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An old saying claims, “good fences make good neighbors.” That may be true, but good fences also provide better security, privacy, and can add aesthetic value to a property. Fence building can be time-consuming and costly, which gives all the more reason you want a fence to be durable and long-lasting. Before you get started, carefully consider these four main areas encompassing the fence building process: planning, designing, material selection and assembly.
Four Important Steps for Building the Perfect Fence:
Planning: Before you start to build, you'll need a plan. Familiarize yourself with local building code, ordinances, and HOA policies if applicable, before purchasing materials or hiring a fencing contractor. Be sure your plans also account for any underground utilities or invisible fences, to prevent damage and costly repairs to these fixtures. Have your property line surveyed, to make sure your fence is indeed YOUR fence. The planning phase typically goes tandem with design, as in many ways, each step relies on the other.
Designing Your Fence: Technically part of the planning phase, designing your fence can be stressful if you don't know what type of fencing you want. Consider your original intent for installing a fence. Is it for privacy, are you looking to confine a pet, or is there some other reason? A privacy fence is typically at least six feet tall, with minimal spacing between boards. Privacy fences can also serve as good pet fences, but may be more than you technically need - depending on the size of your pet. On the other hand, farming and livestock fences are completely different in form and function, but serve an important purpose too. Whatever the intended function of your fence, always design for the terrain you'll be building it on.
Selecting Materials: When it comes to material selection, we don't recommend cutting corners to save cost. Fencing is expensive enough to install on its own - you don't want to do it twice. For wood, use a species of treated lumber that ages well in your region. For wire fencing, make sure the metal is galvanized or coated to prevent rust and corrosion.
The same rules apply for fencing fasteners, regardless of whether it's a nail, Scrail, screw or staple. For wire fencing to wood, we recommend one of Fasco's fence stapling systems. For traditional wood, or composite fence boards, consider using a Fasco Scrail, as it offers the versatility of a framing nail, but features the added holding strength produced by the thread of a screw. In damp or coastal regions, you may even opt for stainless steel Scrails, to further guarantee no rust and corrosion developing over time.
Building Your Fence: The big day is here, it's finally time to build. Keep in mind, a well-built fence can last 20+ years with proper maintenance. The fence building process is typically divided into three or four steps, depending on the type of fence being built. For this article, we'll primarily focus on the three main steps to build the fence's framework.
The first step in building your perfect fence, mark the location for each fence post. The general rule is to space your fence posts between six and eight feet, but different terrain or design parameters may dictate differently. Always start with your corner(s), or end post.
Once the area has been marked, the posts are ready to be set. Keep in mind, setting each fence post (especially corner, end and load bearing posts) involves burying at least one-third of the post's total length in the ground, so be sure to treat the bottom portion of each post with a wood preservative before burying. Using a post hole digger, dig a straight hole to your desired depth, and line the bottom of the hole with gravel to help with drainage. You can use a level to ensure the posts are straight and aligned. Brace the post with either cement, dirt or some other holding material, and allow each post to settle for two or three days before adding the rest of the fence.
After your posts have properly settled into the ground, you're now able to begin adding rails. Your top and bottom rails will always go first, followed by any remaining rails - or a cross frame for certain privacy fences. Rails are added by simply nailing them to the posts (typically with a fencing nail gun), attaching with a bracket or block, or by cutting a grove for the rail. It's important to ensure the top and bottom rails are always attached the same distance apart on each post. After measuring and positioning the first section, cut a measuring stick that equals the distance between these rails. You can use this measuring stick on the rest of the fence to maintain the same measurement on each post. It is also recommended that the bottom rail be placed at least two inches from the ground to reduce the potential for moisture damage. The positioning of any remaining rails ultimately depends on the design selected for your fence - basket weave, picket, vertical or horizontal placement typically covers most fence designs. After all the posts and rails are in place, treat the wood with paint, preservative or weatherproofing for a long-lasting finish.
