When we discussed the benefits of aluminum fencing a few weeks ago, we got so caught up in the product’s durability, beauty, and lack of maintenance that we forgot to mention one of its most important benefits: easy installation! So if you choose to have your aluminum fence installed by professionals, you will find that the price is cheaper than it would have been for wrought iron or wood. And if you learn how to install aluminum fencing yourself, you might be surprised at how simple it is. Of course the process will vary depending on the fencing product you purchase, but today we’re going to teach you the basics of how to install aluminum fencing.
How to Install Aluminum Fencing
1. PLAN. First, before you start digging, you will need to research the project. This includes reviewing local zoning laws, talking to your neighbors, and checking the exact boundaries of your property. Ask yourself all of these questions (and if a problem arises, fix it!):
- Will the fence be located entirely on your property?
- Will it interfere with your utility lines?
- Will your neighbors contest its location?
- Are your neighbors willing to split the cost?
- Will it conflict with any easements in your deed?
- Will it go against local zoning laws or fencing codes?
- Will your neighborhood association contest its style or location?
- Will you need to apply for a building permit?
2. LAYOUT. Before you learn how to install aluminum fencing, you will need to create a plan for your fence. Measure it using stakes from beginning to end, including corners and gates, creating a preliminary outline around your yard. Tie a string tautly between the corner stakes to define the line where the posts will be located. Check that all of the stakes touch the string, so that you can be sure the posts will be in line.
3. GATHER. Next, gather your materials. In addition to your aluminum fencing products, you will probably need (1) a post hole digger or auger, (2) gravel, (3) a level, (4) a screw driver, (5) a shovel, (6) a rubber mallet, (7) concrete mix, (8) a wheelbarrow, and (9) a hacksaw. If you don’t own an auger (and you would prefer not to use a post hole digger), you can rent one.
4. SLOPE. If you will be tackling a slope, you can either choose to rake (i.e., slant) or stair-step the fencing panels. Most homeowners prefer a raked fence, because it creates a uniform space under the fence without any major gaps. This is especially important if you have dogs or children that you would like to keep inside the fence. To decide which type of sloping you can use, measure the slope on the steepest six-foot section. If it is less than 12 inches, you can likely rake it. If it is greater than 12 inches, you will probably need to stair-step the panels using end posts instead of line posts. Review your fencing product’s instructions for more information.
5. CALL. A few days before you begin digging, call 811 (a federally designated call) to ensure that you won’t accidentally hit a utility line buried beneath the surface. The operator will call local utility companies, who will send locators to the dig site to mark the location of buried lines. This simple step can help you avoid injuries, fines, and neighborhood-wide utility service outages.
6. DIG. After that, line up your fencing pieces along the string outline you’ve created, to check that your measurements are on point. Then, you can start digging. Using your post hole digger or auger, dig the holes using both your planned layout and the manufacturer’s directions (they will specify the depth and diameter of hole needed). The holes should be wider at the bottom than the top to provide stability for the posts. Fill each post hole with about 6 inches of gravel for water drainage.
7. SET. Then, set the gate posts, end posts, and corner posts into the correct holes. Check that they are at the proper depth before you continue. Prepare your concrete mix and pour it into the hole. This will strengthen the post, anchoring it to the ground and creating a solid and stable base. The concrete should nearly fill the hole (leave about 2-4 inches at the top). Check that the post is level and adjust as needed. Then, wait for the concrete to dry completely before you continue the installation process (note: this may take a few days). When the concrete is dry, fill the remaining portion of the hole with dirt and pack it down.
8. FINISH. Once all of your gate posts, end posts, and corner posts are in place, you can work on your line posts and attach the sections. Starting at an end, dig your holes using the measurements provided with your fencing materials. Slide a fence section into place and then slide a line post onto the end. Anchor the line post using concrete and remember to check the leveling. Continue this process, moving from section to line post, section to line post, etc. Secure the sections with screws, as directed. If you need to cut one of the sections to fit, use a hacksaw. When the entire fence is in place, install the gate using the manufacturer’s instructions.
That’s it! You’ve just learned how to install aluminum fencing. Easy enough, right? The most important things to remember are to constantly check your angles/levels and always follow the manufacturer’s directions and recommendations. As we mentioned before, learning how to install aluminum fencing will vary based on the product you’ve chosen. Use our tips as a guideline, but follow the product instructions precisely.
Finally, if you’re in the market for aluminum fencing, MMC Fencing & Railing can help. Explore our CourtYard Aluminum Fencing, which carries residential, commercial, and industrial grades as well as large entry gates. Each of these fencing families offers a lifetime-limited warranty and is proudly made in the USA. From custom-designed gates to arched-picket designs, you are sure to find a style that complements your space. For more information, please give us a call at 1-866-931-5002 or click here to request a personalized quote.