How to Shorten Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fences can give the look of an expertly crafted wooded fence, but at a fraction of the cost.

Vinyl fences are also impervious to rot or decay and are so easy to clean that they are relatively maintenance-free. The only downside to vinyl fences is that they come in prebuilt sections or panels. While rail-based vinyl fences can be cut to size with a circular saw, latticed-topped vinyl panels need a little more care in order to make the section look as good as possible.

Measure the length of the space that you need to fill. Vinyl fence manufacturers will recommend using a preassembled gate section, if one will fit, before cutting a section down to size. Use this measurement to determine the amount you will need to cut.

Stabilize the panel on a table and place the area that you are about to cut off of the edge of the table. Make sure that you are cutting between the vertical pickets and not through the vertical pickets. For vinyl fences that have the rails built into the pickets, make sure that you leave enough exposed rail on each side so that it can connect to the posts. For vinyl fences that have a slot where a rail will slide in, this is not an issue.

Cut through the fence with a circular saw. If you want to keep an end design on a lattice-topped fence, only make one cut. If you don't care about the end design, make two cuts to remove both ends. If your vinyl fence has separate rails, make sure to cut those as well. The rails may be a few inches longer than the panels, so keep the proportions that were in place before you started cutting.

Complete the end of the lattice top by cutting a piece of excess picket equal to the length that the lattice end needs to be. Cut this board down the side so that it can open up like a book. Wrap the board around the end of the lattice and secure the end with white silicone cement.

Notch the end of any rails that require it. Some vinyl fence rails need notches to stay connected to the posts. Insert the side of the rail that you need to notch into the jaws of the notcher and press down on the handles. You should now be able to install the panel according to your specific fence instructions.

Things You Will Need

  • Circular saw
  • Medium- or fine-toothed blade
  • Rail notcher
  • White silicone cement

About the Author

Shawn McClain has spent over 15 years as a journalist covering technology, business, culture and the arts. He has published numerous articles in both national and local publications, and online at various websites. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in journalism at Clarion University.