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Types of Vinyl Fence

Vinyl fence is made of essentially the same material as vinyl siding and vinyl windows - not PVC pipe. While PVC pipe does use some of the same ingredients, it doesn't have the weatherability and strength found in siding, windows and fence. Making vinyl fence requires careful process controls during manufacturing to ensure a quality product. While most manufacturers offer lengthy warranties on their products, the warranty alone does not define the quality.

There are two methods of vinyl fence manufacture: mono-extrusion (single layer) and co-extrusion (two-layer). Some manufacturers maintain and advertise that mono-extrusion is better. Here's how to decide which is right for you. The mono-extruded fence profile (in sizes such as 2x6, 5x5, etc.) is made from one layer of material. This process puts ultraviolet inhibitors (which protect the vinyl from sunlight) all the way through the product-even on the inside where they're not needed.

The ultraviolet inhibitor is the most expensive ingredient in the extrusion formula. Since mono-extrusion uses only one extruder instead of two, and the mono-extrusion die is more simple to make, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars less to set up a factory for this process. Mono-extrusion also requires less technical expertise on the factory floor. But the greater quantity of ultraviolet inhibitors required, raises material costs to a level that cannot be offset by the slightly lower labor cost and equipment investment. That means mono-extruded products ultimately cost more to produce which means you may pay more, or the manufacturer has to make up the difference to remain competitive.

The co-extruded fence profile is made out of two layers: an outer layer containing the ultraviolet inhibitor and an inside layer with reduced ultraviolet protection. Co-extrusion demands a higher investment in equipment, tooling, training and overall manufacturing sophistication, but it significantly lowers material costs. In order to make the product even more affordable, many manufacturers make the inside layer out of reground material (rework) that may be a different color than the outside layer. This does not affect the product's performance as long as there is no recycled materials used.

The lower cost of co-extruded vinyl creates a slightly more affordable product without sacrificing quality. In the mid 90s, only a few manufacturers in the vinyl fence business were co-extruding. Today, a majority of the key players co-extrude.

Vinyl Fence Examples:

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