How to Install Vinyl Fencing

Installing Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing provides incredible value to your home and privacy. Here at Northland Fence, we believe in putting the power and knowledge in the customer’s hands, with quick to install fencing solutions for your home and yard.

Temperate Minnesota weather poses a threat to most enclosure options. Traditional wooden materials look incredible and arrive in mint condition. But looks can be deceiving. Over time your fence will fall victim to rot, discoloration, and decay — from the weather or possibly even pests like termites. So what are your options?

Installing a vinyl fence offers a perfect solution. Easy-to-install, simple to maintain and durable enough to withstand harsh Minnesota weather — the perfect curb appeal is made with vinyl.

Why Install Vinyl Fencing?

For quite a while now vinyl fencing has become increasingly popular and is in high demand. But what makes vinyl so different? Well, traditional wooden fences have many flaws due to their natural structure. But vinyl offers a long-lasting alternative due to the materials used to construct the beautiful fencing.

Vinyl is considered a type of plastic. It’s made of what is called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and a few other ingredients. This combination creates a sturdy, long-lasting material that can withstand harsh weathers and lasts nearly a lifetime. Plastic often gets a bad reputation because it’s thought of as cheap or weak. But with PVC it’s actually the exact opposite. High quality hardened plastics have long been used for their durability and ruggedness.

How Long Will Vinyl Last?

Nothing will give you a headache quicker than realizing you have to redo or maintain your fence. It just seems like something you shouldn’t have to do.

Vinyl is resistant to:

  • Termites
  • Warping
  • Splintering
  • Dry rot
  • Fungus
  • Discoloration

And the best part? It lasts. With proper care and attention (we’re talking far less than traditional wood fencing), your vinyl fence will last up to 50+ years. While wood fences will only last up to around 20 years with proper upkeep.

Keeping your vinyl fence clean is as easy as spraying it down with water. For a more detailed wash, you can use a sponge or a rag.

We put together a pros and cons list for vinyl vs. wood in another article. To sum it up, vinyl may cost more upfront, but it’s an investment that will save you time and money in the future. Easy maintenance, fireproof finish, and a versatile color and style selection are just a few of the many pros vinyl offers.

The Problem With Cedar

One specific type of wood we have found to be particularly difficult is cedar. While cedar has long been a traditional choice for fencing, we have retired it entirely. This is because it’s what is considered a soft wood and presents many potential issues that can cost you down the road.

Many of these problems pertain to installation posts rotting away due to increased moisture. If these posts are made of cedar — you risk water or snow dampening the soil where the posts sit, where it will eventually sit in a puddle causing it to rot away. This causes a big problem that can completely destroy the foundational integrity of the fencing.

Cement footings can also fall victim to moisture damage, as cracks in the cement can cause a snowball effect in Minnesota winters. Moisture seeps in, eventually expanding and contracting in changing temperatures causing further cracking.

Choosing Your Vinyl Fence

There are many different styles to choose from for your house or yard enclosure depending on the functionality and style you are looking for.

Privacy Fence

If your primary goal is to provide a safe and private barrier for your yard or home, a privacy fence is a perfect option. Compared to a traditional “picket fence” — there are no gaps in the pickets. This enclosure provides complete privacy up to whatever height it is built.

Semi-Private Fence

While a semi-private fence still gives a sense of privacy, there is more spacing between the pickets allowing for a slightly more open feel. More light, more airflow — with just the right amount of privacy.

Picket Fence

Picket fences provide a traditional decorative look. This is a classic design that will look great and have incredible curb appeal for your home or yard.

Pool Fence

The only real differences between traditional privacy fencing and pool fencing are the spacing between the pickets and the height. This is to meet most building codes.

The style you land on should reflect the aesthetic you dreamt of. There are also many different colors you can choose from as well.

  • Woodland (non-textured)
  • White
  • Tan
  • Certagrain (textured)

The Driven Post Method

Before we get started on how to install your vinyl fencing solution, we want to mention some details about an integral part of the installation process.

To guarantee a truly secure and long-lasting vinyl fence we implement a driven post technique for installing fence posts. While the traditional or more common method of installing fence posts involves cement, we have found a far faster and more efficient way to get the job done — and done well.

We’ve mentioned the harsh Minnesota weather a lot in this post but that’s because it’s important and can make a real impact on fence installation. We believe in implementing the very best technologies and practices for customers so that they are left with a long lasting and beautiful vinyl fence.

The driven post method does away with digging giant holes or making a big mess in your lawn. There’s also no cement, which means quicker installation and a better-looking fence.

Getting Started With An Installation

Now that you have made the choice to go with a vinyl fencing solution, it’s time to get to work with the installation. If you have decided to do it yourself, we have some steps and tips to follow for a smooth installation and a beautiful finished product.

1. Mark Out Project

The first step starts out like any other fencing installation. You will need to remove anything that is blocking your installation site such as:

  • Debris
  • Plants
  • Bushes
  • Trees
  • Obstacles

Once you have cleared out the desired fencing site you can begin staking out the exact perimeter where you wish to build your fence. To create a simple visual that will help you throughout the installation process, run a string or rope around the stakes to show a preview of your fencing project.

