Should You Upgrade to Commercial or Industrial Aluminum Fence Panels?

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Aluminum is a superb material for fencing. It’s tough and durable, and it is easy to install thanks to its light weight. On top of that, aluminum fence panels require virtually no maintenance. A typical homeowner has no reason to upgrade to aluminum commercial fence panels. However, they are worth considering if you have unusually high activity or traffic through your home. Otherwise, commercial aluminum fence panels are more appropriate in retail settings, for lighter industrial activities such as warehousing, and for institutions such as hospitals and schools.

Security Considerations

Aluminum offers good security and it also looks good. Looks may not matter in some instances, but if you’re running a retail or institutional operation, you want your fence to look clean and inviting, even if you don’t want people going over the top.

An intruder might sometimes be able to gain a foothold on a chain link fence, but that’s not going to happen with aluminum fence panels. Commercial aluminum fence panels have picket spacing narrower than 4 inches, and with only a few horizontal rails, there is precious little to offer a foothold.

You have a few options if you want to enhance the security of your aluminum fence. First, you can add a security mesh to both your fence panels and gates. This comes in the form of a frame to which the mesh is welded at the factory. The frame is then bolted to the fence.

If you want to upgrade to industrial aluminum fence panels, you can add curved pickets. These are curved at the top at a 51-degree angle, facing outward to dissuade most fence climbers. Industrial aluminum fence panels are the heaviest and sturdiest fence panels we offer. These come up to ten feet tall.

You can also increase the security of your aluminum commercial fence panels by ordering a style with double pickets. These are available in styles 7 and 8. With their narrow spacing, double pickets make it quite difficult for someone to scale your fence. They also keep out many small animals. You can add a dog panel to your fence to shut out even more animals or to keep your animals inside the fence. Dog panels are fabricated into the fence panels at our factory. With this option, you have an additional rail near the bottom of the fence panel; there are double pickets from there to the bottom of the fence.

Spear tops offer one more way to enhance the security of your commercial aluminum fence panels. They look nice while presenting a formidable obstacle to someone who has scaled to the top of your fence. Unlike the unsightly barbed wire you might see atop some security fences, spear tops look nice. In lighter commercial applications, it’s all about looking good while providing the necessary security features.

Installation

Commercial aluminum fence panels are easy to install. You can do it yourself or you can hire someone handy to do the job. Aluminum fence panels are lightweight and easy to move around during installation. They’re easy to trim, and they require no welding. You can generally use pre-punched posts, and when you can’t, it’s not hard to punch one out. You can erect a fence in almost any configuration. You can rack them up stairs and slopes, and you can use swivel mounts to make just about any angle.

Installing Aluminum Fence Panels is Not as Hard as you Think

 

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You should really consider installing your own aluminum fence panels. It may seem daunting at first, but remember that a large proportion of our customers do the work themselves. If you can’t do it, you can always hire someone local and handy to complete the job for you at a fraction of the cost of professional installation.

Here are some tips to get you started. You can download detailed directions from our website.

First Things First

Do some homework before you order your aluminum fence panels and install the fence. Talk to a surveyor if you have any doubts about your property line. It will be a disaster if you install a fence and then learn it is on your neighbor’s property.

Before you lay out your fence, talk to your utility company so you know you won’t be digging where they have underground pipes or electric lines.  Or go to call811.com.  Your neighbors won’t get the joke if you inadvertently cut off their power. Finally, you should talk to applicable authorities to make sure your fence complies with local laws and regulations. Note that there are probably additional rules for pool fences. If you have a community association, you should also check in with them.

If you’re putting your fence up in a grassy area, it will be much easier to mow the lawn if the pickets leave three inches of clearance at the fence bottom. As a cosmetic matter, remember to put your fence up with the screws facing inward. For planning purposes, remember to start your installation with your aluminum driveway gates or other gates and then build outward from there.

Installing the Fence

Have all of the supplies and tools you need on hand when you start the job. At a minimum, you’ll probably need a post-hole digger, a level, a hacksaw or electric saw, and a rubber mallet, along with some stakes and string or a chalk line.

You should start the installation with the aluminum driveway gates or other gates you’re including in the job. Be sure to center the gate. It’s not going to look good if your gate is a foot to one side of the center.

