Today's homeowner is no longer limited to wood or wrought iron for functional and decorative fencing. Extruded vinyl and composite fences are available in a variety of colours, sizes and styles to fit any yard. Good-looking and long-lasting, either one of these fences will update your landscape in style. Before choosing between vinyl and composite, it helps to know more about each product.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is the main component of vinyl fencing. Different vinyl fence manufacturers may add impact modifiers and UV inhibitors to increase the life and strength of their product. Vinyl pickets, posts and rails are hollow, and the thicker the vinyl shell, the stronger the fence will be.
Composite fence materials are made from a combination of plastic and wood fibres, extruded and formed into solid pickets, rails and posts. Large posts may be hollow, however. Both composite and vinyl fence systems come with matching gates and accessories, and they are comparable in price, although as the quality of the material increases, so will the final cost.
Although top-end vinyl fences may feature a wood-look surface texture, composite fences more closely resemble actual wood because they contain visible wood fibres.
High-quality composite and vinyl are both relatively maintenance-free. Preformed colours and textures will look as good in five years as they do when you install the fence. Cheaper fencing materials, however, may fade and discolour, so read the manufacturer's warranty against fading before buying.
Because the surfaces of both fence materials are nonporous, it's difficult to paint them later if you want a change of colour. Epoxy paint may adhere better to the vinyl or composite, but painting the fence may void the manufacturer's warranty.
The installation of vinyl and composite fences is similar. Depending upon the manufacturer, the fences will come with posts and various required fasteners. Using alternative installation methods may void the manufacturer's warranty.
Because it contains some wood fibres, composite fencing is more durable during cold weather, when vinyl can become brittle and prone to cracking upon impact. The thicker the vinyl fencing is, however, the less likely it is to crack. Both vinyl and composite are durable, and both resist deterioration and weathering. Thin vinyl may warp, however, if it expands and contracts with outdoor temperatures.
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