What is vinyl? Raw material, Additives.
Crude oil, natural gas and salt are the raw materials used in the production of poly vinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Westech’s vinyl compound is formulated from these premium grade raw materials and additives, including UV inhibitors, impact modifiers, stabilizers and toners. Westech’s formula is built upon Westlake’s years of technical leadership, which has supported our superior technical formulation capabilities.
How is PVC manufactured?
The PVC manufacturing process: Ethylene and chlorine, nature-derived materials, are the basic chemicals utilized in manufacturing PVC. Ethylene is made from crude oil and natural gas; chlorine is made from salt. These gasses are chemically reacted to form ethylene dichloride (EDC). The EDC is heated (or cracked) to produce two gasses: hydrogen chloride (HCl) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM). Vinyl chloride monomer is the basic building block used to manufacture poly vinyl chloride. The term poly means many. [This polymer is formed when] simple molecules, called monomers, are chained together to form a more complex molecule or polymer. Polymerization is the chemical reaction used to convert VCM into PVC resin. The PVC resin is blended with additives (such as stabilizers, pigments, processing aids, UV inhibitors and plasticizers) to produce powder- and pellet-form compounds-from rigid PVC pipe (having no plasticizers) to very flexible products (including upholstery and wall coverings). [PVC and Fire, Vinyl Council of Canada.]
How is vinyl fencing made?
This can be explained via profiles and fabrication.
Profiles: Vinyl fencing originates as a PVC powder-form resin. When blended with the required compounds, this formulation is fed into an extruder where it is formed into a malleable vinyl. This malleable vinyl is then fed through a die into the shape of the finished profile. While using vacuum technology to retain the malleable vinyl’s proper shape, water is introduced to cool the vinyl to its desired and final rigid state. [See Engineering/Technology.]
Fabrication: After profiling, Capitol cuts a chosen profile to the proper length for the specific fence. Holes are then routed into the appropriate fence components (rails, posts, pickets) and assembled into fence sections or left unassembled for distribution.
How is a vinyl fence put together?
Most assembly of vinyl fencing is accomplished by snapping the rails into the posts, using rails that are tabbed with special tabbing (or notching) tool. Different fasteners may be used, depending on the styles of fence. Vinyl channels-often used in the fabrication of Privacy and Semi-Privacy styles-are attached using rivets or screws.
Will a Westech fence mildew?
Mildew feeds off organic materials. Vinyl (PVC) is non-organic and therefore does not support mildew. When mildew grows on vinyl, it actually feeds off the organic materials (e.g., dirt) that have become embedded in or stuck to the vinyl. Westech fence profiles have a high-gloss, smooth, non-porous surface, making it very difficult for organic material to attach and therefore does not promote the growth of mildew. The use of non-chalking TiO2 (titanium dioxide) further prevents most mildew. Vinyl fencing that contains chalking TiO2 deteriorates at a much faster rate when compared to non-chalking TiO2. It creates a rougher surface where dirt and mildew could attach more easily. Only under consistently damp conditions will the possibility of mildew occur. A mild solution of bleach and water will easily remove mildew.
Does Westech fencing chalk?
Chalking is the deterioration of the vinyl surface, thereby exposing the TiO2 particles to the surface. The white powder chalking that can be wiped from the surface of most vinyl fences is TiO2 particles mixed with deteriorating vinyl (PVC). Westech’s use of durable-grade, non-chalking TiO2 in its vinyl formulation results in very minimal chalking. All vinyl fencing will chalk sooner or later, but with the superior protection capabilities of our TiO2, it is kept to a minimum. Westech’s vinyl is formulated for exceptional beauty over a full lifetime.
Can I paint my Westech vinyl fence?
Westech’s vinyl products are engineered to retain their beauty and good looks throughout their lifetime. Westech does not recommend painting vinyl (PVC). There are paints available for vinyl, should you wish to change the color of your Westech fence, but painting or otherwise treating our vinyl products will void the limited lifetime warranty.
How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood fences?
