How to Install Aluminum Fence Panels at Angles and on Stairs and Slopes
When you’re installing your aluminum fence panels, curves in either the vertical or horizontal plane are no problem. You just need the right product, and often the standard product will fit the bill.
Standard Versus Rackable Fence Panels
If you’re looking at a modest slope that rises six inches or less for each panel, standard fence panels will work. It doesn’t matter if you’re putting up an industrial aluminum fence, a residential fence or a commercial fence. For steeper runs, you’ll need our rackable aluminum fence panels. These panels have a wider hole at the picket-to-rail connection, and they work well with a rise of up to 20 inches per panel. Our standard pre-punched posts will work fine for this application, and we have mounts you can use if a panel abuts a structure or column or if you’re using your own wood posts.
Heavy rackable fence panels can handle a rise of up to 36 inches per panel. That’s a lot! You can’t use our normal, pre-punched posts with heavy rackable fence panels because the points of contact won’t work with the typical insert and set method, nor can you use standard mounts. You’ll need to order our blank, non-punched posts along with vertical swivel mounts and mount the angled rails to each fence panel.
With rackable aluminum fence panels, you have a few limitations. If you’re adding the puppy pickets, you can only obtain a medium rack for medium slopes up to 15 inches per 6 foot wide panel. Similarly, if you’re adding the optional, decorative rings/circles, you can only obtain a slight rack for slight contours and slopes up to about 4 inches per 6 foot wide panel. Styles 7 and 8 with double pickets also limit the amount of racking you can achieve in a fence panel because at some point the vertical pickets will touch and prevent the panel from racking further. You can, however, get about 12 – 15 inches per panel from these 2 fence styles. If you want to use Style 7 or Style 8 on steeper slopes, you’ll have to stair-step the panels by attaching 2 panels to 1 post at different heights.
Stair stepping sounds like some kind of country dance, but it’s actually the practice of running shorter panels horizontally up hills or stairs. You make the shorter panels yourself by cutting panels down to size on-site. This is not hard to do with an electric saw or hacksaw. You run these short panels up the slope or stairs in a staggered pattern, fastening them to posts at different heights on each side. You can use end posts, but people usually buy non-punched posts and punch them out on-site.
Angles and Curves
You can install residential, commercial and industrial aluminum fence panels at almost any angle you want. You will use one of two options depending on the angle.
For small angles, you can go with our regular pre-punched posts. You can set a fence panel at an angle of 8 to 10 degrees by just angling it as you like and setting it with regular line mounts. This means you can run your fence at an angle of 170 to 190 degrees.
You’ll need a corner post for larger angles. The corner post is pre-punched to accept fence panels at right angles, allowing you to make an angle of about 80 to 100 degrees in your fence.
You’ll need horizontal swivel mounts for other angles. These can handle up to 35 degrees per panel-connection, which is enough to run almost any angle, especially if you use a swivel mounts on both sides of a post.