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Installing vinyl fence the digless wayDigless Fencing Installations

U.S. distributor of Straight N Level products

 



STEP-BY-STEP
INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS

 

 

Getting Started

Why should I choose this system over the conventional method?
The reasons are many, but the shortest answer to this question is, IT’S Easier!

 

Why is it easier?

Let me describe the steps in the basic installation of the steel pipe and collar system, and why it is easier will become obvious.


First make sure you have obtained any required building permits that your area requires. Second, because a pipe driven into the ground can damage utility lines, make sure you call 811, it’s the “call before you dig number”. You’ll tell them your location, where on your property you will be “digging” (we know you won’t be actually digging), so they can come out and locate underground utilities. Just a note, they will only locate the utility owned lines. If you added a water, electric, gas, line to your garage from your house, they won’t know anything about that. Make sure you figure out if you have any additional lines to worry about. Never assume that, because you never buried something in your back yard, that nobody else ever has.

 

So now you’re ready to install some fence. You’ve done all your calculations, you know how long the fence will be, you know how many posts, gates etc. you need.

 

Are you using 4” or 5” vinyl post?

We have collars for either size. The actual collar measures 3.75” and 4.75”, this should provide a snug fit between collar and vinyl post. Multiply the number of post by two; this is the number of collars you will need to order from DFS. (A “collar” consists of an inner and outer piece)

 

What about the pipe?

Different chain link fence suppliers use different terminology, don’t be confused. Our system uses common, galvanized pipe generally used for chain link fence. The big box stores usually carry 1 5/8 and 2 3/8. You’ll have to go to a chain link fence supplier to get 1.9” pipe, (sometimes called 1 7/8”, or 2”). The thickness of the wall can be measured in gauge or schedule. The gauge (smaller number is thicker) or schedule (larger number is thicker) does not have to be very thick. Schedule 20 is strong enough.


Soon we will also carry collars for 1 5/8” and 2 3/8” pipe. With three pipe sizes to choose from, it will be easy to locate the pipe size for your project. For added strength the 2 3/8” or heavy wall 2” should be used in high stress areas such as gate hanging and high wind areas.


How do I pound the steel pipe into the ground?

Well, you have some options, you can rent an air driven post pounder or a manual pounder. If you can’t find a manual pounder to rent, usually you can purchase one from a farm supply store for about $25. If you plan on installing fence for a living, we highly recommend a Picket Post Driver. These are robust, air driven post pounders that will drive post through almost any type of ground. You can find more information in our “products” page.

 

How deep do I drive the pipe?

This depends on the type of fence and your soil type. If you're installing a short open style fence, two and one half feet is enough, if you have solid soil type like clay, or if you're in sand or loose type soil, then go to three feet. If you’re putting up a six foot privacy fence, you should be at least three if not four feet in the ground. There are many variables to look at; wind load, type of fence, height of fence, soil type, frost line, etc. So when in doubt, go a little deeper. Generally three to four feet will work well; the bottom of the pipe should be below the frost line.

 

How far out of the ground should the pipe be?

Again it depends on the height of your fence. Here are some guide lines:


4’ high fence = 3' - 3.5'
5’ high fence = 3.5' - 4.5'
6’ high fence = 4.5' - 5.5'


The steel pipe does not go all the way to the top of the vinyl post, it should stop below the point where the top cross rail comes into the vinyl. This insures your collar will not interfere with the cross rail. Now add the above ground length to the below ground length, this is your total length of the pipe needed for your project.

 

NOW WHAT?

You have all of your supplies sitting in your yard, now the fun begins! Locate the corners of your fence. You need to pound the corner pipes first. Next, set up your string line from corner post to corner post so you will have a straight line to set your posts to. Place this string as close to the ground as possible without touching the ground. This keeps it out of the way when you’re pounding. Calculate your post spacing / location, including gates, so your fence will look good, this is time well spent, don’t rush it. Do the math, and come up with equal spacing. A trick to make your installation even easier is to use a 2” x 4” x (your spacing distance) with notches cut at each end to act as a jig, or “spacer bar”. See fig. 1. Figure 1 Digless Installation
figure 1
This will insure the posts are all equal distance apart. One more suggestion, slide both the inner (solid part facing down) see fig. 2, and outer part (“US Patent #.... should face up) of each of the collars, see fig. 3, on prior to pounding and then tape the lower collar to the pipe to hold both pieces from sliding down too far.figure 2 Digless Installation
figure 2
If the top of the pipe “mushrooms” or bends from pounding, you won’t have to cut the bent portion off to get the collars on. However, if you forget, which you probably will a few times, you can use a hack saw or power reciprocating saw to cut off the damaged pipe; then slide the collars on. Once all your steel pipes are in the ground, remove the string you had on the corner pipes.


