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Building a Fence: Vinyl vs. Cedar

150 150 Nationwide Fence Supply

For centuries, wood was the primary medium used in building fences. It’s durable, sturdy, easy to work with, and attractive. Of all the types of wood used in fencing, cedar has been among the most popular. Cedar is straight, light, and naturally rot resistant. Cedar was top of the line when it came to building attractive, long-lasting, fences. Nothing could beat it… until vinyl came along. Vinyl holds all the benefits of cedar but takes those benefits to the next level. In addition, vinyl contains a handful of other useful attributes that make it the perfect material for building a fence. If you’re planning to build a wood fence around your home or business, stop and consider the following before you go any further.

Vinyl Lasts Longer than Cedar

When handled with care, properly sealed cedar fences can last decades. However, this pales in comparison to the amount of time a properly installed vinyl fence will last. Cedar requires regular treatment with sealant or stain to withstand years of weather and abuse. This is because Cedar is porous. These pores eventually will allow water to seep into the wood and the wood will begin to rot from the inside out. Moisture is also what causes wood to warp, swell, and breakdown. Regardless of how well you take care of your cedar fence, it will eventually break down and need to be repaired. Warping creates holes, loosens nails, and is unattractive. While a wood fence might look great at the beginning it will inevitably degrade to the point that requires repair and replacement.

Where cedar breaks down, vinyl shines. Vinyl requires no maintenance whatsoever. This is because vinyl is made from a synthetic material that is completely weatherproof, nonporous, and will not warp. Vinyl will keep its color and shape for decades without any further work or repair.

Vinyl Contains All the Appeal of Cedar Fencing

There’s no doubt about it, cedar fences look great. The clean grain and aged look of cedar is a true benefit. This is exactly why Nationwide Fence Supply makes wood grain vinyl. The design is so realistic that you’d need to walk right up to the fence to tell the difference. You can order vinyl that looks like stained, painted, or dry wood. This eliminates the need to spend time, effort, and money to stain a cedar fence. Stained wood requires the owner to reapply every few years. With vinyl, the color never changes. Thinking of painting your fence? Why not simply purchase vinyl in the color you desire?

Another commonly overlooked problem with cedar fencing is its tendency to fade or discolor. The pores in the wood allow it to absorb dirt, mud, and water which can permanently discolor your fence. If paint spills on the fence or vandalism occurs, the only way to completely remove this discoloration is to replace the whole part of the cedar fence that is damaged. When you replace the damaged area with new wood, you will notice that the new cedar is darker than the original cedar. This is because cedar turns grey as it ages. So, a new fence will look different than an aged fence. When new cedar is added to an old fence, the repairs are apparent. Vinyl is nonporous which makes it easy to clean. Spraying down your fence with a hose or washing it with a wet rag will get it looking brand new again. The color in vinyl comes from the material itself, not simply color on the surface. Therefore, years of wear and tear will not show discoloration. Over time, you will see some discoloration from UV rays, however, the color will change evenly across the entire fence which means any changes in color will hardly, if at all, be noticed.

Vinyl is fire resistant. While this may not be an issue for some homeowners, it is one more characteristic to keep in mind. If you’re planning to build a fence that will pass near an outdoor firepit or grill, it is a good idea to consider a fence that you do not need to monitor.

Do It Yourself!

There are methods of installing vinyl fencing that has proven more secure and easier to install than traditional wood fences. With a wood fence, 4” x 4” posts are cemented into the ground via a custom hole. The posts need to be held straight while the cement hardens before any further assembly can be done. Once the support posts are set, lateral or vertical boards are secured to the posts with screws and/or nails. It’s always a good idea to use galvanized hardware to prevent rust. The whole process takes a minimum of two days and can take longer, depending on the size of the project.

Installing the vinyl is quick and easy, especially when compared to cedar fencing. With innovative technology through Nationwide Fence Supply, a fence of the same size as the aforementioned cedar fence can be installed in a fraction of the time (more details here: https://nationwidefencesupply.com/vinyl-installation). To do this, you start with galvanized steel fence posts (just like the ones used to build chain link fences). These steel posts are driven four feet into the soil using an electric post driver. The driver is placed around the top of the steel fence post and bounces (somewhat like a jackhammer) on top of the post to drive the bottom straight into the dirt. With this method, soil seats itself securely inside and around the steel post, making it extremely secure. Where cement will shift over time, steel poles installed in this way will never move. Once the posts are installed the vinyl can be installed using Qwik-Collars.

Two plastic fittings called Qwik-Collars (https://nationwidefencesupply.com/product/qwik-collar) are added to each steel post to secure vinyl around the posts. Square, hollow, vinyl posts slide around the fittings to cover the steel, leaving only beautiful vinyl in view. Caps are added to each post before vertical tongue and groove vinyl planks are secured to create the fence. If you make a mistake or need to work back, you can disconnect the most recent tongue and groove fittings without breaking any of the fence parts or removing screws or nails. The number of styles, colors, and shapes that are available is endless.

With vinyl, you’ll truly be able to find any color or style to match your yard. That’s it! No need to wait for cement to dry. No post hole digging. No more worrying about warped boards, rotting fence, or rusty nails. Your new vinyl fence will last a lifetime and you installed it in no time!

Moving or Remodeling? Keep Your Vinyl Fence!

It’s nearly impossible to move a cedar fence once it’s been installed. Moving a cedar fence requires the removal of the cement posts. This requires a massive amount of digging and will seriously damage your yard. Much of the materials will be ruined and will need to be replaced. The cement is too large and heavy to be moved and reused. The 4” x 4” posts will be permanently encased in the cement. The pickets can be re-used but any new wood used in the reinstallation of this fence is bound to show a different color than the older pickets.

Thanks to the technology brought to you by Nationwide Fence Supply vinyl fences can be removed and reinstalled anytime. Vinyl fence construction using galvanized steel posts as the base of each support beam means your entire fence can be removed, relocated, and reinstalled. The tongue and groove portion of the fence can be disconnected, removed, and easily stacked for transport. As long as you used Nationwide Fence Supply’s post driver your upright posts can be pulled from the ground using a fence post puller. If one day you decide to change the color of our house’s siding or shingles, you will be able to change out your vinyl fence and install a matching color and style. Because there’s no need to break any part of the old fence, it can easily be repurposed or sold to a third party and reused.


Summary

There are many great attributes of cedar fences. However, vinyl has shown to match or outright beat cedar in every way. Vinyl will never warp or rot and is extremely easy to clean. Mud, rain, and dirt will not permanently affect the look of vinyl fences. Unlike cedar, vinyl fences can be replaced, restored, and even moved to a whole new location. This is a unique combination of characteristics that only resides in vinyl fences.

With Nationwide Fence Supply’s installation technology using Qwick-Collars and mechanically driven posts, vinyl fences are easier than ever to install. The fence driver can be rented through National Fence Supply and the Qwik-Collars can be reused on future projects. With this technology now available anywhere in the continental United States, it makes more sense than ever to choose a modern alternative to cedar: vinyl fencing.

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