How To Install A Split Rail Fence | Vinyl Fence For Sale

The split rail fence kits available at Plastic Lumber Yard are the perfect choice for those interested in a DIY fence project. Available in 2-rail, 3-rail, and 4-rail sections, this style of fence is made from vinyl that is durable and low-maintenance.

Installing A Split Rail Fence 

This how-to guide will help you install your new fence quickly and safely. It assumes that steps have been taken to prepare the land, the required fence has been carefully measured and purchased, and additional materials have been obtained. 

Our team recommends having the following tools available:

  • String Line
  • Tape Measure
  • Power Drill 
  • ⅛’’ Bit
  • Circular Saw w/ a Fine Tooth Blade
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Post Hole Digger and/or Auger
  • Shovel
circular saw used for split rail fence installation

Always take steps to remain safe during installation by wearing gloves and safety glasses.

Set Up The String Line

The string line should be placed in such a way that it represents the outside face of each post. The string should be set to the height of the bottom rail. 

Mark The Fence Posts

Even if you’ve already measured and prepared, once the fence arrives and the string line has been set, mark the location of every single post. The mark should indicate the center of the post.

Lay Out The Sections Of The Fence

The adage “Measure twice and cut once” exists for good reason. While you won’t be cutting the vinyl fence, marking and then laying out the sections before you begin the installation process will ensure that the fence is installed in the correct location with no issues. This is the time when changes and shifts can be made. 

Dig Split Rail Fence Post Holes

Each fence post hole should be approximately 9’’ in diameter for a 4’’ square post or 12’’ in diameter for a 5’’ square post.

The recommended depth is 30’’ as this will make the bottom of the hole below the frost line. 

Note that if the soil in the area is dry and prone to shifting the hole may need to be deeper to stabilize the post. 

For areas with winter weather, dig the hole an additional 6’’ deep and backfill it with gravel. The addition of gravel will help water drain around the fence post and will prevent frost heaves in the colder months. 

Gate posts should also be dug 6’’ deeper for additional stability as the gate will swing and apply force to the post.

Set The Posts With Concrete

Caps should be placed on the posts before each post is set. The corner and end posts should be set first. 

Be aware of how quickly the concrete will set. Using a fast-setting concrete is fine, however, it leaves less time for adjustments to be made. 

Here’s how you ensure that you have the proper post depth and alignment: align the bottom edge of the first routered post hole with the string line. Fill the hole with about half of the recommended amount of concrete and then place the post. Measure the post height and make any necessary adjustments. Ensure that the post is level. 

Fill around the post with concrete until about 2’’ from the top of the hole remains. Allow the concrete to set. 

**Do not attempt to install the fencing rails until the posts have been properly set. 

Notes On Installing Gate Posts

An aluminum post channel should be used inside every post that supports a gate. Be sure to place this post channel before installing the rails.  

Install The Rails

The fencing rails will come packaged in 8’ and 16’ lengths. The 16’ rails should be installed on a straight and level section. The 8’ rails should be used on corners and uneven ground.

When using the 16’ rails, first, slide the top rail through the first and second posts, ending in the third post. Then alternate the next rail, so that it ends in the second post. Continue this alternating process for each rail.

When installing 8’ rails, simply slide one end of the rail far enough through the post so that the opposite end can be inserted into the second post. 

Installing Rails On A Corner

Rails installed on a corner must have the ends cut on an angle so that there isn’t interference in the post. Take this process slowly and only cut a small portion at a time. Do not remove the crimps. 

Cover Exposed Concrete Around Fence Posts With Soil

Once the rails and gates have been installed, cover any exposed concrete with soil. 

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your new fence! 

How Long Does It Take To Install A Split Rail Fence? 

Every property is different and has different challenges. Keeping that in mind, the average split rail fence installation takes 1-4 days. 

Questions About Fence Installation? Contact Us!

Every split rail fence order comes with a full set of installation instructions, however, contact our team with any questions. 


How To Install A Split Rail Fence