Residential, Commercial and Industrial Fences: What’s the Difference?

commercial industrial and residental fences
How can you decide which type of metal fencing panels are best for you? Depending on your needs, you can select from residential, commercial or industrial fence panels. Each has its own specifications and uses.

The Basics

Residential aluminum fence panels are perfect for applications around most homes. You can use these panels for yards, gardens or swimming pools, for example.

Pool fencing is subject to specific requirements, depending on local building codes. BOCA-compliant pool fencing requires 45 inches between horizontal rails. Pickets must be spaced at less than 4 inches. The gate must be a minimum of 48 inches high, open away from the pool, and be self-locking. The latch must be 54 inches or more from the ground. Always check with your local authorities for pool fence requirements.

Commercial fence panels are sturdier than residential fencing, and they are made with larger pickets, larger rails and a thicker gauge of material. The panels have bigger pickets and rails than residential fence panels. Each rail has eight metal support ribs for additional strength. These panels are made for retail applications and other high traffic applications. Commercial fence panels also offer added security for swimming pools.

Industrial aluminum fence panels provide the ultimate protection. They are extra strong for security in high-traffic situations. These panels are best for hospitals, schools, large estates, retail centers and storage facilities, to name a few.

The Details

Most residential metal fencing panels have pickets spaced 3-13/16” apart, although some styles have twice the pickets with tighter spacing. Residential fence panels come in various styles. Some have spears atop pickets, while others have a flat top. They are sold in a number of colors, with both flat and semi-gloss finishes, depending on the shade. Several types of finials are available. These are decorative figures that add style to a fence. Rings add another design element at the top of the fence. You can also add scrolls both at the fence’s top and midway up on pickets. Dog panels are popular options that are available with certain styles. These add half-space pickets at the bottom portion of a fence panel to keep your furry friends from squeezing through the fence. A security screen adds the ultimate security. This rust-free screen is attached to a fence panel or gate on a sturdy frame.

A standard commercial fencing panel has pickets at 3-5/8” intervals. This is 3/16” tighter than a residential fence panel. Some styles of commercial fence panels have 1-1/2” picket spacing for extra security. You can order commercial fencing with options similar to those for residential fencing. Affix spears or other finials, for example, to add an additional layer of security to your commercial-grade fence.

Industrial-grade metal fence panels offer the ultimate in security. Pickets typically have intervals of 3-11/16”. These aluminum fence panels help to keep unauthorized individuals where they belong: outside. You can purchase industrial fencing at heights of up to 10 feet. Choose speared tops to form an additional deterrent to entry. You can order custom-made fence panels with double the number of vertical pickets. Industrial fencing fights corrosion and other deleterious effects of weather so you can relax and feel secure. Aluminum fence panels have low density, offering strength and low weight. You can install them yourself with minimal experience, saving your company or organization money.

How to Select the Right Color for Your Aluminum Fence

9 different aluminum fence colorsAluminum fencing comes in a variety of colors. You can select a color to complement your property or define a space. Don’t forget to check with your homeowner’s association if you have one to ensure the fence you choose meets its guidelines. It’s also a good idea to talk to your neighbors if your fence will be shared between your properties.

Tips for Selecting a Fence Color

Look around your property for cues to select the right fence color. You can complement brightly colored flowers with a hunter green aluminum fence. Bronze, khaki or tan match well with earth tones, as does hunter green. The latter color matches superbly with surroundings that feature abundant trees or greenery. Neutral colors can blend in with trees and shrubs to create the illusion of a boundless area, as if the earth and sky blend together without interruption. The other advantage of neutral colors is to set off a landscape feature as a focal point. For example, a brightly colored tree or shrub will easily stand out against a natural color.

Consider a color that contrasts with the surroundings to add some spice to an area. You can get an idea of how this will look by taking a photograph of the area where you will be installing your fence. Print out a few copies and draw fencing in various colors on the photos. That should give you an idea of what might work.

Look at your home or office building for ideas. For example, match its trim with a fence in a similar color to define the space and accent your property. Sandstone, bronze or gold might blend in with the outdoors on a patio or around a back yard.

It’s Hard to Go Wrong with the Basics

You can never fail with basic fence colors such as black or white. If you might be selling your property at some point, you don’t want to make a bold statement that could dissuade a potential buyer. Talk to a realtor in your area for tips on fence colors.

A white aluminum fence can give your property a timeless, classic appeal. It’s not too brash, yet it stands out more than any other color. The white picket fence is an American classic. It’s a perfect color with a traditionally styled home, such as a colonial or a cottage. You can match this color with a white-trimmed house for smashing results. A white fence is fantastic to set off a formal garden, and it has a wonderfully clean look. If it’s too bright, plant some roses or other plants that can weave their way through the fence and soften the colors.

