Vinyl fencing is a very popular choice in commercial exterior design. However, when installing a vinyl fence, it is possible to leave a gap under the fence panel.
Not only is this not the most aesthetically pleasing scenario, but it can also be a huge problem if you have pets or live in an area where it is possible for animals to enter your property through this gap.
When you think about it, a gap pretty much beats the purpose of fencing in the first place. Luckily, this gap can easily be closed.
Why is there a gap under your vinyl fence?
Before we get into the best methods to close the gap underneath your privacy fence, it is important to address the reason why this generally happens with a vinyl fence panel.
Keep on reading as we discuss the biggest problems behind vinyl fence installation, as well as how fence gaps could be avoided in the future.
1. Uneven ground
In case your vinyl fence was installed on uneven ground, this could be the reason why there is a gap below the fence panel. When installing a vinyl fence, it is necessary to make sure that the area is as even as possible, since uneven ground and sloping ground could also lead to structural problems.
In case you notice that the fence is not stabilized, in addition to the gap below it, perhaps you should consider reinstalling the fence panel after preparing the terrain.
2. Standard height of vinyl fencing
When you look at the standard dimensions of a vinyl fence, you will notice that most of these fences do not go all the way to the ground, leaving a gap below the fence panel.
This is precisely why many people choose to have their fencing custom-made to fit their preferences and the area where the fence should be installed.
Even if you’ve installed your privacy fence on flat ground or concrete, standard vinyl fences will still create a small gap between the ground and the panel.
3. The post hole isn’t deep enough/is too deep
When digging the post hole for your fencing, it is necessary to determine precise measurements and set the depth accordingly. If the post hole isn’t deep enough, the vinyl panels will be too far from the ground, creating a big gap.
On the other hand, not digging the post hole too deep may compromise the stability of the fence, causing the vinyl fence post or the entire panel to lean backward or forward, depending on the positioning.
Creating a stable, proper structure for your vinyl fencing is the primary factor in the longevity of your fencing.
How to fill the gap under your vinyl fence
Whether you’re trying to fill a gap on an existing fence on your property, or you’re simply looking for tips and tricks to avoid this problem in the future, keep on reading to find out how you can fix gaps below vinyl fencing in an effective yet aesthetically pleasing way.
If the main issue with your vinyl fencing is a sloping area, you can easily fix the gap underneath the fence with the stepping method.
What stepping means is that you won’t focus on the top of the fence when leveling it, but you’ll level it with the ground itself, making sure it is aligned with the slope.
In order to make this look as even and realistic as possible, it is necessary to lower each of the vinyl fence panels at the same rate, so there is no misalignment between the panels.
The best way to do this is to measure how much you’ll drop the first panel, and then keep the same distance with every panel of the fence.
With this method, the gap between the ground and the vinyl fence will still be present, but it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The stepping method should also prevent the gap from getting bigger as the ground slopes.
This is also one of the easiest, most affordable gap fixing methods you could try, as it requires no additional material or tools!
2. Add dirt
While on the topic of affordable, beginner-friendly methods of fixing the gap below the fence, simply adding dirt to fill the gap between the ground and the fence is definitely one of the easiest ways to solve this problem.
Another advantage of this method is that you can simply move the dirt if you decide to relocate or take out the fence. That being said, it can also be pretty long-lasting if you position and secure the dirt in the gap.
However, if the reason behind fixing the gap below your fence is because animals keep entering your property or your pets keep getting away, this method is unlikely to be successful in the long-run.
3. Add galvanized steel mesh
Galvanized steel mesh is a durable, secure, long-lasting method of filling the gap beneath your vinyl fence, especially if you have pets.
This is a particularly fitting solution if the gap between the ground and the fence is pretty wide and you would not be able to fill it up with dirt or a similar material.
You first want to measure the gap so you know exactly how much steel mesh you need to fix it. You will also need to dig along the gap to create enough room for the steel mesh to fit.
In order to properly install and secure the steel mesh, you’ll need to create a trench that will allow you to install the steel mesh about three inches deep into the gap.
Position one end of the mesh into the trench, while the upper end should be stapled into the fence using heavy-duty staples.
Once the mesh has been secured into the ground, you want to fill the trench with dirt to further secure the mesh into place and hide the bottom of the mesh.
Using a shovel, ensure that the dirt is packed into the gap, securing the mesh into the trench even further.
4. Concrete filler
Different materials can be used to fill the gap between the ground and your fence, but you already know that concrete is the most durable, high-quality option there is.
Keep in mind that this kind of filler is permanent, and it will be hard to move the fence once you’ve sealed it with a concrete filler. That being said, proceed with this method only if you’re completely satisfied with the positioning of the fence.
You will need to dig underneath the gap to create enough space for the block base. Once you’ve created the trench and leveled it to the bottom of the fence, you can fill it with an inch-thick layer of sand, which will create a solid foundation for the blocks.
You can now proceed to adding the blocks into the trench, and add as many levels of blocks as needed until you’ve filled the gap completely.
Once you’ve created the desired concrete block structure, shore up the concrete filler with dirt to seal everything in place.
5. Decorative stones
The filler you decide to use for the gap beneath your fence doesn’t necessarily need to be made of heavy-duty, industrial materials.
The best way to fix the gap between the fence and the ground while still not compromising the aesthetic aspect of this area of your front yard or backyard is to add decorative stones into the gap.
This method will be much more successful if the gap isn’t too high. While this could still work with bigger gaps, keep in mind that you may also need bigger stones, which may clash with your initial idea.
When placing the decorative stones, you may also use a bow rake to distribute them evenly across the gap and get a more polished look.
6. Add bushes
Yet another beautiful way of dealing with annoying fence gaps while still improving the area is adding bushes along the fence line.
There are many benefits to choosing decorative shrubs to fill up this area, as many species can keep the pests away while making your yard even more beautiful.
Also, as these plants get a grip on the soil, it has been proven that they can also aid in preventing foundation damage, in case your fence is located near the foundation.
7. Vinyl fence gap blockers
Yes, there are such things as vinyl fence gap blockers that can be installed in a blink of an eye and solve the problem of a gap below the fence once and for all.
The best thing about these gap blockers is that they can be customized and tailored to fit the fence lining and the gap in question.
These gap blockers can be made of different materials, such as PVC boards that are quite inexpensive and easy to work with. Since they basically click together, you will be able to install them yourself, which is always a plus.
These gap blocking systems usually include stakes that should be hammered into the gap before installing the actual panels or blocks.
However, keep in mind that these blockers are never as durable and sturdy as concrete fillers or galvanized steel mesh.