Ausbrush fencing panels are installed in many different ways around Australia depending on whether one or two people are installing and the finish required. Offset Method Install: used for one person installs with the smaller panel sizes and where the look of the rear side is not important and where access to the rear is not possible (eg against garages ). Post roll covers are not required as the frame is usually left exposed at the rear. Inline Method: used where the same look is required both sides of the fence with no frame showing on either side and requiring a two people to install using the wider/heavier panel sizes. Post roll covers are required on both sides of fence. Pre-framed Panels: have powdercoated steel channel surrounds, ready to stand. They and sometimes used for aesthetic reasons or shipped to remote locations for a quick install. Very heavy and hard to handle and difficult to adjust for width in the field. Jump to: Offset System Inline System Framed Panels Roll Finishes and Capping Adjusting Fence Height
The "offset system" uses narrow brushwood panels 1100mm wide, which fix to a frame behind. The frame comprises posts, two rails (one top and one bottom) and a base. The base which seats the brush panel, is offset from the centre line of the posts and the panels run past the posts and fix to the frame behind. The look is different on both sides of the fence, with continuous brushwork on one side and the frame on the other. The frame (post and rails) at the rear are either left exposed or painted or covered in brushwood rolls.
The heart of the Ausbrush "offset" system, the 1700mm high brushwood fencing panels, are 1100mm wide, have a thickness options of either 48 or 58mm and weigh around 35 to 40kg each. Eight horizontal wires are used and the close wire clip spacing of around 75mm provides a durable product that is easy to trim for length and height, on-site.The 1700mm high standard brushwood panels' provide finished fencing heights of up to 1800 to 1900mm, depending on the type of base and top used. Non-standard panel sizes can also be made to order.
Now available raw panels in heights of up to 2120mm where additional overall fence height is required. Overall fence heights of around 2330mm using a 200mm high base can be achieved with the new panels which come in 2130mm high and widths of 1100mm, 1800mm, 2000mm, 2200mm and 2400mm.
1. Installing Base and Posts
Timber, concrete or steel bases can be used to stand the brushwood panel, the principal requirement being to keep the foot of the brushwork out of the soil as well as providing a stable straight support. The base is offset to one side of the posts, with the panels fixed to the rails/frame behind.
The fitting of a concrete base is shown here, although just as popular are 4" x 2" timber rail bases, fixed to the post face just above ground level. Posts, 2400mm long x 50mm x 50mm x 1.6mm thick galvanised steel, are set at the same height as the top of the brushwood panels after allowing for the height of the concrete base i.e. usually around 1800 to 1850mm above ground level for a 1700mm high panel. Great care should be taken in ensuring the top of the base is dead straight, or a series of straight-line segments. A string line is essential. Gently sloping fence lines and bases are fine as long as the top line of the base is straight i.e. the brush panels 'run' flush past the posts and the panels do not need to be trimmed to fit between them. On sloping sites the panels can be 'racked' in shape (distorted by dropping on one corner) to follow the 'lay of the land' up to a maximum slope of approx 1:4.
2. Fitting the rails
Posts and rails of any material can be used for the installation of brush fencing panels. However our standard 'offset' system uses 50 x 50mm square galvanised steel posts and 2200mm long x 25mm x 38mm x1.6mm (or 1.2mm) galvanised rectangular steel rails (sizes as used in the iron fencing industry).
'Three-hole-plate' brackets are fixed to the posts with 'tek' screws and the rails cut to fit between the posts and are fixed to the plates (also using tek screws). The front rail faces are set flush with the front face of the posts.
The bottom rail is fitted in line with the 3rd to bottom panel wire (540mm above the top of the base) so that the panels can be secured using hooks onto the running wire, fixing with tek screws through the panel from the front to the rail behind. The top rail can either be fitted in line with the top panel wire for similar fixing with screws or fitted above the top panel wire if the roll top is to cover the rail. In the latter case the roll top wires anchor and secure the panel and roll top to the rail rather than the panel top being screwed to the rail. (with the alternative 'inline' installation system, no bottom rail is used in that case, as the panel wires tension around the posts at each end)
3. Standing The Brushwood Panels
Standing the 1100mm wide x 1700mm high brushwood panels in an off-set framing system prior to fixing with tek screws and hooks. The panels can also be ordered and fitted as wider 1800mm or 2200mm wide panels requiring a two person install. Often the wider panels are wired and tensioned between the posts using the alternative in-line framing method instead. The panels are seated on the base in a continuous line on the front side of the posts and secured to the bottom rail using 'Tek' screws and retaining hooks (two per panel).