Mix some concrete for the posts. People usually mix it somewhat dry to help support the fence panels during the installation. Dig your post holes and fill them with concrete up to about two inches from the surface. Set in your posts, and then wait for the concrete to harden before you hang the gate.

Start to build the fence outward from the gate. Check the level of each section, and stop after every four sections and do it again.

It is easy to install the fence panels to posts. For level runs, you usually have pre-punched posts, and we include self-tapping screws to make the connections. At the end of a run, you may have to trim a panel down to fit. It’s easy to do this with a hacksaw or electric saw. In this case, you’ll have to cut your own notches in a blank post, but this is a very simple process.

How to Install Aluminum Fence Panels at Angles and on Stairs and Slopes

When you’re installing your aluminum fence panels, curves in either the vertical or horizontal plane are no problem. You just need the right product, and often the standard product will fit the bill.

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Standard Versus Rackable Fence Panels

If you’re looking at a modest slope that rises six inches or less for each panel, standard fence panels will work. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting up an industrial aluminum fence, a residential fence or a commercial fence. For steeper runs, you’ll need our rackable aluminum fence panels. These panels have a wider hole at the picket-to-rail connection, and they work well with a rise of up to 20 inches per panel. Our standard pre-punched posts will work fine for this application, and we have mounts you can use if a panel abuts a structure or column or if you’re using your own wood posts.

Heavy rackable fence panels can handle a rise of up to 36 inches per panel. That’s a lot! You can’t use our normal, pre-punched posts with heavy rackable fence panels because the points of contact won’t work with the typical insert and set method, nor can you use standard mounts. You’ll need to order our blank, non-punched posts along with vertical swivel mounts and mount the angled rails to each fence panel.

With rackable aluminum fence panels, you have a few limitations.  If you’re adding the dog panel, you can only obtain a medium rack for medium slopes up to 15 inches per 6 foot wide panel.  Similarly, if you’re adding the optional, decorative rings/circles, you can only obtain a slight rack for slight contours and slopes up to about 4 inches per 6 foot wide panel.   Styles 7 and 8 with double pickets also limit the amount of racking you can achieve in a fence panel because at some point the vertical pickets will touch and prevent the panel from racking further.  You can, however, get about 12 – 15 inches per panel from these 2 fence styles.   If you want to use Style 7 or Style 8 on steeper slopes, you’ll have to stair-step the panels by attaching 2 panels to 1 post at different heights.

Stair Stepping

Stair stepping sounds like some kind of country dance, but it’s actually the practice of running shorter panels horizontally up hills or stairs. You make the shorter panels yourself by cutting panels down to size on-site. This is not hard to do with an electric saw or hacksaw. You run these short panels up the slope or stairs in a staggered pattern, fastening them to posts at different heights on each side. You can use end posts, but people usually buy non-punched posts and punch them out on-site.

Angles and Curves

You can install residential, commercial and industrial aluminum fence panels at almost any angle you want. You will use one of two options depending on the angle.

For small angles, you can go with our regular pre-punched posts. You can set a fence panel at an angle of 8 to 10 degrees by just angling it as you like and setting it with regular line mounts. This means you can run your fence at an angle of 170 to 190 degrees.

You’ll need a corner post for larger angles. The corner post is pre-punched to accept fence panels at right angles, allowing you to make an angle of about 80 to 100 degrees in your fence.

You’ll need horizontal swivel mounts for other angles. These can handle up to 35 degrees per panel-connection, which is enough to run almost any angle, especially if you use a swivel mounts on both sides of a post.

Deciding Between Residential, Commercial and Industrial Fence Panels

You can buy aluminum fence panels in three grades from GreatFence.com. Residential fence panels are fine for most homeowners, but you can upgrade to commercial aluminum fence panels if you have greater than usual traffic around your home. Residential fence panels are suitable for retail and light commercial and industrial applications. Industrial aluminum fence panels, our highest grade, have the most metal in them. Choose these for the greatest security and heaviest use.

Choices and decisions

The Basics of Fence Panel Selection

You can decide which level of fencing works best for you. It’s not necessary to buy residential fence panels just because you have a residence. Make a decision based on your needs, and feel free to contact us for guidance.  Many home owners like the beefier pickets and rails on our Commercial fence panels and gates.