Need some extra advice? Click here to see Fasco America's full white paper on "Five Important Tips For Building The Perfect Fence," or read more in their "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, But What Makes A Good Fence?" blog article.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
A common question we get this time of year, "what fastener should I use for deck boards?" Most contractors will tell you the short answer, to use a deck screw; but regional conditions and new decking materials may expand - or narrow - the list of suitable fasteners for your deck boards. Take a look at our deck fastener checklist, and learn what options work best for your decking project.
What type of fastener can I use for a traditional wood deck board?
Standard wood decking is pretty versatile in how it can be assembled to the deck frame. The least expensive option for installing deck boards is to use framing nails, though we don't necessarily recommend it. You'll see a lot of builder-grade decks assembled with framing nails, which remains the most efficient method for installation, but can lead to some maintenance headaches down the road. Over time, the nails will start to work themselves out of the wood board, which greatly compromises holding strength - and can even make the deck dangerous to walk across if nails begin to protrude from the surface. For decking boards, we recommend using a deck screw or Scrail. Both the screw and Scrail offer improved holding strength thanks to a threaded shank, which keeps the fastener locked into place - and can be reversed, allowing for easy removal if a board needs to be replaced.
What coating, color or material should I choose for my decking fasteners?
Deck boards come in a variety of materials, colors and sizes. Choosing the right type of fastener is only part of the process, you'll also need to figure out the size and variation of whichever fastener you choose. Collated deck screws are available in several different colors, coatings and materials. If you're installing composite deck boards, we recommend color matching your composite deck screws or BeckDeck Scrails. In some damp or coastal regions, or for decks that are exposed to weather regularly, you may opt for a stainless steel deck screw or Scrail to prevent rusting and corrosion over time. Most standard wood deck screws by Senco or Quik Drive will come with a basic weather guard coating as-is, if you don't opt for something higher end.
Should I use hidden deck fasteners?
A growing trend in designer decking, hidden deck fasteners and hidden deck screws are rapidly increasing in popularity. Hidden deck fasteners are more luxury than necessity, but for high end decks, they may prove worth the extra investment. The beauty to using hidden deck fasteners, you have a clean deck surface with no blemishes or gaps. There are currently a few options available, if you're looking toward a hidden deck fastening solution. For example, Senco offers the Mantis System, which combines elements of a deck screw with the collation of a nail. Senco Mantis Hidden Deck Fasteners are held in place with a clip, which allows the fastener to be driven into the base of a deck board at an angle. CAMO also offers a hidden deck screw system, which eliminates the need for clips, but also installs the deck fastener at a similar angle. Using a hidden fastening system creates even spacing between boards, and leaves the deck surface unblemished. However, a blemish-free deck surface does come at a cost, as hidden fastening systems typically command a higher price and require longer installation time.
How many fasteners do I need for my decking project?
Different fastening systems may require different quantities of fastener to complete your deck. On average, we've found you can complete around 100 square feet of decking with approximately 450 deck screws, using two screws per joist. The true number of deck screws required ultimately depends on the width of your deck facing, and the spacing between your joists. A 3-1/2" face with 12" on center joists will run closer to 700 deck screws for 100 square feet; whereas a 5-1/2" face with 24" on center joists will only require about 225 deck screws per 100 square feet. Knowing your joist spacing and facing width will help narrow the project estimate window tremendously.
Ready to get to work? Feel free to nail a message to our board if you have a question or comment about deck fastening or decking tools.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Senco is taking a big step into uncharted territory, as the company launches its full line of plastic composite finish nails and staples, as well as the tools to run these composite fasteners. A completely new concept for a brand recognized for its steel nails and staples, Senco composite fasteners are 100 percent metal-free, formed from a blend of polymer resin and fiberglass. And, while these collated plastic fasteners may sound secondary compared to their steel and metal counterparts, the reality is quite opposite.
