First Things First: Planning for Aluminum Fence Installation

 

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You can’t beat aluminum fences. They’re easy to install, versatile and simple to keep up. However, like anything else, you need to take the time to plan the project. A small investment of time will pay off in spades when your fencing arrives and you experience a smooth, painless installation.

Rules and Regulations

Fence installations are usually subject to regulations. Be sure to contact local authorities and your homeowners association if you have one in your community.

Your local government may have specific requirements for fencing. Some communities require that fences be installed at an offset, which means that you have to install aluminum fences some distance behind the property line. This necessarily requires you to determine the line, which is something you should know anyway. You certainly don’t want to risk pulling up part of your fence because you inadvertently installed it on your neighbor’s property. You can engage a surveyor to mark your property line.

Homeowners associations often have requirements for fencing, typically for aesthetic reasons. You may need to limit the height of your fence, use certain types of finials, or purchase the fence in a specified color, for example. It’s even possible that you won’t be allowed to put up a fence at all.

Pool Fences

The rules can become quite specific for pool fences. This is for the safety of you, your family, and your guests – especially children. Pool fences are meant to keep small children out so they won’t accidentally drown.

Call Before You Dig

Unless you are surface-mounting a fence, such as for a deck, you will need to dig some holes for fence posts. You may dig down three feet into the ground for your post holes. Whenever you dig, you must check with utilities that may have underground gas or electric service beneath your property. Make a call to your local gas and electric companies and they will make sure you’re on solid ground, so to speak. You don’t want to make Miss Utility angry.

Preparing for Installation

Walk along your proposed fence route. You need to do this in any case in order to know what materials to order. It’s useful to get a string and some stakes to mark out the lines. Seeing it staked out can tell you whether your fence makes sense. You can see if something will interfere with a fence run, and you can also envision the fence in its intended surroundings. Does it look right in your mind? A look around can inform your decision on the fence’s color. You can select a color to contrast with or complement the surroundings or to better define a space.

You should also take measurements of your fence runs. Mark where you will dig post holes. You can use stakes for this, or put a dab of paint on each spot. Take your measurements twice. You want to order the right length of fence. Count out all the posts you’ll need. After you’ve determined the materials you will order, go back and think through it all again so you can be sure you’re ordering correctly.

Why You Should Choose Aluminum Fence Panels

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There are lots of options for people who want to install a fence around a home, business or institution, but there are even more reasons to choose aluminum fence panels. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Longevity and Maintenance

When we discuss maintenance, there’s not much to talk about when it comes to aluminum fencing. These metal fencing panels won’t corrode or rust. That’s certainly not true of steel. Unlike wood fences, aluminum panels require no treatments. A wood fence often needs a treatment the day it goes up. In addition, we apply colors to our aluminum fencing panels by a powder-coating process that stands up to the elements much better than paint ever did. You can order our aluminum fence panels in nine available powder coat colors and two finishes.

Security

We offer aluminum fence panels and gates that meet the BOCA codes for pool enclosures. This code puts forth various requirements designed to keep people out of your pool area. This specifically applies to small children, who are at risk of drowning if they enter your pool area unsupervised.

You can order our aluminum fence panels that have dog panels or short pickets at the bottom. These amount to more closely spaced pickets near the ground to keep pets from penetrating the fence. We offer other security enhancements, including security mesh and industrial curved picket metal fencing. You can top your fence with finials that look good and make it harder for intruders to climb over the top. Our industrial aluminum fence panels are available with curved pickets, which face outward at a 51-degree angle to repel climbers.

Installation

Our metal fencing panels really are easy to install. Aluminum is strong, light and easy to move around. Our standard fence posts come pre-punched. You will need blank posts for making angles or stair stepping fence panels on a hill or slope.  You can also rack our fence panels, allowing you to install fencing on slopes and around stairs. Fences sometimes terminate next to a structure, or perhaps you just want to use your own posts. We sell the hardware needed for this. We offer corner posts that are pre-punched on two adjacent sides that make right angles. Swivel mounts enable you to erect a fence with almost any conceivable angle.

While most people set their fence posts in the ground, we can provide welded, flanged posts so you can mount the fence on a porch, deck or other hard surface.

