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Installing composite fencing is a reasonably intensive job as DIY tasks go, and it will take you at least a couple of days. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be difficult or tedious though, and as long as you’re sufficiently prepared, you might be surprised at how straightforward it can be. Like with most jobs, the devil is in the detail! Don’t worry though – that’s exactly what we’re here for at eComposite Products. Here, we’ll cover all the essentials of installing your composite fencing, so you can complete the perfect job.

How to plan and prepare for installing composite fencing

One of the first questions to answer is: how much composite fencing do you need? The answer is different for almost every project, so the best place to start is by measuring your garden to work out the total length of your fence, which will tell you how many posts and panels will be required.

Measuring out your fence is one of the first things you’ll need to do, and don’t hesitate to take your time with it! Rather than starting in the garden, we recommend working everything out with a pen and paper and using a ruler for accuracy. Keeping the measurements as precise as possible can end up saving you a whole lot of time, money and hassle – it stops you from buying too much or too little of what you need, so you can avoid the potential wastage associated with overbuying, as well as potentially needing to order more if you fall short.

Once you’re satisfied with how it looks on paper, you can pop out to the garden and check that all the measurements translate to the real world as you expect them to.

A final quick word of planning advice – when choosing the height of your posts for your garden, don’t forget to allow for extra stability, as this is the length that will sit below ground level, set in concrete.

How to stay safe when installing your composite fencing

The most important thing when installing composite fencing – more important than accuracy, efficiency or convenience – is safety. Thankfully, it’s far from difficult; you can keep yourself safe in just a few simple steps.

Get a friend

It can be tempting to try and tackle the job yourself, but installing composite fencing often involves hauling around heavy materials, and occasionally holding them at awkward or challenging angles. Many can be heavy enough to cause injury, so it’s far safer (and easier) to get a friend or family member to help you. Plus, with help, you can probably get the job done in much less time!

Wear the right PPE

Personal protective equipment, or PPE, is another thing that plenty of people skip. But trust us, it’s vital for a job like this. Typically we’d recommend gloves, long sleeves and trousers, and most importantly facial protection, including protective eyewear at the very minimum. Make sure it’s not just you wearing it, but everyone involved!

Choose your tools carefully

Standard tools can be used to install composite fencing, but it’s a good idea to give them all a quick inspection before you use them to ensure they’re clean, sharp and reliable. (There are few things more dangerous than a blunt saw.)

Speaking of saws, when using a mitre saw or similar cutting tool, we recommend a 3mm thick multi-material blade, for maximum efficiency and neatness on cuts

What tools do I need for installing composite fencing?

Some of the tools you’ll need for installing composite fencing are obvious, whereas others are slightly less so! Here’s the list in full:

  • PPE (especially protective eyewear), as detailed above
  • Pencil and paper
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level (it can be useful, but not essential, to have a laser level)
  • Stringing
  • A post hole digger (or post borer), or some other form of digging equipment
  • A handsaw or mitre saw
  • Concrete (the amount will be dependent on the scale of your project)
  • An electric drill and cordless screwdriver for installing the fence base plates
  • A stepladder may be helpful, depending on the height of the fence in question

A step-by-step guide to installing your composite fence

Start by mapping the fence line

Following straight on from your planning, you’ll want to establish the line of the fence first, by running a string line around the border and setting the corners. At this stage, it’s really important to keep it all straight, taut and level, as it will ultimately be your guide for installing the fence panels. If you want more reassurance, corner bracing can provide additional stability. If you’re using corner bracing, you’ll need one diagonal brace for each side of your fence.

And of course, bear the basics in mind – before you get started, you’ll need to clear away any extra plants and vegetation, and always ensure that you install the posts on your side of the boundary – you can end up in some awkward confrontations with neighbours otherwise!

Mounting the first post

Before you do anything else, you’ll need to decide the mounting location, as that will dictate the location of your first fence post. If it’s going in your back garden, you’ll probably find it easiest to attach it directly to your home, or another equally stable structure.

If your fence does run up to your house, ensure that the first post is securely attached to the building with wall anchors. Don’t forget to drill and plug them directly into the brickwork, not the mortar – you could compromise its structural stability.

Fix your posts in concrete

Following the line you’ve marked, put your post borer to work digging holes at a minimum depth of 500mm. A quick note here – you can technically dig anywhere between 600mm to 850mm down depending on the softness of the ground, but you’ll just need to bear in mind that whatever depth you dig down to has to be accounted for in extra fence height. Once the hole has been dug, you’ll need to pack it with approximately 50mm of broken brick or stone hardcore, to provide initial support for the post.

Pack the hole with more hardcore towards the bottom using a wooden brace for support and using your spirit level to accurately position the post. Ensure to leave about 500mm for further packing, and filling in with concrete. Once you’re sure it’s sufficiently packed and remains level, you can feel free to start filling the hole with concrete. When you’ve finished concreting around the base of the post, angle it away slightly to allow rainwater to drain away more easily.

Install composite fencing panels

Once you’ve concreted the post, you’ll need to wait at least 24 hours, as it’ll take between 1 and 2 days for the cement to properly cure. If you anticipate (or need) it to harden more quickly than that, then it might be an idea to purchase quick-drying cement ahead of time. Whatever you opt for, as soon as your cement is dry, you’ll need to identify the desired height for your new panels, and then use that as a gauge to work out where to connect them.

Before you install your panels, it’s worth taking a quick look at the situation on the ground – literally. The panels need to be close enough to the earth to keep your pets from any impromptu exploring, while equally preventing other animals from potentially burrowing their way into your garden – whether that’s the neighbour’s dog, or something a bit more nefarious.

That should cover the basics! And if you need the materials to get the job done, rest assured that you’re in exactly the right place. At eComposite Products, we provide an exhaustive range of composite fencing materials, including composite fence boards, fence panels and accessories, and even composite gate boards.