Deck and Fence Post Caps
Post caps are essential to protect the top of wooden posts. Even the toughest hardwood will rot if the end grain (the cut surface at the top of the post) is not protected from rain and sun.
Decorarative post caps can transform a dull space and give your whole backyard a big lift. Whether you want the glitter of polished copper or the traditional elegance of moulded hardwoods, there will be a design to suit your home and backyard.
Durability is a big factor influencing choice and design. The materials used need to stand up to the elements. Preserved hardwood is the traditional material to use. Since the end grain of the wood is not exposed to the weather, hardwood caps will last for many years. More durable still are copper, vinyl and stainless steel caps. Recently, glass or ceramic have brought both new colors and extreme durability to the range of choices.
Decorative Wooden Post Caps
Wooden post caps are versatile, coming in dozens of different styles that can be painted, stained or varnished to suit any setting.
Hoover fence have a range of quality products such as the Newport Ball Cap in red cedar pictured above. The price for a 4 by 4 inch decorative, hardwood post cap is around $15.00.
Very strong design statements like the Newport Ball Cap are probably best used sparingly in prominent places. Plainer caps like the colonial pyramid (picture above) could serve for long runs.
The 4 by 4 inch colonial pyramid is about $9.50 a piece, cheaper if you buy in bulk,
Copper Post Caps
Copper offers elegance and a natural, discrete color which blends well with wood, greenery and earth tones.
Copper post caps often come with a protective lacquer which will prevent tarnishing or discoloration, This lacquer will break down in time as the sun and rain do their worst. To keep in top condition, lacquer should be reapplied from time to time. Alternatively, non-lacquered caps can be kept polished or allowed to weather naturally.
Simple Pyramid Design
Metal Peddler sell a very simple but effective, pyramid copper post cap for around $14 online. The caps are nailed in place with decorative copper-headed nails.
If want a bit more of the wow factor, try the copper globe from the same site at about the same price.
Stainless Steel Post Caps
Deck depot have a straightforward, appealing pyramid cap in stainless steel. The 4 by 4 size is $10.50.
Despite its name, if stainless steel isn't given a little care from time to time, it will become discolored by rust. Wash occasionally with a mixture of vinegar and club soda and the finish will stay good for ever.
Glass and Ceramic
Woodway Products have some unusual glass pyramid post caps in amber, black, cobalt blue or olive green. Glass is one of the most durable materials around- UV light-proof, water-proof and corrosion proof. Only a hard knock will kill one one of these. They are priced at around $15 each. There are also versions trimmed with cedar (see pictures below).
Tiffany Style Stained Glass Post Caps
These are hand made caps in striking colors (the grape design is pictured below).
Vinyl Post Caps
Vinyl caps are available from many major stores like Home Depot, or online from Amazon.
Although many people see vinyl as simply a cheap and practical option, if used on a wooden fence and painted white with the timber they can produce a result that is both striking and traditional. It's hard not to like a white picket fence- especially if it is in keeping with your house and neighborhood.
One of the best range of designs can be found at usavinyl.com.There are a dozen or so product lines at economical prices. The 4 by 4 inch sizes are available at around $5.00 each.
Durable Resin Caps
The black post cap above is made from tough resin that resists that great enemy of all outdoor products, UV light, especially well.
This one is from Atlanta Post Caps and comes with a ten year warranty.
Wooden fence post caps pressure treated with preservative need not be expensive.
Buy in bulk and they will cost not much more than a dollar a piece. Online sellers like Amazon are worth checking for bargains, Home Depot and similar outlets usually carry a similar product. These will do the job and, for out of the way places, there may be no reason to look any further.
The Southern yellow pine. 4" x 4" pictured left are typical at around $1.50 Available with or without a fixing hole.
Homedepot are one of many major home stores offering durable, maintenance free, inexpensive vinyl fence post caps which can be glued in place.
The pyramid style pictured right is around $3.00