Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install a Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fences are relatively new and becoming more popular an alternative to traditional wooden one. It costs more but it lasts decades and best of all it’s virtually maintenance free, so it pays for itself.

Before undertaking any fencing project, choose the type of vinyl fencing that is right for you. Some questions to consider are:

  • What area are you willing to fence? Is it on a flat, level surface or on a slope?
  • What kind of surface is it going to stand on? Is it soil or concrete?– all our fence panels can be installed onto soil where else only some can be installed onto the concrete using our specially designed post inserts.
  • What will the purpose of fencing be? Do you want full or semi-privacy fencing?
  • What style will work best with your home’s existing architecture?

Now that you know the design of the vinyl fence it is time to plan the fence location and calculate how many fence panels and posts your project requires.

Installing a vinyl fence isn’t as complicated job as it might seem, but it is a two-person job and requires one to two days taking as an example an average size 2-3-bedroom house boundaries.

Table of Contents

  1. Before You Start
  2. Tools Required
  3. Site Preparation
  4. Post Marking and Layout
  5. Digging Post Holes
  6. Setting Fence Posts
  7. Installing Vinyl Fence Gate
  8. Final Touches: Post’ and Picket’ Caps Installation
  9. Conclusion

1. Before You Start

Before beginning any fencing project, check with your local codes? concerning fence installation. There are rules for listed properties and conservation areas – if you have purchased a property ‘at risk’ or a heritage, it’s possible that you will not be able to make any changes to it at all.

In most of the other cases you would likely install a fence up to 6.5 ft or 2 m in height with no trouble. Next step is to confirm the location of underground utilities with your local providers before you dig.

2. Tools and Materials Required

  • Personal Protective Equipment (Gloves and Goggles)
  • Tape Measure
  • Spirit Level
  • High Visibility Builders’ Line
  • Stanley Knife
  • Line Marking Paint (Optional)
  • Rebar or Wooden Stakes (Optional)
  • Shovel
  • Post Hole Digger
  • Tamping Bar
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Impact Driver or Drill
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Garden Hose
  • Postcrete
  • Water
  • PVC Cement
  • Stainless Steel Fasteners

3. Site Preparation

Site preparation for vinyl fencing installation is minimal. Obviously, all large obstacles must be moved or fenced around.

If the area to be fenced is on a slope, you must determine how the fencing will be contoured to the landscape.

Your fencing can be angled or stepped up/down to accommodate the grade depending on personal taste. In any case, this is a good time to step back and think how you want it when finished. Spend some time planning. Remember the saying… Measure twice, cut once?

4. Post Marking and Layout

Begin your layout by staking each corner of your fence perimeter. Rebar works best, but wooden stakes may also be used.

Once your fence perimeter is staked, tie a high vis line between each stake. Determine whether the line represents the outside or inside edge of your posts.

Don’t forget to stake out all gate openings.

With your corners staked and string line in place, you’re ready to mark for post holes. Posts should be placed every eight feet on centre. Measuring can be done with a tape measure or a measuring wheel.

Using line marking paint, spray a mark 2 1/2” from the string ling to accommodate the width of a post.

5. Digging Post Holes

The fastest and easiest solution to dig post holes is with a post hole auger. Especially, if you have to prepare many post holes. Post auger can be rented daily from one of your local tool rental supplier. There’s nothing worse than digging post holes by hand in rocky soil or in soil with dense root structures. Unless your project is very small, power auger is highly recommended. Each post hole should be at least 30 inches or 75 centimetres deep – that’s 2.5 feet deep.

For 4-inch posts, the hole size should be 10 inches or 25 centimetres in diameter and for 5-inch posts, the hole size should be 12 inches or 30 centimetres in diameter.

6. Setting Fence Posts and Installing Rails

Begin placing the post in the hole to the correct depth using the high vis line as a guide to ensure that the post is touching the line and is flat against it and in line with the other posts.

To ensure the post remains upright you will need some assistance from your friend or a family member. Use the spirit level to ensure that the post is positioned plumb and level.

Set two bags of Postcrete next to each hole, we will need them a bit later.

Prepare the bottom and top rails with the pickets in place and insert section into the posts.

Fill the post holes with water to one/third of its depth (or as per instructions from the bags of Postcrete). Making sure the post is straight and level pour in the Postcrete evenly around the post, ensure the mix is stiff enough to support the post.

Tamp the concrete mix to eliminate air pockets until no water is visible. The mix should cover the water. Then add a little water on top of the mix and tamp the concrete again making it packed.

Check the post level and position. The mix will take about 15 mins to set hard enough to remove any support.

Note: Depending on the temperature and moisture, the setting time may slightly vary.

7. Installing Vinyl Fence Gate

All our gates are preassembled. Begin by marking where you will attach each hinge. Once you are happy with the location attach the hinges to the post. When the hinges attached to the gate posts, insert two pieces of 1/2” rebar the full length of the post in opposite corners of the post. Using a funnel, fill gateposts with concrete covering the rebar. Leave to cure for 24 hours before you attach the gate.

8. Final Touches: Post and Picket Caps Installation

At this point, all posts should be plumb and level and having had enough time to set.

Congratulations, it’s time for the finishing touches. Simply wipe off the water or any other residue from the posts’ and pickets’ edges, coat the inner edges of each cap with PVC cement and slide and press on each post and picket cap to ensure adhesion.

9. Conclusion

Vinyl fencing is a worthwhile, beautiful project for any home.

Installation by the average homeowner may sound a bit daunting. But with the right guide, the right preparation, and a little patience, you can do it. If all of this sound like too much to handle, just contact us and we or our partners will provide you with installation services.