How to Build a Board-To-Board With Cap for a Privacy Fence


Board-to-board fence is still, by far, the best method for building a quality, long lasting fence, but the added time and expense make it impractical in many cases. The cap trim, or cap and trim style, is a common style that has been in use for decades. It features a narrow horizontal board mounted along the tops of the pickets, capped with a larger board, laid flat on top of the fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood stakes
  • Hammer
  • Mason's twine
  • Tape
  • Post hole digger
  • Posts
  • Concrete
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Treated deck screws
  • Drill
  • Pickets
  • Miter saw
  • 1-by-2 lumber

Building the Frame

  • Drive a stake in at each end of your fence and tie mason's twine tight between them. Measure along the twine and wrap a piece of tape every 8 feet to mark a post position.

  • Dig at each marked spot with a post hole digger. Make the holes 24 inches deep, and 10 to 12 inches across. Stand one 4-by-4 inch, 8-foot-long post in each hole. Pour half a bag of dry concrete in each hole.

  • Start at one end fitting 8-foot-long 2-by-4's between the posts. Mount the first even with the top of the first post, with its outside end flush with the outside of the post. Use two 3-inch treated deck screws to attach it, using a cordless drill.

  • Align the loose end of the 2-by-4 with the top of the second post with its end stopping at the center of the post. Attach it with two 3-inch screws. Add a second board 32 inches below the first and the third 32 inches below that, with their ends positioned as the first, and attach with 3-inch screws.

Leveling the Frame

  • Repeat adding three horizontal "runners" between each post to the end, with the end of the last runner flush with the end of the last post. Butt each runner up to the one before. All joints are made in the center of a post.

  • Add water and mix the concrete in the first hole with a wooden stake, until it is consistency of thick oatmeal. Use a level to adjust the post front to back and side to side. Center the bubble in the indicator.

  • Fill the top of the hole with the dirt and pack it in to hold the post firmly upright. Repeat the mixing, leveling and hole filling with each post.

Pickets and Trim

  • Cut enough picket boards in your choice of width to 6 feet long, using a miter saw, to cover the fence. Stand the first picket flush with the outside ends of the runners and its top flush with the top runner.

  • Attach the picket with two 1 5/8 inch treated deck screws into each runner. Use the thickness of a rafter square as a spacer and stand the next picket up, parallel to the first, screwing it in place in the same way. Continue until the fence is covered.

  • Fit an 8-foot-long 1-by-2 board horizontal with its top edge flush with the tops of the pickets. Screw it every 12 inches. Add full pieces as far as possible, cutting one to fit at the end.

  • Lay a 16-foot-long 2-by-4 along the top, with the front edge overhanging 1 inch. Drive 3-inch screws down through it, into the posts and tops of pickets every 24 inches. Add full pieces as far as possible, cutting one to fit at the end.

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  • "Fences and Gates": Larry Johnston; Meredith Books, 2008
  • "Building Fences and Gates": Richard Freudenberger; Lark Books, 1997
  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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