aluminum fences

What is Rackability in Aluminum Fencing?

If you’ve been looking at buying an aluminum fence, you may have seen something called ‘rackability’. What are the benefits of rackable fencing, and should your fence having that feature? While aluminum fencing is designed to facilitate easy installation, picking the correct amount of panels and panel types can be a little confusing. If you live on a property with landscaping or uneven terrain, you may be unsure how best to proceed to achieve the ideal results. Trying to install fencing not designed for hilly or uneven ground can be tricky, time consuming, and can end up looking messy and untidy. In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at how this can be achieved through rackable fencing.

What is Rackability?

Rackability is a feature in ornamental/residential fencing which allows a fence to follow the lay of the land – both on inclines and declines. This style of fencing offers a safe and secure fencing option for a variety of terrains, as it reduces the number of gaps between the ground and the panel. That makes this an ideal choice for installing aluminum fencing on an incline or a decline. Racking, sometimes referred to as ‘raking’, is simply holes which have been created in the fence posts and panels that allow the fence to be installed over a variety of grade changes.

Why is Aluminum Fencing Ideal for Racking?

Racking involves the punching of varying sizes holes (depending on the severity of the terrain) into the pickets of a fencing panel. Racking is perfect for aluminum fencing because of the inherent malleability of aluminum, making punching holes less of a challenge, compared to more traditional materials such as wrought iron, meaning it remains cost effective for manufacturers, and therefore affordable for consumers too. Aluminum fencing is also incredibly lightweight compared to other fencing options, meaning it can be easily and accurately adjusted to create the perfect fit for your yard.

Types of Racking

Many retailers offer different types of racked fencing to suit your property, with options such as standard racked, and double-racked/double punched, and triple-racked/triple punched aluminum fencing available, allowing for more precise installation for challenging properties. In general, as a rule of thumb, the larger the punched hole, the broader range of incline/decline the fencing can navigate.

Standard Racked

This type of racking is ideal for those with yards or properties with little gradation or low inclines/declines. Even if to the eye your yard seems flat, it is always best to opt for racked fencing, as even a subtle incline can cause an uneven installation finish without racking as an option. Standard racked fencing can typically handle changes in grade of around 19 inches.

Double-Racked/Double Punched

A double racked fence has larger holes punched into its pickets, allowing for a larger range of gradations. This type of racking is ideal for properties with general uneven landscaping with a variety of dips or hills, and can handle terrain fluctuation of around 29 inches.

Racking vs Stepping

Racking is not the only way you can navigate uneven terrain when installing fencing on your property. Stepping is a good solution for more traditional fencing options such as wrought iron and steel – where punching picket holes would be a tricky and time-consuming process. Where racking involves changing the size of the picket holes, stepping involves changing the post height to allow the rigid fence panels to navigate various terrains. While this is a great solution for many other types of fencing, it doesn’t look as neat as fencing which has been racked, looking, as the name might suggest, like steps, instead of one smooth continuous perimeter. It is also not an ideal solution for security or for preventing young children or small pets from escaping, as more often than not the base of the fence panel is not flush with the ground, and often a few inches or more away from it. However, it is the best option available for certain fence designs, such as cathedral and elegant arch.

Installing Racked Fencing

Installing aluminum racked fencing is particularly easy, due to how lightweight the material is, meaning it can be easily lifted and/or positioned by one or two pairs of hands. Where stepped fencing is all about adjusting the height of the fence posts, with racked fencing the posts stay uniform. Instead using the punched holes, the rails of the fence panels are adjusted so they sit parallel with the gradation of the land, creating a uniform look with visually even rail levels.

Fencing for All

Racked aluminum fencing offers an easy, affordable, and practical solution to properties with challenging gradations or uneven or steep landscaping. Racked fencing is able to offer over 26 inches of flexibility, offering homeowner’s with challenging properties a simple and effective solution to securing their property where they may previously have thought it costly or even impossible to achieve before.
aluminum fences

What Supplies Do I Need to Install My Aluminum Fence?

