Do Fence Posts Need Caps?

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As a homeowner, you may be wondering if it is important to install caps on your fence post. Fortunately, we researched this, and here is what we have found.

Caps are essential to protect the posts against severe weather conditions that might lead to damage. When fence posts are exposed to excess rain, the tops of the posts soak up all the water instead of the entire post. Exposure to sun and wind could also cause the top of the post to crack.

Fence post caps are crucial, not only because it beautifies the post, it also makes the fence last longer. Keep reading to get detailed information about fence post caps and why they should be installed.

Mailbox hanging on a red brick wall fence, Do Fence Posts Need Caps?

What Are Fence Post Caps?

A fence post cap is a cover installed at the top of fence posts. These caps come in materials that complement your fence. To avoid changing post caps often, it is recommended to use long-lasting materials.

Fence panel placed in a yard for safety

Types of Fence Post Caps

The different fence post cap materials are wood, vinyl, and metal.

  • Wood post caps are usually prone to rotting and splitting, making them not last as long. However, these do tend to last longer than the vinyl post caps.
  • Metal post caps are durable as well.
  • Some post caps come with light bulbs and are called solar post caps.

Wood Post Caps

A close up of an antique white wooden picket fence post with vertical wooden pailings having a curved shape on top

This post cap can be made from pressure-treated lumber or heat-treated cedar. They protect the end of the post from weathering, hide an unattractive or unfinished end of the post, and create an attractive finish for a wooden fence.

Wood post caps may appear big when used with wooden fences but are susceptible to all long-term problems fences face. If you are going for a wood post cap, get ready to replace them every few years so they can serve their purpose.

See this wood cap on Amazon.

Vinyl Post Caps

Vinyl post caps on stair

Vinyl post caps are available in different colors, so you have a wide range of varieties to choose from. Vinyl post caps are commonly used because of their durability.

This means that they can last longer without being affected by termites, or weather, unlike wood post caps. Vinyl does not fade and is easy to replace. 

However, the best fence post caps are produced from ASA resin. This plastic resists impact and offers an increased level of ultraviolet resistance, which means you don't have to worry about it fading.

Click here to see this vinyl cap on Amazon.

Metal Post Caps

Wooden post with thick rope

Metal post caps offer high protection to a fence post and require low maintenance. They come in different types of materials including powder-coated aluminum, copper, and steel. Metal fence post caps are also available in various designs, shapes, and sizes.

Click here to see this aluminum cap on Amazon.

Solar Post Caps

This type of post cap comes with a LED light bulb. After the sun during the day, the cap can remain illuminated for up to 12 hours. Solar post caps emit various tones of light including yellow, white, and bue depending on the type of bulb.

If you want a cap that adds beauty to your environment, you should go for a solar post cap.

Click here to view this solar cap on Amazon.

Do Fence Posts Need Caps?

Caps are not essential, but they are certainly beneficial for fence posts. If you want your fence to withstand extreme weather conditions, you should install a post cap.

Post caps help prevent fence posts from splitting or rotting. If post caps are not installed, your post will be affected when rainwater starts accumulating on it. This could bring about mildew and mold which could cause your post to start rotting and splitting. This can affect the stability of your post.

Benefits Of Fence Post Caps

Fence post caps are an important part of the fence installation since they provide a clean and finished look to a post. Here are other benefits of a fence post cap:

Post Cap Ensures Durability Of A Fence

Adding post caps to your fence post is recommended because it helps to make them last longer. The post supports the fence so if the life span of your post is prolonged, that of your fence will be prolonged as well.

Protection Against Weather Conditions

Posts caps prevent the post from absorbing excess water when it rains. This makes them ideal for use on posts that are usually exposed to severe weather conditions. The cap serves as a barrier between the post and extreme weather.

Protection Against Wildlife

Post caps serve as a protection against birds and other animals like squirrels, that usually rest on the fence. To prevent animals from resting on your post, it is better to install pointed post caps.

What Size Fence Post Cap Do I Need?

A brown metal fence with brick posts against a sky

To determine the size of cap needed for your fence post, all you should do is get a tape or ruler and check what two of the outer surfaces of your posts measure. After finding the measurement to the nearest 1/6 of one inch, take note of it. Some of the common post sizes are 4x4, 6x6, and 4x6 posts.

After finding the actual measurement of your fence post width, you can easily find the ideal cap opening size for your post. Between 1/16 to 1/8 of one inch past the post-width is usually the perfect fence post-opening size.

With this, the post cap can sit comfortably on top of the post and will not be blown away by the wind.

How Do You Install Fence Post Caps?

You can easily install fence post caps without the help of a professional. To install a fence post cap, all you need is a caulking gun, post caps, and adhesive. Here are step-by-step procedures for installing fence post caps:

Step 1: Apply Adhesive

When installing a post cap, the first thing to do is to apply adhesive in the middle of the post cap. Also, apply the adhesive around the inner perimeter. Make sure to apply a good amount. It is better to use exterior-grade construction adhesive for the installation.

Step 2: Place The Cap On The Post

After applying the adhesive, place the cap on the post and press firmly so that the adhesive can spread over the surface and around its perimeter. 

Step 3: Leave The Adhesive To Dry

After placing the cap on top of the post, leave it to dry based on the manufacturer's instructions. Do not allow rain or any liquid to touch the post when the adhesive has not dry.

Are Fence Post Caps Durable?

The durability of fence caps depends on the material it is made from. Wood fence caps can last longer but not like vinyl caps. It will eventually deteriorate as a result of exposure to different elements like moisture and sun.

Additionally, wind and ultraviolet light can dry out the wood, causing it to crack. The best way to prevent these problems is by adding caps to your post.

Fence posts caps should be able to withstand extreme weather conditions like rain, snow, and sun without getting damaged. They should also resist fading in the sun and cracking from frost damage.

To Wrap Up

Fence post caps are not only decorative but also serve a practical purpose. They protect the tops of posts from weathering and wear and tear. The materials used to make fence post caps vary.

Some types of post caps last longer than others, depending on the material they are made from. Make sure to choose form-fitting caps that won't move easily so they can comfortably stay on top of the fence post.

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