Who is the best South Florida vinyl fence manufacturer?
- by PVC Fence Supply
- September 10, 2019
- Tags: Vinyl Fence Manufacturer
There are a lot of different manufacturers of vinyl fencing in South Florida.
Home Depot, Lowe’s, and many other local vinyl fence suppliers all use different suppliers of extruded PVC fence profiles.
Every vinyl privacy fence panel consists of various parts:
- Vinyl Fence Pickets
- Vinyl Fence Rails
- Vinyl Fence U-channel
- Vinyl Fence Posts
Virtually every single PVC profile extrusion company has tolerances for their profile thicknesses.
Some run thicker, and some run thinner than intended.
And some companies produce materials that are far inferior to others – so you need to be informed about how to tell the difference between a good vinyl fence manufacturer and a bad one.
This article will discuss how to differentiate between the quality variances from supplier to supplier so you can make the right decision on who to purchase your vinyl fence from.
Co-extrusion and chemical composition
Vinyl fence profiles are created by using a raw and malleable mixture of chemicals known as polyvinyl chloride.
This mixture is then forced through a “die“, or a metal form that is in the shape of the profile.
Co-extrusion is an extrusion process wherein there are two extrusions happening at once.
An outer layer, called a “cap-stock,” is made from pure virgin material.
This cap-stock is where all of the U.V. inhibitors, impact modifiers, and other important elements of the chemical makeup are found.
The inside extrusion, or substrate, is typically made up of recycled materials. Since this inside area is not going to be exposed to sunlight and other natural elements, it is not necessary to reinforce it in the same way the outside layer is reinforced.
Every PVC extrusion company has their own proprietary chemical formula for their profiles. When making your choice of vinyl fence manufacturer – be sure to inquire about their extrusion processes and chemical composition of their PVC profiles.
Keep in mind that this process is common in high end vinyl fence manufacturing.
Vinyl fence extrusion companies found oversees, especially in China or Southeast Asia, do not fortify their products like American companies are required to do.
Since oversees products are not fortified – they tend to warp, bow, crack, and chalk over time.
They will also stain in a way that is not cleanable or recoverable.
PVC Profile Wall Thickness
Vinyl fence profiles are hollow.
Some profiles, like rails or pickets, are reinforced with “ribs,” or little walls that provide additional structural integrity for an otherwise hollow profile.
One very telling way to differentiate between a low quality vinyl fence profile and a high quality one is the wall thickness of the profile.
Wall thickness is the measurement of the thickness of the wall of the profile.
Since most profiles are hollow, the wall thickness will determine how strong the profile will be.
A profile with a very thin wall will not stand up under high wind loads or physical pressure.
They also will chip or bend very easily when exposed to any sort of impact or load.
Routed Assembly vs. Bracketed Assembly
There are two kinds of vinyl fence assembly methods:
- Bracketed Assembly
- Routed Assembly
This is by far, the cheapest yet most inferior version of vinyl fence available.
When assembling a vinyl fence with brackets, each rail gets a set of brackets that you attach to the posts or walls with screws.
The rails then slide into the brackets, which you can then secure into the bracket with additional screws.
Because of the nature of vinyl fencing, each panel is only as strong as each connection point.
If at any time a single connection point were to fail – the whole panel would lose structural integrity.
So, therefore, if one bracket on one end of one rail loses its’ attachment to the post or to the rail itself, there is a great chance that they whole section will end up falling apart.
Since we live in South Florida, where hurricanes are imminent around Labor day of every year, we must take special precautions when installing any products that are exposed to high wind loads or are at risk of being impacted by debris.
A bracketed vinyl fence system is just not able to withstand hurricane conditions.
In any situation with wind loads greater than 75 MPH, a bracketed fence will blow apart and the components will then become projectiles that will then be launched at your home and your neighbors homes.
You should not install a bracketed vinyl fence system on your South Florida property.
