Installing an Aluminum Pool Fence

A pool fence adds to your pool’s good looks, and more importantly, it greatly enhances its safety. It’s not that hard to perform a DIY installation. Our aluminum fence panels are easy to install yourself.  There are lots of reasons for installing a pool fence. Of course, the right fence can add immeasurably to your pool area’s looks, but if you’re looking for reasons, you can’t find a better one than safety. A pool fence dramatically reduces the chances of an unauthorized person entering your pool area and drowning. All too often, that person is a small child whose life could end suddenly and dramatically by drowning. A pool fence also adds to your privacy. It’s a good feeling when you know your guests and family have the area to themselves.

S10_aluminum_pool_fence_2015Aluminum fence panels are particularly good for a DIY pool fence. Most of our customers install their fences on their own, eliminating the need for a costly contractor. Even if you prefer not to get involved, you can hire a person who is handy with tools to take your place for a reasonable price. Aluminum fence panels are easy to work with because they’re lightweight, yet they’re strong and sturdy.

Pool Fence Regulations and Requirements

Pools have unique safety requirements, and local communities often issue specific regulations for their installation. If you have a homeowners’ association, you should see if they have regulations as well. These likely concern aesthetics rather than safety. In either case, you could find yourself removing the fence you just built if you run afoul of rules or regulations, so do your homework.

The BOCA Code

The Building Officials Code Administrators International, Inc. issues what is called the BOCA code for pool fences. Compliance with the BOCA code means your fence will help keep people out of your pool area, and it will make it difficult for small children to enter the pool area unaccompanied. All of our pool fencing meets the BOCA code.

The BOCA code includes the following requirements: The fence’s height must be 48” or greater. The horizontal rails must be separated by at least 45”. This minimizes the footholds and the chances that someone can scale from the lower to the higher foothold. Vertical pickets must be less than 4” apart. This is too small for a small child to pass through. The bottom rail can be no further than 4 inches from the ground. Again, this prevents a small child from entering the area. A gate’s latch must be at least 4-1/2 feet (54”) high, which makes it difficult for a child to reach. Gates must be both self-locking and self-closing, and they must open away from the pool.

Magna Latch Gate Locks

You can enhance the safety of your aluminum pool fence by purchasing a Magna Latch gate lock. This self-latching lock is key-lockable. It extends beyond the top of the gate, making it hard for children to reach it.

Benefits of Aluminum Fence Panels

We discussed earlier how easy it is to install a DIY pool fence. Aluminum has other advantages, too. Aluminum does not corrode, and our powder-coated colors won’t bubble, flake or peel. Aluminum doesn’t get too brittle in cold weather, and it retains its strength when it’s hot outside.

Fencing Costs Depend on Several Factors

The cost of your aluminum fence depends on a number of factors. These include the type of fence you select, the total length of fencing and the terrain.

Three primary factors will affect your aluminum fence cost. The first of these is the linear footage of the fence, followed by the fence type and the terrain. Gates will also add to your cost. Fortunately, if you buy from us, you will likely be installing your own fence, which will save you a significant sum on labor.

Contractors, Designs and Costs

Our customers tend to install their own fences. If you’d rather have someone else do the work, ask contractors or a handyman to provide separate estimates for labor and materials. This way, you can better compare estimates from different contractors. In addition, you can better identify material costs that might give you a clue to their quality. In other words, low material costs likely mean lower quality or imported materials.  You can also forego using a contractor and just pay a handyman to do the work. In that case, you only need to order your fencing and pay someone by the hour to put up the fence.

Black Aluminum Fence CostYour costs will go up if you have a nonstandard or complex design. Examples of these are curved fence runs and slopes or stairs. Both situations require special techniques or materials. Nevertheless, aluminum fares well against competing materials such as wood or steel. Aluminum fence panels are easily trimmed to size, for one thing, and we can provide swivel mounts that allow you to easily form almost any angle. Similarly, if you’re building a fence on a hill, it’s much easier to trim our panels than it is to adapt heavy steel or wood to the terrain. In all of these cases, a contractor is going to charge you extra money, increasing your aluminum fence cost, so think again about doing the work yourself.

