Pool Fence Installation Instructions
Estimating Job Requirements
If your looking to understand how to install a pool fence, measuring exactly how much fence will be required is always the first consideration, of course. Pick a start point such as the steps of the pool, using the rolling measure stay a minimum (if possible) of two feet from the water line of the pool and simply walk the roller around the pool and back to the starting point. We try to encourage customers to maintain at least the two foot distance to allow for easy walking, playing, cleaning, etc. on the inside of the fence so that pool use and care are easily accomplished by just opening the gate section at the steps. If the two foot clearance cannot be maintained then you will have to compromise and bring the fence in closer. Do not set up a layout in which you will be drilling closer than 2 inches from the outer edge of a concrete pool deck.
Fence can be ordered in a variety of section lengths in multiples of either 36 inch pole spacing or 30 inches depending on the model chosen. It is recommended that you remain consistent with full 15 foot sections (All models). Order fencing by dividing the total footage required and round up to the nearest whole section. guarantee
Example: The job is 129 ft. total. Your order would be for 9 sections of fence which totals 135 feet. Cut sections of fence that are left over from this job can be applied to a future job or cover any errors you may have made in doing your estimate. Keep this in mind when ordering for your next job, over several jobs you will accumulate cut sections and may not have to order additional footage. Do not mix and match the two different pole spacings in one job. This makes it difficult for the home owner to take up and down their fence and confuse you on the installation layout.
For this layout example, we will be using the installation of Model C fence, standard 7 pole section (15 feet) manufactured with poles 30 inches on center. The customer has chosen for the fence to be located 24 inches from the water line of the pool with a single standard gate opening at the steps. The example pool will be a elongated style with the entry steps centered at one end.
The most important part of the installation is the initial layout of where the holes will be drilled. All references to measurements and the fence are made from the perspective that you are facing the pool from the outside of the fence. When doing a layout, always face the pool as you measure and mark the holes. If you must measure standing between where the fence will be installed and the pool, be extremely careful in bullseye (turns) measurements. If the measurement is made from the wrong side of the bullseye template, the fence will not fit properly.
Tool List: Layout/Installation
- 48″ STEEL RULER (for measuring between holes)
- BULLSEYE TEMPLATE (3.5″X4.0″ piece of Lexan with a one and a 1/8″ hole in the center of it).
- MARKING PENCIL (Magic Marker, grease pencil etc.)
- STRAIGHT EDGE (8 ft.- 2″x4″ / used to maintain a straight line while sliding your bullseye along between measuring holes)
- FULL SECTION TEMPLATE (a template which allows you to mark a full section of fence. This is a must for Distributors, but optional for a single installation)
- CORE DRILL* (water cooled, and it must be able to accept a one and 1/8″ diamond core drill bit) *Available at most rental centers
- DRILL BIT (one and 1/8″ diamond core drill bit)
- GARDEN HOSE (used for drilling and rinsing off the deck )
- EXTENSION CORD (to operate the drill )
- NEEDLE NOSE PLIERS (to remove the cores from the holes after they are drilled)
- SLEEVE SETTER (a 1″ diameter pipe or wood dowel used to set the sleeves in their holes)
- HAMMER (for setting the sleeves)
- SCISSORS (for cutting the mesh on the fence)
- STAPLER (used in reattaching the border material after a fence cut has been made)
- CORDLESS SCREW GUN (installing screws in the poles)
- Number 10 Sheet-Metal Tap
The first consideration for layout is the location of the gate.
Gate sections are setup so that they are easily opened and closed by the average adult. The only difference between a gate section and where two standard sections meet is the way in which it is installed. In the majority of your installations, consider an opening at the steps as the only true gate section specified for the installation. Special circumstances such as additional openings at the ladders or skimmers will be covered separately.
