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What Are the Different Types of Vinyl Fences?

A house with a picket fence.
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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2014
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Vinyl fences come in a variety of attractive types and are easier to maintain than traditional wooden fences. They are made from strong, recyclable plastics. High quality fencing can usually withstand weather extremes and have ultraviolet inhibitors that keep them safe from sun damage.

One of the most popular types is the vinyl privacy fence, useful for blocking the view of neighbors and passers-by from a piece of property. These fences are common around swimming pools in particular. Vinyl privacy fences have tightly interlocked tongue and groove pickets that provide a solid barrier. They're usually 4 to 6 feet (1.22 to 1.83 meters) in height and come in panels that can be 8 feet (2.44 m) wide. Fencing can be purchased in a range of colors and designs, including include crisscross, horizontal, vertical, and woven lattice patterns at the top ends of the fences.

Other designs include a realistic wood grain effect, a stone texture effect and a granite texture effect. Different companies make different designs and accents, and they usually have different names. Semi-privacy fences have spaced apart pickets that are placed either in a horizontal or wavy pattern over each other. Unlike with the privacy fences, it is possible to look in or out through these fences, which may also have lattices on top.

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Shadowbox vinyl fences are around 6 feet (1.83 m) in height. Like the privacy and semi-privacy fences, they offer a measure of privacy, but this type of fence is more open than the other two, and looks better from both sides.

Another popular type of fence are the vinyl picket fences that offer a traditional look for defining boundaries. They are shorter then the privacy and semi-privacy fences, with a maximum height of about 4 feet (1.22 m). These fences are only meant to line the property and to keep in children and pets. A vinyl chain link fence is meant to also demarcate property boundaries rather than offer privacy. This is a good fence choice for gardens and may also be used to cordon off certain areas of the property.

It is possible to customize vinyl fences to a particular requirement by using different picket sizes as well as different colors. Using decorative post caps and suitable vinyl gates can also add to the overall look. The fence post can be of regular or recycled PVC.

Homeowners should check if the fence has stainless steel fasteners, screws, and inserts, as these will make for stronger fences. When purchasing vinyl fence supplies, shoppers should buy quality products from a reputable manufacturer that offers a product guarantee. Many fences come with a 20-year to lifetime guarantee, which will cover any environmental damage to the fence.

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Discuss this Article

umbra21
Post 6

@Iluviaporos - I think since vinyl fences don't need to be painted or repainted like wood fences would, that alone would make them more worthwhile.

I don't know how production costs would break down though.

Of course, I think the most environmentally friendly choice is to grow a hedge fence rather than using this kind of material at all. It takes a lot more maintenance, sure, but shouldn't cost all that much, and if you do it properly, I think it looks a lot nicer than a picket fence as well.

lluviaporos
Post 5

A while ago now, I read about how someone had figured out how to recycle plastic supermarket bags into plastic fencing like this. I'm not a uge fan of plastic in general, but I can definitely see how plastic or vinyl fencing is a good idea, if it means using less resources in the long run. And if they are made of recycled materials and can be recycled themselves, so much the better!

I think it would be interesting to see the figures and how a vinyl fence cost and a wooden fence cost really compare in terms of prices, maintenance, materials use, pollution generated and so forth.

orangey03
Post 4

I live near a horse training facility, and this place has a vinyl horse fence lining the property. It is a tan color, and it is more interesting than just a couple of wooden slats running parallel to the ground.

In between every two posts, the wood is crossed into an “X” shape. There are three pieces running behind the X, with one at the top, one in the middle, and one across the bottom.

This design gives the fence more stability. It is also nicer to look at than your average fence.

lighth0se33
Post 3

@cloudel – Privacy vinyl fences are great, but they can look a big boring with those huge solid panels. There are variations you can get that still give you plenty of privacy but look a bit more stylish.

These aren't the cheapest vinyl fences, but they are very attractive. I have one that has solid wood up to five feet high, and then, the latticework begins. There is a tight weave pattern, so the holes aren't really big enough for people to see through unless they are right upon them.

cloudel
Post 2

I prefer the solid vinyl fence panels that offer complete privacy. I have a swimming pool in my yard, and it is above ground, so I need a tall fence so that I can hide from the public while swimming.

If the pool were in the ground, the fence wouldn't have to be so high. However, my pool is 4.5 feet tall, so I needed a six foot fence.

I'm just really shy about being seen in a swimsuit. People driving past my house could see the pool area, but now, all they can see is the fence.

kylee07drg
Post 1

My uncle and aunt live in the mountains, and they have an off-white vinyl fence made to look like stone. It's sort of a grayish white, so it complements the mountains in the background.

The panels are wide, so there is more area for showcasing the stone texture. The first time that I saw it from a distance, I thought it was made of actual stone. That just goes to show how realistic it is.

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