4. Fixing The Brushwood Panels
The brushwood panels are stood up one at a time and as each panel is placed the end wire staples are cut with snips and removed on the side where it meets the already fixed panel allowing the brush from each to marry at the join. After cutting the staples on the one panel edge only, the panel is shunted hard against the preceding fixed panel to minimise any gaps.
The panels are fixed to the frame bottom rail using 65mm long tek screws and utility hooks. Two screws per standard 1100mm wide panel are required to fix to the bottom rail. The hooks unobtrusively 'catch' hold of the third to bottom wire as the screws are driven through the panel from the front and into the bottom rail.
Depending on the top finish (brush roll top or steel 'colorbond' capping) an additional pair of screws/hooks per panel may be required to fix to the top rail as well. Where a brush roll top is fitted, the roll fixing wires are used to anchor the panel to the top rail, rather than using tek screws and hooks. The panels are not fixed at the top until the last, when the top finish is applied.
5. Joining the Wires
After all brushwood panels are erected, prepared, butted and fixed in this fashion, the panel wires are then inter-connected by opening out the wire ends at the end of each panel and twisting together neatly. The brush is 'tapped' toward the conjunction and the wires adjusted to a straight and continuous line. For the best result, finished wires from one end of the fence to the other should be dead straight. Next the exposed posts and bottom rails at the rear of the fence can be covered in brush rolls (or bottom rails painted/powder-coated prior to installation).
6. Fitting Pre-Made Brush Roll Tops or 'Colorbond' Capping Finish
The 'Inline system" uses wider brushwood panels (mostly 2200mm wide) which have wires left longer at the ends of the panels for securing and tensioning around the posts at each end and requires a two person install. The frame has posts and a top rail only plus a base. The base which seats the brush panel is centred on the posts and the panels fit between the posts. The finish on both sides of the fence is the same - ie continuous brushwork with post covering brushwood rolls on both sides of the fence. New! raw brushwood panels now available in heights of 2120mm where additional overall screening and privacy is required. See also techniques for raising overall fence height using our standard 1700mm brush panels here.
The proprietary ausbrush "inline" installation system described below is simple, effective and has the same look/finish on both sides of the fence (unlike the "offset" system which has a frame on one side). The framing method and panel sizing has been designed specifically for efficient contractor use and requires two persons to install. It provides a strong and rigid structure using commonly available fencing components. The method accommodates steel capping finishes or a brush rolled top, different fence heights and moderately sloping sites and tapers and can be married to pillars and other structures. The raw brushwood panels are fixed between 40mmNB diameter galvanised steel posts using a 150x150mm concrete base centred. The panel wires are tensioned around the posts at each end before covering in brush post rolls. A single top rail only is used and is covered by and secures the brush roll top. The inline method 'look' is characterised by post rolls at every post on both sides of the fence.
For situations demanding an alternative brushwood panel size, framing or finishing method, we would be happy to work through your design with you and endeavour to supply your requirements.
1. Fixing the Rails
Only a top rail, is needed with the "inline" system as the panel wires tension around the posts at each end to secure. Full lengths of rail 7500mm long x 25mm x 38mm x 1.2mm galvanised steel rail are then fitted to one side of the posts 75mm down from the top measured to the underside of the rail (1625mm to the rail underside, from the top of the concrete base for a 1700mm high brushwood panel ). For ease of handling and fitting of the rails, a saddle bracket and three 'Tek' screwscan be used to fix the saddle/rail to each post, or using clamps, a single 65mm long screw can be used (without saddle) to fix directly through the rail into the post. When saddles are first fitted, they can be temporarily opened out to locate full lengths of rail prior to fixing as an aid to installation.
2. Standing The Panels
The panels and base are then fitted between the posts, with the rail behind the posts and panel.
