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I would like to replace 1 side of my deck with a privacy screen & need to attach a 7' 4x4 post to the vinyl siding on the house. It will take place of the current 3' railing post (see the pic) that is not attached to the house. What is the best practice out there for dealing with heavy mounting to vinyl like that? Thank you.

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UPDATE: Below is the SketchUp of the privacy screen I want The height is 7', 6.5', & 6' by 14'. I am not exactly sure what material is under the vinyl, I was just hoping to hit the corner studs. The deck floor is 8' high above the ground, so burying the pole in the ground is not really an option. I guess I could attempt a better mounting of my 4x4 to the 6x6 pole that holds the deck, but would not be as sturdy as attaching to the house itself. Also a friend of mine suggested vinyl mounting blocks, which I am not sure will be enough. I personally would prefer to cut a piece of vinyl & maybe attaching a piece of 2x4 there that could provide a mounting surface for the 4x4 post, but not sure if there are good flushing options for that. I know next to nothing about vinyl siding, hate it ;), just happen to buy this house.

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    Can't really attach anything to vinyl siding -- the siding has no structure of its own and there's a lot of open air space behind it. You can attach through the siding to whatever lies behind, which might be plywood, OSB, or just flimsy fiber board. Tell us a little more about why something so large as a 4x4 is required, what sort of load it'll bear, and what kind of material is behind the siding. We'll help figure out whether the siding should be cut away, or whether the screws should be sleeved to prevent crushing the siding, etc.
    – Greg Hill
    Apr 17, 2022 at 4:58
  • A better pic showing more of the area would be helpful, but no, don't attach the post to the siding or even the house. You'll note that the railing isn't attached to the house, so your new post shouldn't be, either. You'll want to attach the tall post in place of the railing post in the same fashion that the railing post is attached to the deck.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 17, 2022 at 12:55

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If you are going to attach it to the house (and there's good arguments for not doing that already presented) I think the proper way would be to cut the siding away, replace the siding trim with trim that leaves the space the 4x4 would attach to open, and attach it to the house without the siding in the way.

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  • I am going to choose this answer. Guessing my next step will be to figure how to cut it best and how apply proper flushing.
    – i--
    Apr 17, 2022 at 22:36
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OK, this isn't going directly address your question, but here goes: When I wanted a privacy screening I built a "living fence". Jasmine or Honeysuckle are good choices if you want some fragrance. Personally I prefer Jasmine. They both grow pretty quickly and within a couple of years, you'll have a very fragrant, vigorous privacy screen.

So about attachment to vinyl, don't go there. Get some PT 4x4's, dig a hole about 12-18" deep and concrete those guys in. For ascetic reasons, I wrapped them and finished the wrap. But that's up to you of course. You'll need to do some design/layout work naturally. I'd say no more than 4' apart on the posts. Maybe this answer isn't practical in your situation, but I just wanted to throw it out there. Attached is a pic what I built. It's now fully covered and I could send you an updated pic if you'd like. pic of living fence

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Agree with the commenters that attachment to the house is apt to cause way more trouble than it’s worth.

I would cut the handrail back and attach a 4x4 to the non-house side of the existing post. Through bolts with washers would be better than lag screws. Suggest 3, 3/8” or 1/2”, galvanized.

For the sake of aesthetics, you can extend the short (existing) post up to the top of your new post. If all those seams upset you, wrap the whole thing in 1-by (actual 3/4) of something weather resistant.

Refasten the railing at the new post, and you’re done.

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I attached a 4X4 to cement board siding with gutter screws. It supports a gate so needed to be strong. The gutter screws were about 8" long as I remember and relatively small diameter ,about 1/8 ", so did not need a large hole such as a lagscrew.. They are long enough to go into studs behind the siding. I used several. The gate has been solid for about 20 years.

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