All of the steel panels are up and we’re 86.67% (that’s math) done with our fence. I know you spent the majority of your weekend worrying about the work we did during our weekend, so I thought I’d end the suspense and let you know that we survived installing nearly 5 tons of steel in our yard. This will be a great overview of the trials and tribulations of installation and we’ll be back with a full Pinterest-able “How to Install the Coolest Fence You’ve Ever Seen… EVER” in the next post.
First, let’s take a look at what we were working with. These pictures are pre “Starting the Yard” but just imagine this space with a bit more grass. The fence line is pretty obvious thanks to some contractor installed posts and cross-beams. I worked from home one of the days the guys dug out the post holes, and I can confidently tell you that it was worth every penny after listening to them chisel their way through our lot, which back in the day sported an entire brick house – most of which (not literally) has been buried in the yard following its demolition.
I’ll leave most of the details for the next post, but we needed this fence skeleton before we could order the cut-to-order steel panels, which arrived a little bit earlier than expected.
Once we had the panels and the lift (which we didn’t want to keep for more than a week because, $$!!) it was on like Donkey Kong. Aaron started hanging panels on Thursday and made it through 5 (including the front gate) with only one MAJOR hiccup. The steel company made the 8′ panels, which make up the majority of the long run on the side of our building, 1/2″ too long. That really adds up over 100 plus feet… and would definitely come back to bite us. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
On Friday, I got my first glimpse of rigging panels. Let me tell you that the sound of these panels going from horizontal to vertical while clicking down chains is one of the most terrifying renovation sounds. Seriously. No sarcasm. I wish I would have recorded it for you… maybe next time we install a steel fence (ok, that was sarcastic).
Once the panel was up, Aaron used the super mega lift to drive it into place. He worked at a grocery store during high school. This experience has yielded at least 3 benefits to our adult life.
1. He knows where everything is in a grocery store. This was immeasurably helpful as a new wife/novice cook.
2. He is a pro at choosing perfect produce and meat.
3. He is surgical with a forklift. Seriously, that man can work a forklift like woah.
Once the panel was set and level, there was a lot of drilling and screwing. (Get your mind of out of the gutter.)
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Friday’s goal: 10 panels
Friday’s tally: 9 panels
The 1/2″ extra on each 8′ panel caused a major slow down mid-day when Aaron had to run to Home Depot for more fence posts.
Feeling: Pretty good
Saturday dawned with ambitious plans. We knew if we finished the rest of the 12 panels we could have Sunday totally off. We dove in with the most intimidating pieces – the big ones that run along the carport (i.e. heaviest) (i.e. if s$#it goes wrong we have NO plan B because they can’t be lifted by people). Things went immediately from “we got this” to “HOLY S%^T” when the chain on the first panel shifted and the whole thing went cockeyed. To make matters worse, Aaron had to drive through a ditch in the front part of the side lot. During the drive, I literally tried not to puke and thanked physics for things like “friction”… and grabbed this pic with my iPhone. Scary stuff.
Thankfully, the panel stayed aloft. We set it and the second one without taking down the carport. Totally winning.
Back on the other side of the yard, we tackled mostly custom cut pieces, including 2 that required hand lifting. Yep, you read that right. At one point we donned furniture moving straps and carried panels weighing 325 pounds each.
In related news, I realized why Aaron married me: “cheerleader legs” and their utility in major renovation. I’m stronger than I look 😉
At some point, the 8′ 1/2″ panels came back to bite us and we realized that we would be 2 extra posts short and therefore unable to place the last panel. Sunday = not totally free.
In related news, my hatred of the mulberry tree is in full force because of this:
Saturday’s goal: 12 panels
Saturday’s tally: 11 panels
Stupid extra 1/2″
Feeling: Very tired and ready to be done
Sunday started with a trip to Home Depot and then we donned work clothes for ONE MORE PANEL. ONE MORE PANEL! (Yes, at this point I was making up chants to
keep us going entertain myself)
Aaron drove the panel as close as possible and then we carried it into place. Yep, one more panel that sits behind a tree/power pole. This one had the added bonus of being in a particularly humid, jungle-like area of our yard that was watered all night by some summer storms. So we slipped our way through mud and got it set. While Aaron drilled in the first screw, the weather kindly decided that all the tools we pulled out needed a little cleaning. Thankfully, the shower passed quickly and we finished screwing the panel into place. We were done after a quick clean up, but the story isn’t quite over.
In the final Home Depot trip, Aaron grabbed mint and basil plants per my request. Having successfully completed our major work for the day (and being covered in a combination of mud and carbon dust) I thought it was the perfect time to get those plants in a planter. I started to say as much to Aaron when out of nowhere lighting struck our building right above our head.
Yep…. you read that right. A bolt of lightening struck our building and Aaron almost threw me into the firehouse before checking to make sure that nothing was on fire. It was an… interesting way to end our outdoor time…
So let’s take a look at the results!
Oh, yeah, let’s talk about the holes. We left a few panels in the rear of the property open. We’re planning to cover our carport and these panels in wood slats (hence the 86.67% done). More on that later.
We need to go back and cut those posts below the fence line along with a few other things that Aaron will explain in the next post.
Bottom line: It was worth it and it looks great… but it’s not done. It’s weathering steel so we’re eagerly watching the panels each day to see the transformation. The solo Sunday panel got a good deal of rain while it waited for installation. So here’s a preview of where we’re heading. We’ll bring you a full post when the rust totally sets in.
So, who wants to vote? Are we crazy or visionaries?