Over the past decade or so, vinyl PVC (poly vinyl chloride) has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular fencing material in the U.S., taking over nearly half of all fencing industry projects!
One of the main reasons for its growing popularity has to do with maintenance, or more accurately, the fact that it's a nearly maintenance-free material. That's a huge draw for busy, hard-working Americans who would rather not give up any of their precious free time to repaint or repair a fading, peeling, or deteriorating fence.
There are basically two different types of vinyl PVC fencing:
The two have similar qualities, but there are a few differences as well.
Virgin Vinyl PVC is the most common product sold by fencing companies and contractors. It's made primarily of PVC, plus polypropylene, nylon, and polyethylene.
Recycled vinyl PVC is commonly sold at the so-called "big box" stores like Lowes or Home Depot. Although it sounds like a great idea to buy fencing made up of recycled plastic materials, the truth is that the product ends up being inferior to virgin vinyl in that it has a tendency to be hospitable to mold and mildew. That's partly because when companies extrude their "recaptured" materials, they may contain impurities which can affect the finished product's resilience, impact resistance, and UV-resistant qualities.
How to Tell Which is Which
It can be hard to tell the difference between virgin and recycled vinyl PVC simply by looking at the material, which when new, look the same.
Virgin vinyl PVC is somewhat thicker than the recycled version. Also, most recycled vinyl PVC fencing comes in pre-assembled panels. Of course the easiest way to tell the difference is simply to ask the supplier whether the material is virgin or recycled.
The Benefits of Vinyl PVC Fences
Many people refer to vinyl PVC fences as the "hassle-free" choice. That's because there are so many benefits to choosing vinyl PVC fences over wood or metal fences:
- They won't rot or deteriorate like wood will, making them a good choice for areas that experience weather extremes like strong winds or rain. They also aren't susceptible to termites, a claim that certainly doesn't apply to wood fences. There's also no danger of rust or corrosion as with a metal or wrought iron fence. Basically, it's a "degradation-proof" material!
- Vinyl fencing is UV-resistant and won't fade or "wilt" in strong sunlight.
- They're family-friendly (no toxic chemicals) and planet-friendly since they're fully recyclable!
- There's no danger of splintering, which makes a vinyl PVC fence a child-friendly alternative to a wood fence.
- They don't require staining or painting, and are easy to clean with just soap and water. (You can even clean off graffiti with ease!)
- A vinyl PVC fence is almost 5 times stronger than its wooden counterpart.
- Vinyl PVC is a superior material for fencing in animals since the animals can neither hurt themselves if they try to chew through it, nor hurt themselves if they attempt to run through it.
- Vinyl PVC fencing is often available in a variety of colors, so matching it to your house or your surroundings, is certainly an option that's open if you want it.
- It's an economical choice. The cost of buying a vinyl PVC fence is initially higher than buying a wood or metal fence, but since it doesn't require painting, staining or waterproofing, you'll save money over time. (And time in this instance means virtually for your lifetime! Amortize the up-front costs over a lifetime, and it becomes clear that vinyl PVC is truly a money-saving fencing option.) It's also easy for a do-it-yourself-er to install, meaning you'll save the cost of hiring a professional fencing company to erect your vinyl PVC fence.
Installing a vinyl PVC fence is a fairly easy project for a typical homeowner. It simply entails sliding the rails into the posts and securing the posts into the ground. That means that if you're not afraid of a little manual labor, there's no need to hire a professional.
Vinyl PVC fences are available in a variety of classic styles such as picket, privacy, and even styles that resemble ornamental iron. That means that virtually any style of wood or metal fence has a PVC vinyl counterpart.
Buying Your Vinyl PVC Fence
As mentioned earlier, if you're looking for a quality vinyl PVC fence, it's probably a good idea to avoid the "big-box" store offerings, which tend to be inferior in terms of quality. If you're planning to install your fence yourself, consider buying from a company that ships direct from the manufacturer, so that the cost of the "middleman" or retail mark-up is virtually eliminated.
You'll also want to choose a company that has a good selection from a wide variety of manufacturers, plus an ace customer service staff. That's important in case you have questions about the product or its installation. In fact, a really good company will offer installation tips, or even videos to help guide you if you've never installed a vinyl PVC fence before. Those are the little "extras" that can mean the difference between struggling with unanswered questions or unanticipated "snags" in your installation project, and getting the job done with relative ease.
If you're looking for quality vinyl PVC (or any other) fencing materials, many of which are made right here in the USA and all of which are shipped direct to you from the manufacturer, contact us!