All layouts will begin at the gate section. Locate the center point of the steps and measure 24 inches straight out from the water line. This will be where the gate section opens. Place the bullseye template under the steel ruler with the inside side of the hole at 24 inches. Draw the hole using the template and mark the centerline in the front inside of the hole facing you (the outside of the fence). A standard section is installed 2 ½ inches on center between sections; the gate section is measured differently to allow for easier use by the homeowner. Measure over 2 ¼ inches to where the next gate section will start and mark for the centerline only. Put the bullseye template centerline on the mark you just made, verfiy that the inside of the hole is also 24 inches (Fig 2, C) from the pool, draw the hole.
On all section panels except the gate, pole spacing will be measured and marked at 30 inches on front center exactly. For the two opposing section panels that form the gate opening, deduct between 1/8 to ¼ inch from the normal 30 inch spacing, i.e. when measuring from either gate hole to where the next pole will be located, measure out between 29 ¾ to 29 7/8 inches (Fig 2, A) for the centerline of the next pole. Start the measurement at the front (the side facing you with the holes between you and the pool) centerline of the first hole of either section. Don’t forget to also check the distance from the pool, 24 inches (Fig 2, C) for our example. Rotate the bullseye to maintain the centerline orientation to the pool maintaining the desired pool spacing dimension at the front of the hole. A second ridged ruler can come in handy trying to juggle between placing the bullseye template properly, measuring for the pole spacing and still maintaining the desired distance from the pool. Once the bullseye is set properly, draw the hole and mark the centerline.
Repeat the same procedure outlined in paragraph 1b for the other gate section panel (Fig 2, A) going in the opposite direction.
The 1/8 to ¼ inch extra allowance on these two opposing section panels provides for much easier opening by the homeowner at the primary gate section. Use this technique only where the two primary gate section panels meet.
Now select a direction to continue the layout from. You have two holes each already marked for two separate sections, select the last hole marked from one or the other section and proceed in that direction with the layout.
2. For standard elongated and rectangular style pools you can greatly speed up the layout process by using the full section (7 pole) template on straight runs. But first, you need to complete the curved end of the example pool.
All layout spacing will be standard from this point on, 30 inches on front centerline between section panel poles and 2 ½ inches front centerline between joining sections. For the next four holes the bullseye is still required to measure the correct distance between holes. This is because of our example pool’s curvature and the need to maintain centerline orientation to the pool.
Place the corner of the ruler on the front centerline of the last hole drawn. Slide the bullseye template under the ruler with the front centerline of the template at 30 inches on the ruler. Measure 24 inches off the pool and position the template with correct pool orientation making sure that 30 inches is maintained at the front centerline of the template (Fig. 2, B). Mark the hole and the next four in the same way.
You now have marked out holes for a complete 15 foot section of Model C fence. The next step is to mark the first hole for the next section. The bullseye template measures exactly 2 ½ inches from its edge to its front centerline mark. Lay the edge of the bullseye template along the centerline of the last hole drawn. Double check the measurement from the pool (24 inches for our example) to the inside of the template hole. Mark the hole for the beginning to the next section.
Lay the first hole of the 7 pole template over the hole you just drew on the deck and unfold the template in the direction you’re going with the layout. Measure from the pool to the inside edge of the template for a reference. Measure again at the hinge (mid-point) of the template and one more time at the end of template; adjusting as necessary to maintain a straight line. Mark all your holes from the template, including the double at the end of the template for the next section.
Slide the template down to the start of the next section and repeat step D above. Continue this way until you reach a point where turns for the other end of the pool are coming up. Measure into the turns and mark your holes just as we did starting with step A above.
Once you’ve marked approximately half way around the pool; and have marked the first hole of a new section, stop.
Go back to the second hole marked for the gate section at the pool steps going in the opposite direction and repeat procedures from steps A to E.
The final hole you mark on the deck will more than likely not measure 30 inches from the last hole you marked in step F. We’ll address this later.
Mark the extra holes (lay back holes) that the gate section poles will fit into when the fence is opened.
Do not attempt to install a pool safety fence in a concrete deck using a hammer drill or hand drill. To maintain a straight fence, properly angled poles, and complete a professional installation, you will need a full size diamond core drill setup with leveling adjustments and a bubble level.