If you’re planning to install your own aluminum fence, having the right supplies on hand can make the job go a lot faster. Here’s what we recommend having ready! While installing a fence in your or property may seem daunting, aluminum fencing is actually pretty easy to install, and is one of the main reasons why this type of fencing is so popular. Lightweight yet sturdy, aluminum fencing can easy be erected in as little as a weekend, and can completely transform a property or yard space. However, the inherently quick and easy install of aluminum fencing can be completely derailed if you do not have the correct tools and supplies on hand. So, to avoid unnecessary delays, or bogged results, it’s best to double check that you have everything you need before starting your project. In this article we’ll be looking at some of the supplies and tools that you will need to help ensure a successful and swift install of your new aluminum fencing.

What Materials will be Supplied?

This question is highly dependent upon where you order your aluminum fencing from. Many sites sell only the fence panels, with the fence posts bought separately. While any good seller will make this plain to customers, it is always good to read the fine print before making your purchase. The same can also be said for fence caps as well as self-tapping screws.

What Else will I Need?

To help keep this article as simple and easy as aluminum fence installation, we’ve broken down the additional items you need into equipment (such as a trowel or measuring tape), materials (such as concrete and gravel), and tools (such as a hacksaw or drill).

The Equipment

On the whole, aluminum fence installation requires mostly basic equipment, such as those commonly found in a garden or home.
  • Tape Measure – As with any project, measure twice, cut once. A measuring tape will help you accurately measure the positioning of your fence panels.
  • String – String will be used to help delineate the fence line, giving you an indication to the overall layout of your fencing.
  • Marking Spray Paint (Optional) – You may find it handy to use marking spray paint to indicate the locations of your fence posts.
  • A Trowel or Shovel (Optional) – If you chose not to opt for a post hole digger, then you’ll need equipment to dig the holes for your posts.
  • Wheelbarrow or Large Container – You’ll require this to mix up the concrete needed to secure the fence posts.
  • A Spade or Hoe – This is required to mix up the concrete.
  • A Long Level – A long level will help ensure the even insertion of the aluminum fence posts and panels.

The Materials

Installing an aluminum fence requires minimal additional materials, mostly confined to cement/concrete.
  • Cement/Concrete Mix – This is essential to ensuring the longevity of your aluminum fencing, as it will ensure your fence posts are firmly affixed to the ground.
  • Gravel (Optional) – If you’re over-zealous when it comes to digging holes for your fence posts, then you can use bagged gravel to help even up hole sizes.
  • Water – You’ll need this for mixing the cement, and will need buckets on hand if you do not have a garden hose.

The Tools

The beauty of aluminum fencing is that it can be installed with virtually no tools. However, if you are less physically able or wish to install your fencing as quickly as possible, you may find power tools helpful.
  • Post-hole digging tool/Power Auger (Optional) – Ideal for those not wanting to hand dig their post holes, you can find a post-hole tool for a relatively low cost at most hardware stores. Alternatively, you can rent a power auger for an even more simple installation.
  • A Concrete Mixer (Optional) – If mixing your concrete by hand really doesn’t appeal, then you can always rent a concrete mixer.
  • Drill – While many aluminum fence sets will come with pre-drilled holes, you may find you need to adjust these, to best suit the lay of your land.
  • Hacksaw or Power Saw (Optional) – You may need to cut down your fencing or fence posts to suit your yard. Luckily, aluminum can be cut relatively easily by hand using a hacksaw, or by using a power saw.
  • Rubber Mallet (Optional) – While this can be done with your hands, the best way to adjust the setting of your post when it is set in concrete is to tap it with a rubber mallet.

Installation

Once you have all of your supplies together it’s time to start installing. Be sure to take your time, and refer to helpful guides where needed. Many guides recommend reserving a weekend for your project, though smaller projects may be able to be accomplished in an afternoon. One thing is certain, though: no matter the scale of your project, the impact your new aluminum fence will have on your property will be massive, gaining you serious curb appeal, and a garden or yard space that is safe, secure, and stylish.