Vinyl fencing is trendy and the most commonly used nowadays, so you can expect most homeowners to wonder how long do vinyl fences last. As always, your fence lifespan will depend on the material quality, proper installation, and regular maintenance.
Manufacturers claim that vinyl fences can last 20 to 40 years on average but with occasional expensive repairs. This sturdy, stylish, and durable material requires low maintenance. The most significant initial problem was fading in the direct sunlight, but it was solved thanks to the titanium oxide coating added during the production process.
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What Is Vinyl Fencing?
Nowadays, most homeowners choose vinyl fences because of their appearance, durability, and price. This artificial synthetic material created from ethylene and chloride is also fortified with various modifiers, plasticizers, and stabilizers that improve its UV resistance and durability.
It is possible to recognize three material types, depending on the chemical process they are subjected to:
- Polyvinylidene chloride
- Polyvinyl alcohol
- Polyvinyl acetate
Most manufacturers also add titanium dioxide to protect the vinyl surface from fading, yellowing, and breaking over the years. This fence is stronger and more flexible than other traditional types available on the market.
Vinyl Fencing Types
These almost maintenance-free fences come in limited color options, but you can pick out any of the elegant styles, including:
Picket vinyl fence
This classic, timelessly-look, beautiful fence style is an excellent option for various landscapes. You can choose between traditional white and contemporary designs.
It features pickets of varying widths, posts placed in 6 to 8 feet (1.8 – 2.4 m) intervals, and two horizontal rails. Most models are 3 to 5 feet (0.9 – 1.5 m) in height.
Privacy vinyl fence
This vinyl fence type without gaps between the pickets provides the ultimate privacy. They are made of high solid panels and offer clean, modern lines, matching almost any home style. You can even consider models with an ornamental top rail and pick out the patterns you like the most.
Semi-privacy vinyl fence
Thanks to the small spacing between the pickets, this vinyl fence type provides a perfect balance of airflow, light exposure, and privacy. You can find a few lovely available designs.
The most common reminds privacy fence, but this simple version made of panels has slight gaps between the pickets. Another option is a so-called shadowbox-style (board on board) fence built of boards alternated across the fence’s front and back.
Some manufacturers advertise it as a good neighbor fence because it provides the same look on both sides.
Horizontal vinyl fence
This fencing type with horizontally placed pickets has become popular recently. You can find them in two versions, with panels placed in semi-privacy and privacy fence ways.
Ranch rails vinyl fence
In the past, farmers used 3-rail and 4-rail fences for animal enclosures. However, many owners install crossbuck and 2-rail fence styles around their properties for decorative purposes nowadays.
These post and rail (split rail) fences made of vinyl are durable, maintenance-free, and long-lasting.
Lattice vinyl fence
This popular, cost-effective, and easy-to-install fence type offers only partial privacy. It comes with a thickness of 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) and an elegantly smooth surface.
Many homeowners practice installing a fence around their pools to provide privacy while enjoying sunbathing and swimming.
They need to meet local building codes and particular engineering requirements. A pool fence must be at least 4 feet (1.2 m) high, with a maximum spacing of 4 inches (10 cm) between pickets.
Vinyl Fencing Colors
Typically, vinyl fences come in four colors, but you can find even better options nowadays.
White – This fence is elegant and matches light- and dark-colored houses. Unlike other color options, this one requires occasional washing, typically twice a year.
Tan – It excellently goes with any home type and color and requires less maintenance.
Gray – This practical vinyl fence color is always trendy and goes excellently with traditional white vinyl siding. Many homeowners combine gray panels with white frames and posts to provide a stylish, multi-dimensional style.
Woodgrain – This rustic look is traditional in the US, so many homeowners choose it to save the connection with their roots. An artificial woodgrain exterior provides a natural look combined with durable and maintenance-free material.
Others – Besides these highly-sought color styles, you can pick out a vinyl fence in red, blue, green, black, or brown.
How Long Does a Vinyl Fence Last?
