Installing Prefab Fence Panels
Prefab fence panels are one of the fastest ways to build an attractive fence. Panels come in a variety of designs, from picket fences to board fences topped with lattice. It pays to shop around for the panels that best suit your house, your pocketbook, and your tastes. Compared to other fencing styles, for which a lot of cutting and nailing is required, prefab fencing is both fast and easy. You dig holes for the fence posts and put the posts in place. But before you plumb the posts and fill the holes, you attach the fence section to each post so the fence fits perfectly between the poles.
- Install an end post
- Install hangers
- Put the panel in place
- Nail the fence in place
- Cut off the posts
Install an end post
Plumb the end post, brace it, then fill in the hole with concrete. Measure and mark layout lines where the top and bottom of a panel will meet the post. Brace the next post temporarily in place, then transfer the layout lines with a mason's line and line level.
Extend the layout marks to the inner faces of the posts using a square. Measure from the top of the fence to the rails and nail hangers this distance from the mark you made. Bend down the flange on the top bracket before nailing the bracket in place. Don't bend the flange on the bottom bracket.
Put the panel in place
Put the first panel between the end post and the next post, sliding it into place until the bottom rail sits on the hangers. Check the panel for level and adjust the braces, if necessary. Plumb the loose post and fill the holes with soil, tamping the soil as you go.
Nail the fence in place
Nail the sides of the brackets to the panels. Once the first panel is installed, work your way down the fence, installing one panel at a time. Set any gateposts, corner posts, or end posts in concrete.
Cut off the posts
Draw a line where you want to cut the posts. Because most circular saws don't cut deep enough to cut through a fence post, use a combination or speed square to extend the line all the way around. Clamp a speed square to the post to guide the saw, cut through the post, then move the saw to the opposite side of the post and cut again.
Install caps on the posts to protect them from water
Spread construction adhesive or exterior glue on the post, centre the cap, and drive in two 2-1/2" nails at an angle.
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Skill Level: Intermediate
Time: 5 hours
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