How is vinyl fencing made?
This can be explained via profiles and fabrication.
Profiles: Vinyl fencing originates as a PVC powder-form resin. When blended with the required compounds, this formulation is fed into an extruder where it is formed into a malleable vinyl. This malleable vinyl is then fed through a die into the shape of the finished profile. While using vacuum technology to retain the malleable vinyl’s proper shape, water is introduced to cool the vinyl to its desired and final rigid state. [See Engineering/Technology.]
Fabrication: After profiling, a Westech fencing fabricator cuts a chosen profile to the proper length for the specific fence. Holes are then routed into the appropriate fence components (rails, posts, pickets) and assembled into fence sections or left unassembled for distribution. [See Distribution Strategy.]
How is a vinyl fence put together?
Most assembly of vinyl fencing is accomplished by snapping the rails into the posts, using rails that are tabbed with special tabbing (or notching) tool. Different fasteners may be used, depending on the styles of fence. Vinyl channels—often used in the fabrication of Privacy and Semi-Privacy styles—are attached using rivets or screws.
How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood fences?
The initial cost of vinyl compared to wood is slightly higher for material costs in most regions of the country. However, with the ever-increasing cost of wood, this difference is shrinking in some areas. Many factors show that wood fencing is ultimately not as cost effective as vinyl, including the need to replace wood fencing in 5 to 15 years, the regular maintenance costs of labor, paint, replacement boards, etc. Also, consider the harmful effects on the environment from the arsenic and other toxic chemicals traditionally used in the treatment and maintenance of wood fences. Vinyl becomes the sound and viable investment in the future of your home. Once your Westech vinyl fence is installed, you will not have to deal with the problems of painting, rusting nails, splinters and rotting boards associated with a wood fence. [See Comparison with Store-bought Vinyl.]
How do I find a reputable vinyl fence installer?
Contact Westech for the name of the nearest Westech registered regional fabricators. [See above.] Or, we will have the nearest fabricator contact you and assist you in finding a reputable installer.
Can a vinyl fence break?
Any fence will break when enough force is applied. However, Westech vinyl profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to provide the greatest impact resistance available. All Westech vinyl profiles are designed to withstand impacts higher than the minimum standard required by ASTM.
COMPARISON WITH RETAIL-PURCHASED PRODUCTS
Why is the vinyl fence available at the Big Box store so much cheaper than yours?
That is the question that haunts dealers and consumers, many of whom lack an understanding of vinyl. Resin prices are set at commodity levels (supply and demand strictly dictate pricing). Additive prices are set in a similar way. Competition is intense, with over 20 extruders in North America competing in the same market. In order to capture market share, some new manufacturers establish a low price, which they raise later. Others decide to make an 'economy' product which is thinner and may not conform to industry standards or building codes. Another way to keep the price low is by using recycled materials, which often change the dynamics of the product itself [See Co-extrusion with Regrind in the Engineering/ Technology section]. A manufacturer may also choose to fabricate the product using less expensive, high-volume and, sometimes, inferior methods such as gluing the pickets to the rails, or using brackets to attach the rails to the posts with screws.
What differences should I look for that may indicate an inferior product?
The most apparent differences in product quality are:
- Striation lines along the face of the profiles (look for drag lines all along the length of the profile)
- Low gloss (possibly indicating inferior additives in the cap stock)
- Corner radius measurements that show inequalities from one side of the profile to the other, or from one profile to another, indicating lower quality control procedures
- Grey back (dark grey or brown inside usually indicates a high content of recycled materials used)
- Thin cap stock (the cap stock thickness may be so thin that it looks like it was painted on or is very irregular)
- Fasteners for joining the profiles to each other that appear to be flimsy or weak, possibly due to high-volume production and/or inferior quality control procedures
A friend of mine had a vinyl fence installed. It looked great when it was first put in, but after a while it began to deteriorate. What happened?
There are several reasons why some products begin to lose luster over time. One reason may be that titanium dioxide levels may be significantly low, resulting in a degradation (yellowing, cracking, low impact resistance) of the product under UV exposure. Another reason for deterioration may be inferior impact modifiers, resulting in low impact cracking or fragmenting. Products manufactured under lowered standards usually come with a greatly reduced warranty period and coverage.
Note: This information is intended to make the consumer aware of the possible differences in manufacturing standards for vinyl fencing. Budget or logistic constraints create niche markets for all levels of product quality. This is not to say a consumer cannot get a premium brand at a Big Box store. Some regional branches of Big Box have decided to supplement their do-it-yourself business with a furnish-and-install program. These programs will be using higher quality products such as those found at Westech.
Mathematical calculations used in determining how well a product (such as fencing) will withstand a particular wind velocity (or windload) before failure may occur.
Will Westech vinyl fence turn yellow?
Westech vinyl is formulated using a superior, durable-grade, non-chalking titanium dioxide (TiO2) that protects against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Keep your fence clean with a periodic washing from the garden hose and it will not yellow.
What effects does my vinyl fende have on the environment?
Westech vinyl products are safe and non-toxic to the environment. And—unlike treated lumber—they will not break down to release harmful chemicals into the ground and do not require maintenance using toxic chemicals such as stains, waterproofing, paint, or paint thinner. No trees are used in the manufacture of Westech fences and several times the amount of wood needed to produce wood fence are actually saved due to the exceptionally long life of our fencing profiles. All Westech's vinyl products can be recycled and used in other products such as garden hoses and watering cans.
How do I contact Westech Building Products?
HOME OWNER INFORMATION SHEET
Treated Lumber, Arsenic and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
What is CCA-treated wood?
CCA is a copper, chromate, and arsenic solution that is registered with the EPA as a pesticide. It is applied to certain lumbers—usually pine or fir—in a sealed vat, similar in theory to the pressure cooker used in your kitchen at home. The pressure forces the chemicals through the entire board, completely protecting it from fungus and termites.
Is treated lumber dangerous for use around my home?
Treated lumber has been used for decades. It contains arsenic, which can leach out. So, its safety cannot be assured.
Is CCA-treated wood illegal?
CCA was prohibited for residential use after January 1, 2004. The EPA and manufacturers agreed to phase out the residential use of this material b the end of 2003. Pressure-treated wood is still available, but it is treated with [safer] chemicals.
What about existing structures near my house that were built with CCA-treated lumber?
Existing structures should be sealed or stained if they are located where skin contact takes place, especially picnic tables and playground equipment. Always wash your hands after touching any CCA-treated wood structures.
What are my alternatives?
Decks can be floored and trimmed with many materials such as cedar, redwood, composites, vinyl, etc. Alternatives to pressure-treated pine include Nature Select by Arch Wood Protection; Preserve by Chemical Specialties, Inc.; and NatureWood by Osmose.
Will these products last as long as the old CCA-treated wood?
These newer materials have been used in Europe and Japan for over 10 years with excellent results. The warranties are similar to the CCA-treated product warranties.
What color are the newer products?
Light green--similar to the CCA products. After a few months out-of-doors, these products will change to a light brown color that will eventually become driftwood gray, unless stained with another color or sealed.
What fasteners should be used?
Hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel fasteners are best. Do not use electroplated fasteners. Avoid contact with aluminum.
Can these new materials be stained or painted?
Yes, the new treatment is water-based, so oil- and water-based stains and sealants should work satisfactorily.
[Source: Deck Industry Association.]