3. Adjusting The Panel Widths
The top rail is fitted to the opposite side of the fence to that for which access is required for panel installation
4. Tensioning The Wires
The brushwood panels are seated on the concrete base between theposts and the end panel wires are secured and tensioned off around the posts at each end.
5. Fitting The Post Rolls
Next the exposed posts are covered in brush post rolls
6. Fitting Pre-Made Brush Roll Tops or 'Colorbond' Capping Finish
Note: We no longer supply these panels pre-made and the information below is provided solely for DIY and contractor assembly using our raw panels with channel surrounds.
The following provides a brief guide and pointers for the installation of the Ausbrush pre-framed, fully finished. brush fencing panel system for both level and sloping sites. The iron bark or gloss black coloured, powder coated panels are factory fitted with a top plate on one side, as aid to installation. The plate secures down to the top of the preceding panel. The legs extend 640mm beneath the panels to allow the base of the panel to be set either on the ground or above ground level, or to be set on sleepers or other forms of base and to accommodate sloping sites. The modules are fully finished and the only additional material required for installation, are bags of premixed concrete. Tools required are mattock, rake, spade (for ground levelling), pegs, stringlines, temporary posts, sledge hammer or stake driving dolly, tape measure, marking pen etc (for setting out), hole digging equipment (eg jackhammer, motorised hole digger or hand auger), a crowbar, a quantity of blocks of wood of different thicknesses ranging in size from 5mm to 30mm (to use as temporary shims under the panels while adjusting height to level, before concreting holes), a spirit level, hand tools, hacksaw or power saw (for adjusting length of legs where required), a few lengths of timber or pipe for props (to support panels whilst concrete is being poured and panels set), a portable drill with 5/16” hex driver bit (for securing panel plates) and a concrete mixing shovel and wheel barrow.
Without the mid-rail the brushwork is likely to bow and sag with age and will eventually come out of the top channel member. Bowing and sagging was a common effect evidenced in the 1980's when a similar product without mid-rail had been on the market for some years then.
The cheap 'brushwood' imports from Vietnam and China sold in hardware stores as "brushwood fencing". These roll-up products are in fact a thin softwood screening (Chinese dwarf pine) wired in a similar fashion to Venetian blinds. Whilst perfectly OK for indoor use as a screen, the imported material will not last outdoors and looks thin and awful when attempts are made to use it in a fence!
1. Setting Up
THREE PERSONS NEEDED TO INSTALL PRE-FRAMED PANELS, 1760MM HIGH X 1800MM WIDE. One of the most important aspects in any fencing job is the setting up and pegging of the fence line.
Locate any buried services, such as water, power, gas, electricity and telephone lines.
Panel orientation and height, The panels have a mid-rail on one side and the front and rear side placement should be selected (ie with regard to pool safety and aesthetics etc). Overall installed fence height should be determined with regard to existing adjoining fences and gates and privacy etc
Assess the slope of the site, and if needed divide the fence line up into segments of similar slope. Work out which end of the fence line to commence panel installation, so that panels that may need to be cut for width, are situated at the end of least visual importance. If working to a level top on a sloping site, then it is best to start from the high end of the slope, levelling each panel prior to fitting the next down the slope. Depending on the degree of slope, panel leg lengths may not be long enough toward the lower end of the slope for a level top finish and steps downs may be required at various points along the fence-line. Where the panels are stepped down a slope, angle brackets rather than flat plates will be needed where the panels join.
Prepare the ground surface to suit the job at hand. Where the 1760 mm high panels are to be set on top of the ground, or on top of sleepers or other base, then the ground should be levelled out for each slope segment. When panels are to be elevated above ground, with a gap underneath, then an undulating ground surface may be acceptable.
Install temporary line poles and stringlines as needed. For short runs of level fence and stepped fences, it is fine to just use a spirit level on the top of each panel as you work for the horizontal line and sighting by eye through for the vertical line, but for long fence lines it is important to use stringlines for both the horizontal and vertical planes, for the best result.
