Vinyl fencing is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for low-maintenance property privacy, safety, and aesthetic appeal. However, your vinyl fence still needs some upkeep to look good for many years to come. This includes regular washing and removing debris as needed.
Several years after vinyl fence installation, it’s not uncommon to start seeing small cracks and holes in a vinyl fence’s surface, especially if the fence is exposed to harsh weather conditions or other stressors that puncture vinyl fencing. However, you don’t have to put up with a crack or holes in your vinyl fence! Here’s your step-by-step guide to repairing a hole or crack in your vinyl fence panel or fencing posts brought to you by one of the most experienced fence repair companies in the area.
Important note: This repair guide is intended for small to medium cracks and small holes. If your vinyl fence is more damaged, consult with professionals to see if replacing a vinyl fence panel or post (or even the entire fence) is a better choice.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
To begin repairing a cracked or damaged vinyl fence, you’ll need a few key supplies. These supplies include:
- Hobby knife, X-Acto knife, or other small, fine blade
- Putty knife or body filler spatula tool
- Fine-tooth saw (optional)
- Small paintbrush (4 to 5-inch bristles)
- Spray foam, also called filler foam
- Auto body filler
- Epoxy-based outdoor use paint the same color as your fence*
- Medium-grit sandpaper (60-100 grit)
- Fine-grit sandpaper (100-200 grit)
- 90% isopropyl alcohol
- Soft rags
- Dish soap
- Paper towels
* Carefully read the paint’s instructions to check if you need to use a primer beforehand. If paint isn’t applied correctly, it won’t stick, so don’t skip the primer if your paint requires it.
Pro tip: Repairing a vinyl fence is easiest on a mild day with no forecast of rain in the following 48 hours. This allows optimal curing and drying.
Step 2: Clean and Prep
Don’t skip cleaning; it’s an important part of your vinyl fence repair. Using soapy water and a soft rag, clean off the area around and inside the cracks or holes you’re trying to repair. Pat dry with a clean rag.
Step 3: Remove All Rough Edges
Using your small blade, carefully carve away rough edges around holes or cracks. This includes spots where vinyl is sticking out like splinters. Trim inside the hole and create a beveled edge to create a smooth transition for the filler you will be using.
Then, using your medium-grit sandpaper, sand off any remaining rough areas around, near, and within holes and cracks as much as you can. You can follow up with fine-grit sandpaper as needed if there are tiny sharp or splintering spots that are not coming off with medium-grit.
Step 4: Fill Holes and Cracks With Foam
Wipe the areas you’re repairing with isopropyl alcohol and a clean rag, then wait a few minutes for it to work on the surface of the vinyl. Then, grab your spray foam and push the nozzle as deeply as possible into the crack or hole you’ll be filling. Fill the holes slowly and carefully as you wipe away or quickly remove the excess foam with alcohol-soaked paper towels as necessary. Be sure to fill the holes completely, leaving no space left behind. However, don’t worry about being a perfectionist, as you will be touching up this work later.
Now, let the foam dry. This step is crucial to repairing a vinyl fence. If you do not allow the spray foam the appropriate drying time, it will not be structurally sound enough to truly repair the vinyl fence. Wait 24 hours before the next step in order to ensure the foam is dry.
Step 5: Remove Excess Foam
Using your small blade or optional fine-tooth saw, carefully remove excess foam that sticks out from the surface of the fence. Ensure your cuts are as close as possible to flush with the surface of the vinyl fence. Then, grab your medium-grit sandpaper again and sand the foam until the surface is slightly depressed or concave. Wait several hours to ensure the newly cut foam is dry before the next step.
Step 6: Seal and Sand the Repair Site
Prepare your auto body filler using the directions on the package, then use your putty knife or body filler application tool to smooth the filler into the cracks and holes, making the surface smooth and even. Make sure there are no spots in the cracks or holes that are not filled by body filler, and remove any extra filler with a clean putty blade or freshly cleaned applicator tool. Read the package to find out the drying time required, then wait as long as necessary for the body filler to dry. After it dries, check the fence for any spots you missed with the filler and repeat until the area looks satisfactory.
Then, use your fine-grit sandpaper to smooth the body filler into the existing vinyl surface until it blends in. You can check for any spots that you missed by using a flashlight to look over the surface of the vinyl fence from different angles.
Step 7: Paint to Match
If you like the appearance and texture of the vinyl fence repair you’ve done so far, it’s time to paint. If your paint requires a primer, don’t forget to apply the primer, wait for it to dry, then apply the paint.
Be conservative with your paint application — remember that thinner coats can always be painted over, but too-thick coats will need to be sanded off and reapplied. Paint using small strokes, and don’t overload your paintbrush. Once you are satisfied with the paint job, allow the paint at least 24 hours to fully dry and bond to the surface of the vinyl fence.
You’re finished your fencing repair project! How does it look? We hope you made your fence look good as new. While this project is relatively simple, it’s definitely time-consuming and can be labor-intensive.
If you want someone else to deal with fencing repair for you, the team at GMX Fencing is always here for you. And if you’re dealing with outdoor elements that crack or puncture vinyl often, you might want to look into having your fence’s existing coating beefed up or protected by professionals. Our team is here for all your fencing needs whenever you need us; get in touch with us today!