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

Call before you dig

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.

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