Fences.  Built to Endure

We build wood fences for clients who are seeking quality.  We offer wood privacy fences, decorative fences, and custom fences.  With quality unmatched by most Red Deer fence builders, our fence designs focus on low maintenance and longevity.

Wood fences, when built to endure our Red Deer climate, cost significantly more than fence designs that do not include frost and rot protection.  We've chosen only to install fencing that can be relied on, and see the higher initial price tag of a well-built fence as inconsequential when the longer expected lifespan and future fence replacement costs are factored in. 

If our ethos matches what you are looking for in a fence contractor, we'd be happy to consult with you about the options available.  Read on for more information about the fence options we offer.

Services we offer as your Red Deer fence builder.

  • Wood privacy fence​.  Built with pressure-treated wood.  Generally 6' tall.

  • Cedar privacy fence.  Built with western red cedar.

  • Custom lattice and decorative fence.  We enjoy collaborating on unique designs.   Cedar, ipe, dark red meranti, yellow balau bangkirai, and red balau batu are available.

  • Arbours.  Custom built to match your fence aesthetic and often incorporated into a gate or entry.

  • Man gates​.  Most versions incorporate stainless steel hardware, including heavy-duty ball bearing hinges.

  • RV or wide access gates.  Our RV gates are built using our unique bracing system that braces against lateral loads and allows the use of padlocks.

  • Stainless steel cable tension braces.   See our in-depth section.

  • Standard set fence post. Generally set to a depth of 6' to 9'.  Wooden sail and anchor included. Set with aggregate, not concrete.  Good frost protection.

  • Premium set fence post. Generally set to a depth of 9'.  Wooden sail and concrete anchors included.  Set with aggregate, not concrete.  Best frost protection.

  • Fence post caps.  These caps protect the end grain of the fence post from the elements and extend the life of the post.  Copper, Black, and Stainless Steel available.

  • Fence wood treatment using Pallmann or Osmo outdoor oil.  Extends the life of the wood by slowing down the speed of moisture movement in and out of the wood by using a micro-porous finish.

Custom Cedar Gate with Stainless Steel Hardware and Magnetic Latch

An in-depth discussion on fence construction in Red Deer

Is fence building is as simple as digging a 3' hole, dropping a post and some concrete in, and then slapping up the rails and boards?  Yes, you will have a fence, but will it last?  Our answer is most likely not.  Let's go through some of the nuances of fence building in a northern climate, like Red Deer.  

Our main objectives when building a fence is for the outcome to be sustainable, cost-efficient over time, and durable.  To meet these objectives, we need to look at what causes fences to fail and potential solutions. 

Fence posts set with concrete.

 

  • When concrete is used to set a fence post, the portion of the post that is encapsulated in concrete is generally saturated with water since there is no drainage.  These high moisture levels are ideal for rot to develop; this is why you will often see fence posts rotted off at the base. 

  • Another common issue that stems from concrete set posts is frost jacking.  A basic explanation of this is that when water in the ground freezes, it expands, causing the soil to do the same.  The process behind this called ice lensing.  The pressure created from forming ice lenses can cause fence posts to be pushed out of their holes. Frost jacking becomes much more likely when a post is set with concrete; concrete does not promote drainage, and the rough texture of the concrete allows the forming ice lense to grab hold of the concrete, causing jacking.

  • When concrete is used to set a fence post, the form the concrete takes when it sets up is final.  When lateral loads on the fence post cause the hole bore to enlarge, the resulting gap between the concrete and the post hole creates a loose fence post.

Fence posts not set deep enough.

 

  • Depth is what gives the fence post the leverage to resist lateral loads above ground, like the force of the wind.  To get a sense of how much a wood privacy fence must endure, imagine holding a sheet of plywood in a windstorm.  Fence posts set two to four feet deep generally cannot resist these types of loads, and will fail slowly over time. 

