My corrugated metal fences (ceiling tiles and corrugated steel) are finished! I’ve dreamt about building one of many fancy metal fences I’ve seen before we even bought this house 3 years ago, so at long last– it’s a reality. Out of my head and into the real world.
And the south side of the house with a plain corrugated gate. The rest of the fence, on the other 3 sides of the property, will be corrugated between wooden posts and look a lot like this, but not galvanized, although that part hasn’t been finished yet.
It was really hard to get a good picture of the raw ceiling tiles, they are so reflective especially in the sunlight. Here they are all laid out on the front lawn, ready to be painted.
I used house paint, the colors of the front door, shutters and garage door among others colors I had (leftover from other house projects) and spray paint to put a base layer on the tin tiles. Once the base layer was dry, I rollered other colors over that to make the detailed relief patterns stand out.
Building the fence was a bit of a puzzle, without a pattern or instructions, I had to make it up as I went along. What you can see here are the gates being pieced together. I used pressure treated 2×4’s to match the 4×4 fence posts. Within the gates and fence panels, all of the horizontal beams run the full width of the panel (secured with metal building brackets) and the vertical wood pieces are shorties placed between the horizontal sections.
Here are a few tiles painted and already in place. Instead of measuring for width and height of the individual square sections with a tape measure, I measured with an actual ceiling tile held in place, these tiles are 24″ square and conveniently very lightweight.
Here are the gates, on their hinges and ready for the squares to be filled.
And the other side coming together. All of the tin went in first and the corrugated sections I put in last. The short sections (smaller than the full 24″ square tiles) were cut with tin snips and bent to size. Really very simple- the tin was thin enough it was very easy to cut and bend.
Working in the cold weather actually worked out well, much better than the heat of summer, especially when it came time to cut the corrugated metal.
I was very nervous to cut the metal, having lots of previous experience with wood working but very little with metal working, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I asked around for advice and tips, got a metal cutting blade for my circular saw, covered up every inch of skin and took a deep breath.
A bit intimidating at first- to see sparks flying everywhere- but the preparations paid off and it was easier than I’d initially thought. Tip: stock up on saw blades, I went through 4 metal cutting blades, which quickly wear down into nubs, just in making this relatively small project.
Putting the panels in place, I randomly switched between vertical and horizontal placement for the corrugated sections. Luckily, I had the foresight to purchase tin snips that cut 22 gauge metal (exactly the gauge of the corrugated here). It was convenient to be able to trim corners here and there for easier fitting.
To connect the corrugated metal to the wood, I used these smaller L brackets and small bolts and nuts to secure each section into place. I secured each panel in two places and then all 4 corners on the corrugated sections of the gates.
The metal building brackets I used to connect all of the 2×4’s look like this. I chose them because they were the simplest (and cheapest) building bracket I could find that fit the scenario. The metal brackets are about 3″ wide, I mounted them closest to the back of the fence so they be less in the way of the metal sections and less visible from the front.
This is what a drop in ceiling tile edge looks like from the front. You can see the extra material nicely provided on the edges of drop in type ceiling tiles.
With a bit of bending with needle nose pliers those section can be flattened out and used to secure the tiles in place by providing about an inch of material to screw through.
The brackets here and there definitely give it an industrial look, but I think the process evident aspect adds to the charm.
Here is what the back of the gates look like, a good view of the raw tin. I didn’t even occur to me to worry about what the back would look like. I think it’s kinda of a two-fer have it look funky from both sides. The naked tin is very reflective in bright sunlight and I think I’ll paint the back like I did the front sides, in the spring.
I went a little crazy on the hardware trying to make my gates the squarest, non-saggyest gates ever. So far- I’m very disappointed in the wheels from Home Depot, there isn’t enough travel to keep them on the ground when the gates are all the way open and then they bump against the wood when they are all the way closed and won’t even roll which leads to a lot of forcing which I do not appreciate. Also, I realize my gate tension system is backwards, I did this on purpose because the wood was beginning to bend forward at the top of one of the gates and I had to nip it in the bud. I think I will add another to criss cross (the right way) for actual support.
Here is the back of the fence on the other side of the house, and our grow boxes all ready for spring.
I loved sharing this project with you! If you have any questions or comments, need details or encouragement please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to help.
To view the next phase of construction look here.
To view the fence and rusting process a year later look here.