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Building Pre-fabricated Ornamental Fencing

buildingpre-fabricatedornamental-1.jpgObjective:  By mastering this lesson, you will be able to build pre-fabricated ornamental fencing that is both pleasing to the eye and functional.

Equipment:  Saw-zall, rubber mallet, drill, drill bits, nut setters and screw heads, screws, level, screw driver, color-safe cleaner and rags.

Key Questions:

  1. How do I build the panels?
  2. How do I attach the brackets?
  3. How do I install the panels?
  4. How do I shorten the panels?
  5. How do I lengthen the panels?
  6. How do I transport the panels and posts?

How do I build the panels? buildingpre-fabricatedornamental-2.jpg

 Some pre-fabricated ornamental fence panels are delivered unassembled.  Each panel is a combination of pickets, grommets, rails and rods.  If your panels are unassembled, follow the below easy assemble tips.

To assemble, place your materials on a flat surface. 

  1. The pickets will have holes that align with the empty cavity at the top of each rail.
  2. Lay the rails out so that the holes are enclosed in this cavity.  It is best to create a jig after fully assembling one panel, placing the rails in the right location and lining-up the pickets evenly along the bottom.
  3. Install the grommets into the rails.
  4. buildingpre-fabricatedornamental-3.jpgSlide the pickets through the rails.  Again, make sure the holes in the rails are enclosed (hidden) in the top cavity of the rails.  If encountering difficulty with pickets pulling the grommets into the rails, use soapy water and spray the grommet before attempting to slide the picket through.
  5. Once all the pickets are in place, slide the rods down through the cavity of the rails and through the holes in the pickets.
  6. Make sure that the rod does not miss the hole and run along side of the picket. 
  7. Put a very slight crimp in the last ½” of your rod.  Spin the rod as you insert it.  The crimped end is more able to catch the hole if it is slightly off-set. 
  8. Slide the rod through all the pickets. 

How do I attach the brackets to the posts? 

Using a fabricated panel or manufacturer shop drawing, tech screws the brackets to the side of the post.  Make sure that the brackets align with the rails to a + 1/8” tolerance.  After installing one set of brackets, check the alignment against one of the panels.  Misaligned brackets that have to be removed and reinstalled leave obvious holes in the posts.  Brackets should be shop installed to assure accuracy and consistency.

How do I install the panels? 

With the brackets attached to the posts and the panels fully assembled; the panels can now be placed in-between the posts. 

  1. Place the panel in-between the post.  It should fit snug and the holes should line-up. 
  2. If the holes do not line-up, you may have to field drill the holes.  Make sure that you touch-up the panel with a manufacturer primer and paint to avoid any future corrosion. 
  3. Slide the security bolt through the holes with the nut to the inside of the property. 


    buildingpre-fabricatedornamental-4.jpgHow do I shorten the panels? 

    If the posts are set such that the panel is too long, you will have to cut the panel down to fit. 

    1. Measure inside to inside of bracket.  Not inside to inside of post.
    2. Deduct a ¼” from this dimension for expansion and slope.
    3. Subtract this dimension from the overall panel dimension.  The sum remaining is what we will have to cut-off of the panel. 
    4. Divide this sum evenly and cut from both sides of the panel to assure even picket spacings on the ends of the panel. 
    5. Measure from center of hole to end of panel on an existing panel.  Use these dimensions to field drill the cut-down panel for the bolts.
    6. Once you have completed your field cutting and drilling, use a manufacturer’s primer and paint to touch-up the cuts and holes to prevent corrosion.

    buildingpre-fabricatedornamental-5.jpg

    How do I lengthen a panel? 

    Panels can be lengthened but only as a last resort and only in a fabrication shop environment. 

    1. Both ends of the panel will have to be cut-off removing the portion of rail with the pre-punched holes and material necessary to assure equal picket spacings.
    2. A new section of rail and pickets will have to be added.  The welds ground smooth with polishing wheel and the exposed area primed and painted. 

    How do I transport the panels and posts? 

    The Pre-fabricated ornamental fence system is powder coated or E-coated with a clear polymer finish.  This finish is easily scratched without scratching the paint.  Thus, not noticeable right-away; you may have thousands of hairline scratches in the material only noticeable in the right light or when filled with dirt.  You must be very careful in handling the materials. 

    1. Make sure that the fence materials are never touching any surface, particularly steel or pavement, but the packing materials.
    2. Make sure that the fence materials are tightly bound and not allowed to move during shipping.  Movement will allow the material to rub against other materials.
    3. When unloading, carefully place the materials on-site, avoiding dropping or dragging the materials. 
    4. Placing the materials on grass is acceptable, but avoid other surfaces such as dirt or pavement.  

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    © 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

    © 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.