Vinyl fencing, also known as PVC fencing is manufactured from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a resin that is then combined with other elements such as sunlight inhibitors and impact resistants in order to create an incredibly durable fencing material.
This mixture is extruded into many different shapes and sizes that are then sold to local fabrication shops who use tooling to turn the stock parts into a completed product. These fabrication shops offer a certain amount of base styles like privacy, picket, semi-privacy and a few others but can typically customize any of these base styles in a number of different ways.
Standard colors available are white, tan and khaki although some manufacturers offer a wood-grain texture product that comes in a few different shades of brown and grey.
PVC fencing is the best type of fence if you want the privacy and security of wood fencing without the necessity of on-going maintenance. Vinyl fence is created with chemicals that ensure a fencing product that does not require maintenance, doesn’t decay and looks great for at least 30 years. Many styles are available in vinyl, such as privacy, picket, semi-privacy and shadowbox, but since vinyl fence components can be heavily customized during production, there are many unique variations on the four basic styles obtainable upon request.
South Florida typically goes through a large number of severe windstorms and even hurricanes on a yearly basis. Most fencing materials, like wood, just don’t have the ability to withstand gale force winds during these storms. Vinyl fences are engineered in such a manner that the fencing sections will bend and flex instead of bow and break like other non-flexable fencing materials.
PVC privacy fences are 100% opaque, so they are the absolute best choice when enclosing a backyard as no one can see into your property. This is especially advantageous if you have a pool, children or are in an area where your neighbors are extremely close like in most gated communities. Vinyl privacy fence sections are comprised of (2) pocket rails and (11) 6″ wide tongue & groove pickets. The pickets slide into the pockets of each horizontal rail and then lock into each other via a tongue & groove system that, when completely assembled, achieves a completely solid section of fence.
Many people typically think of wood when it comes to picket fencing, however vinyl picket fences are typically way more attractive and don’t have any of the high-maintenance considerations that wood tends to.
There are a ton of style variations for vinyl picket fences, but most of them are based around the choice between a thin 1.5″ picket and a thicker 3″ picket. Once you choose a picket width, you can then choose between open style picket and closed style picket. Open picket fences typically have two to three rails (horizontal members) with the top-most rail having openings cut into it that allow the pickets to emerge through them. While closed picket fences also typically have two to three rails, they top-most member closes off the section and does not allow the picket to show through the top. There are three standard overall styles for PVC open picket fencing — flat top, arched and scalloped, all three are available in heights ranging from two feet to six feet.
In contrast to PVC privacy fencing, semi-privacy fencing has a small spacing between each of the pickets (vertical members). This spacing typically ranges from 9/16″ all the way to 3″ and allows for increased visibility and wind-flow. You have the choice between two rail styles, either a 2″ x 3″ rail or a 1.5″ x 5.5″ rail and the choice between three picket styles, a 1.5″ picket, a 3″ picket or a 6″ picket. Also, you can choose to have multiple picket shapes that result in the style of “alternating picket.”
Shadowbox fences are available in both wood material and in vinyl material. The vinyl alternative is more expensive but is much stronger in both configuration and in longevity. This style of fencing is unique as it is essentially a semi-privacy fence because there is a small space in between the pickets, but the pickets are not located directly next to each other in a line. Each picket overlaps the next one, but are located in an alternating fashion on either side of the fence panel.
Also, South Florida building code dictates special considerations for fences that surround pools. In the event that you choose to install vinyl shadowbox fencing around the pool on your property, make sure your fencing contractor knows that the middle rail must be raised up in order to conform to ICC pool-code regulations.