Other Factors

It also makes a difference where you put up your fence. Here are some factors to consider.  If your site is hard to get to, that means it will take longer to get materials onto the site, or you might need special equipment to carry them in. Existing structures, brush, trees and rocks can all add to the time it takes to build your fence.

The kind of earth at your site can affect the digging of post holes for posts. Rocks are clearly a problem, and you can also run into trouble with ground that is rich in clay. Groundwater can pose its own set of challenges.  Surface mounting posts will also incur additional cost for post flanges.

Trees can also be problematic. A tree can constitute an obstacle to your fence route, in which case you’ll have to remove it. You could also try to build around it, but that will probably add to your costs. You might also run into older trees that have put down a tangle of thick, hard roots that can cause havoc when you’re digging post holes.

You often need to know your property line. That means hiring a surveyor to figure it out. You can skip this step, but you could be in a lot of trouble if your fence goes up on your neighbor’s property. In some areas, local codes require that you put up your fence at an offset. That means you have to build your fence some minimum distance back from the border. It is well worth determining the property line to avoid these issues.

It’s Not That Hard to Install Aluminum Fence Panels

Most of our customers install our aluminum fences themselves. Unless you’re all thumbs, you can do the same.

If you think it’s too difficult to install your aluminum fence, you should think again. Our customers typically install the fences they buy from us, and most of them have never done it before. When you buy a wood or steel fence, you know you’ll have to pay someone to install it. That’s not the case with our aluminum fence panels. We designed our system so you can install your own fence, which saves a lot of money. Consider investing a small amount of sweat equity to install your fence.

Start by reading our installation manual. We provide a download link on our website. You will see that you need no special skills to install our aluminum fence panels, and if you have questions, just call and we’ll set you straight.  About 90% of our home owner customers nationwide install our products themselves, and most have never installed a fence before.

Outside of a few tools, you will need nothing more than a friend to help you install your fence. If you really don’t want to do the work, you can hire someone to take care of the rest of the installation.


Our system consists mainly of a series of posts, which you might view as the skeleton, upon which you will insert your fence panels.  Typically, you will start with a gate, cement the gate posts and hang your gate with gate hinges and a lock.  Then, work off the gate with 1 fence panel.  Temporarily secure the panel into 2 posts.  Make sure everything is level and then set the panel-to-post connection with stainless steel screws that are automatically included with your order.  Your learning curve is going to skyrocket and then you can setup 2 or 3 or 4 panels at a time and follow the same procedure.  If you’re installing a fence on a deck or stairwell, you can buy welded plates upon which you can erect your posts on top of an existing hard surface.

Our website details the sizes of posts you’ll need depending on the fence height. Dig your holes at least 6” to 8″ in diameter for posts up to 2.5” square, and 8” for larger posts. Your bag of cement should have guidelines to help you determine how much cement you’ll need.

You might terminate a fence run at a column or wall, or perhaps your fence abuts a building. We offer straight mounts to make those connections. You can also buy horizontal swivel mounts if you want to accommodate an angle with your fence, and you can use our vertical swivel mounts for stairs and steep slopes.  If you need a partial section of a panel to complete a run, you can easily cut any fence panel on-site.  We call it trim to fit.  You cannot cut or trim gates on-site because gates are welded into a frame.


Your fence project will likely include walkway gates or aluminum driveway gates. You should start your installation with the gate and work your way outward from there with your fence panels.

Set the posts for your gate first. You may have to use larger posts for your gate because they will support a heavier load. Remember that when digging your holes. Position your aluminum driveway gates or walkway gates with a space of about 0.75” between the gate and the post.  Larger gates require about 4 inches of spacing when using our Heavy Duty Gate Hinges.  Check your measurements, and then drill the necessary holes and place the hinges.

