Rocky Mountain Vinyl Supply LLC
Northern Colorado/Wyoming Supplier of Vinyl Fence Products
Frequently Asked Questions
What is vinyl?
Crude Oil, Natural Gas, and Salt are the raw materials used to produce Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin. The extruders compound is formulated from premium grade raw materials, which include Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin, 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.
How is PVC manufactured?
The basic chemicals used in manufacturing PVC – ethylene and chlorine – are derived from materials nature provides. Ethylene is made from crude oil or natural gas and chlorine is made from salt. These gases are chemically reacted to form ethylene dichloride (EDC). The EDC is heated, or cracked producing two gases, hydrogen chloride (HCl) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).
Vinyl chloride monomer is the basic building block used in the manufacture of polyvinyl chloride. The term poly means many. PVC is simply many molecules of vinyl chloride.
A chemical reaction called polymerization is used to convert VCM into PVC resin. This is accomplished by making VCM react with itself to form a powdery white solid material – PVC resin. Once PVC resin is produced, it cannot revert back to VCM. Much the same as cooking an egg–once cooked, it cannot return to its original, raw state.
PVC resin is blended with a wide variety of ingredients such as stabilizers, coloring, processing aids, UV inhibitors and plasticizers to produce compounds in powder or pellet form. Products made from these compounds have an almost infinite range – from rigid PVC pipe, which has no plasticizers, to very flexible vinyl products such as upholstery and wall coverings. Source: PVC and Fire, Vinyl Council of Canada
How is vinyl fence made?
Profiles: Vinyl fence starts out as a PVC powder (Resin) that when blended with all the required ingredients, results in a compound. This compound is then 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 fabricator 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.
What type of Extrusions are used in vinyl fence?
Two types of extrusion processes have typically been used in the production of all types of PVC (Vinyl) extruded products such as Siding, Window and Door frames, Pipe and Fence products: Monolayer and Co-extrusion. A Fence buyer should be aware of what specification is being used by an extruder, as many fence extruders are producing fence product using a pipe specification, which has lower demands for UV stabilization and impact resistance.
What is Monolayer Extrusion?
A single extruder is used to form the desired shape of a profile. Since this is a single layer extrusion, the formulation characteristics are uniformly dispersed throughout the overall thickness of the profile.
What is Co-Extrusion?
Co-Extrusion is a more recent advancement in extrusion technology which brings 2 layers of PVC into play: The outer layer, or Cap Stock, is similar to human skin, and contains a denser concentration of the essential elements, such as the UV inhibitors (much like sunscreen), which is only doing its job when exposed to UV rays. ASTM’s “Specification for Rigid PVC Exterior Profiles Used for Fencing” (F 964-94) requires that the cap stock layer be a minimum of 00.015” thick and a maximum of 20% of the overall thickness of the profile wall. It is important for the potential buyer of a PVC fence, deck, or railing system to determine what ASTM specification is being used by his potential extrusion supplier, if in fact any is being used at all, and to ensure that compliance is being verified regularly.
The inner layer, or Substrate layer, when produced with virgin raw materials, is essentially the same as the cap stock layer, but with a lowered concentration of UV inhibitors and color pigment. This allows a better molecular bond by the impact modifiers in the substrate compound, resulting in a stronger product.
What is Co-Extrusion with Regrind?
Some manufacturers purchase recycled plastics (regrind) for use in the substrate of their extruded profiles, mainly to reduce costs. The manufacturer may try to establish standards in terms of the previous uses or the quality of this outsourced regrind (as the quality may compromise the qualify of the finished fence profile produced). However, it is very difficult to control or verify the source of the regrind purchased, as they cannot determine how many times the material was already reprocessed (which is important, as multiple processings can result in a more brittle, inferior product), nor can they be sure what the exact chemical composition of the waste product was so as to extrude it properly.
What if my co-extruded fence product has a color difference?
