Build a Decorative Metal Rebar Fence for Your Home for Less Than Seven Dollars Per Linear Foot
Simple Rebar Metal Can Make Beautiful Fencing For Your Home:
Have you ever dreamed of having an ornamental-steel fence installed around your home? Most visionary home owners have. The wrought-iron fencing that surrounds fine antebellum homes in areas such as the Garden District of New Orleans are known for their beauty and charm. But decorative iron, used or newly manufactured, is a very expensive product for home improvement, and many thousands of dollars would be required to circle even a small home with fencing of this quality.
But before you give in to the restraints of twenty-first-century economics, and purchase galvanized metal like the rest of your neighbors, consider looking into a viable alternative that still offers the durability and artistic lines of wrought iron. I am talking about concrete rebar steel. Although this product is specifically made to be buried within the carcass of a concrete slab, I have found rebar to be a very adaptable material that can be used in art sculpture, wood joinery, and even fence construction. With sufficient skill and effort, the rebar fence can appear identical to other forms of ornamental iron fencing.
Rebar is sold in many different sizes for contractors, but your local hardware store will probably stock only two diameters of the steel. Usually, the big-box stores will carry an ample supply of rebar that is ten-feet long and one-half inch in diameter. This is the perfect size for building custom rebar fencing. This material is basically rolled steel at a poor-man's price, and with a little sweat equity, one can bend and weld this material into the various components that are necessary to construct a decorative metal fence.
While the materials for an ornamental iron fence will cost you between twenty and thirty-dollars per linear foot, you can purchase all the materials needed to construct a basic rebar fence (as illustrated) for about six-dollars a linear foot. Not too bad, huh?
To construct a ten-foot section of the rebar fence shown on this Hubpage, you will need the following materials:
Two four inch by four inch pressure-treated wooden posts (six foot in length)
One or two forty-pound bags of concrete
Eight and one-half pieces of ten-foot rebar (half-inch diameter or larger)
One-half a box of welding rods
One tube of silicone sealant
Super Easy Design:
The design of the fence is simple. Three ten-foot sections of rebar are used as horizontal support rods. The remaining rebar sections are cut into sections of five feet, and they are used for the vertical pieces (eleven are needed for each ten-feet section of the fence illustrated). If more rigidity is desired, just shorten the length of the sections and add more horizontal support rods. Be sure to leave at least five or six inches of horizontal rebar exposed (not jointed) at each end of the fence section.
The Simple Beauty of Wood and Steel
Welding Skills Needed:
One could join the rebar using any number of joinery techniques, but most of these will be time consuming and expensive. The best solution is to simply spot weld the joints together at all intersecting points. This can be done with an inexpensive welder using low voltage and small diameter welding rods. Once the joinery is completed and the section fabricated, the rebar is mounted to the wooden fence posts by inserting the horizontal rebar rods into matching half-inch-diameter holes that are pre-drilled into the wood. After the rebar is aligned and fitted into the three holes on each post, square and secure the posts verticle and cement them into place. Make sure to seal the half-inch mortise-and-tenon type joints with silicone sealant. This will prevent water from entering the wood at the crevice and causing cracks to develop.
When your new rebar fence is completed and locked into position, the metal can be brush painted the color of your choice with a high-quality, rust-resistant, enamel paint. The wooden posts will also need to be stained and sealed to prevent premature weather damage. This paint and seal process should be repeated every couple of years to help keep your fence strong and beautiful.
As you can see in the attached photographs, cone-shaped caps were made for the wooden posts and secured to the top with a professional adhesive product. Although the effect is aesthetically pleasing, this addition also performs a utilitarian function in protecting the top wood grain from exposure to rain and sun.
This fence is a very basic concept of what can be done when designing a rebar fence, but the design should provide a handyman, or handywoman, a good place to start in customizing their own designs. A skilled craftsman could bend any number of decorative shapes into this pliable metal and still assemble it into a piece that is uniquely functional for their personal requirements. The craftsman will also find that there is no need to return to the hardware store for expensive joint and hinge materials when building entrance gates. All of these items can be fabricated with metal tubing and various scrap metal items.
One Size Does Not Fit All:
Please understand that this fence is not designed to keep animals from leaving or entering one's yard, and it is not exceptionally difficult for someone to climb over the top rail of this metal fence. It was not designed nor built with security as an overriding concern. Nonetheless, the design can be modified to meet such requirements with only a moderate cost increase. Just use your imagination to create a functional design, and all things are possible with these economical building materials.