The stringlines can be fitted to temporary poles fitted at each change in slope and direction. A stake driving dolly is quite convenient for fitting a temporary post of sufficient height for this purpose, and typically a piece of material such as 25mm, 32 or 40mm nom.bore, 2200 mm long pipe is ideal.
Calculate the overall height of fence required and set the top stringline, allowing for any base being used or gap underneath the panels.
Set the bottom stringline 1760mm beneath the top stringline (the bottom stringline line will be used both for fence line and for setting the shim heights prior to panel placement). If sitting the panels on level ground, the bottom stringline can be set a nominal 150mm above ground level as this line will only be used for lateral post alignment only. The stringlines should be fitted to one side of the temporary end poles and the temporary poles should be checked for vertical with a spirit level, so that they provide a panel location reference in two planes, both vertical and horizontal.
In windy conditions and on long spans eg a 40 metre long fence-line, it is important to have a very taught stringline and to fit temporary mid-poles as well as end-poles, to minimise the stringlines being blown off line or sagging in the middle. Insulation tape is useful for securing the stringlines to any mid posts with final adjustment by eye from one end. Builder’s pegs can also be used to locate the bottom stringline at several points. It is also important to check the stringlines and temporary posts and pegs regularly as the panels are installed, in case they are knocked or bumped or pressed on, by incorrectly placed panels. On a straight fence line, the simplest means of doing this is to stand on a drum at the end of the fence and eyeball the alignment of the panels in both planes as you work.
3. Digging Holes
Accurately mark the first four hole locations with pegs, at 1805 mm apart hole centres, either using a tape measure, or for bigger jobs, cut a 1805 mm long template as a guide. With the pre-framed system, it pays to only dig about four or five holes at a time as it is quite easy to have error creep in, if an attempt is made to dig all the holes at once.
7In-ground leg lengths and hole depths. Depending on soil types and prevailing wind / wind loadings, the acceptable depth of the in-ground leg lengths will vary. As a general practice, at least 500 mm, and preferably 600 mm of post should be concreted in-ground. The pre-made modules have 640 mm long legs, and so the panels may be set above ground for additional height, with a clearance of from 100 to 150 mm, depending upon site conditions (soil type and wind loadings). Generally where a fence has angles and corners in the line, it is of greater stability and a shorter in-ground leg length is possible, than is possible on dead straight fence-lines. Depending on these conditions a leg can be easily cut shorter using a hacksaw or power saw, to accommodate service obstructions, tree roots, hard digging and rock etc in a hole. Common sense prevails and erring on the side of caution is always best policy with regard to depth of holes. If unsure on what depth to use, seek local advice.
Digging the holes. 8” (200mm) diameter holes at the pegged locations - ( 6" / 150mm diameter holes may be used in hard soils and rock). For the reasons mentioned previously, it is better to dig the holes "as you go" using a one or two-man mechanical hole digger on small jobs, ie rather than hire a larger machine to bore all the holes at once. The hole depth will depend upon the height that the panels are to be set and other factors described above. If set on the ground, the hole depth will need to be 640 mm to accommodate the extra long legs, or panel legs trimmed by 100mm for a shallower hole. It is best to make the holes slightly deeper than the planned in-ground leg length to allow for any soil spill etc.
A useful hand tool for digging holes in close proximity to walls and for generally clearing loose soil and rocks from the bottom of holes, is the American style, tweezer action hole digger and is superior to the old auger style Aussie hand borer. In very hard, dry ground, a useful method is to pre-dig a few inches down, several holes at a time and pour water into them, allowing 10 minutes or so to soak down. The digging then becomes easier in most soils – this watering may need to be repeated several times to full hole depth, working from one hole to the next and back again. Where the panels bottoms are to be set above ground, the hole depth for each, should be measured up to a bottom stringline (ie it is not possible to measure hole depth from the ground surface on uneven ground with elevated panels). The hole depth needs to be quite accurate relative to the stringlines and dug just a little overdepth, ie so that the quite heavy panels do not need to be removed again / double handled through under-depth holes. A lot of time will be saved in installation if all holes are the correct depth. Wooden ‘shims’ are used to trim/adjust panel height prior to concreting.
