Repair a Broken Vinyl Fence Post
Vinyl fences are durable and affordable, but they are not totally resistant to damage, or inclement weather. The natural expansion and contraction of vinyl and the effects of wind and water may start to produce gaps in the fence and post support. It's possible that the concrete holding it in place has broken up, or the post itself could be cracked or rotted.
Do you remove the post, or can it be saved?
You may be wondering how to remove a vinyl or PVC fence post from concrete. Fence post diggers and augers are great tools for removing aged cemented fence posts but even they require a good amount of work to operate and can take the average weekend warrior anywhere from 2-5 hours to disassemble a fence, then dig and remove the buried concrete.
First, remove the fence post cap to inspect inside the vinyl post. It may be hollow or have supports that can be replaced. Depending on your local soil and weather conditions, the fence may have been installed without internal post support (if so, you’re in luck!). If you are installing a new fence know that most vinyl fence manufacturers recommend installing the hollow post with a wood or metal insert to add stability. Fence post repair may be easier than you think.
Do Vinyl Fence Posts Need Wood Inserts?
If you’re installing a new post, wood inserts help provide more stability to your post, and therefore entire fence system.
However without proper drainage putting a wooden post into concrete, inside your vinyl post can cause problems. It essentially acts like a sponge accelerating rotting of the post. Add compacted stone underneath the post to avoid this problem, read more on wood fence post installation and repair.
If your post is completely hollow, you could drop a wood post in but we do not recommend it. Here’s why. Vinyl posts usually will not sleeve over wood 4 x 4s with a tight fit. Most big box store wood posts actually measure 3-1/2'' x 3-1/2''. Some vinyl fence manufactures hollow posts that are a true 4" square or 5" square posts. Although these vinyl posts will fit over the wood posts, they will not fit tight, requiring you to shim the difference for a tight fit. Still, other manufacturers designed their post for a tight fit but forcing it could crack the shell.
Metal Inserts Add More Stability, but Cost More
For new fence installation, aluminum metal inserts (also known as a fence post stiffener) will hold up the best in high wind conditions. They are also more resistant to water. Used galvanized steel inserts for gate applications.
If you are considering replacing a galvanized post chain link fence with vinyl, know that using that as your insert will probably not work. If you use a good make fence, the posts are cut out for the top and bottom rails to slide in, otherwise the round galvanized pipe will be in the way. Panel spacing is also an issue. Most vinyl fence panels are 6 or 8 feet wide.
Another thing we have seen is rebar with poured concrete at the base of the post. This may be a cheap and easy solution short term, but the cement is likely to expand and crack the base.
Installing Vinyl Material Fence Posts in the Ground
It goes without saying, but unlike wood or metal – PVC fence posts cannot be driven into the ground. They will break. Dig out completely then back fill.
How Deep Should a Fence Post be for Vinyl?
Rule of thumb, 30 inches works best with most PVC fence posts. Anything less than that is based on other factors like manufacturer design and installation specs. Post holes should be deep enough to hold 1/3 the length of your post, plus 6 more inches for a gravel base.
Vinyl Fence Post Holes
Now that your post is structurally sound, what about surface damage? Save the post and repair holes with our Vinyl Fence Patch Kit by Fence Daddy. It’s quick and easy and saves hundreds in replacement and labor costs.