A Final Word

We’ve taken you through the basics, and now you should read our installation manual and make yourself comfortable with the procedure. We’re sure you’ll use your newfound knowledge to accomplish a quick, trouble-free installation.

Stay Safe with an Aluminum Swimming Pool Fence

Swimming season may be winding down soon, but it’s not too late to erect an aluminum fence around your pool. Aluminum fence panels look great, and it’s been shown that pool fences effectively deter drowning accidents.

If you own a swimming pool, you should seriously think about the possibility of an accident involving someone who is not supposed to be there. If you don’t have a fence around your pool or you have a fence that is not secure, you’re inviting people to imperil themselves. Remember that those people are all too often children. Consider the peace of mind of knowing your pool is secure. A properly designed aluminum pool fence can prevent unauthorized entry and minimize the chances of an accidental death or serious injury in your pool.

Four Sides Are Better than Three

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a pool fence or other effective barrier can keep young children away from your pool without a caregiver’s knowledge. Some people build a three-sided fence around their pool, with their home or some other structure serving as the fourth side. This is not nearly as effective as a four-sided fence. With a four-sided fence, the chance of a child drowning in your pool is 83 percent less than it is with a three-sided fence. This is because a three-sided fence can allow entry from the home, either through a window or right through the door. Stick with four sides if possible.

No Silver Bullet

Putting up a pool fence doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be vigilant. Kids are going to look for ways to go where they want to go. However, a fence can slow them down, and that can make the difference between life and death. When you plan your fence, consider the surroundings. Will the fence be right next to your air handling unit? If so, you might as well put a stepladder next to it. Plan the fence in a layout that minimizes ways to penetrate it.

The BOCA Pool Fence Code

Communities often follow the pool fence code of the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA). Every aluminum pool fence we sell meets the BOCA code.

The BOCA code stipulates a fence height of at least 48 inches. A 4-inch diameter sphere should not pass through it. Any gate must be lockable, open outward, and be self-closing and self-latching. There are also specific requirements for locks. In addition, the fence and gate must not offer an opening that might allow someone to reach through to unlatch the gate.

We’ve discussed three-sided versus four-sided fences. If you do put up a three-sided fence, you will need to fit any doors that open into the area with alarms, among other safety measures.

Drowning is a Serious Issue

Drowning is a serious cause of death in the United States. The CDC says an average of about ten people die daily from drowning in non-boating related incidents. Twenty percent of them are kids under 15 years of age. There are also nonfatal drownings, some of them resulting in brain damage. In 2009, drowning accounted for almost a third of the deaths of children between 1 and 4 years old from unintentional injuries. The primary place where these accidents occurred was home swimming pools.

Aluminum Versus the Competition

Aluminum isn’t your only choice in fencing materials, but we think it stands up to the competition. Don’t just take our word for it; if you do some research, we think you’ll see the advantages of aluminum fencing panels.

You have a choice from many materials if you are shopping for fencing. Needless to say, we prefer that you opt for aluminum. However, to be perfectly honest, competing materials have their own advantages, and one of them might prove best for your application.

While shopping for fencing, you might find an advantage in steel, wood, vinyl, wrought iron, chain link or some other type of fencing. Research your options and do what is best for you. We think aluminum fences have enough unique advantages that many potential customers will buy from us. However, in the end, we want everyone to do what works best for them.

Steel Fences

Steel is the ticket if you want strength, but it comes at the price of susceptibility to corrosion and rust. Steel can work well if you have to rack your fencing for a slope or stairway. It is not good for self-installation because of its weight. Aluminum and vinyl are much better in this regard. Steel can be costly, and it is not as versatile as some other materials. Finally, a steel fence doesn’t always offer great privacy and it’s much harder to work with.

Wrought Iron Fences

You can’t do better than wrought iron if you want a traditional-looking fence. However, it can be quite heavy, and the material is naturally prone to rust.  Shipping costs can be extraordinary.  Wrought iron can be expensive, especially if you include the cost of installation. Few people are going to go the DIY route with wrought iron, and that means you’ll be hiring a crew to do the work. Unlike our aluminum fences, wrought iron doesn’t come in panels that are easily erected.