Residential aluminum fence panels are usually the right choice for home use. They’re designed for typical home use, such as around gardens, yards or swimming pools.

A Note on Pool Fences

You should be aware that there are specific, stringent requirements for pool fencing. Many communities have their own standards for pool fences. Pool fencing is subject in most areas to the pool fence code of the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA). This code requires 45” between the horizontal rails, and it stipulates that vertical pickets must be spaced at less than 4”. The gate is subject to a minimum height of 48”. Furthermore, the gate must open away from the pool and be self-locking. The latch must be at least 54” off the ground. Check with your local authorities before you put up a pool fence.

Commercial Fence Panels

Commercial aluminum fence panels are heavier than residential fence panels. Not surprisingly, they contain 20 percent more metal. The pickets and rails are bigger, so they are stronger than those in residential aluminum fence panels. Commercial aluminum fence panels are well suited to light commercial and retail applications. You can use them for pool fences if you want a bit of extra strength in your fence.

Industrial Fence Panels

Use industrial aluminum fence panels for the greatest security and for applications with the most traffic. These panels are designed to be tough and strong and offer the greatest protection from intruders. Use these panels for schools, hospitals, retail centers, large estates and storage facilities.

Comparing Residential, Commercial and Industrial Aluminum Fence Panels

Residential aluminum fence panels usually have pickets spaced at 3-13/16”. Double pickets are available on some panels. Standard commercial fence panels have 3-5/8” picket spacing, with 1-1/2” spacing on some panels. Industrial aluminum fence panels have pickets spaced at 3-11/16”.

All of our fence panels are available in nine colors. These have either a flat or semi-gloss finish, depending on the color. Colors are not painted on; they are applied by a powder coating process that leaves a highly durable finish.

You can order various options for all grades of aluminum fence panels. Finials cap off vertical pickets and can provide a small level of security against climbers. Decorative rings are built into fence panels near the top. Scrolls are also available. Our popular dog panel, or “puppy pickets”, add double pickets at the fence’s bottom. You can also order a rust-free security screen that is mounted to a frame, which is then welded into the fence panel.

Considerations When Installing Commercial Fencing

You have numerous choices when you install a fence for your commercial establishment. When you make your decision, consider ease of installation, aesthetics, security and maintenance.
Comparing Fencing Materials

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You can install a wood, vinyl or metal fence. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. We think you will see that aluminum is the best choice for many applications.

A wood fence can look very nice and it can last for decades, but keep in mind that you will need to apply a finish when you install it, and it will require refinishing every three to five years. You may also have to repair loose boards from time to time. Note that if you use wood posts with any type of fence material, they should be pressure-treated if they will contact the earth. Otherwise, you will end up with a sagging fence. The problem with wood is weather. Any kind of humidity can subject a wood fence to mold and mildew.

A vinyl fence will last a very long time, barring unexpected damage. This material is subject to damage from impacts, which could require the occasional replacement of a small part of the fence. Vinyl fencing can also be subject to dirt and mold. You may need to clean it periodically with cleaners such as soap and water and possibly more aggressive cleaners such as vinegar or baking soda. Stains can require even more aggressive cleaning.

You can’t beat stone for longevity, which can be literally thousands of years, and stone is certainly beautiful. However, stone will require maintenance over the long haul. Needless to say, installing a stone fence is quite a project. Take a look at your stone fence once a year when spring comes around, looking for loose stones and issues with the mortar.

Metal fences in general will last quite a long time. Wrought iron and steel will rust, and they are heavy, making for some difficulty with installation. Aluminum is light, making it easy to move around during installation. Commercial aluminum fencing comes in panels that are designed to easily lock into aluminum fence posts. You can trim aluminum fence panels easily when it comes time to completing a run measurement.

Security

A primary concern is often security. Let’s consider the alternatives.

A wood fence can offer reasonable security, assuming it’s tall enough. Wood may not be difficult to scale, so consider the likelihood that someone might climb over a wood fence and gain entry. Vinyl is also a less-than-optimal choice for security.

Clearly, a stone fence offers poor security unless it’s exceedingly tall, which can be quite costly. Similarly, wrought iron is generally not a good choice for security. Chain-link fencing can provide an effective barrier, but for enhanced security, you’ll have to install unsightly barbed wire at the top.