One of the popular misconceptions is that a color differential between the cap stock and the substrate indicates “regrind” in the substrate, when it may not necessarily be so. Color pigments may be decreased in a virgin substrate compound which \would give it a different hue. Conversely, a “regrind” substrate may be the exact same color as the cap stock, leaving one with the impression that the product was mono-extruded.
Is a co-extruded product inferior?
Another misconception is that co-extrusion is inferior to monolayer. Co-extrusion is a newer and more capital-intensive technology offering significant benefit to the consumer by concentrating the essential materials where they do the most good. This gives the consumer a stronger, more durable product, and in turn, more overall value. Claims of inferiority of the high-tech co-extrusion process usually come from manufacturers who are hesitant to make the significant capital investment for additional extruders and specialized profile tooling, or have built their reputation on defaming this advanced extrusion technology.
Won’t a co-extruded product delaminate?
Some claim that the layers in co-extrusion may delaminate. Co-extrusion is not lamination. Lamination is a process whereby adhesives are used to bond two layers together. Co-extrusion is a molecular bonding process without the use of adhesives, it is accomplished at high pressure and temperatures in a sealed environment where no moisture or air can be entrapped to compromise the molecular bonding, making it impossible to separate the layers.
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. Vinyl channels, which are often used in the fabrication of Privacy and Semi-Privacy styles, are attached using rivets or screws.
Can I paint my vinyl fence?
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. We do not recommend painting vinyl (PVC). There are paints that are available to paint vinyl but painting or otherwise treating vinyl products typically voids any warranty the product may have.
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 my vinyl fence turn yellow?
Vinyl (PVC) is formulated using a superior durable grade of non-chalking TiO2 that protects the vinyl (PVC) from the harmful effects of the Sun's UV rays. As long as your fence is kept clean, with a periodic wash from a garden hose, it will not turn yellow.
What effects does my vinyl fence have on our environment?
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 vinyl fences. Because of the exceptional long life of 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 a vinyl fence. If the vinyl ever needs to be taken down it can be recycled into other products, such as hoses and watering cans.
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. The extruders use only virgin ingredients in the extruding of its’ products.
How do I find a good reputable fence installer?
Contact Rocky Mountain Vinyl Supply or refer to our Fence Installers page on our web-site. We will provide you with a nearby fence installer, if available. Rocky Mountain Vinyl Supply only recommends qualified, licensed and insured installers or members of the American Fence Association (AFA).
Can a vinyl fence break?
Any fence will break when enough force is applied. However, vinyl (PVC) profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to ensure the greatest impact resistance available. Vinyl (PVC) profiles are engineered to withstand higher impacts than the minimum required by ASTM.
Windload Calculations: Mathematical calculations that determine if a style of fence can withstand a particular wind velocity without failure.
PVC or uPVC: Poly Vinyl Chloride. Can refer to the resin used in Vinyl production, or can refer to the finished product itself, including all additives. Thus, PVC is Vinyl. In many countries, the term uPVC is used. This simply refers to Ultra-Violet (UV) protected PVC. All PVC used in the manufacture of exterior products by reputable manufacturers is UV - inhibited, therefore, is uPVC.
Vinyl: See PVC above
Resin: The base material used in the production of materials. For Vinyl products, Vinyl (PVC) resin is used. There are several grades and several qualities of PVC Resin. For example, there is high-quality Siding Grade Resin, and low-quality Pipe Grade Resin. Different manufacturers may have higher quality or more consistent quality resin too.
TiO2: Titanium DiOxide. This is the most common ingredient used for Ultra Violet ray protection. TiO2 is a white pigment that reacts with Water and Oxygen. Water, or moisture in the air is necessary for this product to do its job effectively. It is not noxious, in fact, TiO2 is commonly used as a preservative or colorant in baked goods like the little white donuts you can buy at the corner store. There are at least 2 grades of TiO2: Uncoated, or Chalking Grade, and Coated, Durable or Non-Chalking Grade. The primary difference, apart from the higher cost of the non-chalking grade, is that it will chalk at a much slower rate, therefore providing a more lustrous finish for a longer period of time.