How to install picket fence panels

Written by shawn mcclain
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How to install picket fence panels
Vinyl picket fence panels look like they are carved wood. (picket fence detail image by Aaron Kohr from Fotolia.com)

Picket fences are functional and decorative ways to enclose a space. While you can build a picket fence out of wood, you can also install a vinyl picket fence that comes with pre-assembled panels that you place between the fence posts. Picket fence panels come with either fence rails assembled to the panel or with slots for the rails connected to the panel.

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Things you need

  • Rail brackets
  • Screws, 1.8 cm (3/4 inch)
  • Spacer blocks, 5 cm (2 inch)
  • Pen
  • Drill

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Instructions

    Separate panel and rails

  1. 1

    Place three or four spacer blocks on the ground where the fence panel will be secured. Place the panel on the blocks and align it between the fence posts. The rail hanger bracket on the back of the panel should rest against or within 6 mm (1/4 inch) of the posts. Mark the posts where the bottom of each rail hanger bracket meets it.

  2. 2

    Place a rail bracket against the post so the bottom of the bracket is against one of the lines you made. Drill two 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) screws into the bracket to hold it to the post. Connect a bracket for each line drawn.

  3. 3

    Slide the rails into the brackets on the picket fence panel. Lift the panel up and lower it so that the rails fit into the rail brackets installed on the posts. Drill 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) screws through the side of the bracket and through the rail to secure the panel. Remove the spacers unless you have set the posts in concrete, in which case you should leave the spacers in for two or three more days.

    Combined panel and rails

  1. 1

    Place a few spacer blocks on the ground where the picket fence panel will be secured. Place the panel on top of the spacers so that the rails are butting against the sides of the two posts. Use a pen to draw a line under rails where they meet the posts. Draw one line for each end of the rail.

  2. 2

    Align the bottom of a rail bracket against one of the lines drawn. Use two 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) screws to connect the bracket to the post. Connect one bracket for every line.

  3. 3

    Slide the panel between the fence posts and into the rail brackets. Drill 1.8 cm (3/4 inch) screws through the openings in the side of the rail bracket and into the rail. Once all the rails are secure remove the spacer blocks unless you have set the posts in concrete, in which case keep the spacers in for two or three days.

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