What is the strongest Vinyl Privacy Fence Design?
What is the strongest vinyl privacy fence design? Vinyl fences come in many designs. Different sizes of rails, pickets, and posts as well as different thicknesses of each. Depending on your location of the installation there are many factors to consider. Below are the specifications best suited for a 6’H x 8’W vinyl privacy fence to withstand 115 MPH sustained wind load.
- Size and thickness of the post.
Posts should be a minimum of 5 inch square with a minimum of .150″ wall thickness. Many manufacturers supply thinner posts such as .130″ wall thickness to cut price down. However, it will compromise the integrity of the fence and its wind load capabilities.
- Size and thickness of rails.
The horizontal rails need not be larger than 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ in size. Why do i not want a large horizontal rail? Isn’t it stronger? Actually, no it’s not. The strongest vinyl fence uses a 1 1/2″ x5 1/2″ horizontal pocket rail of .090 to .100 wall thickness and with notches on the ends that will keep it secured to the post and with a metal or aluminum insert in the bottom rail to prevent sagging of the rail against the weight of the pickets. This smaller rail allows the hole in the post that the rail goes into to be as small as possible. The bigger the hole is, the weaker the post will be. Also, with a smaller top rail it will flex more in high winds.
- Thickness of the vertical pickets.
A good thickness would be .060″ to .055″. The thicker pickets will hold up better to hail storms as well as high winds and abuse by other means.
U-Channels must be installed and screwed to the post as this helps hold the pickets in place as well as fills in gaps caused by expansion and contraction.
- Don’t use brackets on Vinyl Fence.
Never use brackets on Vinyl Fence. Vinyl fences expand and contract in heat, cold and need to flex in high winds. Brackets will never hold properly. Never use them if at all possible.