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How to Install a Privacy Fence

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook works with a fencing contractor to install a vinyl privacy fence.

In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook works with a fencing contractor to install a vinyl privacy fence.

Steps on How to Install a Privacy Fence

  1. Use an electric jackhammer to cut away part of the asphalt driveway at the first gatepost location.
  2. Stretch a taut mason line from the first post location to establish the position of the second post.
  3. Use a posthole digger to excavate a 30-inch-deep posthole for each gatepost.
  4. Slide an aluminum I-beam into each vinyl post and secure them with ¾-inch self-tapping screws.
  5. Pour one 80-pound bag of concrete into a wheelbarrow, add six pints of water, and mix well with a shovel.
  6. Dump two full shovels of concrete into the first hole.
  7. Set an aluminum-fortified vinyl gatepost in the hole and plumb it with a level.
  8. Shovel more concrete around the post, filling the hole to within 3 inches of grade.
  9. Tamp down the concrete with a steel bar, then smooth the concrete with a trowel.
  10. Repeat Steps 6 through 9 to install the second gatepost.
  11. Set a vinyl post cap on top of each post, then allow the concrete to cure for 24 hours.
  12. Use a reciprocating saw to cut away the old wooden fence.
  13. Pull up and discard the old fence posts.
  14. Starting at the high end of the property, use the posthole digger to excavate the first 30-inch-deep fence-post hole.
  15. Cut a pressure-treated 6x6 to span from the bottom end of a fence post up to the lowest mortise.
  16. Slip the 6x6 into the bottom end of the fence post, then stand the post in the hole.
  17. Check the post for plumb, then fill around it with 12 inches of concrete.
  18. Compact the concrete with a steel bar.
  19. Stretch a mason line from the first fence post to the far end of the fence line. Tie off the string to a wooden or metal stake.
  20. Dig the intermediate postholes along the fence line, as indicated by the mason line.
  21. If your yard slopes down, stretch a grade string across the fence line, positioning it 6 inches above the ground.
  22. Install a vinyl fence panel against the first fence post. Secure the panel by driving 2½-inch deck screws through the post and into the horizontal rails.
  23. Conceal each screwhead with a snap-closure plastic cap.
  24. Install the next post to support the opposite end of the fence panel. Check to confirm that the lowest mortise is even with the grade string.
  25. Secure the panel by screwing through the second post and into the rails.
  26. Pour 12 inches of concrete around the post, then backfill with soil.
  27. Repeat to install the remaining panels and posts.
  28. Install a vinyl cap to the top of each fence post, then remove all the grade stakes and strings.
  29. Fortify the vertical frame of the gate with pressure-treated 4x4s.
  30. Screw the gate hinges through the vinyl posts and into the aluminum I-beam.
  31. Then install the gate handle, latch, and cane bolt.