# PVC Fence

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In our background I wanted to build a PVC fence that goes from post to post of a patio. Originally, I build the fence out of wood but it only lasted 3 years and then started to rot because of the rain. So I decided to rebuild it using PVC pipe. The PVC pipe should last a lot longer and the price is not much different from the wood fence.

The instructions below are for just one panel. So if you decide to build this PVC fence and you need more than one panel then you’ll need to do the math for additional material.

### Supplies:

• 3" PVC pipe 8' long (x4)

• 3/4" PVC pipe 10' long (x5)

• 3/4" PVC end caps (x15)

Tools for this project
Drill

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## Step 1: Measuring and Cutting Rails

Depending on your needs the rail length might be different than what I’m providing, but in my case, I needed the fence penal to be 77 1/2". So the first step was to cut the 3" round PVC pipe to 77 1/2" (x2). You don’t need to have a special blade to cut PVC pipe. I just used my miter saw to cut the pipe using regular blade that cuts wood.

## Step 2: Drilling Holes for Pickets

Now both the upper and lower rails need holes drilled for 3/4" PVC pipe pickets. At the time of building this PVC fence, I only had manual drill press available. I built a jig and attached the manual drill press on top to drill the holes at 90 degrees. An electric drill press would probably work better than what I had available.

Starting from one end, pull a measurement of 3 5/8" and make a mark. This will be the center of the first hole, after that, the holes are every 5" from center to center. The outside diameter of 3/4" PVC picket pipe is 1 1/16". So you will need 1 1/16" hole saw bit for drilling these holes. I clamped the 3" pipe to the table using Tektron C-clamp so that pipe will not move or rotate. Then slide the jig across to each mark and dill the holes.

## Step 3: Cutting Pickets

Once you have both upper and lower rails complete and all of the holes drilled, cut 15 pickets. Take 3/4" PVC pipe and cut it to 32" long using PVC cutter. There will be 15 of these pickets.

## Step 4: Screws for Bottom Rail Stopper

Place a mark 4" from the bottom of the picket PVC and screw in a Hex Washer Head Metal Screw 7 x 1/2 at that mark. This will prevent the lower rail from sliding past the screw. Do this on all of the 15 pickets.

## Step 5: Inserting Bottom Rail

Slide the pickets thru the holes of the lower 3" pipe rail. The 1/2" screw will prevent the rail from dropping down to the floor.

## Step 6: Screws for Top Rail Stopper

Similar to step 5, but now place a mark 6" from the top of each picket and screw in the 1/2" screw at that mark. The upper screws need to be facing the same direction as the lower screws.

## Step 7: Top Rail and End Caps

For the last step, slide the pickets thru the upper rail. The screws will hold the rail from sliding down. Place the PVC end caps on top. Spray paint the entire PVC fence panel. You're done.

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## 22 Discussions

Like G_K said, PVC becomes brittle and falls apart in a few years of UV exposure. I learned the hard way. You can sand the PVC, apply a UV protection, and then paint it -- but WHAT A PAIN!

This is a warning I'm sad to make as I like your fence. Not all PVC is UV resistant. Some PVC will rot when exposed to sunlight. (Some PVC piping might be UV resistant - I don't have enough knowledge to tell the difference). Years ago I made an above ground PVC sprinkler system. It was basically inexpensive PVC pipe attached to my fence with sprinkler heads every 20 feet. I hooked the hose to one end and was able to water almost my entire lawn at once. It worked wonderfully for one year. The next year I tried to use it and it was toast. The pipe would crumble in my hand. Your PVC might be okay - as I said I don't have enough knowledge to do more than warn of the possibility - but if it was me I'd paint it just to be sure. Good luck.

Your fence looks good. But how long? Until it is dirty. The only error is that it is white. I would have chosen a darker color.

Since you were doing this between posts on a patio it was more of a 'railing' than a 'fence', so I would suggest, if there were a next time or for others contemplating something similar, the following:
Don't drill the holes in the 3" top and bottom pipe rails through BOTH sides, just through ONE side of each rail (the bottom of the top rail, and the top of the bottom rail). Now cut your vertical pickets approximately 6" to 7" shorter (about 25" to 26" long) - your pickets will be inserted into the holes in the bottom rail and then the top rail mounts on the top side of the picket by inserting the top of the picket into the hole in the bottom side of the top rail.
In other words the pickets stick into the holes in the rails and push up against the far side of the tube.

You now have a smooth top rail like you would expect on a porch railing and you save money by not buying all those caps and screws for the picket tubes.

2 replies

Yes, this option will work if I was attaching upper and lower rail to the post.

So, I looked at your finished picture again. I guess you just are holding these 'fence' pieces in place by the side trim on the posts and the picket bottoms are just sitting on the deck?
So an option would be to still have the pickets come through both sides of the bottom rail (and still have the stop screws) BUT only have one hole on the top rail (bottom side), giving you a smooth railing top and no 'protruding' picket tops requiring caps.

Just throwing out alternative design ideas for folks... :)

Hey nice job. Looks good, easy, basic tools, I could probably manage it with very little trouble. And the stuff is probably re-usable when you decide to take it down.

Nice work. Just so that it doesn't look so "home-made", I would probably put on domed internal mounted top caps instead of that used for sprinkler irrigation use. There are a number of styles available. How did you mount the horizontal piece to the posts?

There
is a 4x4 post in the middle and 2x8s on both sides on the post. I took one of
the 2x8 out. Placed the fence in and then put the 2x8 back. The fence is not
attached to the post, it’s standing on the concrete jammed between the 2x8s. If there was no concrete, then I would probably
attach it to the post using half cut 3” end caps.

Thinking a coat of UV stabilized professional polyurethane paint will help with the longevity of this build unless the PVC pipe is made already with the UV stabilizers for outdoor use.

There are also decorative tops/finial that can be made with a 3D printer, molds, plastic/wood and purchased. For some reason Google isn't pulling much up for tops/finials other than these examples:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/609171208/skull-fence-finial-for-pvc-pipe-resin
https://www.etsy.com/listing/623279291/mid-evil-pvc-fence-finial
https://www.etsy.com/listing/184661624/four-sided-spire-finial-spear

The only issue I have run in to with PVC is UV exposure causes it to become very brittle over the years. Might want to add a UV clear-coat to it.

Thank you for the advise. I will look in to that.

Nice job and the end result is good! Not criticizing your work, but why wouldn't you save yourself the time and just purchase and install a PVC rail kit from HomeDepot?

Great
question! I have few reasons why I built it.

• I enjoyed building DIY
projects.

• The cost to purchase one
panel from Home Depot is around \$100. It cost me about \$30 to make one panel. So
if someone wants to save money and enjoys building, this could be a great
outdoor project.

• The links I provide for
supplies and material are Amazon affiliated links. I get paid a percentage if