Vinyl fence is manufactured using polyvinyl chloride or PVC (plastic). This material makes vinyl fence maintenance free and longer lasting compared to traditional wood fence. They are environment friendly since they can be recycled and used in the manufacturing process again.
This article will enlighten consumers on the main types of vinyl fencing, vinyl fence costs, and offer helpful tips to help consumers who are in the market for a new vinyl fence. The main types of vinyl fence include:
- Tongue and Groove Privacy fence
- Semi-Privacy Fence
- Pool Fence
- Picket Fence
- Rail / Ranch fence
Vinyl Privacy Fence
A vinyl privacy fence has tongue and groove pickets that lock together to create a full privacy (no spacing in between) environment for your home or property. There is a wide variety of styles, designs, and colors that are available for this type of fencing style. Vinyl privacy fence is typically used around a pool or house, where privacy is of utmost importance.
Vinyl Fence Colors – Vinyl Fence Color Options
Vinyl fence is typically offered with these color options:
There has been a recent development in the market however that has allowed almost every color in the rainbow to be offered as a vinyl fence color option. A company in New York called Illusions Fence has started manufacturing a virtually limitless array of hues and colors to match your home.
Vinyl gates are one of several options that can be added to a vinyl fence that improve the overall function. A Vinyl Gate should be strong and sturdy with galvanized steel metal hinges that allow for extra strength and durability. These specialty hinges give the gate enough strength and durability to eliminate misaligned gates and gate sag. The key to a good vinyl gate will come down to the materials used to keep it on the fence. Many vinyl gates will also offer tension adjustments that allow it to close on its own (self-closing). It is good to have stainless steel hinges to avoid rust. For wider gates, it is good idea to have a diagonal reinforcement to make it sturdier. A strong gate will be pop-riveted on both sides.
The best size for a rail is 5.5″ x 1.5″. For normal 6 ft wide panels, it isn’t necessary to have aluminum reinforcements, but when you choose to have wider panels, say 8ft, then it becomes necessary to reinforce the rails to prevent the panel from sagging. A good way to keep the cost low and have stronger fence is to use 6ft wide panels with good quality pickets. If you consider the strength, width, and cost of a vinyl fence you’ll see that having 6 ft wide panels with the right pickets eliminates the use of aluminum reinforcement. This ultimately keeps the total cost lower when labor and time is added to the equation.
Most manufacturers use 6″ wide pickets on a typical tongue and groove fence. This is a good standard for making stronger pickets. Having wider pickets can make them less impact and wind resistant. A panel build with wider pickets will bend and sag more easily as compared to a 6″ wide picket. But most importantly, what makes a picket stronger is the webbing in the picket and not its width. The industry standard for maximum strength picket is to have 3 webbing in it. Although 2 webbed pickets are most commonly used, 3 webbed 6″ pickets are the maximum strength pickets you can buy. Try bending webbed pickets in hand and you’ll see the difference. Since the 3 webbed pickets uses more vinyl, it is more expensive. Most online stores or your supermarket will carry 2-webbed picket.
Vinyl Fence Posts
Posts are just are even more important than pickets and panels. A few things to watch out for when choosing a post: virgin vinyl is best, avoid re-grinded PVC. A good way to check is to press a loose end of the post and see if cracks form on the inside of the post. To have good, strong posts, it is best to buy from a well respected company, because there is technology available to use re-grinded PVC and still make strong posts.
Vinyl Post Caps
Everyone loves beautiful vinyl post caps. They enhance the beauty of the fence and give it an accent. It is like wearing a particular type of hat to define who you are. The most common types of post caps are:
- Flat Cap
- Coachman Cap
- New England Cap
- Ball Cap
- Gothic Cap
- Solar Post Cap
Privacy Fence Styles
Apart from the different colors that a full privacy fence offers, there are also classy designs available. Different companies give si different fancy names and we will go over the main ones here:
- Lattice Fence – This is basically the same full privacy fence with a lattice above the top rail. The lattice design is of criss-cross pattern. While picking this type of fence, one should make sure that the top rail holding the lattice is not really thin. It should be of decent girth. Lattice fences are available in 3 sizes – mainly, 5′, 6′ and 7′ height by 8′ wide. They are also generally a little more expensive than the full privacy tongue and groove.
- Victorian Accent Fence – This is a full privacy fence with lattice type design above the top rail, only difference is that the lattice is straight, vertical rather than a criss-cross.
- Westminster Fence – This is another type of accent that you may get to see. It has weaved, pattern of lattice, going vertical and horizontal, instead of criss-cross.
- Wood Grain Fence – Imagine a fence that delivers the beauty of natural wood without the hassle of ongoing maintenance, associated with wood fence. That is what wood grain fence features- a realistic wood texture on vinyl fence. Available in 5′ & 6′ heights.
- Stone Texture Fence – This is a new type of Vinyl fence, which is totally out of ordinary. It has the looks of stone, but give you the flexibility of vinyl. They are moderately priced, give the look and feel of stone or granite fence and are pretty strong as well. They might be the perfect fit for a fence around a stone style structure or around a pool, landscaped with stones.
- Tongue and Groove w/ 3 Rails – This is similar to the standard 6 ft tongue and groove, but utilizes a 3 rail system, instead of 2. And each rail is aluminum reinforced for extra strength. This fence comes in 6′, 7′, and even 8′ heights! This type of fence is more stable and has more strength as it has 3 rails instead of 2 and has aluminum reinforcement on all three rails. It can be available with accent as well.
- Pool Code Privacy Fence – This type of privacy fence has to meet the pool code requirements and may have accent on top of the fence. Each company makes their own design and accents. But a good industry standard would be Huntington. It is available in 6ft high x 8ft wide.
The size of pickets can make different types of fences. Starting from 3: pickets to almost 12″ pickets, they can define a fence and give it differentiating looks. Pickets with size somewhere in the middle have better shock resistance as compared to the lower and higher width pickets.
In semi-privacy fence, the pickets are NOT interlocked, instead they are either placed one top of the other or in a wave pattern. This leaves a small amount of gap in between them, leaving room for some light to pass in between them. Hence they are called semi-privacy fence. Many of the semi-privacy fences come with standard features as the full privacy fence, like the rails, lattice, same weather resistant material and colors.
If you are getting wider panels, make sure that you get fences with the bottom rail reinforced with aluminum and not galvanized steel. This will prevent rusting and leaking the awful red rust to the white fence. It really ruins the looks of the fence. Second thing to watch out for is to make sure that the pickets are woven into the rails, instead of being glued together.
Common types of Semi-privacy Fence
- 6″ Wide Pickets – This type of fence have 6″ wide pickets and are available in common colors. It can also be made available with lattice and other accents.
- 3″ Wide Pickets – This type of fence have 3″ wide pickets and are available in common colors. It can also be made available with lattice and other accents.
Vinyl Pool Fence
Most of the pool fences are built with less wider pickets and have more spacing in between them. Most manufacturers use 3″ by 1.5″ wide pickets with 1″ to 3″ spacing and run a top and bottom rail. They are available in a wide range of heights raging from 3 ft to 6 ft and are generally the least expensive among the three.
Most manufacturers give fancy names to their 6″ or 3″ semi-privacy fence based on the size of the picket, the spacing between two and the use of any accent above the top rail. A good contractor should have the technology to fabricate any design any type of fence you want. Customer should not have to stick to some fancy named fence of some particular design only. As long as the quality of the material is maintained, fabrication should not be a big factor for a successful contractor who has a ware house and the right equipment to do the job right.