A black aluminum fence conveys a formal look to a property. A black aluminium fence in particular resembles traditional wrought iron fencing. This is a good choice for commercial or industrial applications and security fences. Black blends in with the background more than some colors. This tends to soften the boundary and blend in with the surroundings. A black aluminum fence is particularly appropriate in areas where overcast weather is common. A black fence can set off garden greenery because it is unobtrusive yet bolder than a natural color.

Using Aluminum Fence Panels for Slopes, Stairs and Angles

Aluminum Fence panels can be configured for slight, medium and steep slopes and stairs., and you can accommodate almost any possible angle if you have the right hardware.

Do you need to mount a fence on a sloped surface? That’s not a problem. From a modest slope to a steep hill, you can easily install aluminum fencing to secure your property.

Standard and Racking Fence Panels for Hills or Stairs

You can use standard fence panels on slopes with a rise of 6 inches or less per panel. You can use standard pre-punched posts for corners, ends and lines in this case. Mounts are available to secure your fence to a structure, column, wall, or user-provided wooden posts.

Rackable fence panels can be installed straight or shifted on-site for medium slopes. You should use these when you have a rise that is between 6 and 20 inches per panel. Again, you can use standard posts to connect the fence panels. You can use optional mounts to secure these fence panels to structures, columns, wooden posts and walls.

You will have to use heavy rackable fence panels when dealing with a rise of up to 36 inches per panel. With these panels, you will have to use blank, non-punched posts and vertical swivel mounts. These are sold separately.

Note that rackable fence panels do not accommodate dog panels, nor can they be obtained with ornamental rings at the top. Rackable fence panels are also unavailable in styles 7 or 8, which have 2x pickets with a flat top and spear top, respectively. Also, styles 7 and 8 can only be used with racking of up to about 15 inches per panel and must be stair-stepped on steeper slopes.

Stair-Stepping Fence Panels

You can also stair step aluminum fence on a hill or slope.  The fence panels use a staggered design, which means a panel will fasten to a post at a different height than the adjacent panel. It’s possible to use end posts for this purpose, but it is often preferable to use non-punched posts and punch them out on-site.


Angles and Curves

You can install aluminum fencing to accommodate almost any angles or curves on your property. There are two options depending on the size of the angle.

Use standard, pre-punched posts if you have smaller angles, and be sure to use a line post in this case. You can set a fence panel at an angle of 8 or 10 degrees by turning it to the appropriate angle and attaching it to a standard line or end post. This is equivalent to an angle of up to 170 to 190 degrees in your fence.

Wider angles call for a corner post, which is pre-punched to accept fence panels at right angles. Again, you can move a panel to about 10 degrees out of line, which means a corner post can handle angles of about 80 to 100 degrees.

For other angles, you should use swivel mounts on one or both sides of a post. In extreme cases, swivel mounts on both sides might be necessary. This will allow you make pretty much any degree angle that you need.

It’s Easy to Install Aluminum Fencing In-Ground


With basic skills and a bit of guidance, it’s easy to save money by performing an in-ground installation of an aluminum fence yourself. In fact, you can save thousands of dollars by installing your aluminum fencing on your own. This makes aluminum fencing spectacularly affordable. We will cover the highlights of the process here. Detailed instructions are readily available.


Take some necessary precautions before you start your DIY fence project. First, be sure that all fence footings lie on your side of the property line. Consult a surveyor or examine a real estate agent’s line plot to determine the placement of your fence. Check with utility companies for underground cables or pipes. Be sure your fence is legal in your area and that it meets guidelines for any homeowners’ association.  You can also call 811 in most jurisdictions or go to

Maintenance of your lawn will be much easier if your fence and gate have bottom pickets at least 3 inches above ground. Install your fence with screws facing inward so it looks best from outside.

Take an inventory after you receive your delivery. Be sure you have everything you ordered. You don’t want to find out halfway through the game that you’re missing a key component.

Tools and Equipment

Before you start, be sure you have the tools you will need. You will likely need at least the following: chalk line or string and stakes; tape measure; post-hole digger; carpenter’s level; electric saw or hacksaw; and rubber mallet.

Some find it useful to have rubber bands or bungee cords to temporarily secure panels to posts. You will need a hoe, shovel and wheelbarrow for concrete.

Installing the Fence

Mix some concrete when you’re ready to install your DIY fence. It’s best to mix it a bit dry to support the fence during installation.

