One of the most underrated fence materials out there is vinyl. Most people don’t think of vinyl when they consider building materials for residential fences, but they should. Wood is the traditional choice for backyard privacy fences, but modern vinyl options offer considerable advantages. |
If you can’t picture what a vinyl fence looks like, Google it and you may be surprised to find images you would have taken for wood if you didn’t know the difference. In fact, you’ve probably seen vinyl fences in real life, but had no idea they weren’t wood plank fences, due to the sophisticated array of wood-like browns and tans they come in. Vinyl fencing is also available in multiple shades of white, grey, tan, and brown.
Why Choose Vinyl Over Wood?
There are two reasons more and more people are choosing vinyl over wood: they are low-maintenance and highly durable. Wood is susceptible to damage from outdoor elements such as humidity, sunlight, and temperature extremes--as well as insects. If not properly treated and stained, wooden fences quickly warp and begin to rot. Even with dutiful maintenance, a well-cared-for wood fence probably won’t last you more than 10-15 years before it need to be replaced.
Vinyl, on the other hand, can last up to 25 years and is not as vulnerable to the elements. Vinyl certainly can warp or crack when exposed to extreme temperatures, but as long as you live in a temperate climate, as most Americans do, the durability factor will still outshine that of wood.
Vinyl is also incredibly easy to clean. A normal backyard hose is usually sufficient for routine cleaning-—although a sprayer or power washer may be needed if you don’t clean it regularly. Vinyl fences can develop mildew in areas that are regularly exposed to water, via a sprinkler system, for example. But again, the smooth, non-porous surface is so easy to clean with a strong stream of water that mildew comes off as easily as dirt.
The Limitations of Vinyl Fencing
There are certainly valid reasons for choosing wood over vinyl. The upfront cost of vinyl is typically higher than that of wood planks. Additionally, you can’t change the color of a vinyl fence, as the surface doesn’t hold paint the way that wood does. If your vinyl fence is white, it will stay white until you take it down.
I suppose there are probably people out there who revel in the DIY process of treating, staining, and/or painting their wooden fences regularly. If you tend to enjoy changing up the look of your property regularly, you may get sick of a vinyl fence long before it will need replacing!
Overall, we find vinyl fencing to be a great alternative to wood plank fences that few people outside the fencing business tend to appreciate. Perhaps vinyl does its job too well; if it passes for wood on a cursory glance, people assume it is wood and aren’t as aware of vinyl as a building option! In any event, vinyl outlasts wood and requires precious little maintenance. If those qualities sound attractive to you, consider vinyl for your next fencing project.
********** Jeff Sorenson is the founder and president of Titan Fence & Supply Company of the North Dallas area. Titan Fence is a family owned and operated business that has been supplying residences and businesses with high quality fences and gates for over 15 years. Titan Fence & Supply Company
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