Wind Damage to Vinyl Fence Posts

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Old 01-31-13, 08:32 AM
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Wind Damage to Vinyl Fence Posts

Hi All,

I have a 6' privacy fence around my back yard supported by 8'(?) hollow vinyl posts set into about 2' of concrete footings.

My neighbor recently cut down a tree that exposed a long section of the fence to more wind than it had previously.

Last night (and still today) we had some pretty bad wind and 3 of my posts cracked at the bottom right above the rail insert part due to the strong wind. Not huge cracks, but enough to make the fence lean. The footings still seem to be in tact and I can push the fence back to plumb though it does not stay there.

I called the installation company and was quoted $505 to have it repaired ($35 for each of the three posts, and a $400 minimum labor charge...must be nice ). If this section is repaired the wind will just take it out again so I asked about reinforcing these three posts and was quoted an additional $135 for a total of $640 - not what I am looking to spend right now.

I am looking for advice on the best way to repair the fence. The cracks on the posts are the thinner part where the rails are inserted - not terribly noticeable and something with which I can live.

My plan is as follows:

1) Push the posts back to plumb
2) Drive a rod of rebar in each corner of the INSIDE of the post
3) Duct tape the rail holes (rails are already inserted)
4) Fill with concrete
5) Rinse and repeat

I am fairly certain that the footings are poured AROUND the fence posts, rather than having the fence posts inserted into the wet concrete (which would place the concrete inside the undground part of the post as well as around it). I theorize this as I had two sections of fence taken out by a tree due to Hurricane Sandy and when I took out the center post the concrete was around the post, not inside the post. If the posts have concrete in the center I do not think this would work as the rebar would not be embedded in the concrete footing.

I know the right thing to do is replace all the posts but that would require digging them all out and more money than I care to spend on this now. Even if I do, I will still need to renforce this section of fence due to the new wind exposure.

Please let me know if you have any input on this plan. I also had some questions if you feel it will work:

1) What size rebar should I use? 1/2"? 3/4"?
2) What type of concrete should be used? Fence post concrete or regular (bearing in mind that most of it will be above ground in the post itself)?

I should also mention that the fence company filled the gate posts with concrete so it can be done. Those posts are solid as a rock and going no where. Ideally I would like to do all of them like that but that would be a lot of cash.

Thanks for your assistance!
 
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Old 01-31-13, 09:10 AM
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What size is the inside of the vinyl posts? Some are sized to slip over a 4x4. You may be able to simply slide a pressure treated 4x4 inside your posts.

The concrete idea could work. It's not the best since a thin column of concrete is not strong resisting a side load like the wind. The rebar will help. I'd try multiple sticks of 3/8" instead of one piece of larger rebar. Try to get a stick of rebar in each corner of your post but still leave a little room on the outside so the concrete can get all the way around it.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 12:28 PM
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I beleive the inside can hold a 4x4, but the problem is that I do not see how I can put it in and clear the bottom rails that stick in pretty far. Moreover, how would I drive it into the ground in order to stand the posts back up? The rebar would pretty much hold them up from leaning as the post itself is cracked and causing the lean.

I can post a pic if that would help.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 12:56 PM
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Since you have the type of rails that just slide in to the holes in the post( yes?), I doubt a 4x4 will work.

When I called a major fence manufacturer for a customer who was building a home, they basically said exactly what you plan. Either that or upgrade to wind code rated fencing in her case...not that that would work for you.

Put in rebar (possibly you could pre-form the rebar using wire or welding?) then fill with concrete. You might be able to just tape the joints where the rails slide in to the posts, then rinse any leakage?

You will have to probably fill the post most of the way to the top.... 1 or 2' above the ground just moves the stress point.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 02:33 PM
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Thanks GunGuy. The fence company basically said that's what they would do as well. I'm calling a general handyman contractor who did good work on my tree damaged roof to see what he sugguests as I don't have a great deal of time to mess with this right now. If it was spring time I would likely do it myself.

Regarding the concrete - just the regular mix?
 
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Old 01-31-13, 02:44 PM
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Yep, prob just the normal stuff. Can't see a need for fast setting.

Greg the fence guru will probably be around in a day or 2 and he may have better insight.
 
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Old 01-31-13, 05:46 PM
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Cool thanks. It's pretty cold here but I assume it will cure eventually....
 
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Old 02-01-13, 05:52 AM
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Yes, you do not want to do concrete when freezing temperatures are possible. Waiting till spring sounds like a good idea. In the mean time you might want to remove the fence sections or brace the posts so the posts do not get damaged beyond use before spring.
 
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