Panel fence installation instructions

Written by jennifer long
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Panel fence installation instructions
Panel fencing can look similar to this (Fence image by Grigorii Potapen from

Panel fencing can add privacy to your yard while also dividing property lines. Learning how to install your panel fence can save you the expense of hiring a professional carpenter or fence installing company, and it's easier to install on your own than other types of fencing because the panels are laid out in preformed sheets. With the proper instruction, installing your panel fence can result in professional-looking results.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hammer
  • 18d nails
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Electric/power drill
  • Screwdriver drill bits
  • Tape measure
  • Post hole digger
  • Re-notching tool (if needed)
  • ¾ inch screws
  • 2 inch x 4 inch boards (amount equal to the number of posts)
  • Wooden ground stakes
  • Twine/string
  • Quick setting concrete
  • Gravel
  • Fence posts
  • Fence panels
  • Circular saw (optional)

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  1. 1

    Measure your property line in the area where you want to install your panel fencing. Start from one corner and work your way around the perimeter of the area, taking measurements with a tape measure and writing them down. You will need to use these measurements to determine how many fence panels and posts to buy.

  2. 2

    Mark your fence lines and post holes. Use wooden ground stakes to mark your corners, and then add ground stakes at the start and finish of each section. From the starting point, tie one end of your twine to the top of the stake. Pull taut and wrap the twine around your first corner stake once, and then continue to the next corner stake, and so on until you reach the end. Cut any extra twine after you tie it to the last stake.

  3. 3

    Measure the width of one of your panels. Start at your first corner stake and measure out the dimensions of the panel, going toward your starter stake. Place a stake in the ground at the end of the width you measured. Start from this stake and measure out the panel width again, adding a stake at the end; continue until you can't measure out a full panel from the last stake to the starter stake. These are your line stakes and should keep in line with the twine that you have tied. Repeat measuring and adding line stakes for the rest of the area in between your corner stakes.

  4. 4

    Use the post hole to dig 1-foot-wide holes. The depth should be about one-third of the post length, plus 6 inches. The bottom of the post rail slots should sit about 2 inches above ground level.

  5. 5

    Add approximately six inches of gravel into the bottom of each post hole to allow water to drain away. Do not tamper down.

  6. 6

    Mix your quick setting concrete as directed by the manufacturer. Choose a bucket or something similar so that pouring the concrete is easier and a little less messy.

  1. 1

    Place your posts into the holes, one at a time, starting with your corner and end posts. Use 2x4 boards as braces, and use the level to make sure the posts are even in the holes.

  2. 2

    Slowly pour the concrete mix into the holes around the posts, stopping at ground level. Allow the concrete to cure completely for at least 24 hours.

  3. 3

    Slide the bottom panel rails into the bottom rail slots on each post. Push the rail into the slot until the locking notches engage.

  4. 4

    Attach the skinny "U" channels in between the top and bottom rail slots on each post using the three-quarter inch screws, a power drill and screwdriver drill bits.

  5. 5

    Slide the panel downward into the bottom rail, with the sides of the panel going down through the "U" channels. If you are connecting multiple panels together in between posts, these will slide together with tongue and grooves.

  6. 6

    Add your top rail by placing one end into one slot on a post first, and then the slot on the next post. Make sure your panel rails sits on top of your panel section.

  7. 7

    Add finial tops or caps to your posts and paint or stain if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are using vinyl panel fencing materials, you need to substitute the 18d nails with galvanised screws.
  • When starting your fence line, measure inward from your property line about six to eight inches to allot for the concrete footers.
  • If your final panel at the end of each section is too long, cut the panel to the width you need using the circular saw.
  • Pre-drill holes whenever possible to prevent splitting or cracking in the materials.
  • If you want to ensure that all your posts stay straight in line, set your end and corner posts and then tie twine from one to the other as you did with the ground stakes. Then, use the twine as a guide for setting your other posts.
  • If you have to custom cut a panel to fit, make sure that you also cut the top and bottom panel rails. You can use a re-notching tool to add new locking notches into the cut ends of the rails.

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