The plastic polymer base for Senco composite fasteners allows these nails and staples to do some pretty neat things - things your average metal fastener can't do. These composite fasteners can be sanded, shaped, and cut without damage to router bits, cutting blades or sanding belts. Senco also claims they offer "superior holding power, excellent processing characteristics, and long-term resistance to chemicals, sunlight, and moisture." A major advantage we see at first look, no rust, corrosion or staining with these plastic nails and staples.
But what about durability and strength?
According to Senco, their composite finish nails hold up to two-times stronger than similar sized steel nails, BUT Senco also notes adhesives will do the heavy lifting after curing. Our take, these fasteners - particularly the composite finish and brad nails - are ideal for holding materials in place while adhesives cure. Even better, the non-metal material can be sanded or cut once the adhesive has completely set; meaning you can either leave them in place without fear of corrosion, or sand them down without damaging your tool.
Other benefits these Senco plastic composite fasteners offer, no clamping set up time or waiting, they eliminate the drudgery of removing problematic fasteners and marring wood surfaces, have zero adverse affect on final product appearance and performance, all while reducing wear on sanding and cutting equipment.
So what exactly are composite fasteners good for?
These plastic fasteners are designed for more than meets the eye. As mentioned before, composite finish nails and staples are perfect for use with woodworking adhesives, to provide a temporary hold until the adhesive cures. Professionals and hobbyists alike benefit from the ability of the fastener to be sanded, shaped and cut. Senco 15 gauge and 18 gauge composite finish nails are also ideal for use with CNC machines for cutting, carving, drilling and machining a variety of materials without damaging router bits and saw blades. Multiple pieces of material can be stacked and attached to the spoil board with composite fasteners, to increase production output.
Senco 15 gauge composite finish nails are perfect for use with Cellular PVC adhesives, to provide a temporary hold until the adhesive cures. Industrial fabricators benefit from the use of composite nails in the production of pergolas, arbors, trellises, custom columns, flower boxes, vents, window trim, copulas and laminations.
You may also find these composite fasteners ideal for lumber tagging. Composite fasteners will not degrade in sunlight, high heat conditions, or cause interference in microwave and RF environments - assuring a long-term, problem-free tagged product.
What tool do you need, to use a Senco composite fastener?
Along with the plastic composite nails and staples, Senco released seven tools, each designed to run collated composite fasteners exclusively. A finish nailer, brad nailer, hammer tacker, squeeze stapler, two 16 gauge air staplers, and a 20 gauge pneumatic stapler to be precise. Remember, you CAN NOT use a regular nailer or stapler for these plastic composite fasteners - the driving power is too strong.
We'll go in-depth with these composite fastening tools in a later post, but for now, here's a list with links below:
Will plastic composite fasteners be the next new thing?
The verdict: too soon to tell. Several competing products from brands such as RAPTOR® and OMER have been available for a while. However, these new Senco composite fasteners may hold two huge advantages over existing composite fastening products. Number one, the name. Senco is a household name in fastening. Adding Senco branding to these products may make the difference, as they make their mainstream debut. Woodworkers and fabricators who have never heard about composite fasteners will suddenly have a plethora of knowledge at their fingertips, as word spreads throughout the fastening industry. Number two, quality. If Senco composite fasteners can withstand the test of time, we should expect to see them around for the long haul.
To reiterate key features and benefits for Senco composite fasteners:
At first glance, Senco composite fasteners look to fill a big gap in the collated fastening marketplace. Would we recommend them, you bet.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Senco Fusion finish nailers have become one of the most recognized cordless pneumatic finish and trim nailers in their class. The Senco Fusion packs innovation, technology and power - all in one handy cordless tool. Find out why you should try Senco Fusion - here on the Nail Gun Network.
If you read up on tools and fasteners, you've seen the Senco Fusion line featured in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Journal of Light Construction, Tools of the Trade, This Old House and many more. A cordless finish nailer recognized for its features, performance and quality, the Senco Fusion stands out.
Want to know what sets the Senco Fusion apart from its competition? Senco Fusion tools feature an 18 volt lithium ion battery, which guarantees longer charge life with less down time. With a quick-charge system in place, you can renew 80 percent of your battery charge in only 15 minutes. Drive up to three nails per second with no waiting, with a battery range up to 500 nails per charge!
