INSTALLING A McGREGOR POOL SAFETY FENCE - 2
- Caps and Brace Bands
- Cement Footings
- Top Support Wire
- Top Rail
- Hanging the Fencing
- Ground Stakes
Distances between Posts
Plan on spacing your posts 6 feet apart for a welded wire fence installed without ground stakes, 8 to 10 feet apart for a fence using ground stakes and a top rail, 8 to 10 feet apart for a staked 4-foot fence with a top support wire; and 8 to 12 feet apart for a staked 6-foot fence with a top support wire. Regarding the fences with 8 to 10 and 8 to 12 foot spacing, it is sensible to use the shorter (8 foot) spacing where one wants a firmer fence or where snow loading could be a problem, and to use longer spacing where neither maximum firmness nor slow loading is an issue.
Round Metal Fence Posts
Round black 1-5/8 inch steel posts, with or without drive sleeves, make very good long-lasting posts for swimming pool fences. If you plan to use such posts with metal hexagrid fencing and a top support wire (no top rail), be sure to get a brace band to put at the top of each post. This provides a firm attachment point for your fencing that will prevent it from sliding down the post. If you are using welded wire fencing these brace bands are not needed. Nor are they needed if your fence has a top rail, though all top rail fences do need brace bands for another purpose--to terminate the top rail at corners, gates and ends.
Posts without Drive Sleeves
To set a round pool fence post into the ground about 2 feet you should prepare the way with a digging bar. Put a piece of tape on the digging bar and also on your posts at a height corresponding to the desired depth of the hole. Then take your digging bar and thrust or tap it into the ground where you plan to set a post. With its weight helping you, work the bar downward however far you want the post to go. As you proceed, rotate the bar in the hole enough to open up a space almost wide enough to accommodate the post. If you do that, when you get two feet down you will know there are no rocks or roots in the way. (If you run into a rock or root that the bar cannot navigate, shift the bar to another place and try again.)
Now pound the post in with a manual post driver. The driver is a weighted metal cylinder open at one end and closed at the other, with handles on the sides. To use it, slip it over the top of the metal post to be installed. Then raise and drop the driver anywhere from a few inches to nearly its full length so as to tap or pound the post into the ground. When you use this tool, be sure no one is trying to assist you by holding the upper portion of the driven post with their hands, as the heavy descending driver can seriously injure hands.
As you drive in the post, stop when you are about a foot down and apply a carpenter's level to make sure the post is straight. Then continue driving it in until the tape shows it to be at the right height. If your fence has a top rail and you are using dome caps on the corner, end, and gate posts, leave all these corner, end, and gate posts standing 2 inches taller than the line posts. Similarly, if you are using flat vinyl caps on the corner, end, and gate posts, leave all these corner, end, and gate posts standing 1 inch taller than the line posts. If you are not installing a top rail, the finished height of all your posts should be the same.
If you have not prepared the way with a digging bar, intense pounding with the post driver can sometimes distort the upper inch or so of post. If this happens, get a pipe cutter and cut off the distorted portion of the post. Then arrange things so that the post has the desired finished height.
Posts with Drive Sleeves
We also offer black round steel pool fence posts with drive sleeves. To install these, insert a steel drive cap into the open end of the sleeve and hit it with a sledge hammer or heavy hammer to drive the sleeve into the ground. When the sleeve is halfway in, remove the drive cap and insert the post into the sleeve. Apply a carpenter's level to make sure the post is straight.
Then remove the post, replace the drive cap, drive the sleeve three-quarters of the way in, put the post back in the sleeve, and check it for straightness again before driving the sleeve all the way into the ground. If the sleeve needs adjustment at any point to keep the post straight, place the drive cap on top and hit the drive cap (not the sleeve!) gently with the sledgehammer (if such a thing is possible) so as to move it in the right direction.
Leave the sleeve an inch or so out of the ground to keep out debris. Also, if you have a top rail with vinyl caps keep the drive sleeves for corner, end, and gate posts an inch further out of the ground than the drive sleeves for line posts with loop caps. And if you have a top rail with dome caps keep the drive sleeves for corner, end, and gate posts 2 inches further out of the ground than the drive sleeves for line posts with loop caps.
There is likely to be some play in the post when it is finally seated in the sleeve. To eliminate this, pound two galvanized nails into the space between the post and the sleeve. These nails should be separated from each other by roughly a quarter of the distance around the post. This nail insertion will make removal of the posts harder, so don't do it if you are planning to seasonally or periodically remove the fence.