Our aluminum fence panels come in three grades. Our residential aluminum fence panels are ideal for your home or pool, where you don’t expect heavy traffic. Made with more metal, commercial aluminum fence panels are sturdier and are perfect for retail stores and light industrial applications. Industrial aluminum fence panels are made with even more metal. These fence panels are meant for the heaviest traffic. You can add security features to industrial fence panels to enhance the security of your facility.

We sell both single- and double-swing gates in all grades. You can fit a gate opener to our gates, or you can choose from a number of different latches and locks depending on your needs.

We think you can see now why we believe aluminum fence panels are your best choice.

Choosing Your Aluminum Fence Color

Aluminum fencing panels come in many colors. GreatFence.com offers a choice of nine colors, plus two finishes whose availability depends on the color. You can select your fence’s color to complement the predominant colors on your property, or you can define a space with a sharply contrasting color.

Before you get too far, talk to your homeowner’s association if applicable. Associations often have specific requirements for fencing, which may address colors, height and ornamentation.

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Picking a Color

Your fence color depends on a few things. Look at the area you intend to fence. Check for predominant colors and decide if you want to complement these with your fence, or select a color that contrasts with the area and defines a border.

A hunter green aluminum fence will complement bright floral vistas and neutral stones, shrubs, trees and mulch. Bronze, tan and khaki go well with earthy colors. Khaki also matches superbly with trees and greenery.

If you want to create the look of a great expanse, choose neutral colors. It’s as if the earth and sky form an endless vista. Neutral colors can also emphasize a specific point, such as a bright cluster of large flowers or mulberry shrubs.

You can liven up a dull-looking area with a color that contrasts with the surroundings. Snap some photos of the area, print some copies and dress up the photos with drawings of fencing in various colors. You can pick up some felt pens for this purpose.

People often choose a fence color to match specific features, such as the trim on a building. Look at your home or building to see if you can gain some insights into a good fence color. Match your home’s trim color with a fence tends to define the space while also providing a tasteful accent to the building. You can employ this idea in another way by matching the natural elements around a pool, patio or recreation area with a light-colored fence in gold, bronze or sandstone, for example.

The Timelessness of Black and White

Many people choose a white or black aluminum fence, and you’re not likely to regret it if you do the same. This is also worth considering if you think you could be selling your property at some point in the future. Talk to a realtor about fence colors in this case, and remember that your property will have the greatest appeal if the fence color is not what some might consider eccentric.

White is a classic color. It is very bright yet still tasteful. Consider a white fence if you have a traditional home. Surprisingly, white also goes well with many ultramodern homes. Returning to the principles we discussed above, a white fence can play perfectly against a white-trimmed home. White looks sleek and clean. You can plant ivy or climbing plants or flowers to dress it up and temper the brightness.

A black aluminum fence lends a formal look to your home. Black always works well in industrial and commercial settings. A black fence doesn’t define a property the way that a brighter color does. Instead, it softens the boundary. Use this color in areas that are more overcast and not so sunny.

Aluminum Fares Well as DIY Fencing Material

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There is a huge selection of materials for the DIY fence installer. You can choose aluminum, of course, but you can also pick from a host of other materials, including wood, steel, wrought iron, chain link and vinyl. We want you to buy what you think is best, even if it’s not our product. Review the pros and cons, do some research on your own and make your choice. We’re confident that aluminum fence panels stand up to the competition, if you’ll excuse our pun.

Wood

There’s no denying the attractiveness of wood fencing. It looks natural, of course, and many traditional fence styles are made from wood. You can also rack wood fencing fairly easily to handle slopes and stairs. Wood is an ideal material if you want to put up a privacy fence. However, wood can be a bit heavy if you’re toting the materials around on your own all day long. Wood also needs more maintenance than some materials. You’ll probably be treating it and perhaps staining it right out of the starting blocks, for one thing.

Steel

Steel is supremely strong, but this material is subject to rust and corrosion. You can use it to good effect when racking fencing on stairs or slopes. Steel presents great difficulty in DIY applications because it is just so heavy. Moreover, it is not as easy to install as lightweight panels of vinyl or aluminum. Steel can also be expensive. It lacks versatility due to the nature of the material because you can’t easily form it. Steel also offers little in terms of privacy.

Wrought Iron Fencing

Wrought iron is a classic material. If you’re looking for tradition, good looks and durability, look no further. Nevertheless, wrought iron can succumb to rust, and it can be quite expensive. For the DIY operator, wrought iron presents formidable challenges. Who wants to lug this incredibly heavy fencing around? It doesn’t come in panels that are easy to work with. As such, wrought iron is definitely a material best left to professional installers.