Chain-Link Fencing

Chain-link fencing is priced reasonably, holds up well and requires little maintenance. It will rust, however. Chain-link fences are fairly easy to install, although they are considerably heavier than aluminum fences. The knock on chain-link fences relates to esthetics. They just aren’t stylish or pretty. That can be fine for a factory, but it’s not so great for a home in a leafy subdivision. When it comes to security, chain-link fencing is not hard to climb. You can top it with barbed wire, of course, which brings us back to esthetics.

Vinyl Fencing

You can buy various styles of vinyl fences. It’s a strong, durable material, and it holds up well to the elements. Vinyl is light and easy to install. It is prone to dents and dings, so you might have to repair or replace small sections occasionally. Vinyl can also offer good privacy.

Wood Fencing

Wood certainly looks good, and everyone likes the natural look. It’s not hard to rack a wood fence for slopes or stairs, and it’s a great choice for privacy. Wood is somewhat heavy and unwieldy for DIY installation, however, and it can require some carpentry skills depending on the nature of the fence. Wood requires periodic maintenance, such as wood treatment and staining.

Aluminum Fencing

Aluminum is an economical alternative, and our aluminum fencing panels are made for DIY installation. We offer a number of styles so you can find the right one to suit your needs. Aluminum requires very little maintenance, and it holds up well to weather. We offer several colors and finishes, plus a host of options to make your fence more secure.

White Aluminum Fence

Preparing to Install an Aluminum Fence

It’s easy to install our aluminum fence panels, and it will be even easier if you take the time to prepare for the job. Having a plan will help ensure a trouble-free installation.

It’s easy to install our metal fencing panels. Most of our customers install their fences themselves, but just because it’s easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the job seriously. Your installation should proceed nicely if you come in prepared. Be sure to have all the tools and materials you’ll need, and make yourself familiar with the installation process before you start.

Knowledge is Power

Your first task should be to check on local regulations. If you skip this step, you risk having to take down the fence you’re about to install. Sometimes you can’t put up a fence at all. More likely, you’ll be looking at constraints on the type of fence or its height. You’ll sometimes be required to put up a fence at an offset, which means you can’t erect a fence right on the property line. Instead, you’ll have to put it up some distance back from the boundary. You want to know the boundary in any case so you don’t inadvertently build your fence on your neighbor’s land.

You will find swimming pool fences to be subject to additional regulations in many communities. The Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA) publishes a pool fence code that is widely followed. The point is to prevent unauthorized individuals from entering a pool area and accidentally drowning.

Homeowners’ associations also issue fence regulations. These often deal with aesthetic considerations. You might have to build your fence from specified materials. Associations might also have something to say about the design or color of a fence.

You will probably be digging post holes to get the job done. These can be fairly deep on occasion, so it’s imperative that you check with local utilities to identify the routes of any underground lines in the vicinity of your fence. If you interrupt utility service, you’re going to be embarrassed, and your neighbors will remember your foolhardy behavior for a long, long time. Even if you don’t cut into a line, building on top of a buried utility line can mean trouble down the road. If the utility has to work on the line under your fence, they might have to rip it out to gain access.

Fence Grades

We sell our metal fencing panels in three grades. For a home, our residential aluminum fence panels should be fine. Our commercial fence panels are more substantial because they are made with more metal. These are good if you have a business or have more than an average amount of traffic. Industrial aluminum fence panels are the top of the line when it comes to durability. These are good for the highest traffic, such as for schools, hospitals and industrial facilities.

Making Your Mark

Before you order, walk the area where you plan to build your fence. Drive some stakes at the corners and string lines between them. Look at the outline and ask yourself if you like what you see. You might notice an issue and decide to make changes. You want to make the changes now – not halfway through the installation. Mark where you will place your fence posts. Measure everything, then check your measurements before ordering materials.

