A fence brace is much like the foundation of a house in that it provides security from heavy winds and storms. The great news is that because it makes your fence stronger and more impervious to the elements, you'll most likely need less fence repairs down the road. And installation is simple when executed with the right tools.
It's important to note that there are many types of wooden fence braces, such as H brace, the "deadman" brace and the angle brace – all sturdy and not much of an eyesore to boot.
Positioning the Posts
First, establish the distance of your fence posts. They normally run around 6 to 8 feet apart, but that depends on factors, such as the type of fence and terrain. Next, establish corner posts and where they will be situated. Mark the position where each post will be installed. You can use a stick to make the markings. Finally, install the fence posts, burying 1/3 of their length in the dirt.
Holes for a Better Hold
Use a digger to make the post holes. Before burying the posts, it's best to have them treated with a wood preservative. You can saturate the post by having it soak in a preservative overnight. For a stronger foundation, fill the bottom of the hole with three shovels of gravel and fill it with concrete or dirt.
The Angle Brace
After making sure that each post is properly aligned, brace your post with stakes (metal spikes). Nail them across the bottom at a 45-degree angle using a rubber mallet or sledgehammer to secure the stake into the ground. You can use a spike fixing tool to make this task easier and to protect the top of the metal spike from becoming misshapen. Insert a 4 inch by 4 inch piece of wood, with the top at an angle of 30 degrees, into the metal spike. Screw a "U" metal bracket onto the 4 inch by 4 inch piece and attach a piece of wood (4 inch by 4 inch and any length) that will be placed at an angle from the spike to the post. Secure the bottom end with 3-inch screws and the top end, on the fence, with 4-inch screws.
The H Brace
For an H brace, first select the location of the corner of your fence, dig a hole and place the post in the hole, making sure it's on straight. Dig a hole about 8 inches away from the corner post and place the "upright" in this hole. Set brace pins by drilling a horizontal hole in the upright, about 12 inches from the top. Repeat this step on the corner post and place pins in the holes. Cut your "H" brace to fit directly between the post and upright. Drill a hole on either side of the "H" brace to fit into the pins on either side.
The "Deadman" Brace
The "deadman" brace is composed of an end post that's buried at least 4 feet in the ground as well as a 4-foot post buried just under the surface perpendicular to the bottom of the end post.
Caroline is a writer from NYC. Her writing has appeared in L.A. Weekly, Elle.com, New York Magazine, Marie Claire and The Huffington Post. She produces content on women's health/wellness, design/DIY and business for companies such as Meredith Corporation, Leaf Group and the business school, Hautes Études Commercials Paris. She's a former Production Associate and blogger at Show of Force, the production company behind Nicholas Kristof's and Sheryl WuDunn's, Half the Sky.