If you’re installing a gate, do that first if possible. Be sure to center it over the walkway or driveway. Start by setting the posts. Fill the holes with concrete to about 2 inches under the surface. Don’t hang the gate until the concrete has hardened. Post holes should be at least 6 inches in diameter for 2” x 2” and 2.5” x 2.5” posts, and at least 8 inches in diameter for 3” x 3” and 4” x 4” posts. The amount of concrete for each hole will vary according to the size of the hole and the clearance between the ground and the bottom of the fence. The cement bag typically has guidelines.

You will have to decide how much clearance you want between the bottom of the fence and the ground. We suggested 3 inches earlier, but many go with 2 inches or even less. Ask your local government about possible legal requirements regarding clearance. This is particularly true for fencing around swimming pools. Many local jurisdictions also specify a maximum spacing between pickets of 4 inches, so check on this if you’re going to be installing your DIY fence around a pool.

Once the gate is installed, you can start to install posts for the fence following the procedure above. Check that each section is level, and check again whenever you complete four sections. Posts and horizontal rails take self-tap screws that are included with your order.

You may need to cut a section to fit. You will be removing some pre-cut notches in the process, and you will have to cut new notches.

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Numerous Options Allow You to Customize Your Aluminum Fence


Aluminum fence panels come in many styles. You can choose many colors and add options for safety and style.

When it comes time to install your aluminum fencing, you can stick to the basics or embellish to your heart’s delight. Aluminum fences come if many styles, colors and heights. In addition, you can add finials, metal rings, dog panels and more.

Fence Panels

Aluminum fences are available in an impressive array of styles. A spear top fence panel has sharp, beveled tops on its pickets. A staggered spear fence panel has the same tops but with alternating heights. The picket heights on a concave spear top fence panel decrease as they approach the center of the panel. A convex spear top fence panel has the opposite effect, with the maximum picket height at the center of the panel.

A flat top aluminum fence panel has a horizontal element at the top. An alternate design is the flat top with spear, whose pickets alternate between spears and those that are fixed flush to the top. A flat top with flush bottom and two rails is a simple design with no rail near the bottom. A similar option is a flat top with flush bottom and a third rail near the top.

Finally, there are the 2x pickets spear top and a corresponding flat top. These have twice the pickets of a standard fence.

Stylish Additions

You can add a touch of style to some aluminum fence panels with aluminum finials. These ornamental caps for pickets come in several styles, three of which resemble spears or fleur de lis and one that has a contemporary square shape. These are powder-coated in colors matching your fence.

You can attach large, decorative scrolls to gates and fence panels. They measure 7.25” wide by 17.25” high. Nothing makes a gate look better than an aluminum gate arch. Add a sunburst arch to any gate, giving it a round top that adds class and beauty.

Add designer inlays to your fence for a one-of-a-kind look. These are mounted in 24” OD circles that are welded to your gate or fence section. Several designs are available, or choose any letter in the alphabet. Butterfly scrolls measure 3.5” wide by 3.75” high. These attach near the tops of pickets. You can also add a designer rail with circles to accent your fence.

You can choose from nine colors for your aluminum fence. These are applied by a powder-coating process and are guaranteed for life. Choose from bronze, gold, black, white and hunter green with a gloss finish, or black, khaki, bronze or white with a satin finish.

Add solar post lights to your fence to illuminate the perimeter. These emit a soft glow and are only available for 2” x 2” and 2.5” x 2.5” posts.

Add Safety and Security

The dog panel option keeps your four-legged friends inside the fence where they belong. The panel consists of pickets spaced at half the interval at the bottom portion of the fence. This is fabricated into the fence.

Add a metal security screen to keep hands on the other side of your fence. The screen is factory welded and powder-coated. You can add this to any fence panel or gate. The screen is made from 1” x 1” x 0.125” flat bar. It is added at installation and requires holes to be drilled in the fence panel or gate.

Elevate Your Home’s Curb Appeal With Aluminum Fencing

Street wrought fence

If you want to significantly improve your home’s curb appeal and elevate the overall look of your home’s exterior, consider installing aluminum fencing in various areas around your property. Aluminum fencing will not only upgrade the look of your home’s style, but it can also provide extra security, improve your home’s value, and hide some of those less appealing elements around the exterior of your home that you want to hide.
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The Benefits of A DIY Pool Fence

Black_Aluminum_Fence_Gate_greatfenceYour pool provides you with an excellent place for outdoor entertaining, exercise, and fun. You don’t have to go to a public pool or beach to enjoy the water since it’s waiting for you like your own private oasis. If you don’t already have a fence up around your pool or you need to replace your existing fence, you may be considering a DIY pool fence. Here are a few advantages you enjoy when you take your aluminum fencing into your own hands.
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