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 call811.com.
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.