If you build it high enough, commercial aluminum fencing will present some difficulty to a climber, especially given that the pickets are spaced less than 4 inches apart.

You can add a security mesh to your fence panels and gates. We factory-weld the mesh to a frame that you bolt to the fence. If you want to step up to our highest grade, industrial aluminum fence panels, you can add curved pickets that open outward at a 51-degree angle to thwart climbers.

Installing Aluminum Fence Panels is Easier than You Think

Easy-installation-and-maintenance

If you are reasonably handy or if you know someone who is, you should consider installing your aluminum panel fencing yourself or hiring a handyman to do the job. You can certainly install your fence without hiring an expensive contractor to do the work.

Aluminum fence panels are relatively light, so they’re easy to move around. While they’re strong, you can still easily cut them when you need to trim a panel to complete a run.

Do Your Homework

We provide an installation manual on our website at www.greatfence.com. This should tell you everything you need to know to install your aluminum fence panels. We’re here if you need help. Just give us a call. You can refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on our website before making the call. There is a good chance you’ll find the answer to your question there.

Once your order arrives, check that you’ve received everything, including the hardware. Review your installation in your mind, making sure you have everything you’ll need for the job. Prepare to have the tools you’ll need, such as saws and screwdrivers, on hand.

Posts and Other Uprights

Posts hold up your fence, so it’s vital to install them carefully so they’ll stand securely and bear the weight of the fence. If you’re installing your fence on the ground, you’ll be digging holes in which you’ll place the posts along with cement to secure them in the ground. On our website, you will find tables specifying post lengths according to fence panel heights. You’ll need different amounts of cement depending on the depth and diameter of a post hole.

If you’re mounting fence panels on a hard surface such as a deck or staircase, you’ll be ordering welded plates on which you will install the posts.

If your aluminum panel fencing ends at a column or a wall, you’ll need to buy mounts to attach to these surfaces. You can get regular straight mounts or choose horizontal swivel mounts for angles. This also applies if you use wood posts, which you will supply yourself. You can also get vertical swivel mounts. These are used to run panels up and down steep slopes or if your attaching a pivoted panel to an existing structure (house, building, wall or column).

Installing a Gate

You should start your project with the gates. Install these first and then build the fence outward from there. The first thing you should do is install the posts for the gates. You’ll need to leave ¾ inches of space between a gate and post so the gate can open properly. Double check the spacing, then place the hinges and drill holes to secure them. We supply screws that you will use for this purpose.  For larger gates, you’ll need account for 4 inches of spacing when using our Heavy Duty Gate Hinges.

After the gate posts are securely installed, you can start to build outward from there. Install a fence panel at the post using the pre-punched slots. We include self-tapping screws for this. After you’ve built four sections of fence, make sure it’s aligned well before continuing.

You may need a partial panel to complete a run. You can easily trim a panel with a hacksaw or any metal blade electric saw. You’ll have no notches at the trimmed end, but it’s easy to cut a notch when you need one.

Complete Your Residential Aluminum Fence Installation With an Aluminum Driveway Gate

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When you order aluminum fencing panels, you can easily add a gate for your driveway. While most people use residential double-swing gates, it’s possible to use an industrial single-swing gate that is wider than the residential gates we offer.  i.e. it’s common to mix and match 18 foot, 20 foot, 24 foot wide Industrial driveway gates with residential fence barriers.  We don’t offer a single-swing residential gate that is sufficiently wide for a driveway. Our aluminum driveway gates are great for backyards and to secure swimming pools. Keep in mind that fences and gates for swimming pools must adhere to specific safety standards and possibly additional standards according to your locality.

You already know that aluminum fence panels are light, strong and easy to install. Aluminum driveway gates offer similar advantages. Unlike fence panels, driveway gates are often set in motion, which makes aluminum especially good. Of course, our gates come in the same colors as our fence panels. You can order single swing and double-swing gates in the style you’ve selected for your fence. Like our fence panels, aluminum driveway gates are strong and durable, and they require no maintenance.

You can install an automated gate operator for our gates. Most commercially available gate operators will work.