Chain-Link

Chain-link fencing doesn’t cost a lot. It wears well and needs little in the way of maintenance, although it is subject to rusting. It’s not hard to install a chain-link fence, either. The problem with a chain-link fence is that you really can’t do much to make it look pretty. That might be okay in some institutional settings, but your home is not an institution. Chain-link fencing also offers numerous footholds to the potential fence climber.

Vinyl

Vinyl fencing comes in a number of styles. The material is durable and strong, standing up well to adverse weather. You can easily install vinyl fencing because it is very light, and it’s not hard to maintain.

Aluminum Fencing

Aluminum is an affordable and versatile material for your DIY fence. It comes in several styles and requires almost no maintenance. It’s very light and is quite strong. With its light weight, you’ll find it easy to maneuver panels as you install your fence. Aluminum offers many options, including a number of finishes and colors. You can add finials and other ornamentation. You can also add a number of options to enhance your aluminum fence’s security.

DIY Aluminum Fence Installation

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If you’re familiar with basic tools and you’re even a bit handy, you should be able to install your own aluminum fence. Aluminum fence panels are easy on the wallet and they require little maintenance.

Should You Take the Plunge?

Most of our customers install the fences themselves, and the majority of them haven’t put up a fence before. Aluminum fencing is designed to be easy for ordinary people to install. The panels fit a system that you will quickly learn, and they are not heavy or hard to move about.

You can download an installation manual from our website, which should tell you all you need to know to install your aluminum fence. We’re here to help if you have any questions, so just give us a call.

We do recommend that you have a helper when you install your fence. You can hire a handyman to help or to do the job if you really don’t want to do it. They come a lot cheaper than professional installation crews.

If you’re ready to go, just figure out what you’ll need and order through our website.

Installing Posts

Installing aluminum fence panels really starts with the posts.  Unlike other fencing materials where you install all the posts first, our prepunched posts require you to install each post with each panel.  Remarkable, it’s actually faster this way.  That’s for mounting your fence in-ground.  For surface mounting, such as for a porch or deck, you will need to order welded plates which are flanges welded to the bottom of your posts with pre-drilled holes.  Anchor bolts are purchased locally.

Our website has post product pages that show the post lengths you need, depending on the fence panel height. For smaller posts of up to 2.5” square, you’ll need to dig holes that are around 6” diameter. You’ll have to increase that to 8” diameter holes for 3” to 4” square posts. You can get an idea of the amount of cement you will need by referring to the chart that should be on the cement bag.  It’s not an exact science; however, after filling a few holes, you’ll be able to gauge how much you’ll need to complete the install.

You may want to use your own posts, or the fence may end at a column or wall. We have various types of mounts you can use for this purpose. We have straight mounts for normal fence runs and horizontal swivel mounts if you need to make an angle. You can even get vertical swivel mounts to run fences up slopes or stairs. Our posts are pre-punched for normal runs. You can get blank posts for other situations, such as when you rack panels to go up slopes or stairs or angle.

Installing Gates and Fences

Installation should start with the gates. Set your gate posts and then hang the gate. Work outward from there to install the fence. Be careful to leave adequate space so the gate will operate properly. Check the spacing and then dig your gate post holes. Position the hinges, drill the holes and fasten the gate with the screws we include with your order.

After you’ve set the fence posts, just insert a fence panel into the slot in each post. We give you screws to make the connections. Check your fence’s alignment each time you’ve installed four sections. It might be necessary to cut a section using a hacksaw or any metal blade saw to finish a run. This is easy to do, and you will then have to cut a notch to connect the post, which is also easy.

Those are the basics. Take a look at the installation manual, get comfortable with the process and you should be good to go.

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. 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.

Swimming Pool Fences Increase Safety

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Installing a pool fence is one of the best things you can do to prevent accidental drowning incidents.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 10 people die on average each day from non-boating related drowning. Two of those 10 are children under the age of 15. In addition, nonfatal drowning incidents can cause severe brain damage. In 2009, more than 30 percent of deaths of children aged 1 to 4 from unintentional injuries were due to drowning, and most of these deaths occurred in home swimming pools.

If you own a swimming pool, you should strongly consider installing an aluminum fence around your pool to prevent unauthorized entry that can lead to accidental death. The CDC states that barriers like pool fencing prevent young children from accessing pools without a caregiver’s awareness.

