FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
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. Our extruder’s vinyl compound is formulated from premium grade raw materials, which include Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin, non-chalking UV inhibitors, impact modifiers, stabilizers and toners. Using only premium grade raw materials in conjunction with superior technical formulation capabilities produces a vinyl product that is far above the vinyl industry as a whole. Vinyl that is extruded for superior performance, stability, weatherability, low maintenance, and long life.
How is vinyl made?
The two most common methods for manufacturing vinyl fencing are a mono-extrusion process that uses one vinyl compound and a co-extrusion process that uses two or more vinyl compounds. The co-extrusion process lets a manufacturer engineer a product with greater strength and durability. The best products are made from virgin vinyl, which ensures that the product is made using raw material most appropriate for its application. For vinyl to have the characteristics necessary for fencing, it must be combined with special additives and modifiers to make it strong and durable. The vinyl we use contains a formula with UV inhibitors which guards against the sun’s harsh rays and additives that make the vinyl rigid, yet flexible enough to resist cracking or shattering.
Is it recycled vinyl?
Our extruder uses only virgin vinyl for all of their profiles. PVC resin is the main component used in vinyl fence profile compounds, equaling over 80% of the total. Like the flour used in a cake mix, a superior quality resin costs more than resin of inferior quality. We only use vinyl products we believe are superior to other available materials.
What is virgin vinyl?
This is the term used for vinyl product that does not contain recycled products. Recycled products that may be imported into an extrusion plant may contain impurities or lower grade vinyl which can seriously affect the finished product’s resilience, impact resistance and UV inhibition.
Do you use the co-extrusion process?
Co-extrusion is the newest technology used for shaping PVC products. Two or more layers are produced: The outer layer (or cap stock) is similar to a “skin.” It contains a denser concentration of the essential elements (including UV inhibitors) and protects like a sunscreen when exposed to harmful UV rays. ASTM’s specification for rigid PVC exterior profiles used for fencing (F 964-94) requires the cap stock layer to be a minimum of 0.015 inches thick and a maximum of 20% of the profile wall overall thickness. It is important for the buyer to determine what ASTM specification is being used by the extrusion supplier to determine the supplier’s compliance with ASTM standards, if any.
The inner layer (or substrate), when produced from virgin materials, is essentially the same as the cap stock, but with a lesser quantity of UV inhibitors and, possibly, a color (or pigment) differential. This promotes an improved molecular bond by the impact modifiers in the substrate compound and results in a stronger product. Usually, rails and posts are also co-extruded to comply with ASTM F 964-94.
However there have been some misconceptions developed around this process:
One popular misconception is that a color differential between the cap stock and the substrate indicates regrind in the substrate. However, this is not necessarily so. If color pigments are decreased in a virgin substrate, a different hue in color may result. Conversely, a regrind substrate may be exactly the same color as the cap stock, giving the impression that mono-extrusion is used.
Another misconception is that the co-extrusion process is inferior to mono-extrusion. Co-extrusion is the newer, more expensive technology and supports concentration of the essential materials, resulting in a stronger, more durable product—the customer receives more value per dollar. (Claims of the inferiority of high-tech co-extrusion may be made by manufacturers who cannot afford retooling or do not support this new generation of advanced processing)
Thirdly, there are claims that the layers in co-extruded products may delaminate. Co-extrusion is not lamination. Lamination is a process whereby adhesives or reheating are used to bond two or more layers together. Co-extrusion is a homogenous process accomplished at high pressure and temperature in a sealed environment where moisture and air cannot be trapped. Co-extrusion produces superior product without the use of adhesives, making separation of the layer virtually impossible.
How popular are vinyl building materials?
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is used in virtually every industry. Because of its low maintenance and durability, vinyl is a popular alternative for products normally constructed of wood-such as fences, gazebos, decks, siding and window frames.
How safe are vinyl fence systems?
Unlike some treated wood fencing, vinyl is an environmentally safe material with no toxins to pollute the sky or seep into the ground. Vinyl fencing has a smooth surface and there are no nails, sharp edges or splinters.
What effects does my vinyl fence have on our environment?
Our vinyl (PVC) products are safe and non-toxic. They will not breakdown and release harmful chemicals into the ground and do not require toxic chemicals (stains, waterproofing, paint, paint thinner) for regular upkeep like treated lumber can. No trees are used in the manufacture of OK Vinyl fences. Because of the exceptional long life of our fence profiles, several times the amount of wood that is needed to manufacture the same fence in wood can be saved over the lifetime of the our vinyl fence. If the vinyl fence ever needs to be taken down it can be recycled into other products, such as hoses and watering cans.
