It would be nice to say all vinyl fences are created equal. Take a drive through any Central Florida neighborhood to understand that all vinyl fences are not created equal. It is hard to not notice the sagging and warped rails, post all out of wack, and the moldy mess.
The question is why? The answer is simple. When it comes to vinyl, you will get what you pay for.
When considering a vinyl fence for your Orlando home, there are a few things one must consider. Below is a condensed version of our vinyl fence buyers guide. It will point you in the right direction but is not a substitute for the full version. Educate yourself.
PVC Fencing Vinyl Fence
There are four basic types of vinyl type fences: plastic, refurbished, mono-extruded, and double/co-extruded. One of these is a good choice, and the other three should be avoided.
1. Plastic fencing is very brittle and usually has a coat of polyurethane. This type of fencing is typically yellowish in nature and will only last about five years before it has to be replaced.
2. Refurbished fencing is just recycled plastic and vinyl melted down, put into fence form, and coated with polyurethane. This type of fence system typically has a gray core, is coated with a thin layer of vinyl, is hollow, and will only last for about ten years before it needs to be replaced. Beware--there are several fence companies that use refurbished materials in the central Florida area.
3. Monoextruded is vinyl extracted from plastic, put into fence form, and coated with polyurethane. Normally, you would find this type of vinyl at Home Depot or Lowe's. Understand that this is an economy version of vinyl, and is constructed as such. The problems with these types of fencing systems are that they are brittle in nature, the walls are thin, and the clear coat wears off within 3-5 years. Most of these fencing systems only carry a limited lifetime warranty. What good is a vinyl fence if it becomes broken, moldy, and green?
CO-Extruded Vinyl (PVC) is the way to go. Below is a list of the benefits of PVC fencing:
1. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) contains crude oil, natural gas, toners, stabilizers, impact modifiers, chlorides, and TiO2 (Titanium dioxide) for UV resistance which prevent the vinyl from changing to a yellowish color.
2. Our PVC is co-extruded and made in the United States of America. In addition, the PVC contains no post-industrial waste or regrind.
3. PVC is environmentally friendly because it has no air or ground pollutants, and the production of PVC uses less fossil fuel than does wood or aluminum production.
4. PVC does not crack, chip, peel, or rot.
5. PVC will stand up against moisture, wind, changing climate conditions, extreme temperatures (-65\BAF to 120\BAF), and fire. It has a high flash melting point of 900\BAF, which does not really ignite, so it is "self-extinguishing."
6. By request, the posts have aluminum stiffener inserts to withstand greater wind speeds. It is four times more flexible and five times stronger than wood. This is why PVC, in the long run, is not as expensive as wood. Yes, initially you pay more for PVC than you would for wood, but it is a one-time payment.
7. There are no materials needed to maintain a PVC fence, unlike a wood fence which must be sealed every year or two.
8. PVC is designed to last a lifetime and it comes with a non-prorated lifetime transferable warranty.
The UV inhibitors are the most expensive ingredient for PVC. Therefore, those companies that use another system make a larger company profit while offering poorer quality. Be careful!!!! It is not always easy to recognize the different types of PVC. Always ask questions, and when in doubt, call us. In the meantime, here are a list of questions below that will assist you in making a well informed decision.
A Message from The Owner:
What type of Vinyl Fencing System is the company using?
- Plastic, refurbished, mono-extruded, or Co-extruded?
- What are the protective chemicals used in the product.
- Titanium Dioxide.
- UV Ray
- Solar Guard
- Solar Flex
- Are the chemicals mixed throughout or isolated to the cap stock.
- What is the mixture ratio
- Avoid vinyl from the Home Improvement Stores.
- Remember--Co-extruded is the best.
- Avoid fencing systems with screws (they will rust).
- What manufacturer is the company using?
- Make sure they are using the same manufacturer for everything. If not, this will cancel out warranty.
- Make sure the rails bring using on vinyl privacy fence are what is known as pocket rails. A lot of company have moved to using what is known as a skived rail. The process of taking a rail from used to create a three rail horse fence and ripping the top out and stuffing it with picket. The runner will warp and bow.
- Ask to see an itemized breakdown list.
- What is the wall thickness of the PVC?
- Wall thickness is very important. There are a lot of new vinyl fabricators popping up. Make sure you ask.
- Watch out for the economy version of vinyl, because its wall thickness is usually less than the thickness of a credit card.
- Gate Post and Post
- All gate posts need to have 5" x 5" x 10' aluminum inserts to prevent sagging of gates. Understand that vinyl expands and contracts as the temperature changes.
- All fence posts need to be 5" x 5" x 9'. Make sure you ask because it is standard practice for a company to buy 16' posts and cut them in half. It is cheaper to do this, but should we receive high winds, say goodbye to your investment.
- Make sure the company is using a 9' post and 60 lbs of concrete per post. The reason is that the manufacturer suggests that this combination will stand up to a 90 mph wind load pressure. Don't become a victim.
- Installation Method.
- All vinyl fence being installed in the State of Florida should be six foot on center: from the center of one post to the center of the next post.
- Eight foot on center section are a no, no. The have a tendency to warp, bow, and have issues with wind. Company that use them in residential setting often minus out the horizontal aluminum stiffeners, don't use long enough posts, and concrete. It a price point scam.
- Do they pay their people by the hour or by the foot?
- PVC can either turn out very pretty or become a big eyesore. Whomever installs your fence needs to have experience.
- Avoid companies that pay by the hour. Nine times out of ten, the people installing have limited skill sets, and the companies have a high turnover rate.
- Companies that pay by the foot generally keep the best workers in Orlando.
- Don't forget to ask how long they think it will take. General rule is 125-150 linear feet of fence a day.
- Be warned, most vinyl fence company take a wham, bam, and pay me man approach.
- Make sure the company calls Locates before they dig. This is free, so don't let them charge you for it. It needs to be done, or you could end up with a big bill to fix a broken utility.
- Make sure that all permitting is pulled prior to starting a job. Most legitimate companies will pull permits for you, but after the fact. Make sure these are posted, or you could end up with a $500 dollar fine and additional fines until you file for the proper permits.