Features include a safety time out, precise depth of drive adjustment, bump fire operation, reversible belt hook, and LED work light. Senco cordless design allows access in hard to reach areas without cords or hoses. Snap the battery into place, and you are ready to nail finish and trim woodwork, baseboards, cabinets, paneling and more. The Senco Fusion is available in four different model types, a 15 Gauge Finish Nailer (5N0001N), 16 Gauge Straight Finish Nailer (6U0001N), 16 Gauge Angled Finish Nailer (5P0001N), and 18 Gauge Brad Nailer (6E0001N).
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Hitachi Power Tools introduced a new series of battery-powered cordless, Brushless finish nailers; the NT1850DE 18-Gauge Cordless Brad Nailer, the NT1865DM 16-Gauge Cordless Straight Finish Nailer, and the NT1865DMA 15-Gauge Cordless Angled Finish Nailer. This series combines Hitachi’s reputation for quality with a Lifetime tool warranty.
Lose the air hose, compressor or gas fuel cartridges. These Hitachi cordless finish nailers run exclusively by 3.0Ah compact lithium-ion battery power, delivering comparable energy at roughly half the weight. These batteries are also equipped with Hitachi’s Multiplex Protection Circuit to prevent over-load, over-charge and over-discharge, which further extends the lifetime of the battery.
The cordless nailers in this series also feature Hitachi's Brushless motor technology; for longer run time, less maintenance and increased durability. The driving system features a unique air spring drive system that uses compressed air to drive each nail. This results in zero ramp up time, increased shooting speed, recoil that feels like a pneumatic nailer, quicker response time, better flush driving- even at an angle, and easy maintenance.
The NT1850DE cordless 18-gauge brad nailer accepts a versatile 5/8” to 2” range of 18-gauge brad nails. Tackle trim work, furniture assembly and other finish applications with ease, when using the Hitachi NT1850DE. At only 7.3 lbs, this brad nailer is lightweight, well-balanced, and capable of driving up to 1,650 nails per charge. A visual nail reload indicator located on the magazine turns yellow when nail quantities are getting low, to help prevent blank drives.
The NT1865DM cordless 16-gauge finish nailer runs 1” to 2-1/2” 16-gauge finish nails, making it the perfect choice for installation of molding, chair rails, cabinetry and other finish applications. Capable of driving up to 1,500 nails per charge, and weighing in at only 7.3 lbs, this cordless finish nailer is among the lightest in its class. A dry fire lock-out feature also prevents the Hitachi NT1865DM finish nailer from activation when the nail count is low.
Finally, the NT1865DMA cordless 15-gauge angled finish nailer drives a range of 15-gauge DA type angled finish nails from 1-1/4” to 2-1/2” in length. Not only is the Hitachi NT1865DMA capable of driving up to 1,100 nails per charge, but weighing in at only 7.5 lbs., this cordless finish nailer is also among the lightest in its class. Furthermore, the 34° angle of its magazine allows a user to reach into corners or tight spaces with ease; and an open magazine allows fasteners to be easily viewed, so blank drives can be avoided. As with the 16-gauge model, a dry fire lock-out prevents the NT1865DMA from activation when the nail count is low.
For the contractor, remodeler or weekend warrior seeking a quality cordless finish nailer to deliver convenience and reliable performance, look no further than Hitachi’s all-new cordless, Brushless lithium-ion finish nailers.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot
Learn the basics for cold weather starting a gasoline-powered air compressor by RolAir. Always consult your owner's manual first, and ensure proper procedure before starting. This video features the RolAir 4090HK17, which can be found on Nail Gun Depot.
Learn the basics for cold weather starting an electric-powered air compressor by RolAir. Always consult your owner's manual first, and ensure proper procedure before starting. This video features the RolAir 5715K17, which can be found on Nail Gun Depot.
~The Team At Nail Gun Depot