Powder-Coated Aluminum Fence Panels Stand Up to Tough Weather

Powder-coated colors help protect your aluminum fence, and they don’t degrade like paint. It’s hard to beat aluminum fence panels, and powder coating provides one more layer of protection.

As soon as you install your aluminum fence, the atmosphere starts to attack it. Temperatures, both warm and cold, put stress on your fence, and moisture is always an issue. Humidity can wreak havoc on wood fencing, causing fence rot in extreme situations. This is of no concern if you own an aluminum fence from Great Fence, however. On top of that, we apply colors through a powder coating process that eliminates issues such as flaking and blistering that can affect a painted surface. Whether it’s a white or black aluminum fence or any other color, you can rest easy knowing your fence will stand up to the rigors of weather.

We sell powder-coated aluminum fence panels in a number of finishes and colors. You can get hunter green, sandstone, white, gold, bronze and black aluminum fence panels with a glossy finish, and our flat finishes are available in black, white, bronze and khaki.

Powder Coating Described

When we powder coat your fence panel, we apply a number of layers of color with a dry powder using an electrostatic process. We then cure it using heat, with the result being a strong, smooth skin that protects the aluminum fencing.

Powder-coated color adheres better to the aluminum surface. It stands up to all sorts of nasty weather, including temperature extremes. Humidity is no match for a powder-coated finish.  However, we do recommend a quick wash down once or twice a year if you live in a salty-air climate.

As great as it is for the beauty and longevity of your fence, powder coating is also better for the environment. The process uses less energy than other coating processes, and we can recycle the waste from the process or dispose of it safely.

Finally, powder coating is safer for the workers who apply the finish. Workers are exposed to carcinogens when applying liquid spray paints. Powder coating eliminates this issue. In addition, solvents are needed in liquid paint to maintain fillers and binders. These solvents release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pose hazards to workers, and they are also dangerous for the environment, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Because it is dry when it’s applied, powder coating emits nowhere near as much of these compounds.

Key Facts About Powder-Coated Fencing

You can get a good idea of a coating’s durability and quality from the paint film thickness. You want this to be 0.8 mils or greater.

Shininess can be measured by specular gloss. For low gloss, look for a value of 19 or less. Medium gloss scores 20 to 79, and high gloss is 80 or greater.

An ASTM score of H for dry film hardness is normal for fencing, but F indicates greater durability.

You want no failure in dry, wet and boiling water adhesion tests, and you want the substrate to experience no removal of film from impact. Look for an abrasion coefficient of 20 or greater.

You want no blistering from exposure to cleaning chemicals. You should see very few blisters after exposure to humidity and salt spray for 3,000 hours.

Powder coated finishes rate 7 or better on tests for scribe or cut edges, and their minimum blister ratings are at least 8, as measured by the ASTM D 1654 standard.

Preparations for Aluminum Fence Installation

Our customers usually install their aluminum fences themselves. It’s not really difficult, but it does require some preparation. Preparing properly is easy, and it can make a big difference.

It’s not hard to install an aluminum fence, but remember that preparation is part of the process. Proper preparation means you’ll be ready to go when it comes time to install the fence, with the materials and tools you’ll need on hand and a master plan in your head.

Know the Rules

Aluminum Fence Stair RailingCommunities often issue regulations governing DIY fence projects. Even if they don’t, you may still be subject to rules from your homeowners’ association. Learn the local laws and check with your homeowners’ association if you belong to one. Don’t order your fencing until you’ve done this. Your local government may require a permit, for example, and homeowners’ associations can have all kinds of rules pertaining to fence heights, designs and a host of other things. They might also take an interest in your fence’s color or the material from which it is made.

Sometimes you are required to employ an offset. This means you have to put your fence up at a certain distance from the property line. You can’t do this if you don’t know the exact location of the property line, so you’ll need to hire someone to figure this out. In any case, you need to know where the property line is because otherwise you may learn, to your chagrin, that you’ve put your fence up on someone else’s property.