How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood fences?
The initial cost of vinyl (PVC) when compared to wood is slightly higher for the material costs in most regions of the country. However with the ever-increasing cost of wood this difference is becoming very minor in some regions. When all the varied cost factors are taken into account over the life of your fence, vinyl (PVC) becomes the true money saver. Factors such as having to replace the wood fence in 5-15 years, yearly maintenance costs (labor, paint, replacement boards, etc), and the effects on the environment because of arsenic in treated wood or the toxic chemicals needed to maintain a wood fence show that wood truly isn’t as cost effective in the end. Some costs are hard to measure such as the costs to you of having a fence that looks in need of maintenance. The cost difference quickly vanishes, and in fact vinyl becomes a sound and financially viable investment in the future of your home. Once your vinyl (PVC) fence is installed you do not have to worry about painting, nails rusting, boards rotting, or splinters.
Will a quality fence cost more?
Yes. Good-quality material and workmanship always costs more than sub-standard products, while labor, concrete and building materials cost the same regardless of the chosen material quality. Although a sub-standard product may cost less, the risk of future maintenance and/or replacement cost outweigh any benefits the lower price may seem to offer.
Aren't all vinyl fences the same?
No. Vinyl fence system components are available in a wide range of sizes and thickness. To reduce costs, some manufacturers decrease additives such as impact modifiers or use chalking TiO2, resulting in reduced strength and ultimately yielding inferior fence systems.
Don't all vinyl fences stand up to wear and tear?
Not necessarily. A light (standard) system may bend easily, even in normal use. Additionally, a weak-fastening system for a post and rail connection can result in poor performance and result in dislodged rails. However, a properly engineered system with a heavier wall thickness and secure rail connection will make a vinyl fence stronger and more durable. We use a routed method of fastening which results in a clean looking, strong fence.
Are all product warranties the same?
No. A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. The fence industry has seen products and/or companies enter the market, only to leave homeowners with a worthless piece of paper as a product warranty. That’s why you should check out the reputation of the company offering the warranty, just as you would when choosing the right contractor.
How are Homeland vinyl fence systems installed?
Homeland vinyl fence systems install much like a wood fence. When sold to the fence installer the posts come fabricated from OK Vinyl and the components are routed and precut for standard installation. Rails are inserted into the routed holes in the posts. The notched rails contribute to greater resistance to pullout and stronger fastening for better performance. Post caps are attached after the fence is installed using a glue made specifically for melding vinyl together.
How is vinyl fence made?
Two processes make a vinyl fence:
Profiles: Vinyl fence starts out as a PVC powder (Resin) that, when blended with all the required ingredients of our formulation is called compound. This compound then is fed into an extruder. With the proper amount of heat, pressure and mixing via screws in the extruder, the compound becomes malleable vinyl. This vinyl is then fed through a die in the shape of the finished profile. Using vacuum technology to keep the soft pliable vinyl in the proper shape, water is used to cool the vinyl into its final rigid state.
Fabrication: A Homeland Fence fabricator (OK Vinyl Products) cuts the wide variety of profiles to the proper length for the design of fence required. The fabricator then routes holes into the rails, so that pickets can be inserted into them, then holes are routed into the posts so that the rails can be inserted into them. They then may assemble the completed fence sections or leave knocked down for distribution (the installer and/or homeowner).
How is vinyl fence put together?
Most assembly of vinyl fencing is done by snapping the rails into the post using rails that are tabbed with a special tabbing, or notching tool. Depending upon the styles of fence, different fasteners can be used.
Will it turn yellow?
No. Homeland Vinyl Products contain a non-chalking titanium dioxide (TIO2) which prevents ultraviolet degradation and carry a 30 year fully transferable warranty. Wash your fence periodically and it will not yellow.
Will it break in extreme (hot/cold) weather?
No. The vinyl we stock has been engineered to accommodate temperature swings and climate condition changes. Any fence will break when enough force is applied. However, Homeland vinyl (PVC) profiles are formulated using impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to ensure the greatest impact resistance available. They are also engineered to withstand higher impacts than the minimum required by ASTM.
Consumers may not be aware of the level of quality protocol necessary in the industry nor are they always knowledgeable of the standards by which manufacturing processes are examined. PVC resin is checked for moisture, color and content. The compound batches are analyzed in a pre-extrusion check for molecular fusion temperature and pressure. Extruded profile samples are cut and checked “on line” for color, gloss, radius and dimension and tested “off line” for impact resistance, as well as heat and freeze reactions.