Posts

Posts are not included with your gate purchase. You will typically need two gate posts for any gate purchase unless you plan to mount double swing gate to your own brick or cement columns. We recommend, at minimum, posts that are approximately two feet longer than the gate height if it is to be cemented into the ground. For mounting on a surface, you need posts that are just three inches higher than the gate, plus a welded plate / flange to accomplish the surface mount. We provide specific guidance on our gate and post product pages, respectively.

Dog Panels

Customers with pets often add a dog panel, frequently called “puppy pickets”, to their aluminum fencing, and you can also order this option for driveway gates. A dog panel consists of double pickets at the bottom of the gate. To add a dog panel, we fabricate your gate with an additional horizontal rail and include the double pickets underneath it.

The dog panel is not a separate product, and it cannot be added after the fact. It is an option that we fabricate into fence panels and gates at our factory. Therefore, you must order this option at the time you order your gate. Just add this option when you select your gate in our online store.

Hinges

Double-swing gates up to 12 feet wide come with two pairs of our standard gate hinges in the same color as your gate. You can order self-closing gate hinges that swing shut automatically. You can adjust the tension on these self-lubricating hinges, which are made from molded, reinforced polymer.

Installation

While you might think of your gate as the final touch in your fence project, remember that the gate is the first thing you should install. Always set up your gate posts and build your fence outward from there.

Custom Gates

We sell residential double-swing gates in standard widths up to 12 feet, commercial double swing gates up to 16 feet and industrial grade double swing gates up to 28 feet wide.  However, you can purchase a gate with a custom width. We just need to know what is called the daylight opening measurement (DLO). Measure between the insides of the existing structures to which you will mount the gate, which typically will be two gate posts. Order the next larger standard gate size. Note the DLO and we’ll take care of the rest at our US factory.  It’s that simple!

Industrial Aluminum Fence Panels Offer Ultimate Security

GreatFence.com offers aluminum fence panels in three grades. Residential fence panels are great for homes. Commercial aluminum fence panels are more substantial and are perfect for retail operations and some lighter commercial uses with higher traffic. The ultimate security demands industrial metal fencing. The heaviest, most substantial fencing we offer, industrial aluminum fence panels are meant for heavier traffic and enhanced security. Typical users are hospitals, retail shopping centers, storage facilities, industrial operations and schools. Industrial fencing can seal out all but the most determined intruders.

Security fencing improving your life

A Matter of Style

Industrial metal fencing panels offer substantial security, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t attractive. When you compare them to a typical chain-link security fence, the difference is clear. Over time, chain-link fences can corrode or rust, while industrial aluminum fence panels look as good as new.

You can purchase these fencing panels in a variety of styles. These include standard flat tops, spear tops, staggered spears, concave spears, convex spears and flat top with spears. Spear tops offer an additional layer of protection from any attempts to climb your fence.

You can also choose a flat top or spear top with double pickets for a close spacing of 1-1/2 inches. Also available is a flat top with a bottom flush to the ground. You can choose a fence up to ten feet high for maximum protection, and you can custom-order double vertical pickets.

You can add a security mesh to commercial fence panels. This is factory-welded to a sturdy frame, which is bolted onto the fence. Curved pickets are popular with those desiring enhanced security. The tops of these pickets open outward at a 51-degree angle to deter climbers. This has the advantage of looking much better than other solutions, such as chain-link fencing topped with barbed wire.

Installation and Maintenance

Unlike other materials, industrial aluminum fence panels will stand up to the elements and require little maintenance. Steel and wrought-iron fences are subject to rust and corrosion, while wood requires periodic treatment. Aluminum doesn’t corrode. In addition, aluminum fence panels are not painted. Color is applied by a powder coating process that requires no upkeep.

Compared to the alternatives, industrial aluminum fencing is much easier to install. It comes in panels, so you don’t need to assemble the fence from scratch. Panel widths are easily trimmed on-site when you need to complete runs.

Posts are pre-punched for easy panel insertion and installation.  Aluminum fence panels are sturdy yet lightweight, so it’s easy to maneuver them during installation. You can purchase swivel mounts if you need to install your aluminum fence panels at odd angles.

Gates

You can purchase industrial aluminum gates for driveways and entranceways. Single-swing gates are available up to 14 feet wide, and double-swing gates are available up to 28 feet wide. A variety of locks and latches provide the convenience and security you expect. You can key these locks with the same key so you won’t need to lug around a clutch of keys for your various entryways.