or just using what the manufacturer recommended, now you can hopefully avoid these simple fencing mistakes.

Avoid these simple mistakes when building a welded wire fence with or without a gate

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