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Vinyl Fence Repair FAQs

Posted April 9, 2015

Vinyl fencing is known for its toughness and resilience. You can expect a good quality vinyl fence, properly installed, to last for approximately 15-20 years and require only minimal maintenance under conditions of normal wear and tear. However, this sturdy fencing material is damage-resistant, not totally damage-proof, especially when unpredictable weather or human error is a part of the picture. When a storm brings down a heavy branch, you accidentally ram into the fence with your lawn mower or your car (ouch!), or a careless someone leaves the gate open during a major storm, you are likely to need a quick fix in the form of emergency crack repair for your vinyl fencing. Here are 6 vinyl fence repair FAQs.

1. Q. If a vinyl fence has a crack or hole in it, can it be repaired or does it need to be replaced?

A. The answer depends on several variables. A small crack or hole can be repaired fairly easily as a DIY fix. If you're looking at a larger area of damage, you will find it more difficult to do a neat, unobtrusive job. However, you may be able to have just one section of the fence replaced. If the fencing is seriously damaged, was put up more than 20 years ago, and/or you would like an update, you might want to consider installing a completely new fence.

2. Q. What prep work is involved in preparing for a fence repair?

A. Start by thoroughly cleaning the damaged area. Easy-care vinyl fencing is simple to clean up with water and a household cleanser. Wash the fence down with your garden hose or scrub with a brush as necessary. Trim any jagged or protruding edges with a utility knife, followed by a gentle sanding 3" around the crack or hole.

3. Q. What materials will be needed for the repair itself?

A. For a small repair of a crack or hole which measures less than 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter, use PVC (polyvinyl chloride) glue, which is a type of adhesive manufactured specifically for vinyl. Alternatively, you may prefer to work with a solvent that will actually melt the vinyl and allow you to fuse it back together. Larger cracks can be filled with expanding foam, dried, trimmed to fit, and then topped with plastic automotive body filler (available from automobile repair shops) or urethane/epoxy resin. Whatever the size of the repair, finish the job by sanding till smooth, removing all dust, and painting with spray paint.

4. Q. Once a vinyl fence has been fixed, will it be as strong as it was before?

A. No. Unless the damaged section is completely replaced, the repaired fence will tend to be weaker than it was previously. If high strength fencing is a must for your application (for example, to surround an animal enclosure), consult a fencing professional as to the best means of repair.

5. Q. Can a damaged fence section be reinforced?

A. Yes. It is possible to reinforce a section of vinyl fence before repair. Use a wooden 4 X 4 or a length of aluminum or steel to strengthen the damaged area.

6. Q. Are there any legal considerations when repairing a vinyl fence?

A. Major fence repairs or replacement may require a building permit -- always check with your local authority before beginning work. If the fence is shared with a neighbor, he or she may be obligated to share in the cost to repair your vinyl fence.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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