Some home improvement projects are easy to handle on your own. For example, if you own a few basic tools, you can probably install a shelving unit yourself. However, other DIY projects are liable to make you pull your hair out – they’re too complex, too expensive and ultimately too frustrating to handle on your own.

Depending on your construction expertise, you may feel you can tackle the installation of vinyl fencing on your property. For places like Portland, vinyl fencing just makes good sense. It’s easy to maintain, long-lasting even in our rainy climate and as brilliantly white in ten years as it was when you first bought it. However, when it comes to installing vinyl fencing, homeowners may come up against a few major obstacles. Being aware of these hurdles ahead of time will help you figure out if you’d rather just have a vinyl fencing contractor install your fence for you. Below, we’ve listed five common challenges people commonly face while installing their own vinyl fencing.

1. Unexpected costs.

When it comes to vinyl fencing, home improvement stores often run unbelievably good deals on materials. At least, it seems like a good deal until you start putting the vinyl pieces together. Then you realize you’re missing the right screws, the correct length of post or the best tool, and you have to lay down more cash at the store.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to closely follow a budget for home improvement projects, you should research your costs before purchasing any vinyl fence materials. Alternatively, you can buy the materials through a local fencing company. Oftentimes, vinyl fencing contractors are willing to sell you all the materials you’ll need for your fence in one package, and at a discounted rate since you’ll be installing the fence yourself. This approach can save you plenty of hassle in the long run.

2. Broken fence panels or parts.

Especially if you buy your fence materials from a big box store, you may discover cracks or even holes in the vinyl fencing. Stores will typically give you a refund on those parts, but again you will need to haul the parts back to the store to exchange them for unblemished replacements.

3. Little room for error.

When you’re building a wood fence, you can always fudge your results by shaving off a bit of wood here and there. However, installing vinyl fencing requires remarkable precision. The different parts of a vinyl fence cannot be altered they way wood fencing materials can. Therefore, many experts recommend installing a vinyl fence one panel at a time.

Even with this approach, if one thing is off, your whole vinyl fence could end up crooked. Even worse, if you’re not very exact with your measurements, you may reach a point where the different parts of the fence won’t even fit together! Vinyl must have some room to expand and contract with the surrounding temperature, so you’ll need to leave some room for padding; otherwise the fence may contract or buckle in certain areas. In the end, if you don’t have basic construction skills, it is probably better to have a vinyl fencing expert install the fence for you.

4. Back-breaking work.

Vinyl is much lighter than wood, so it isn’t as tiring to install a vinyl fence as it is to install a wooden fence. However, even vinyl fencing requires you to dig holes for fence posts. Fence posts anchor the fence into the earth; they provide the structural stability your fence will need to last a long time. Fence posts should be set at least two feet into the earth, and digging to that depth requires major work. Rather than trying to save money by digging the holes by hand, rent a post hole digger. This will save you mountains of frustration and time.

5. Incorrect materials.

Unless you’re a vinyl fencing expert, it’s difficult to figure out all of the parts you’ll need to install a vinyl fence. You may think that speaking with a store employee will help eliminate this challenge, but many Portland residents have been forced back to the store after receiving incorrect information from an employee. Be prepared for many return visits to the hardware or big box store to gather all of the right materials for your vinyl fencing.

Considering all of the challenges of a vinyl fencing installation, it may make more sense to purchase the fence and installation through a local fencing company.