Vinyl fencing can add a nice decorative touch to any lawn or landscaping and its installation is not difficult. White vinyl picket fencing is most pleasing to the eye and reminds people of the days when people took pride and showed off their beautiful yards with a picket fence and gate. Follow these instructions on how to install vinyl fencing to achieve your own special front yard.
Things You Will Need:
- Sketch grid pad and pencil
- One or two persons as helpers
- Vinyl picket fence panels, posts, rail connection kits, post caps with manufacturer instructions
- Bags of builders sand and gravel mix
- Bags of concrete mix
- Post hole digger or Power auger
- Line level and line
- Steel measuring tape
- 48" box level
- Post levels
- Power screwdriver and drill
- Hammer or mallet
- Plastic or wood tent stakes
- Scrap 2 x 4 material & nails
- Water and hose
- 6 ft. piece or reinforcing steel rod, 1/2 inch diameter
- Work gloves and goggles
- Wheel barrow or garden cart
- Garden hoe or rake
Sketch total fence layout to scale. Plan and design your DIY home improvement fence project and measure length of fencing. Record on sketch grid pad the center to center locations for each fence post including corners. Make a copy and take to home improvement store or fence store to purchase vinyl fence and installation materials.
Create a layout and work area on a garage driveway or a flat, level plot near fence location. Hook up water hose with reach to all proposed fence hole locations. Layout all fence parts and things needed.
Hammer plastic or wood tent stake at each fence post location including corners. Use steel measuring tape and level line to make string line for full run of a fence side. Then drive stakes at each post location along side the level line. Measure carefully so that the dimension between each post is exactly 96-inches or as stated in manufacturer instructions. This is critical so the posts are spaced properly to receive the fence panels (fence panels are already assembled as pickets attached to top and bottom rails which are secured to the vinyl fence posts).
Dig all fence post locations at measured locations along the level line. Use post hole digger or power auger. Make depth of hole deep enough so that four or five feet (whatever above ground height of fence you desire and per manufacturer instructions). Dig all holes to the same depth. Hint: Note dimensions at each fence post from ground to your level line to see how much additional or less depth is required at each post if your ground is not level. Manufacturer instructions will show you what to do to stagger fence height if you have steeply sloping ground. Save sod and soil from post hole digging to fill around each post later. See typical fence panel below.
Place sand and gravel mix in bottom of each hole, about 6 inches. This is to help water drain at bottom of hole. Note: It is not necessary to use wood posts in holes first. Hollow vinyl fence posts are sufficient to erect fence.
Work with one fence post at a time and place hollow vinyl fence posts into each hole and push down and move side to side, This allows hollow post to set in gravel mix. Check each post with box level and check height. Don't worry if you are shot dimension off with heights of posts, you can cut any posts after they set and before you put on post caps. The leveling and straightening is the most critical so panels will fit properly between each post. If necessary, use 2 by 4 wood stakes nailed together at angles to level and straighten posts. Use post levels at top of post and 4 foot box level vertically to check post level.
When all fence posts are in holes, pour dry bagged concrete mix in each hole. Water and tamp with the steel rod as you fill the hole in and up beside the vinyl fence post to just below grass sod. It is not necessary to fill the vinyl fence post inside. You will put builders gravel from bags inside each post later. Again, work one post at a time and continuously check post levels and adjust stakes if necessary. Let each concrete filled post hole set for minimum of 24 hours.
Install fence panels after posts have set in concrete. Remove any wood stakes at posts. Start at one end and run a level line similar to what you did for ground locations. Run the line at the top of each post so it can serve as a straight and level line to install fence picket panels. Use the line level as necessary to check for horizontal line level.
Start at one end of fence and erect picket panels to each fence post. Use helper to hold panels to mark location of rail supports. Mark with pencil, then use power drill and screwdriver to attach rail supports. Check levels against level line and with 4 foot box level. Repeat for each panel installation until all panels are secure. Hint: Do not fasten rail supports tight, level and adjust and tighten when all four support brackets have been installed. Insure that each picket panel and its rails are tight to posts before moving to next fence panel installation.
Check height of each fence post and cut posts after all fence panels are installed. Measure and cut down tops of posts to a level line if necessary with hand saw. Measure and check posts level carefully.
Hand-fill all vinyl fence posts with builders gravel at least 12 to 24 inches inside each hollow post. Check fill dimension with a mark or a measured stick or the steel tamping rebar.
Glue fence post caps with PVC glue provided with fence panels. Follow fence manufacturer instructions.
Clean base of each fence post location with garden hoe or rake. Place a small amount of hole soil and sod around each fence post. Water slightly to insure re-growth of sod.
Wash off white vinyl picket fencing with spray from hose.
Tips and Warnings:
- Do sketch your fence plan as you would any other home improvement project.
- Study your fence layout and lawn and landscaping before starting.
- Make sure your layout area has enough room for all fence parts and walking around each.
- Keep your fence manufacturer installation instructions handy for easy reference.
- Do not use electrical cord power equipment in rainy weather.
- Use eye goggles and heavy work gloves.
- Get a helper or two, panels are difficult to hold level and work by one person.
- Be careful, concrete sets fast.