Vinyl fencing has gained more popularity in the recent times owing to its polished look and durability. The cost of a vinyl fence is indeed more than traditional wooden fences and iron rails. Nevertheless, when you compare the advantages with its price, you will be assured that it is worth to spend the extra bucks on a vinyl fence. Installing a fence is undoubtedly a laborious task, requiring more than one person to assist in. Furthermore, you will be engaged for at least 2-3 days for completing the installation process. Although we encourage you to hire a professional to get it installed, you can still give a try if the project is small and you are keenly interested in doing all by yourself.
Vinyl Fence Styles
Points to Remember
Posts (approximately 4/4 posts for 8 ft panel and 5/5 posts for 6 ft panel) are installed deep into the ground to provide support to the fence. You can call them main posts and terminal posts and they are attached on the sides of the gate and at the end of the fence, respectively. In some fences you will find another set of posts in between the main posts to which fence panels are attached. These posts are called line posts.
The arrangement of rails differs according to the structure of the fence. They run through the posts, are attached on the top and bottom of the fence panels and are also installed in many other ways for the purpose of ornamentation as well as support. The rail hangers act as scaffolds for the fence panels.
A gate (examples 4 inch wide gate and 8 inch wide double drive gate) is not mandatory for a fence. However, the aesthetic beauty of a vinyl fence is enhanced when you install a gate. Installing the gate is complex because lot of mechanics are involved for rendering an accurate alignment. It is attached with the fence after the paneling work is complete.
Choosing a Vinyl Fence
The things that you must consider before buying a vinyl fence are: the fencing area, the purpose of installing the fence and your budget. If you are looking for the best quality of fence, then opt for pure PVC or virgin vinyl. A little cheaper variants are made from recycled plastics, which you can install if your budget is small. Pure vinyl fences are 100% weather resistant and they can withstand UV rays.
Professional grade products are undoubtedly superior than consumer grades. The thickness, height and length of posts are some factors that you must pay attention to. You can compare the features of two or more brands before buying one for your house. Check that the posts are long enough to be supported with the concrete footers. You also require a post filling material, like cement, steel or aluminum.
Choice of posts and panels also depends upon the topology of the ground, slope angle of the fence, height from the ground and raking ability. Clarify these factors with your dealer before purchasing them. Different types of vinyl fences are: solid fencing, shadowbox fencing, privacy style, ornamental style, picket fencing, and post and rail fencing. You can also attach separator clips to the posts if additional support is needed.
Installing a Vinyl Fence
Chalk Out the Plan
You must take the measurements accurately in order to lay the fence properly. Chalk out the ground plan on a graph paper and check if there is enough space for attaching the gate and the panels. Draw the fencing layout on the ground as well. The layout will include post locations, distance between the panels, alignment of the posts and location of the gate. Take help from a professional if you face difficulty in taking measurements. Do not hurry while doing the groundwork, rather think and analyze before implementing the plan.
Dig Post Holes
The next step is digging holes in the ground for erecting the poles. Keep sufficient amount of concrete, cement and gravel ready before you start digging. Make sure that the holes are equidistant to each other and have diameter large enough (at least 10 inches) to hold the posts. The standard measurement is, 1/3rd of the post should go inside the ground and you should dig at least 6 inches more than the standard value to fill the hole with gravel and concrete. You can start digging the holes with a post hole digger after considering these points.
Ensconce the Posts
This is the most important step of the installation process. You have to ensconce the gateposts and main posts firmly into the holes (30 inches deep inside the ground) for better stability of the fence. Fix the end post and the main post first to give a perfect fencing alignment. Make sure that the desired height of the fence panels is not affected after digging the posts. Then pour gravel inside the extra 6 inches that you have left in the holes.
Now fill the holes with concrete (you can opt for a quick-drying variety). Place the posts into the holes and tap them down till they reach the gravel layer. The hollow portion of the post will get automatically stuffed with concrete. Seal the top with the remaining concrete. Check the alignment of the posts immediately after placing (before the concrete dries). Make sure they are uniform, straight and do not appear titled. Leave it overnight for the concrete to dry.
Assemble the Panels
This is the last step of installation wherein you have to attach the rail brackets with the posts. It's easy and all you need to do is follow the guidelines given in the instruction manual for fixing the rails and panels. Attach the rail brackets to the posts and secure with the screws provided with the fencing kit. Now place the panels into the rail brackets and fix the screws once again. Glue the top of the posts to attach stylish tops on them.
Expenses will definitely soar up if you are attaching a gate and adding contemporary accessories to the fence. Opt for a good quality product so that you are relived from the tension of replacing it again and again. I would also suggest you to take necessary advice from a professional fence builder before you take it up as a DIY project.