2. Driving the Fence Posts

The days of hauling around a power auger in the back of your truck are over. No more entire days spent digging post holes or mixing cement — and no more dirt disposal or cement footings around your post.

Our galvanized steel methodology guarantees our posts will never heave from the tough and difficult Minnesota frozen ground and can withstand extreme wind strengths. These steel posts drive four feet into the earth with a 5” x 5” vinyl sleeve for a beautiful finish.

This is absolutely the cleanest and most efficient post driving system around.

5. Insert Bottom Rails

There are a few steps you will need to take during this process.

First, attach lock rings to the end of your bottom rail.

Next, you will need to depress the lock ring and attach the first side of the bottom rail into the post. Once you have gone ahead and released the lock ring, the bottom rail will lock into place inside of your post. You will need to do this process to the other side of the bottom rail as well.

Repeat this process for every bottom rail until all posts have a bottom rail connecting to the next post.

6. Adjust Post Heights

Next, you will need to adjust your post heights so that they all match. This is to ensure that your finished fencing has a uniform or desired height.

7. Install Vinyl Pickets

Now it’s time to bring some life to your vinyl fencing. The next step is to install the vinyl slats into the bottom rail. Make sure that your pickets are flush with the next. Repeat this until all your pickets are installed in each section of your fence.

8. Install Top Rails

Once you have installed your slats, install your top rails to each section of the fence. Similarly to the installation of the bottom rail — you will need to attach lock rings to both ends of the top rail. Depress the lock ring and attach the first side of the top rail to the post. Then repeat this step for the other side of the top rail. The top rail will lock into place after you have released the lock ring. Repeat this step for all of your sections. You’re almost done.

9. Install Rail Ties and Post Caps

Your fence is essentially complete. To ensure that your fence is durable, strong, stable — and won’t warp or succumb to bowing you’re going to need to add rail ties.

Place your rail ties inside of each individual vinyl fence post. You can use this as a guide to drill your pilot holes into the top rail. Next, you can drill your pilot holes through the rail tie and fix the rail tie with the right screws.

Now, you’re on your final step. Apply a silicone adhesive or glue to the bottom of each post cap. Make sure that it’s evenly spread out across the post cap in a thin layer to ensure an even fit. Firmly press each post cap into place — and you are done!

Dealing with Curves or Hills

Many of us see flat and uniform yards and wish ours was that simple. We take a look around our own property and see daunting hills, slopes, and curvatures everywhere and think that installing a fence will be a nightmare.

You really only have two options.

  1. Grade your yard by evening it out

Grading a yard can seem like a pretty big hassle. Digging, moving soil and cutting away at your yard may seem like too much of a project. But depending on your particular property, this may look more appealing or be even easier than building your fencing on slopes and hills.

  1. Building on a slope

If you decide that grading your yard just isn’t the right solution, your other option is to seek out fencing that works for your yard. Constructing a fence on a sloped property means that you will have to take some geographical variables into consideration to determine which type of fencing is appropriate.

Raked fencing refers to fencing with fairly bold angles. This option ensures that the slope of your yard will match the slope of your pickets — so that they are parallel to one another.

However, this method won’t work if your property is too steep. The limit is typically about a 12-inch slope across a 6-foot section of ground. You’ll need to measure to see if it’s viable.

Stepped fencing is pretty self-explanatory. The sections accommodate the slope of the property and end up looking like a set of stairs. While this type of fencing is easier to build, it doesn’t look as consistent or appealing.

Curved fencing is a common choice for properties that aren’t defined by rigid lines. If your property line isn’t linear, you may need to build a curved fence.

While it is technically possible to do this on your own, we highly recommend leaving this to a professional. There are simply too many variables and problems that can arise during the installation.

How To Remove Your Vinyl Fence

If you’re moving you may want to take your beautiful enclosure to your next property. With our driven post and Quickcollar system — removing vinyl fencing has never been easier.

Because there is no cement or dirt to remove, it’s as easy as rewinding the steps of the driven post installation. No jackhammering away cement basins or digging away at your yard.

Mounting Fencing on Concrete Slabs

Because of our driven post method, we often get asked about mounting a vinyl fence onto a concrete surface like a driveway, patio, deck or another surface.

Your installation ease will depend on how thick your concrete is. But, if it is less than 6” thick, you’re able to get the job done.

  1. Drill a 1-⅝ hole through your concrete with a core drill or hammer
  2. Pound your 1-⅝ pipe anchor through that hole about 3” or 4” deep

Drilling into concrete is a bit of a challenge, and we’d recommend getting professional guidance or assistance to complete this type of installation.

Wrapping Up

Fencing adds beauty and functionality, not to mention curb appeal. Vinyl fencing provides even more value and ease for nearly a lifetime. While you may have your eye on cedar or another wooden alternative, we can assure you that vinyl will last longer and be far less troublesome down the road.

We hope this guide for installing your vinyl fence was helpful.

Need Help?

If you’re not looking to take on a big fencing project on your own, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We have been in the business for over 15 years and have run across nearly every obstacle a yard can throw at us.

We’ve been a family run business since we opened and strive to implement the most innovative and progressive techniques for our customers.

Contact us!

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