4. Panel Handeling
Panel handling. The brushwood panels are shipped flat on specially made 2450x1850mm pallets in stacks of up to 14 modules with gates stacked on top. Timber spacers are fitted between each panel to prevent the screw heads causing damage in shipping and each panel is fixed on three corners to uprights. The pallet stack is then secured with timber and steels strapping to form a stable load.
The panels can be lifted off one at a time, after removal of the strapping and three screws holding each panel to the pallet corner uprights. The panels weigh 72 kg each and require two or more persons to handle, depending upon what height they are being unloaded from and ground slope conditions etc. Ideally, pallets should be fork-lifted to ground level near the workface, to make it easier to remove the panels. The brushwood panels have the top connecting plates already fitted, and pallet mounting screws should be saved for use in panel installation.
5. Panel Placement
Panel Placement. The panels have a front and rear side, with a 25x38mm section mid-rail fitted on the rear side and a top connecting plate fitted on the left hand side facing the rear. Where a fence must be installed commencing from one particular end of the fence line, the top plate can be loosened and swung aside until after the next panel is fitted (then relocated and re-secured). The plate can be re-orientated for right-angle bends or angles or removed when not required at start or ends of fence etc. Timber shims which will be used to support the panel, should then be placed in two stacks with the tops level with the stringline height (or if no bottom stringline set up, then the anticipated or measured height) above ground of the panel bottom. After the panel has been unscrewed from the stack, two persons, one on each side, lift the panel and it is stood upright on its legs on the ground nearby the holes and then gently lowered into the first pair of holes and with the bottom panel rail sitting on top of the shim stacks. The panel should be levelled by a third person while the others hold and lift the panel slightly to allow final shim adjustment ( ie by removing or adding shims of various thickness ), using a spirit level on top of the panel as a guide and the panel is propped on the rear and front face prior to concreting.
For subsequent panels, shim stacks should be placed as previously described, but the panel should be lowered at a slight angle away from the preceding panel such that in the post-hole, the edge of the panel leg scrapes down the leg of the preceding panel as it is lowered. The aim is to remove any gap between it and the adjoining panel leg for when it is angled back to its final position. If the panel is simply dropped in the hole, it is quite difficult to otherwise slide it to remove any slight gap between the panel legs. The panel should be levelled / shimmed by a third person as before. A lever such as a crowbar, using a piece of timber as a fulcrum, can also be used to good effect in lifting the panel to allow final shim adjustment. A mash hammer can be used to tap down either panel post-top to align them properly prior to fixing the top plate. When finally levelled, the top plate is secured with tek screws to join both panels.
Note: If using stringlines, care must be taken when working, not to push the stringlines progressively out of line with each panel fitted, eventually causing a bow in the fence-line.
6. Concrete The Holes
Concrete the holes. Either wet or dry mix concrete can be used. Be sure to pour an even amount of concrete around the posts from both sides as the hole is filled, so that the concrete does not push the posts across one-way and out of line. It is helpful to scrape away the soil from the rim of the hole to form a funnel shape, to better allow concrete entry. This is especially true when panels are set on the ground, and there's not a lot of room to pour concrete due to the proximity of the bottom-rail. Dry mix concrete direct from a bag is the easiest way to apply without wastage and will require between half to three quarters of a 20kg bag, depending on hole size and depth. One post hole will need to be left open until the next panel is fitted before concreteing. Underground obstructions such as water, power, telephone, gas, or large tree roots etc can pose problems with pre-made brushwood panels. It is best to locate services, prior and when planning the job, as Ausbrush can supply custom width panels to accommodate such situations. However, if this situation does arise on the job, the width of panels can be adjusted, by simply removing eight tek screws, from one side member, sliding the “C” channel off and removing brushwork from the panel side.
Firstly, lay the panel on a trestle so that the side channel can be removed and the wire pins at the edge of the panel can be removed and a segment of brush pulled out. If the panel needs to be cut in half, say, each horizontal wire can be cut on both sides of the brush panel to a texta line, using pliers or side cutters and leaving enough wire to bend back around the wire staple closest to the measurement required. The top and bottom rail can then be cut to a similar width and the “C” channel refitted by sliding on from one end. Adjustable trailer tie down straps can be used to good purpose in holding the panel together while re-securing the sides. This doesn't take too long to do.
