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What you should know about vinyl!

Like many competitive businesses, vinyl fencing manufacturers and contractors try hard to find ways to differentiate themselves. Building cases to establish a perceived superiority of a particular type of vinyl material is one way this competitive pressure is expressed. In the interest of capturing a customer, exaggerations, misimpressions, misinformation and even misrepresentation can and does occur.

Vinyl fencing is made primarily of Poly-Vinyl Chloride (PVC) with critical additives for flexibility, crack resistance, and color stability. Continuous exposure to sunlight (actually the Ultra-violet or UV component of sunlight) can cause "virgin" PVC to become brittle and to change color. A protective additive to PVC to resist the effects of exposure to UV is Titanium DiOxide (TiO2), which is a significantly expensive ingredient in the manufacturing of vinyl fencing product.

MONO-Extrusion Process

The first vinyl fencing products were produced through a process called "Mono-extrusion" whereby a uniform mixture of PVC and beneficial additives including TiO2 is "extruded" into the desired shapes. While this produces a quality product, the problem is that it requires a lot more TiO2 than is actually useful since it is uniformly distributed throughout the product, not just at at the surface where the UV light affects the material.

CO-Extrusion Process

A Second generation manufacturing method called "Co-extrusion" allows the production of vinyl fencing material that concentrates TiO2 only on and near the surface, and not in the interior of the material. While the equipment to produce "Co-extrusion" product is more expensive than the simpler "Mono-extrusion" machinery, the savings in unnecessary TiO2 offsets the equipment investment, resulting in a functionally equal product at a potentially lower cost to the customer.


Contrary to some claims, "Co-extrusion" is NOT a lamination process where two distinct layers are bonded together ... consequently there is NO danger of "delamination" of the co-extrusion regions.

The surface region containing the protective TiO2 in "Co-extrusion" material is much deeper than typical scratching can penetrate, but severe damage could potentially reach the inner material. It is arguable though that any damage this severe to either "Co-" or "Mono-" extruded material would be both aesthetically visible and structurally compromising by itself ... any additional UV damage over subsequent years would be pretty much irrelevant.

Trust who you are dealing with

Even knowing what constitutes quality material and what is required for a quality installation, it is not always obvious looking at a fence what it's actually made from and how it was installed. It is critical to be confident in the knowledge and integrity of the contractor that you choose to provide, install, and warranty your vinyl fencing.