Installing a Fence on a Sloped Site

Project: Basement Finishing and Family Space, Episode 7, Part 1

Back in Melrose, MA, Bob is outside for the installation of a white cedar fence that is racked to accommodate the sloping lot. The posts are sunk 36 inches into the ground, or one third the overall height of the fence, backfilled with dirt, then set with concrete for stability. The concrete is set outside the dirt packing so that water does not trap against the posts. The fence has its clear or beauty side facing out toward side neighbors, but facing in toward the yard in the back. The fence is built with wing walls to create adjacent mini sheds for gardening supplies, garbage, or backyard toys. Inside, Moynihan Lumber has adapted a Therma-Tru flush fiberglass door to fit the style and door opening from the basement to the yard. A new half-bath is installed with plumbing, wiring, and a macerating toilet to liquefy and expel waste from belowground fixtures. A tile floor is laid in the new laundry and bath with set-in electric radiant mats underneath for programmable warm floors. Fiberglass-faced wallboard is installed to keep the basement mold-free. It can be finished just like blue board with taping or a traditional plaster veneer.

Part 1: Installing a Fence on a Sloped Site

Bob talks with Jay Triandafilou from Architectural Fence Plus about the fencing installed on the side and backyard of the home in Melrose. The fencing was built using white cedar, a strong and long-lasting wood. The fence posts were installed using a concrete mix, which can promote rot if done incorrectly. Triandafilou explains that the base of the posts were placed into a 36- inch hole. Six inches of dirt were put into the hole and concrete was then added. This method does not create a total seal and allows water to pass through the dirt, between the wood and the concrete. The concrete provides stiffness and stability for the fence posts. The post should not be totally encased in the concrete. The fence on the side of the home has three stalls, which will provide space for a shed, a planting area, and a place to keep trash. In the backyard, there was an existing chain-link fence that needed to be taken down. The land was rocky, which made digging the 36-inch holes for the fence posts difficult. When placing fence posts, a good rule is one third of the post should be placed below ground and two thirds above. Triandafilou explains that the area where the fence was installed is a sloped site, which posed some challenges. Triandafilou and his team made the fence sections off site, but in some cases the board sections were created on site to accomodate the slope. A finished cap was added to the top of the fence to keep out rain. The top of the fence was cut to allow this cap to be installed. Triandafilou explains the "clean side" of the fence (the face without the horizontal rails ) was put in place facing the neighbors. In the back of the house, the clean side was installed facing the home.

Part 2: Cutting an Exterior Door to Fit
Part 3: Installing a Basement Half-Bathroom