It’s also important to mention that if you are installing vinyl fence in Miami, then you will not be allowed to obtain a permit with a bracketed vinyl fence, as they are considered to be an HVHZ zone and therefore have special requirements for fences.
The best and strongest system for vinyl fences in South Florida is the routed assembly system.
A routed PVC fence profile has holes that are used to interconnect individual components during assembly.
Since each vinyl fence panel is comprised of various parts such as rails, pickets, and posts – each of these parts must fit into each other via routed holes.
In a typical vinyl privacy fence, posts are routed with rail holes.
During assembly, the rails are inserted into the holes in the posts, and then snap into place with “notches,” or raised clips on the end of each rail.
In various other vinyl fence styles, such as vinyl semi-privacy fences, or vinyl picket fences, rails are also routed to accept the insertion of the vertical members, or pickets.
Each routed hole in a PVC profile is created by using a C.N.C. routing machine that utilizes a computer program to rout holes from pre-programmed coordinates and dimensions.
For example, a post for a standard vinyl privacy fence panel is routed with two holes that are 1.5″ x 5.5″ in dimension, to accept the top and bottom pocket rails.
These holes are 70″ out-to-out – or 70″ from the top of the top rail, to the bottom of the bottom rail.
A program is created that plots out the cutout dimensions and the distance of the holes from one another, then the PVC post profile is placed into the machine, and routed with that specific program.
Using this interconnected routed system for assembly provides the finished vinyl fence panel a large amount of structural integrity in comparison to any other system of assembly, especially a bracketed assembly system.
Welded Vinyl Gates vs. Gate Kits
Similar to vinyl fence panel assembly, there are two main methods of gate assembly as well:
- Hot welded vinyl gates
- Screwed/riveted vinyl fence kits
Welded Vinyl Gates
A hot welded vinyl gate is created by using a modified PVC window welding machine.
This machine is specialized for the hot welding assembly of stock PVC profiles into rectangular frames.
The process involves taking a blank, uncut PVC profile, such as a pocket rail, cutting it to the size of the frame, then cutting each end to a 45 degree angle.
Once you cut the parts to size, you then place them into the welding machine, which clamps them in place, melts the edges with heating plates, then presses them together to create an extremely strong frame.
These frames can be made to any custom size all the way up to 16′, which are them attached to a steel structure.
A welded gate can be made to any dimension requested, and made to match any existing style, or new style.
This particular method of fabricating vinyl fence gates is far superior to any other method, and is the preferred method of fabrication for all South Florida vinyl fence companies, due to their strength, durability, and resilience to hurricane force winds.
Vinyl Gate Kits
All big box stores sell their gates as an extension of their vinyl fence sections in something that is known as a “gate kit.”
These kits are simply small panels that are assembled in such a manner that makes them act as a gate.
On each side of these gates, there is a post, similar to a fence panel.
Rails are then either screwed or riveted in place to secure them to the posts.
A gate kit can be superior in only one situation – if the grading of your land where the gate is to be installed is so sloped that a standard welded gate just won’t simply work.
Otherwise, gate kits are structurally inferior in all ways to a welded vinyl gate.
This kind of gate has all the same structural pitfalls that a bracketed vinyl fence panel will have in extreme situations, and if you happen to live in an HVHZ zone, you can guarantee that this gate will absolutely not last through even a category 1 hurricane.
Ultimately, choosing a South Florida vinyl fence company boils down to quality.
Let’s face it, vinyl fences are costly and represent a very large upfront investment on your part.
When investing a large amount of money in ANY product, you should always do your due diligence and make absolutely certain that you are getting a product that will last for the longest amount of time possible, so you don’t have to purchase it multiple times.
Purchasing an inferior vinyl fence from an inferior vinyl fence company will only result in headaches over the course of the 10+ years that you will probably live in your property.
The best thing you can do is to be informed – and then apply these tests to any prospective vinyl fence vendor in your area.
And, should you happen to live in South Florida, we can guarantee that we pass 100% of these tests!