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Fencing Materials: All About Vinyl Fencing

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When you go to build a fence, you're presented with numerous material options. Wood, including wood picket, and metal, including chain link and wrought iron, are the two most common. However, a relatively new material has come onto the market — vinyl. Vinyl fencing is often used to mimic wood. Find out if vinyl fencing is right for you:

What Vinyl Fencing Is

Vinyl fencing is constructed of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, mixed with special resins to give the material excellent durability. The posts are hollow, and contractors slide them down over wooden posts they've installed in the traditional method. Concrete footing keeps the wooden post secured. The panels themselves come prefabricated. Contractors use specialized brackets or crimping tools to attach the panels to the rails. The two main styles of vinyl fences are picket and privacy.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Fencing

The main disadvantage of vinyl fencing is the up-front cost. Vinyl fencing tends to be more expensive to install than the wood it resembles. Additionally, color options or limited — typically white, light tan, and dark tan. These may fade over time. Lower-grades of vinyl are vulnerable to damage from extreme temperatures and degradation from exposure to high UV light. Finally, repairing vinyl fencing can be difficult.

Advantages of Vinyl Fencing

The biggest advantage of vinyl fencing is that it's actually very durable, especially if you choose one that's appropriate for your locale. As Bob Vila points out, vinyl won't warp, splinter, rot, split, or blister. Indeed, the fact that vinyl doesn't split or splinter makes it ideal for families with small children. What's more, vinyl isn't susceptible to insect infestations like wood can be. All of this comes with almost no maintenance requirements from the homeowners. In fact, vinyl is very easy to clean, and it never needs repainting like wood does.

Caring for Vinyl Fencing

Caring for a vinyl fence is exceptionally easy. Vinyl features a glossy, nonporous surface, which is what makes it impervious to rot and insect infestation. This surface also makes it easy to clean. You can wash it using a sponge, soapy water, and a hose. It's also possible to use a pressure washer. Likewise, the glossy surface makes it easier to remove graffiti. For repairs, small holes or cracks need to be filled with a resin-based filler, sanded, and repainted. For bigger areas of damage, the panel may need to be replaced.

Vinyl is a highly durable, low-maintenance material that can mimic the look of wood in fencing. Contact local fence contractors for more information and assistance.