This article is part of our Fencing Awareness Month brought to you by Bekaert.
A fence is only as strong as it’s fence posts and braces. Constructing reliable and solid braces will not only help your fence last longer but decrease the amount of maintenance and upkeep you’ll have to do. Build your braces correctly and ensure they’re strong at the onset of your project and save yourself time down the road. Let’s take a peek at why a correctly built brace is the backbone of your fencing project.
Prevents Sagging and Leaning:
Fence braces distribute the tension and weight along the fence line, preventing it from sagging or leaning. This is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the fence, especially in areas with heavy winds or where horses might lean on the fence.
Supports High-Tension Areas:
In high-tension areas, like corners, end posts, or where gates are installed, a secure fence brace is essential. It provides the necessary reinforcement to withstand the extra pressure and tension these areas experience.
Reduces Risk of Collapses:
Without proper braces, the fence is more susceptible to collapsing or breaking, potentially causing injury to your beloved horse, or giving your horse an escape route. Secure braces act as strong anchors, which minimizes the risk of accidents.
Ensures Longevity of the Fence:
Over time, fences can weaken due to various factors. Properly constructed braces significantly extend the lifespan of the fence by evenly distributing stress and preventing premature wear and tear.
Enhances Safety for Horses:
A fence with secure braces provides a safe environment for your horse to graze and roam. It minimizes the risk of accidents, injuries, or escapes that can occur with a poorly supported or unstable fence.
Maintains Aesthetic Appeal:
Well-constructed fence braces contribute to the overall appearance of the fencing. They ensure that the fence maintains a neat, uniform, and visually appealing look.
Reduces Maintenance Costs:
A fence with secure braces requires less frequent maintenance and repair. This saves both time and money in the long run, as you won’t have to continually address issues related to sagging or leaning fences.
Provides Peace of Mind:
Knowing that your fence is properly supported with secure braces offers peace of mind for you as a horse owner. Spend more time riding and enjoying your horse, rather than fixing that same old fence for the 100th time.
9 Simple Steps to Build an H-Brace
Step 1: Select Brace Placement
Determine the location for your brace. Braces are typically placed at corners, ends, and gates, where the fence line changes direction.
Step 2: Dig the Holes
Use a post hole digger to dig two holes for the brace posts. The depth should be at least one-third of the length of the post. Measure your materials to know how far apart to dig these holes. One of your posts will be a corner post. One will be a brace post. The corner post is typically a larger diameter than the other brace posts.
Step 3: Plant the Posts
Set the posts in the holes and ensure they are level and straight. Fill the hole with concrete or gravel to secure the post. Tamp it down to eliminate air pockets.
Step 4: Attach the Horizontal Brace
Measure and cut a horizontal brace board or post. This post will go between your corner post and your brace post. Consider what your fencing materials are, and place the horizontal post not too high, nor too low. Nail or screw the horizontal brace to the corner post and brace post.
Step 5: Add Additional Supports
For added stability, consider adding diagonal supports on both sides of the brace post. These supports should run from the top of the corner post to the bottom of the brace post in the opposite direction of the main brace. This can be other posts, or a brace wire (also known as a twitch wire) that will counteract the tension from the fence.
Step 7: Check for Stability
Ensure the brace is securely fastened and there is no wobbling. It should provide strong support to prevent the fence from leaning or sagging.