While it is possible to build a three-sided pool fence while using a structure to complete the barrier, a four-sided fence that isolates the pool area from the house and yard decreases a child’s risk of drowning by 83 percent compared to a three-sided barrier. A three-sided barrier may allow a child to enter the pool area through a door or window, so you should really be putting up a four-sided pool fence.

It’s a Barrier, not a Fence

You can’t just erect a pool fence and assume everyone will then be safe. Kids will be kids. However, a fence can buy you some time if you lose track of a child. When it comes to pool safety, every second can make a difference. Looking at this as a barrier issue rather than just a fence, you are erecting a barrier that children can’t pass through in the absence of an adult, nor can they go under or over it. That means your fence shouldn’t be situated near an object or structure that could aid a child trying to climb over it.

The BOCA Pool Fence Code

Fences enclosing pools are generally held to the BOCA safety code, which is issued by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. GreatFence.com sells fence panels that meet this code. Check with your local authorities in any case, as some local governments have more stringent requirements for pool fences.

According to the BOCA code, a pool fence should have a height of 48 inches or greater. You should not be able to pass a sphere with a diameter of 4 inches or more through the barrier. Vertical pickets on your fence should be less than 4 inches apart.

You must have a lockable gate that opens outwards and is self-closing and is self-latching. If a release mechanism is less than 4 feet 6 inches from the bottom of the gate, it must be mounted on the inside, and it can be no less than three inches from the top. You can’t have an opening larger than a half inch that is closer than a foot and a half to the mechanism.

If a building wall forms part of your barrier, you need an audible alarm on any door opening onto the pool area. Those doors must be self-latching and self-closing. The door should open into the building, and any release mechanism should be 4-1/2 feet or higher from the floor.

Finally, pool safety codes differ all over the United States.  Some jurisdictions in rural areas have no restrictions.  Therefore, it is imperative that you check your local building codes and/or your HOA prior to ordering and installing pool fencing materials.

First Things First: How to Prepare for your Aluminum Fence Panel Installation

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Aluminum fence panels are easy to install, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be easier. It can, and all it takes is some preparation. Have the materials and tools you need and know the plan. These two simple steps will make your installation easy and quick, whether you’re installing industrial, residential or commercial fencing in aluminum.

Do Your Homework

Your fence installation will almost surely fall under local regulations. These vary, and it’s up to you to look into them before you even order your aluminum fence panels. Regulations might prohibit fences in some instances, or they may specify allowable types and heights of fences.

Some jurisdictions require you to put your fence up at an offset. This means you must place your fence some distance behind the property line. Have a surveyor determine the property line if there is any question regarding its location.

Swimming pool fences, in particular, are subject to many regulations. Pool fencing is usually subject to the code published by the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA). There are some very specific requirements meant to protect people from drowning in swimming pools.

Homeowners’ associations often have fence regulations meant to harmonize the look of the community. You may be required to erect a fence made of specific materials. Regulations may also affect colors, heights and design, sometimes with exasperating specificity.

If you plan to install fence panels in-ground, you will have to dig, and that means you must check with local utility companies to avoid damaging underground gas and electric lines. Call them up or check their websites to ensure you dig in the right places. Remember that post holes can run as much as three feet deep. Holes for gate posts can go even deeper due to the weight that the gate posts will have to bear. Compromising utility service during your fence installation will delay your project and deny utility service to your neighborhood. No one wants that.

You will not want your fence running over the top of utility lines in any case. The utility might need to dig in the future, and your fence isn’t going to stop them.

Which Grade of Fence?

Aluminum fencing comes in three grades. You can buy residential, industrial or commercial fencing in aluminum. Residential aluminum fence panels are fine for most homes. Commercial aluminum fence panels are sturdier as they are made with more metal have bigger pickets and horizontal rails. These are meant for higher-traffic situations. If you want the most security, you can’t beat industrial aluminum fence panels. These are perfect for hospitals, schools and other high-traffic applications because they are even heavier and sturdier.

Preparing for the Installation

Walk the perimeter where you will install your fence. It’s a good idea to stake the corners and then string lines along the route. Take a look at the lines and see if they make sense. Sometimes, you will identify problems that you can solve before you order your fence panels. Mark the spots where fence posts will go with stakes or paint. Measure everything twice, just to be sure. After this, you will be ready to place your order.