DIY Guide For Installing Vinyl Fences

**Please note that this guide provides a brief overview of the DIY Fence installation process, a full set of instructions specific to the type of fence is included with every vinyl fence purchased at Plastic Lumber Yard.

Vinyl fencing is an excellent choice for many properties. Although the initial cost of the material is slightly higher than a traditional wood fence, vinyl will last for decades to come and there are virtually no maintenance costs. 

Plastic Lumber Yard has created this vinyl fence installation guide for homeowners and business owners who are seeking their next DIY project.

Questions To Ask Before Purchasing A Vinyl Fence  

The pre-installation process of installing a fence is just as important as the actual installation process. Before you purchase a vinyl fence, you might want to consider the following questions: 

  • What is the purpose of the fence? Privacy, safety, and boundary marking are a few reasons why a fence is installed. The function of the fence can impact the style. 
  • Which style will best match the existing structures? 
  • How tall should the fence be?

This post, “How To Choose The Best Fence For Your Property” may be helpful during the decision-making process.

Tools You Will Need To Install A Fence 

The following are the tools we suggest you have when installing a fence: 

  • Post Hole Digger or Auger
  • Trowel
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Mallet
tape measure used to help install vinyl fence

The Planning Phase Of Fence Installation

By properly planning out the fence installation, many mistakes and issues can be avoided. 

Check For Easements

When an easement is in place it gives someone other than the deed holder to the property the right to use the land for a specific purpose. For example, access to the water in a lakefront community might be provided via an easement.

When an easement is in place it can restrict the area onto which a fence can be placed. 

Check For Utilities

Pipes, electrical wires, and cable lines could all be buried. If you did without knowing exactly where these lines and pipes are you could damage them and potentially anger anyone who is connected. 

Check With Your HOA and Local Zoning Office 

Depending on your location, your HOA or local Zoning Office might have restrictions on the type of fence and the height of the fence that can be installed. Be sure to obtain any approvals or permits required before you dig! 

First Steps Of The Fence Installation Process: Prep Work

There’s a phrase that’s popular among contractors, “Measure twice, cut once.” Basically, it means measuring everything out and making sure to have everything you need prepared because once a mistake is made, it could be costly to fix it. How exactly do you do this when installing your fence?

Use Fencing Stakes

Use fencing or landscaping stakes to stake out the entire fence line from start to finish. Be sure to mark all corners and gates. 

Connect The Stakes With String 

Using twine, nylon, or cotton string, connect the different corner stakes. Be sure to pull the string tight. Then, measure the string. Compare this to the measurements of the panels that you will or have purchased. 

Measure For Fence Posts 

Along the line, measure on center from each corner post. Panels that are 6-feet long should use 5-inch-by-5-inch posts placed 73 1/4 inches apart on center and those that are 8-feet long should use 4-by-4 posts placed 96 inches apart on center.

If a slope is involved be sure to measure the posts horizontally, not parallel.

Be sure to read this post, “DIY Fence Installation Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid” to learn more. 

Next Step: Dig Holes For Fence Posts 

It’s quite possible that you’re looking for the hard workout that is provided by digging holes for your fence posts. However, if you’d like to save time and energy, you should consider renting an auger. 

Holes should be 10’’ in diameter. The type of soil in your area will determine how deep the hole should be. If the soil is dry and prone to shifting, the hole may need to be deeper than in an area where the soil is stable. 

Be sure to dig the fence post hole 6’’ deeper than is needed and use gravel to backfill the hole. This will allow for water draining around the fence post and will help to prevent frost heaves in the winter months. 

Gate fence posts should be dug six inches deeper than other posts for added stability, given that the gate will swing open and closed. 

Set The Posts

Now it’s time to set the posts with concrete. It’s important to know the setting time of the concrete. While it’s perfectly fine to use a quick setting concrete, this means that any adjustments that need to be made will have to occur quickly. 

Install the corner and end posts first. Begin by ensuring the proper depth and height by aligning the bottom edge to the first routed post hole with the string line.

Mix the concrete per the instructions and fill about half of what will be needed. Place the post and measure the height, making adjustments if needed. Be sure to check that the post is level. Then fill the remaining space around the post. Double-check the post height and level. 

Once all of the posts have been installed, check that each is level and plumb once again. Then allow the concrete to be set per the manufacturer’s specifications. 

How To Install The Rails On Ranch Style Fencing

Rails installed on level ground are 16’ rails. Slide the first rail through the first and second post, ending at the third post. The second rail should be alternated so that it ends at the second post, and continue to alternate for each subsequent rail. 

Rails installed on uneven ground or when approaching a corner at 8’ rails. Simply slide the rail through one post and far enough to be inserted into the second post. On corner applications, the rail may need to be cut to avoid interference inside of the post. Cut as little of the rail as possible to achieve this goal. 

Assembly Of Picket Fence And Yard Fence Rails 

First install the bottom rail with an aluminum u-channel, the middle rail (if your chosen fence includes a middle rail), and top rail. Then slide the spokes or pickets through the rails. Depending on the fence that was purchased, you may have to insert and tighten screws in the pre-drilled holes. 

Installing Vinyl Privacy Fence Panels

Install the bottom rail with the aluminum u-channel. Cut the c-channel to height and fasten it to the post using #8 x 1’’ screws. 

Begin to insert the panels into the bottom rail. Use the tongue and groove to engage the panels with one another and be sure they are facing in the same direction. When placing the final two panels, set the final panel before the second to last panel. Press firmly to ensure that all of the panels are seated. 

Install the top rail on the panels and insert into one post, then the other, until the top rail is locked in place. 

Fence Installation Questions? Give Our Team A Call!

If you have questions about how to install the vinyl fence you purchased from Plastic Lumber Yard, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.