It’s a beautiful day, you look outside and what do you see? The glorious vinyl fencing that you just installed is wobbling back and forth in the wind. Is that supposed to happen, or did the vinyl fencing get installed incorrectly?
Vinyl fencing, although built to flex, should not be wobbling. Fencing Vinyl is used because of its ability to “flex” with wind, rain, and snow. This flexing may look like the fence is swaying. However, if the entire fence wobbles back-and-forth in the wind, there is an issue.
A wobbling fence is likely the result of a smaller issue left unfixed for too long. Below you will find out more about how much wobble is too much, issues that may be causing your vinyl fence to wobble, and the solution to fixing any excess wobble.
Vinyl Fencing: Good vs. Bad Wobble
Vinyl fences are typically made from a lightweight, plastic material. Although vinyl fences are not subject to problems that may affect those made from wood such as rot, they are more susceptible to issues caused by the wind.
Depending on where you get your vinyl fencing from, it may use thicker or thinner planks. Thicker planks will be able to withstand stronger gusts of wind than their smaller counterparts. No matter what thickness of fence you have, you will likely see it swaying or “flexing” with the wind (it will be more noticeable with thinner planks).
A little bit of flex or sway means that the vinyl is doing its job. Rather than allowing the plank to snap or the whole fence to be blown over, the vinyl plank allows the wind to pass through.
If you can visibly see the whole fence wobble back and forth, there may be an issue with how the post was set below the surface.
Do not wait to check the integrity of your fence until after it falls over. Waiting until this point–or even just before it– will likely result in broken planks and the entire fence may need reconstructing.
Issues that Cause a Fence to Wobble
Fence wobble may be a result of excessive weather impact or improper installation. Depending on the cause, the issue causing wobble may be located either above or below ground.
The first step to fixing your wobbly vinyl fence is identifying the problem and where it is located. This process may be time-consuming as the entire fence will need to be inspected.
Start by looking at the posts in the area closest to the wobbly section. If the whole fence is wobbling, start at the post closest to the gate and work your way around the fence perimeter.
During your above-ground inspection, try moving your main posts. If any post shifts under the pressure you can assume that there is an issue below ground. Do this for the entire fence, marking unsecured posts.
If there are no noticeably broken or cracked pieces above ground, the next place to look is below ground. Start by digging up the area around any marked posts.
Look for any cracks in the post, gaps between the post and the concrete, as well as the depth of the concrete as well. Concrete should be found 2 to 3 inches below the surface.
If not enough concrete was poured – or none at all – this means the fence wobble is caused by a faulty foundation from improper installation.
Another issue with the foundation of the post could be that not enough of the post is underground. For the rule of thumb, at least 1/3 of the post height above ground should be below ground.
For example, a fence 6 feet above ground will have 2 feet below ground.
Additionally, if there is a gap between the concrete and the post (remember: no gap is too small to cause a big problem), this too could be a factor in the fence’s movement.
Fixing a Wobbly Vinyl Fence
Once you have identified the problem and where it is located, you can begin to make repairs that will cure your fence’s wobbliness.
An above-ground inspection may have located loose or fragile planks. Fix a loose plank by strengthening the connection to the rail or post with screws.
For any fragile pieces, add a piece of aluminum to the backside of the plank. This piece will reinforce the piece and stop it from swaying as much.
If during the inspection, broken or cracked pieces were found above or below ground, they will need to be replaced. This may prove difficult if your fence was custom built or if the break is on one of the main posts (especially below ground).
Dig out the area around the entire fence post and concrete foundation. If the concrete and post can not be lifted easily from the hole, grab a hammer and start cracking away at the foundation until it can be removed from the hole.
If possible, keep the broken piece and show it to your local fabricator, they may be able to replicate the piece.
Once the new piece has been obtained, reinstall the posts and set them properly with cement.
If the issue you identified with your post is not enough concrete, the hole will need to be filled properly and allowed enough time to set.
Since you already have the hole dug from inspection, measure from the top of the ground down 3 to 6 inches. Mark this point on your post and fill the remaining area up to this spot.
If the original hole for the post was not dug deep enough, the post will need to be removed and a proper hole dug. Remember, at least 1/3 of the above-ground height should be found below ground.
Also, be sure to fill the hole with concrete 3 to 6 inches from the top of the hole. Allow the concrete time to set before burying the concrete with dirt or sod.
For any gaps between the post and the foundation, fill the space with grout or concrete and add a small brace if the post is not level. Let the concrete or grout set entirely before backfilling with dirt or sod.