What are the Different Vinyl Picket Fence Styles?

Anna B. Smith

Vinyl picket fences are typically available with dog-eared or spade picket tops, which are attached to either two or three horizontal rails. Each fencing manufacturer assigns a different name to each style of fence, referring to the various post caps and differing picket heights available. Fence pricing is typically determined by the height of the fence ordered and the type of post cap style selected.

A spade picket fence has pointed pickets.
A spade picket fence has pointed pickets.

Vinyl, a durable form of plastic, is a popular alternative to wood in use as a material for creating fences. It is hard, long-lasting, will not warp or split, and does not require painting. This type of fencing is available in a wide variety of styles, colors, and sizes, and may be installed by a professional contractor or by homeowners personally.

The term 'picket fence' is often used to describe one type of fencing. Picket fences are traditionally painted white and stand between four and five feet (1.2 and 1.5 m) in height, though the height may be adjusted to suit the purchaser. The posts are capped and feature perpendicular pickets evenly spaced between two horizontal rails.

One of the most commonly used styles of vinyl picket fence features a pyramid-like post cap and similar triangle-headed pickets, also known as dog-eared. The pickets extend beyond both the top and bottom rail, ending, on top, slightly below the level of the posts and, on bottom, above the ground. This type of fence may also be purchased with a concave top, which means that the pickets will gradually decrease in size as they move away from the post and and increase again as they return. A concave fence viewed from a distance creates a half-moon shape across the top of the fence between each post.

A vinyl picket fence may also be purchased with post caps and pickets that end in a flattened point, which is called a spade top. Either style of fence, whether dog-eared or spade, may be assembled as a through-picket fence, which means it appears the same from both sides. The pickets run through the rails as opposed to being secured on a particular side. Through-picket fences with spade tops may also be available with concave spacing.

The Canterbury style of vinyl picket fence utilizes pickets of varying heights, staggering them the length of the fence. Every other picket is approximately half the height of the overall pickets, and is secured to a third rail which bisects the height of the fence. The post cap comes to a slight pyramidal point and may appear flat when viewed from a distance.

A popular style of vinyl picket fence used to surround pools is the Victorian. This fence features flat-topped posts with pickets that begin and end inside the horizontal rails and do not extend past them. This fence may be between three and six feet (0.9 and 1.8 meters) in height.

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