Setup the drill on the deck. Attach water hoses, layout enough electrical cord to go around the pool (not through or across it).
Taping the drill bit at 4 inches with electrical tape provides a good method of measurement for drilling depth.
After completing the layout of the fence on the deck, it’s now time to figure out how to drill the holes. The most important step in the drilling process is the leveling of the drill. Your first thought would be to make sure that the drill is perfectly level before drilling each hole. If this were a regular (wooden, chain link) fence you would be correct. However, this is a tension-based system that will require you to lean the drill on various holes. The amount of lean that is placed on the drill is not as important as the direction of the lean. By following some simple rules your fence installation should go smoothly.
1. Start by standing on a marked hole somewhere along a straight section of your fence.
We will name this the number one hole. The double holes where two sections come together should be treated as a single hole when figuring out how to lean the drill. Every following hole will also be assigned a number (2,3,4…). While standing on number one draw an imaginary straight line between one and number three. Whichever side of that line number two falls on, that is the direction that the top of the drill will lean when drilling number two. The farther the distance from the line, the more you will need to lean the drill. The difference between a large lean and a small one is only a few degrees.
While drilling number two draw an imaginary line between number two and four. Whichever side of the line three falls on that is the direction that the top of the drill will lean. Remember that the greater the distance from the line, the greater the lean. This rule will work in determining how to lean each hole in your layout. The design of the pool will not matter.
2. Please take the time to walk around the pool and survey how each hole should be drilled.
When the direction of the lean has been determined on a particular hole place a small arrow inside the marked circle showing the direction. This will save a lot of guessing when it comes time to drill the fence.
- Adjust the water flow to meet the application and drill to the tape line.
- Proceed to the next hole and repeat until all the holes are drilled.
- Using the long nose needle pliers, go around and pull all of the cores out of the holes.
- Using the sleeve setter and hammer, set the sleeve the rest of the way into the deck until the rim is flush with the deck.
3. Once all of the sleeves are installed, it will be time to measure for the odd section of fence at the back of the pool.
- Note whether you will be cutting from the right or left side of a full section.
- Measure the outside centerline of the odd panel. Add ¼ inch to this measurement and write it down.
- Count the number of poles that will be in this section and again note if the odd panel will be a right hand or a left hand cut (facing the fence).
- Count poles from the opposite side of where the cut panel is. Example: for a 5 pole left hand cut section, count over 4 poles from the beginning of the section starting at the right. From this pole measure from the centerline on the cove molding to the point that the panel will be cut. Measure at both the top and the bottom. Using a straight edge, mark the cut line with a white china marker.
- Double check that you are cutting the proper panel (left or right) at the correct pole and make the cut.
- Staple the end cut border material to the open cut you just made.
- Now attach the end cove molding over the border to the pole.
4. Now install all standard sections and the special cut section of fence.
- Turn poles to adjust bottom tension and bring the cove molding inline as you go.
- Install the latching hardware onto the fence at each joining section; placing the eye on the left and the latch on the right. The holes for the hook and eye are pre-drilled to a smaller size on the end poles to allow for a snug fitting connection. It is suggested that you use a number 10 sheet-metal tap to initially thread the pre-drilled holes. Be careful not to exert too much force when screwing in the brass hook and eye.
- Connect the latches and eyes as you go; turning poles so that the mesh becomes tight at the bottom and the cove molding is facing out.
- When latching to an independent structure, install the hook portion of the latch on the fence. Install the eye into a substantial surface of the adjacent structure or use with an appropriate anchor.
5. Instruct your customer on how to open the main gate.
- Squeeze the poles together using one hand and open the latch with the other .
- Put one arm over the fence facing the gate opening and place your thumb and forefinger on the top of the pole. Push towards the gate opening in line with the fence and the pole will turn in your hand once it is centered in the sleeve. Push again on the top of the pole and lift out as the pole centers in the sleeve. This can obviously be done in one step, but make sure that your customer understands the process.
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