Wood posts were a lot more common in the past, but vinyl posts have become increasingly popular for their durability and visual appeal. Instead of taking out the existing posts, some contractors are covering them up with a vinyl sleeve.
Installing a vinyl fence over existing posts is doable but can be very impractical due to differences in spacing and the risk of decay if there isn’t enough aeration or the wood is untreated. The project is expensive and focuses solely on aesthetics.
Keep reading for a guide and tips on how you can install a vinyl fence on existing posts. I’ll also review the various reasons vinyl fences are gaining popularity.
How To Install Vinyl Fence Over Existing Posts
Installing a vinyl fence over existing posts is very time-consuming, and many would consider it impractical.
However, it doesn’t require any professional skills, and it’s easy for practically anyone to get the job done.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Take Measurements
The first step is to take accurate measurements of your existing fence.
The major issue that people find when trying to replace a wooden post with vinyl is that wooden posts are typically spaced 8 feet (96 inches) apart, whereas vinyl panels are spaced differently.
In any case, standard fence spacing varies, and you’ll need to take measurements to find the exact spacing for your existing posts.
Follow the steps below for the most accurate measurements:
- Place the measuring tape against one of the fence posts, and measure its maximum height.
- Repeat the measurement using two more posts to ensure accuracy.
- Measure the length of the fence, including any additionals you desire.
- Measure the distance between the posts to determine panel size. Take multiple measurements for each panel to ensure accuracy.
2. Inspect and Treat the Existing Posts
You’ll need to inspect your existing wooden posts to ensure that the vinyl fence is sturdy and structurally sound.
Remove and discard any rotting or decayed wood posts.
Those will need to be replaced with similar wooden posts or more durable metal ones.
Then, apply waterproof varnish to the remaining wooden posts to prevent moisture absorption in the future, which can lead to decay.
You should also consider treating them using borate to prevent termite infestation.
3. Cut Vinyl Post Sleeves and Panels To Size
Next, use the measurements you’ve taken earlier, and cut down the vinyl post sleeves and panels to size.
Mark the vinyl accordingly using chalk and cut it using a circular saw on a workbench.
Avoid cutting the vinyl more than absolutely necessary.
Keep in mind that each panel will likely measure slightly differently.
It’s a good idea to mark the panels to save time installing them later.
4. Remove Fencing in Between Posts
You should get rid of all the fencing that is in between the existing posts if any.
It will all be replaced with vinyl panels that provide many benefits and are preferred over wooden fencing.
Make sure not to remove any of the existing posts unless it is rotting or decaying.
5. Install Vinyl Post Sleeves and Fence Panels
The only thing left to do is the final installation.
Start by slipping the post sleeves on each post and then installing any trim pieces for the bottom of the post.
You can then place the vinyl cap to cover the post on top, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Next, put the fence panels in place by sliding them between the posts you numbered earlier—and your fence is ready!
Pro Tip: Make sure to install the corner post sleeves first, but work your way through the panels from one side of your yard to the other.
Advantages of Using a Vinyl Fence:
You may wonder if vinyl fences are worth all the trouble installing them, especially if you already have a perfectly functional wooden fence.
Here are a few benefits of installing a vinyl fence, whether on existing posts or not:
Vinyl is a synthetic material, so you won’t need to worry too much about maintenance.
Wooden fences usually need treatment to prevent rotting and decay, but you won’t need to worry about that when using a vinyl fence.
Clean the vinyl fence with soap and water occasionally, and you should be fine.
Even the color won’t fade away easily.
Strength and Durability
One of the main advantages of a vinyl fence is its ability to withstand strong forces, such as winds blowing against it.
The material is five times stronger than wood, so you can rest assured that nothing will break that fence easily.
Regarding its durability, vinyl won’t peel, rot, get infested, or otherwise decompose.
The vinyl sleeves on your wooden posts will far outlive the wood inside.
Vinyl fences are all the rage nowadays, and the design options are endless.
You can get them in the classic “white picket fence” style or even discreet styles offering more coverage for added privacy.
You can also choose from a wide range of colors at the same price point.
Compare that with wood fences where the color of the wood depends on the type of wood, and thereby its price will fluctuate as well.
While it isn’t cheap to install vinyl fence covers (or vinyl fencing, either), the price breakdown comes out much lower than that for wooden fences.
The price of materials is significantly lower, and you can save a lot of money by installing them yourself.
On the other hand, wooden fences are expensive to buy, install, and maintain.
While it may be impractical to install a vinyl fence over existing wooden posts, it may be necessary or more feasible in some cases.
The benefits of vinyl fencing far outweigh those of wooden fences, not to mention the aesthetic appeal.
There’s no need to hire a professional or to purchase and install new posts.
With the right equipment and materials, you can easily do it yourself.
Make sure you treat the existing wood posts against termites and waterproof them.
Cheers, tools owners!