The initial cost of vinyl compared to wood is slightly higher for material costs in most regions of the country. However, with the ever-increasing cost of wood, this difference is shrinking in some areas. Many factors show that wood fencing is ultimately not as cost effective as vinyl, including the need to replace wood fencing in 5 to 15 years, the regular maintenance costs of labor, paint, replacement boards, etc. Also, consider the harmful effects on the environment from the arsenic and other toxic chemicals traditionally used in the treatment and maintenance of wood fences. Vinyl becomes the sound and viable investment in the future of your home. Once your Westech vinyl fence is installed, you will not have to deal with the problems of painting, rusting nails, splinters and rotting boards associated with a wood fence. [See Comparison with Store-bought Vinyl.]
Will Westech vinyl fence turn yellow?
Westech vinyl is formulated using a superior, durable-grade, non-chalking titanium dioxide (TiO2) that protects against the harmful UV rays of the sun. Keep your fence clean with a periodic washing from the garden hose and it will not yellow.
What effects does my vinyl fence have on the environment?
Westech vinyl products are safe and non-toxic to the environment. And-unlike treated lumber-they will not break down to release harmful chemicals into the ground and do not require maintenance using toxic chemicals such as stains, waterproofing, paint, or paint thinner. No trees are used in the manufacture of Westech fences and several times the amount of wood needed to produce wood fence are actually saved due to the exceptionally long life of our fencing profiles. All Westech’s vinyl products can be recycled and used in other products such as garden hoses and watering cans.
What is virgin vinyl?
Virgin vinyl is the term for vinyl products that do not contain PVC from regrind or recycled products. These recycled products, which may contain impurities or lower-grade vinyl, could be imported into an extrusion plant and seriously affect the resilience, impact resistance, and UV-inhibiting properties of the final finished product. At Westech, we use only virgin vinyl in the extrusion of our products.
Can a vinyl fence break?
Any fence will break when enough force is applied. However, Westech vinyl profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to provide the greatest impact resistance available. All Westech vinyl profiles are designed to withstand impacts higher than the minimum standard required by ASTM.
Why is the vinyl fence available at the Big Box store so much cheaper than yours?
That is the question that haunts dealers and consumers, many of whom lack an understanding of vinyl. Resin prices are set at commodity levels (supply and demand strictly dictate pricing). Additive prices are set in a similar way. Competition is intense, with over 20 extruders in North America competing in the same market. In order to capture market share, some new manufacturers establish a low price, which they raise later. Others decide to make an ‘economy’ product which is thinner and may not conform to industry standards or building codes. Another way to keep the price low is by using recycled materials, which often change the dynamics of the product itself [See Co-extrusion with Regrind in the Engineering/ Technology section]. A manufacturer may also choose to fabricate the product using less expensive, high-volume and, sometimes, inferior methods such as gluing the pickets to the rails, or using brackets to attach the rails to the posts with screws.
What differences should I look for that may indicate an inferior product?
That is the question that haunts dealers and consumers, many of whom lack an understanding the most apparent differences in product quality are:
1) Striation lines along the face of the profiles (look for drag lines all along the length of the profile)
2) Low gloss (possibly indicating inferior additives in the cap stock)
3) Corner radius measurements that show inequalities from one side of the profile to the other, or from one profile to another, indicating lower quality control procedures
4) Grey back (dark grey or brown inside usually indicates a high content of recycled materials used)
5) Thin cap stock (the cap stock thickness may be so thin that it looks like it was painted on or is very irregular)
6) Fasteners for joining the profiles to each other that appear to be flimsy or weak, possibly due to high-volume production and/or inferior quality control procedures
A friend of mine had a vinyl fence installed. It looked great when it was first put in, but after a while it began to deteriorate. What happened?
There are several reasons why some products begin to lose luster over time. One reason may be that titanium dioxide levels may be significantly low, resulting in a degradation (yellowing, cracking, low impact resistance) of the product under UV exposure. Another reason for deterioration may be inferior impact modifiers, resulting in low impact cracking or fragmenting. Products manufactured under lowered standards usually come with a greatly reduced warranty period and coverage.