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    [ Installation ]

    How to Install a Vinyl Fence

    Learn how to install vinyl fencing including digging post holes and working with concrete; includes materials and tools lists.


    This segment of HouseCalls take us to the beautiful town of Craintown Island, Ohio where the Bickels would like to try their hand at fencing but they really could use some expert help. They would like to give a cottage look to their vacation home on Indian Lake with a picket type fence as an accent piece. Ron selected a new PVC fencing material that is easy to install and will never need painting.


    1. Lay out fence:Decide where you want the corner of the fence to go, and drive your first stake in.


    Stretch a string line from the first stake along the distance where you want the fence to run. Measure to make sure it is parallel with the curb. Drive in a second stake.
    From the first stake, stretch a second string at right angles to the first and measure again to make sure that the string line is also parallel to the driveway.
    For this system, the fence posts needed to be placed every eight feet (96 inches) so the distance was measured and the stakes driven in.


    2. Dig holes:

    There are two ways to dig a good post hole -- the old fashioned way using a posthole digger or Rons way-- a power auger. The power auger makes short work of hole digging.
    Fill the bottom quarter (approximately) of each hole with gravel for drainage.


    3. Mix and pour concrete:

    In a wheelbarrow, add about one and a half to two 80-pound bags of concrete for each of the postholes that you have dug.
       Add water. The water reacts with the materials in the concrete, which causes it to harden. Its not a matter of the water evaporating. The water is actually a catalyst. The hotter the weather, the more quickly the concrete will set up. The Bickels project was done on a particularly hot day and the concrete set up in less than 30 minutes.
    When the concrete is the right consistency to work with, then rake it from the wheelbarrow and into the hole. Fill the hole to just below ground level.


    4. Set posts:

    In most cases, with a solid post, youd put the post in the hole first, and then pour the concrete around it. With this fencing product, the PVC posts are hollow so you can fill the hole with concrete first then set the post in. Work the post down into the concrete so it can fill the hollow inside of the post as well.
    Using a posthole level, you can either hold the level up on the post or, if you want your hands free, you can take the rubber band and secure in place around the post. This way, you can leave the level on the post and youll have both hands free to maneuver and level it. Make sure that both indicators are level.


    5. Install fencing:

    Decide how far from the ground that you want the bottom pickets of the fence to be placed. It can be adjusted up or down according the look that you would like.
    Make a mark on the post where youd like the bracket to go.
    Using a drill with a screwdriver bit, attach the brackets that hold the fencing to the posts.


    The ends of the picket section sit right in the brackets that you attached to the post.
       Secure the fence with another screw.
    Repeat the above process for the remaining fencing sections.


    6. Finishing touches:

    Use a circular saw to cut the posts off at the right height.
       You may need to finish the sawing with a handsaw.
    Use PVC adhesive to glue the decorative tops onto the posts.
    When installing a gate into a section of fencing, take special care to make sure the distance between the bottom and the top of the posts is equal.
    The gate installs between two posts in a similar way that the picket section did, but with a narrower distance between the posts.


    THE RESULTS:

    The Bickels didnt really need a fence for the traditional reasons. They just wanted the look and the charm of a picket fence to lend a cottage feel to their Indian Island vacation home. What they certainly didnt need was a lot of maintenance! Thanks to Ron and this PVC fence system, they got everything they wanted, and didnt want, in just one day!


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