Preventing Cracks in Your Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fences are an attractive option for your property, and with the right upkeep, you can make sure it stays that way. Here are some tips on how to keep your vinyl fence in great condition. With costs of traditional materials increasing, homeowners and property owners alike are looking to alternative options for their fencing needs. Materials such as aluminum and now vinyl are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional wood, wrought iron, and steel fencing. In this article we’ll be taking a peek at vinyl fences, in particular discussing the maintenance tips you can employ to prevent cracks and wear within your fence of choice.

What is Vinyl Fencing?

Vinyl fencing represents a plastic based alternative to traditional fencing materials. Also, commonly mislabeled as PVC, vinyl is comprised of ethylene and chlorine, which forms Polyvinyl Chloride, from which vinyl gets its name. Vinyl has the majority of its use in construction, with some referring to it as the ‘infrastructure plastic’, due to how many building processes now require it. However, in recent years, due to its suitability as a fencing medium, vinyl is now making its way into residential properties. Up to five times stronger than wood, and flexible in nature, vinyl fencing has been found to be ideal in harsh weather environments, such as those with high winds, heavy rains, or storms. Not only available in stunning designs, but also easy to wash and requiring little maintenance, it’s easy to see why vinyl fencing is starting to have such mass market appeal.

Why has my Vinyl Fence Cracked?

While typically vinyl fencing is a durable option for your home, certain factors such as heat waves, hard freezes, poor maintenance, as well as simple accidents can cause cracking to occur. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can cause cracking because they cause materials to either greatly expand (heat) or contract (cold), while vinyl fencing is flexible, if either temperature extreme is sudden or prolonged, cracking and surface damage is likely to form.

How to Help Prevent Cracks in the Vinyl

Some basic maintenance checks can really help preserve your fences’ longevity, and aid in keeping it crack free.

1) Regular Washing

As with any fencing, cleaning is the first and most basic form of good maintenance. Vinyl fences are very easy to clean, many times only requiring a hose down. If you find your fence is plagued with more stubborn dirt, basic household detergent will soon have it squeaky clean. Regularly cleaning your fence not only helps to make your yard look fantastic, but will also help you to notice if small cracks are beginning to occur. As with most issues, catching them early allows for a quick and easy fix.

2) Fence Stability

Given time, even the most professionally installed fence may lose some of its stability. High winds and inclement weather for example, can cause the posts to become unsecure. Checking the fence for any kinds of weakness at regular intervals throughout the year, will help ensure that posts are tightly embedded in the ground, guaranteeing your fence is stable. Ensuring stability within your fence can help prevent cracking, as it stops the amount of movement your fence can make. Even though it is naturally flexible, if your vinyl fence is constantly rocking back and forth in the wind, it is likely that stress fractures and cracks will occur.

3) Post Cap Inspections

Over time it is common for the caps on your fence post to become loose. If on your maintenance checks you discover this, then it’s best to repair the cap with PVC glue as soon as possible. This will help ensure a secure over all structure of your fence, thus reducing cracking from unnecessary movement. The post caps also stop moisture and bugs from entering your fence, which could cause damage of their own too.

4) Treat it with Care

As with most things in life, one of the most sure-fire ways to keep any object in good condition is to treat it with care. In regards to fencing, this can occur in many ways. If you have children for example, dissuade them from climbing on the fencing or swinging on the gates. If you’re particularly green fingered, or hire a gardener, be careful using a weed trimmer around the fencing, as this can crack and scratch up the vinyl. Finally, avoid leaning heavy objects against the fence, particularly over long periods of time, as this can cause unnecessary bowing, which will put extra, unneeded stress and strain on the material.

A Durable Fencing Option

By following these basic care guidelines, you should find your vinyl fence remains crack free for a good few years to come. However, should cracking appear, its best to deal with it quickly, to prevent the damage becoming more severe. Typically, repairs can be achieved with at home methods and requiring no specialist tools, proving that when it comes to low stress, and low maintenance fencing, vinyl just might be the material for you.
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