Vinyl Fence

JillofallMay 18, 2005

I have to share this. We had a new vinyl fence, walk-thru gate, and drive-thru gate installed last summer. I decided to go with Lowes since their price was good and I felt I could count on them to back up their product as well as the installation. Little did I know how much I would need this!

The fence went up beautifully, but the installer went with the sloped grade. This resulted in the drive-thru gate (10') being made up of two 5' panels with the cross bars sitting "off" by about 5", one higher than the other. They installed a drop bar and a latch, and did their best to match up the two sides of the gate where they met.

Well, we have Chinook winds here in Colorado, and this gate didn't fare well. First the wind worked the latch free by banging the gate sections back and forth. Then the drop bar bent. Then the gate flung itself open. One gate door started slamming itself into a tree. I called Lowes to ask them to come up with a better solution. The installer returned and installed a 4' long vinyl 2x4 to slide across both gate doors. They replaced the drop bar and went home.

The next windy day, the 4' long 2x4 worked itself free, as well as the latch and the newly bent drop bar. I used an 8' vinyl downspout to reinforce the 2x4 and tied the thing shut with bungie cords. The wind came again, stretching the bungie cords, eventually (over time) working the latch and slider open and breaking the downspout in half. We tried again and put old chunks of 8"x8" landscape timber along the bottom on both sides and called Lowes.

Lowes doesn't have enough fencing installers. It took them a long time to schedule someone. Meanwhile, the above mentioned rigging wasn't holding up. The bottom section of the slats hit the landscape timbers and broke off. We braced the steel wheelbarrow against the gate. The gate knocked the wheelbarrow which rolled over and dented the front bumper of my pickup truck. Meanwhile the gate doors, blowing in the wind, pulled on the posts and pulled them far enough that the bracket to the next section broke. We wired it shut with heavy gauge wire.

The Lowes installer showed up, finally, and agreed we had a design problem. We discussed solutions, none which sounded like they would work to me. They ordered replacement parts and said it would be about 2 months. The wind kept coming and the gate doors are now in pieces. A side panel popped out and broke the bracket right off the post, leaving a hole in the post. I called again, and they came by and added to their parts order.

Finally last Friday, my SO got so frustrated with it that he took pics and went down to Lowes and demanded to talk to the manager. Apparently he made himself clear. Coincidently, the parts arrived and they started the repairs that very day. In fact, I was at work and got an apologetic call from Lowes telling me that they could only refund $800 and the fence guy should be there repairing the fence. I was a little confused since I was unaware of what SO was up to. I had to have him repeat to me that the fence would be repaired AND I would get $800 back. I agreed to this arrangement. Who wouldn't?

So, this Monday the fence repair was finished. I hope to get to Lowes this Friday for my $800 and some angle iron. No way with the new fence will survive unless I reinforce it with steel, or at least wood, but at least Lowes is standing behind their work... in a way. Wish me luck! --Kris

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nancyinmich

Hi Kris, interesting story. Is the fence a solid panel design, or one that has more places for the wind to get through? If is is a solid panel/privacy style fence, it seems that it is not appropriate for your weather conditions. If it is a fence that lets the wind blow through, I gotta say, that is some wind!

I hope your additions do help with the life of your fence. Best of luck. Nancy

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 12:20AM
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Jillofall

Nancy, Yes, we have some serious wind! The fence has 6" panels with 1/2" spaces. I think the main problem is that these panels are attached to 2x3 vinyl cross pieces, but none of it is reinforced except at the ends for attaching screws. I haven't had trouble since I inserted wood 2x3s inside the cross pieces. I also didn't use the vinyl alone to support any hardware. Now it is more like a wood gate with vinyl covering. Much better! --Kris

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 11:05AM
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nancyinmich

smart fix!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 1:23AM
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fencerepair

I know someone who had a vinyl fence repair that wasn't quite as bad as yours, but it showed the one weakness of vinyl fences: if you have major damage, a whole section may have to be replaced. He challenged his neighbor to find a way to replace just one rail - and they developed a product they call the "Tabmaster Rail Remover".

Here is a link that might be useful: Vinyl Fence Tool

    Bookmark   February 19, 2007 at 8:22PM
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grhbroadbent

Help! My 10 yr old son shot his air soft gun into the neighbors new vinyl fence....3 times! Is there a way to repair holes between 2 and 4 inches wide so I don't have to replace 2 whole panels?
Any ideas appreciated.
Thanks
Rita

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 7:49PM
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annzgw

Probably not. At least not to where your neighbor would be happy with the results........... especially since it was a new fence.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 12:23PM
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