Examine your fence panels and measure from the ground up to the first horizontal cross piece and from the ground to the second cross piece, make a note of thesefigure 3 Digless Installation
figure 3
dimensions. If you haven’t already done so, place the collars on the corner post. Adjust the height of each of these inner collars based on the measurements you took earlier. The collars should be below the height of the cross bars so there will not be interference with the cross supports. If you’re using a “bracketed” type fence, like the kind from the box stores, this is not an issue. It is best to set all bottom collars “oval openings” in a parallel direction to the fence line and top collars in a perpendicular direction to the fence line.

 

How do I attach the collars to the steel post?

Screw (stainless steel - #10 x ¾” self tapping - hex head) the inner collars, through the figure 4 Digless Installation
figure 4
thick non-ribbed portion of the collar see fig. 4, to the pipe at the correct heights making sure the collars do not interfere with the cross rails. Next slide the outer collar down onto the inner collar; make sure to check for plum/level in bothfigure 5 Digless Installation
figure 5

 

directions using a level that is long enough to span the distance between both collars. Once you are sure your collars are plum, screw the outer collar to the steel pipe, through the flange see fig. 5. You have now attached two collars to each corner post. Run your string on the outside of the top collar from one corner to the other. (Use one of the self tapping screws temporarily to hold the string) See fig. 6 This string is now what you need to line up the other top collars. Continue securing collars to post, starting with the top collar. Then use the level to locate the lower collars location, make sure to check each one for level in both directions. Take your time; you’ll be glad you did later.


After all the collars are installed, take a measurement of the collar heights at each corner. At each corner post, figure 6 Digless Installation
figure 6
measure from the ground to bottom collar, and the ground to top collar, you'll need it again so write it down (Measure to the bottom of the large outside ring each time.) This measurement will be used to replace the string lines at the collar height after you have slid the vinyl posts on. These string lines will let you know where to place the screw when securing the vinyl posts. Before securing any vinyl post to the collars, you need to insert the bottom rail into the vinyl post. Insert one end of the bottom rail into the first post. Next, lift the second post up (remember you have just slid the vinyl onto the steel pipes with out screws for now) to the point that the bottom rail will fit into the routed hole. Then slide the vinyl post and bottom rail down over the collars as one unit. The lower rail will be snug between the two steel pipes. The bottom rail is now secure, it can not move left or right. No "notching" required. Professionals that traditionally cement their posts will tell you that you have to "notch" the bottom rail, this is not so. They are not educated to this system.

Continue down the fence line, working the bottom rail into place as you go. After all the bottom rails are in place, level the posts and secure the vinyl post to the collars. Use the upper string as a guide to set the height of each vinyl post. (The distance from string to top of post should be consistent.)


If your fence line is very long, you may need to break the distance into two. First, determine the correct height of the center post. This can be done with a combination of a tape measure and or a person standing back and telling you to raise or lower so that the vinyl looks level. Next, secure the post with a screw and then run the string line on top. If you’re working on an incline, you want a line that looks right to the “eye”. If you take the extra time to ensure all is Straight N Level, you will be rewarded with a professional looking fence that will cost much less and last and last.


So, now you have the basic concept. At no time did we say things like, "Dig a three feet deep hole", "Carry auger to back yard", "Carry 80 pound bags of cement, Mix Cement, Remove excess dirt", or "Clean up spilled dirt and cement." These are difficult, not fun things to do. So now you know why this Straight N’ Level system is so great. For more information, check out Common Questions”.

~~ Digless Fencing Solutions, a subsidiary of Kingsbury Konstruction, Inc.  ~~