  • Another issue is with shallow fence posts is that they are more suspectable to frost jacking.  In central Alberta, frost generally goes to a depth of 4' - 6' and has been known to reach 10'.

Binding, sagging fence gates.

  • Gates are especially prone to issues related to poor design.  The number of fence gates built with backwards or incorrect bracing is surprising. 

  • Gates are cantilevered structures, and the gate frame and gate post need to be able to take the stress of gravity day after day, year after year.  Incorrectly built and braced gates can simply not take this stress.   The latch side of the gate will slowly sag, and the gate post will lean in, causing a binding gate.

If you're going to do it right, do it all the way.  Comprised entirely of stainless steel, this cable tension brace will endure.  And epoxy reinforced anchor screws prevents fatigue over time.

Our Solution

Common fence issues, as mentioned above, make for wood fences and gates that do not last and are prone to needing repairs.  To mitigate these problems, we build our fences differently.  Yes, our method costs more upfront.  But when you factor in the cost of repairs and the expected life span, our way becomes the clear choice for a sustainable, cost-efficient, and durable fence.

Fence Posts

Our primary focus when installing fencing is on the fence posts.  We see these as the critical part of your fence – you won't have a fence anymore if the posts fail.   Our solution includes setting posts with gravel or washed aggregate, not concrete.  Gravel allows the moisture to drain around the post, lowering moisture levels and reducing the risk of rot.  Furthermore, better drainage and the omittance of a rough concrete side significantly reduce the risk of frost lenses forming and the subsequent jacking of the fence post.  An additional benefit of a gravel set post is it is much easier to replace than a concrete post when the time comes.

 

The depth of the fence post determines the leverage it has against lateral loads and its ability to resist frost.  We set fence posts between 6' to 9' below grade, with gate posts and corner posts generally set deeper than the rest.  Our addition of "sails" and "anchors" further protects posts against leaning or heaving.  A sail is a piece of PWF plywood the width of the hole and about 1' to 2' tall.  The sail is secured to the fence post just below grade to protect the post from lateral loads.  A post anchor is made from either concrete or PWF plywood and is located near the bottom of the post to protect from uplift caused by frost.  A plywood anchor consists of PWF plywood secured to the base of the post; a concrete anchor consists of concrete poured  6"-8" thick around the base of the post after the post has been positioned.   Anchors must be located well below the frost line, and anchors should have holes bored in them to allow moisture to pass.

Fence Gates

We build fence gates to reduce gate sag and binding.  Our solution relies on proper bracing, both tension and compression type braces.  

We generally build our fence gates with a wood compression brace. When correctly orientated, this starts near the bottom hinge and goes to the top corner of the gate on the latch side.  This angle brace transfers the cantilevered load back towards the post.

Just as important as the gate structure is building the gate hinge post to handle the additional loads from the gate.  So, to give the gate posts the maximum leverage against leaning, we will set them as far as 9' below grade.  The use of a sail and a concrete anchor further adds to the post's ability to resist lateral loads.  Though, even this is not always enough, especially with heavy or extra wide gates like that for an RV.   The issue is that while the post below grade will remain in its original position, the portion above ground will slowly warp.  To address this warpage, we use cable tension braces attached opposite the top gate hinge and run to the base of the next post in the fence line.  The included turnbuckle adjusts the cable brace, giving the gate some adjustability after it is built.

If you've made it this far, you are clearly interested in what it takes to build a fence to endure.  And, whether you decide to use us to build your next fence or not, we trust this information will help you make an informed choice when you choose a fence builder in Red Deer.

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Planning a project?  We'd be happy to be involved.  Use our contact form to get started.

Call or text 587-370-3767

General inquiries can be directed to info@ardentcontracting.ca

We are open (available) Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 19:00 and Saturday from 09:00 to 17:00

We are located in Red Deer, Alberta and service Central Alberta communities; including, Sylvan Lake, Lacombe, Innisfail, Blackfalds, Penhold, Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Bowden, Rimbey, and Ponoka.

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