Fence post caps and finials
Post caps and finals serve two purposes, both important for different reasons.
The top end of your fence posts have exposed end-grain which is a vulnerable spot on all timber as it's usually more porous, meaning the timber will absorb rainwater which will, over time lead to the degradation of the timber fibres as that moisture washes out the timber treatment and freezes in winter time, expanding and splitting the timber in extreme cases. You might have seen this for yourself on older fences, where the top of the post is coming apart or hollowed out over time, whilst the rest of the fence post looks to be in fairly good condition. That's what we're talking about here, and this is where a post cap comes in.
By setting a simple post cap over the end of the post, the cap acts as a kind of sacrificial piece if you like, taking the brunt of the weather and diverting rainwater down the sides of the fence post. It's a protector basically, and it's a wise move to add post caps to all of your fence posts if you want to extract the maximum life from your new fence. My aim is always to get to the 30 year mark, so doing everything possible to extend the life of our fences was always on my mind, and adding post caps is just one of those little things which might seem insignificant, but it's really quite important.
Apart from the functional aspect of adding post caps, there is also a good aesthetic to adding caps to all of your posts. Going the extra mile and adding that finishing touch makes the fence look good, and it just says that the job has been done right and done well.
If you really want to make a statement and show your fence posts off to your neighbours, then adding finials to the post caps is the way we do that.
To fit finials, drill a 5mm pilot hole through the centre of your post cap and just into the top of the post, then simply screw your finial into place until it's hand tight.
For ball finials, just tighten and you're done. For cube finials, then you might want to tighten just until the faces are lined up.
There are only a few options for post caps and finials in the DIY stores these days, but there is more variety and choice to be found online. I'll post a few links here so you can see what I mean.
These are just some examples of post caps you will find on Amazon right now. As you can see, there are basic timber post caps, then there are plastic caps in various colours and sizes depending on what fence posts you have. The galvanised steel caps are nice too and then we get into the solar light caps which do look really good, however they are obviously a bit more expensive so I tend to see them on the gate posts, one either side which looks very nice and helps to show your visitors and delivery drivers where the gate is on a dark night.
It's a similar picture with the post finials on Amazon. The classic finial is the simple ball finial and you can get that in wood, metal or plastic depending on what you prefer. The wooden acorn finials have been popular for us too, but be warned, they will attract squirrels lol.
I hope you enjoyed my babbling on about why I like to fit post caps and finials lol. I'm more interested in the function than the form if I'm honest, but both are important, if you know what I mean.
On the next page, I'm going to talk about fence paint and timber treatment. See you in there.