If you’re installing your fence with in-ground posts, you will have to dig some holes. Those holes can be three feet deep or even more. You’ll hear about it quickly if you manage to cut into an underground utility line while digging those holes, and it’s not going to be pleasant.

Call the utility companies in your area and ask them to identify the routes of their underground lines. Even if you don’t cut into any lines, it’s just not smart to build over utility lines. If the utility company needs to access their buried lines, they might have to bust up your fence to get to them, and you will have no say in the matter.

Swimming pool fences come with their own set of rules. Communities usually base their pool fence rules on those of the Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA). The purpose of the code is to keep unauthorized individuals out of the pool area to prevent accidental drowning. Our pool fencing meets the BOCA code.

Fence Grades

We sell aluminum fence panels in three grades: residential, commercial and industrial. Most homeowners do fine with residential fence panels. Commercial aluminum fence panels hold up well in higher-traffic situations, such as light industry and retail applications. These are a bit heavier and beefier than residential aluminum fence panels. Our top-of-the-line option is our industrial aluminum fence panels, which we recommend for areas with the highest traffic. This might include hospitals, schools and factories.

The Layout

You want to order the right materials for your DIY fence project. Walk your fence route before ordering. It’s good to stake out the route. Run some string between the stakes so you can visualize your fence. Do you see any issues? This is the time to make changes. Once you’re comfortable with your fence route, you can measure everything, determine what you’ll need and order it.

You Can Install an Aluminum Fence in Almost Any Configuration

Aluminum fencing panels are nothing if not versatile. You can install them at all but the most extreme angles. On top of that, slopes rarely present a problem.

Aluminum fence panels are easy to install, and they make short work of just about any configuration or terrain. It’s hard to imagine another fence material that matches aluminum’s versatility.

No Trouble with the Curve

Curves and angles present no problem if you’re installing aluminum fencing panels. You can work with angles in two ways depending on the degree of the angle.

You can use our normal pre-punched posts with smaller angles. Use a standard line post to make an angle of 8 to 10 degrees from a straight line simply by flexing a panel in the desired direction and attaching it to the post. That is equivalent to a fence angle of 170 to 190 degrees, which is just a slight deviation from a straight run.

You can use the same technique with a corner post to make angles that exceed 10 degrees. Corner posts are pre-punched so you can make a right angle. You can flex the panel a bit in one direction or the other to realize an angle in your fence of 80 to 100 degrees. You can simply pull your fence panels to the desired angle and then set them to the post.

You can accomplish almost any other angle using our swivel mounts. You can make an angle of up to around 35 degrees by using a swivel mount on one side of a post. Use swivel mounts on both sides to make a 70-degree angle. There are few angles you can’t make with aluminum fence panels, but note that you can’t use end posts for these applications.


Slopes are no challenge for aluminum fencing panels. You can erect an aluminum fence on any sort of hill or slope with no problem.

You can go ahead and use our normal fence panels on slopes with a rise of 6 inches or less per fence panel. In this case, you can just use our usual pre-punched posts at the corners and ends or in the fence runs. We sell optional mounts for use with your own posts or to terminate a run on a vertical surface.

Black Aluminum Fence on a hillWe sell rackable aluminum fencing panels to accommodate steeper slopes. Our rackable fence panels work with a rise of 6 to 20 inches per panel. You can use our standard posts in this case. Once again, we have optional mounts for use with your own posts or to end a run at a wall or other vertical surface.

You will need our heavy rackable aluminum fencing panels for steeper slopes. With these, you can erect a fence on a slope that rises as much as 36 inches per panel. In this case, you’ll need our blank, non-punched posts, and you’ll also need to use swivel mounts.

With rackable fence panels, you can’t order certain options. These include dog panels and ornamental rings. You also can’t order rackable versions of our styles 7 and 8. However, you can rack these styles up to a rise of roughly 15 inches per panel. You’ll need to employ stair stepping for steeper runs. For this, you will have to trim a 4- or 6-foot panel to make short panels that you can stair-step up a slope. You should punch out end posts or non-punched posts in this case.