Rackable Pre-Assembled Fence PanelsFencing a sloped yard can be one of the most challenging fence projects that a Do It Yourselfer, or a professional installer for that matter, can undertake. Luckily, many pre-fabricated fence panels, like ornamental aluminum, steel, and vinyl are designed to be Rackable, which makes the task much easier.
What is a rackable fence panel?A rackable fence panel is a panel that can adjust to follow the slope of your yard. Whereas standard fence panels have a profile that is rectangular, with rails that run perpedicular to the pickets and posts, a rackable panel's profile looks more like a diamond.
The drawing below illustrates the difference between a standard ornamental fence panel and a panel that has been racked. When installed on a slope, the rails will still run parallel to the ground, but the pickets will no longer be perpendicular to the rails.
There is a limit to how far a rackable panel can adjust; which depends on the material, grade, manufacturer, and style. For example, rackable ornamental aluminum and steel fence panels will typically rack between 20 and 30 degrees for residential grade
Whatever fence material you choose, it should be a system that is pre-assembled from components as opposed to one that is cast or welded. Solid, one piece fence panels have no moving parts and cannot adjust to the angle of your hill without stairstepping, which we will cover in the next post.
Consult the fence manufacturer's documentation to see if a particular system racks enough to fit your needs before purchasing.