7. Touching Up Paintwork
Touching up paintwork. Ironbark and gloss black coloured spray packs are available for touching up the paintwork at job finish. The ironbark colour is one of the best, to blend in with the brushwork, given the quite high proportion of steel in this type of fence, although other powdercoating colours are available on request for the larger jobs.
Sloping sites need special treatment, and when orders are placed, this should be nominated. Instead of a flat plate on the top, an angle bracket is fitted as the panels step up the slope. ‘Two-hole’ plates can also be fitted to the bottom channels to connect the panels for added strength or as an installation aid in alignment. If you are working on a sloping site project, please discuss this with us for the best options. Where brushwood gates are required, it is best to fit gate posts of at least 75mmx75mm section x 2600mm long to the opening as the post section will match the panel profile (75mm). Ausbrush manufactures standard modular gates 1730mm high x 900mm wide and also 1800mm high x 900mm wide (and other sizes to order). The modular gates come complete with universal left/right hung hinge pairs, brass handles and 'D Latch' and striker and fixing screws. Height of gate required will depend on whether the pre-framed fence is set on the ground or above ground.
For questions relating to specific installations, I will be happy to assist and can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on mobile 0418 841 889.
Roll Finishes and Capping
Ausbrush pre-made brush roll tops, which are blendable at the joins, are supplied in either 1800mm or 2200mm long sections to suit the panel sizes shipping and stack lengths. The tie down wires are included in the roll top design and folded underneath for shipping purposes. The roll-tops ship as a flat strip and comprise 5 mini cylinders of brush on the under side and flat finish on the other side.
Roll Top Installation involves;
Unfolding the roll wires and bending the section over the top of the fence with the flat side up. It is best to use two people to install, one either side of the fence. A screwdriver is used to create a hole in the panel, through which a roll wire can be pushed to the operator on the other side, who draws the wire around through and to the top of the roll, where it is tied off.
Adjoining brushwood roll sections are butted together and can be blended seamlessly by dragging pieces of brush from the end of one roll into the other in the opposing directions, prior to securing the tie wires in the area of the join. The wires can be tensioned to give uniform shape and size to the roll and also fencing pliers can be used to 'tap' the roll into shape as you work.
'Colorbond' Capping Installation; With the alternative 'Colorbond' steel capping finish, the rail is fixed level with the post top and tek screwed directly through to the post (ie no saddle is used). The capping is then screwed to the rail covering it and the brush panel top. If a steel base rather than concrete or timber is used, it can also be powder-coated or painted (prior to installation).
Things to note:
Where finishes other than brush roll top are used, the top rail may need to be relocated in line with a panel wire to allow fixing with tek-screws and hooks.
Machine made brush roll tops are manufactured in continuous lengths and are usually supplied in 1800mm or 2200mm long sections to allow ease of shipping/handling and placement.
Brush rolls can also be fitted by hand in the traditional manner from loose brush supplied in bundles.
An alternative cost saving method to using pre-made brush roll tops, is to fabricate brush rolls from panel pieces. A panel 2200mm wide will provide enough brush for approximately 20 metres of brushwood roll top using additional wire. Contact us for the further details on this procedure.
Adjusting Fence Height
Overall fence heights of around 2330mm using a 200mm high base can be achieved with the new panels which come in 2130mm high and widths of 1100mm, 1800mm and 2000mm. Overall fence height can also be increased by using techniques such as shown in the images below using our standard 1700mm high panels. For further information on these methods, please contact us. Images below are of 1700x2200x48 and 1700x2000x48mm panel sizes.
A boxed section timber base using decking boards and mid-span post stubs can be used to raise fence height. The timber blends in better with the brush than high masonry bases and can be stained or painted in rich natural colours to good effect.
Pictured above, a Western Australian installation using standard 1700mm high panels with additional half panel on top and brush roll flashing to cover the butt join. With the new 2120mm high panels now available, a similar height and better look can be achieved with simpler installation using a single panel. Overall fence heights of around 2330mm using a 200mm high base can be achieved with the new panels which are 2120mm high x 2000mm wide.