Will it burn?
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) possesses excellent fire performance properties and in particular will not burn once the source of heat or flame is removed. As measured by a standard test (ASTM D 1929) with a flash ignition temperature of 391 degrees Celsius, PVC is among the least easily ignitable polymers.
Will a weed eater scratch or hurt it?
Experience shows that OK Vinyl fences withstand routine proper maintenance including most types of weed eaters.
What is the key to a high quality, long lasting vinyl gate?
OK Vinyl Products have an entirely vinyl gate system riveted on the corners for strength. For small man gates this is sufficient however for larger gates a fully welded steel frame is necessary and the vinyl gate is attached to the steel. This prevents sagging and provide the highest level of strength, durability and customer satisfaction. We also only use hinges which have a lifetime warranty and are locking and self closing with an adjustable tension.
Do you cement the posts?
Yes, this is our preference. It is common to cement in the vinyl fence posts 27″ to 36″ in the ground. However in last 8 years there has been a large increase in air driving round galvanized pipe, this method is used in certain regions of the country depending on ground conditions, in some cases the pipe may be also cemented in. Upon the installation the pipe which supports the vinyl posts uses a 1-7/8″ or a 2-3/8″ adjustable collar. We can appreciate the ease of installation however we simply feel more comfortable guaranteeing our installations when the posts are cemented in. We have fence installers who purchase our product who install this way. That is their choice due to installation conditions (i.e. excessive frost).
Is "dry mixing" or "wet mixing" the best way to install fence posts?
While fence installation companies have long preferred dry mixing, test results and real world experience have shown that wet mixing is superior in terms of strength, adhesion and durability. When you pour footings or a sidewalk how is this done, wet or dry? Which then is better?
Should my fence be unique to my yard?
It is absolutely essential that you select a fence right for your house style and preference. OK Vinyl has over 170 different styles of fencing plus has the option of unlimited customization.
How should I choose an installer?
You should choose an installer who will:
-personally meet with you to review your design and layout. If you have a property which is not perfectly level discuss your options of either sloping or stepping your posts.
-provide an estimate based on your specific requirements.
-be able to provide a timeline for the installation of your fence.
Most installers will require a deposit to commence work, this is to cover their upfront costs and this protects you, the homeowner, as you will retain the final payout until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
How do you clean the fence?
As with all exterior products, our fence will become dirty when exposed to the elements. In most cases a wash with the hose will suffice. However see the attached for a guide for cleaning all stubborn stains. Click to download our Vinyl Maintenance Chart
Will an OK Vinyl fence mildew?
Mildew feeds off of organic materials. Vinyl (PVC) is non-organic and therefore does not support mildew. Mildew that grows on Vinyl is actual feeding off of the organic materials (dirt) that have become embedded in or stuck to the vinyl. Westech fence profiles have a high gloss and smooth, non-porous surface that makes it very difficult for organic materials to attach to, and therefore, for mildew to thrive on. This, combined with the use of non-chalking TiO2 helps to prevent most mildew growth. The surface of vinyl fence that contains chalking TiO2 deteriorates at a much more accelerated level compared to non-chalking TiO2 creating a rougher surface that dirt and therefore mildew can attach itself more easily to. Only under very consistently damp conditions will the possibility of mildew occur. If mildew does appear, a mild solution of bleach and water will easily remove it.
Will your vinyl chalk?
Homeland’s use of durable grade non-chalking TiO2 in their vinyl (PVC) formulation ensures that there will be a very minimal chalking of our fence products. All vinyl fencing will chalk sooner or later, but with the superior protection capabilities of our TiO2 this will be kept to a bare minimum. Chalking is the deterioration of the vinyl surface thereby exposing the TiO2 particles to the surface. The white powder that you can wipe off from the surface of most vinyl fences is the TiO2 particles mixed with deteriorated vinyl (PVC). Homeland’s vinyl is formulated for exceptional beauty over a full lifetime.
Can I paint my vinyl fence?
OK Vinyl Products are engineered to retain their beauty and good looks throughout their lifetime. The only reason to use paints on our vinyl products would be to change the color of the product. The extruder does not recommend painting vinyl (PVC). There are paints that are available to paint vinyl however painting or otherwise treating the vinyl voids the lifetime warranty.
What should I ask for, before I invest in a fence?
You’ve made a great start by reading this information. Ask your dealer to give you detailed material specifications on the products he/she is proposing. Ask for samples of the product and make comparisons.