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.
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.
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.