In most cases, vinyl fences can last about 35 to 40 years without much damage and variations in appearance. However, they typically last 20 to 30 years without significant deterioration and discoloration. In most cases, you can expect manufacturers to offer a limited lifetime warranty.
Interestingly, even high traffic and pollution won’t affect this fence type much. The only thing to do is to wash it once or twice a year with soapy water and a hose adjusted to a high-speed nozzle.
Ways to prolong vinyl fence lifespan
Oiling – Oil the fence gate’s hinges once a year and check the screws. Tight fasten or replace them when needed.
Adjust a gate – It is recommended to adjust a gate once a year, preferably in spring. Secure it properly, particularly if you use it only periodically. Otherwise, a gate swinging during bad weather conditions will probably become damaged.
Weeding – Never use a weed whacker too close to your vinyl fence to prevent possible damage when hitting the panels or posts.
A fence is not a wall – Avoid stacking up your equipment, tools, or rocks near the fence because they can damage vinyl when falling.
Climbing – Teach your kids that a vinyl fence is inappropriate for climbing and hanging on it. That way, you will prevent children from getting hurt or damaging the fence.
When taking care of your vinyl fence appropriately, it won’t break quickly. Modern types are durable and resistant to UV rays and harsh weather conditions so that they won’t crack because of extreme temperature changes or change color under sun exposure.
Remember that even such a sturdy fence can’t withstand abnormally forceful impact. In the case when the panel breaks, you can’t fix it. The best option is to replace the whole damaged part.
Theoretically, a properly installed vinyl fence can withstand even the strongest winds. However, most models are designed for typical weather conditions and average winds.
In other words, you should count on a few adjustments in materials and installation ways if your region is known for strong gusts of wind. For instance, it is crucial to pick out thicker and sturdier posts and secure them by embedding them in concrete buried at least 24 inches (61 cm) into the ground.
Vinyl Fencing Benefits and Disadvantages
You can find numerous reasons why to choose a vinyl fence, but also a few downsides of this particular option. The truth is that the pros of vinyl fences outweigh their cons, but it depends on your needs and plans. Let’s take a look.
Various options – It is possible to find vinyl fences in multiple styles, heights, textures, and shapes. Thanks to numerous designs, this fence is visually appealing. You also have several color options, matching this fence type with most houses’ styles.
Durability – Vinyl fences are durable and won’t blister, chip, peel, or crack whatever weather conditions and temperature changes in your region. They are also almost maintenance-free and can last 20 to 40 years without cleaning and painting.
Resistance – Vinyl is resistant to termites, pests, rust, and moisture damage. However, its huge advantage is fire resistance, which makes it an excellent material for fences that should protect your home.
Safety – It is an excellent and safe option for families with kids and pets, particularly dogs.
Installation – Installation is effortless and quick when following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are skillful and have essential tools, you can finish the whole task as a DIY project.
Value – A beautiful vinyl fence will increase your home’s value.
Mold development – Probably the worst vinyl fencing disadvantage is susceptibility to mold and mildew growth, requiring occasional washing.
Expansion and contraction – Many homeowners dislike this material’s tendency to contract and expand due to temperatures fluctuating, making it brittle over the years.
Weather influence – Too harsh weather, including thunder, powerful winds, heavy rain, or strong sunlight, can damage vinyl. The worst of all is the impossibility of this material repairing. The only thing to do is to replace damaged panels.
Price – Installing a vinyl fence is a significant initial investment since you need to pay about $30 or $40 per linear foot. In other words, it can cost you $1,000 to $15,000, depending on the chosen model and yard size.
People use vinyl for numerous purposes nowadays, and it was only a matter of time before the first vinyl fence appeared. You can find fences made of this low-maintenance material in multiple styles and a few color options on the market.
However, its primary characteristic is durability since it can last up to four decades. Plus, a titanium dioxide coating significantly prolongs the fence’s lifetime by protecting it from fading in direct sunlight.