What is vinyl? Raw material, Additives.
Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Salt are the raw materials used in the production
of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin. Westech's vinyl compound is formulated
from premium grade raw materials, which include Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC)
Resin, UV inhibitors, impact modifiers, stabilizers and toners. Westech's
formulation is built upon Westlake's many years of technical experience in
the PVC industry. 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 PVC Manufacturing Process
The basic chemicals utilized 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
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
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 & Fabrication.
Profiles: Vinyl fence starts out as a PVC powder (Resin) that, when blended
with all the required ingredients of our formulation is called compound. This
compound then is 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
Fabrication: A Westech Fence 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
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.
Will a Westech fence mildew?
Mildew feeds off of organic materials. Vinyl (PVC) is non-organic and
therefore does not support mildew. Mildew that grows on Vinyl is actual
feeding off of the organic materials (dirt) that have become embedded in or
stuck to the vinyl. Westech fence profiles have a high gloss and smooth,
non-porous surface that makes it very difficult for organic materials to
attach to, and therefore, for mildew to thrive on. This, combined with the
use of non-chalking TiO2 helps to prevent most mildew growth. The surface of
vinyl fence that contains chalking TiO2 deteriorates at a much more
accelerated level compared to non-chalking TiO2 creating a rougher surface
that dirt and therefore mildew can attach itself more easily to. Only under
very consistently damp conditions will the possibility of mildew occur. If
mildew does appear, a mild solution of bleach and water will easily remove
Does Westech Fence chalk?
Westech's use of durable grade non-chalking TiO2 in their vinyl (PVC)
formulation ensures that there will be a very minimal chalking of our fence
products. All vinyl fencing will chalk sooner or later, but with the superior
protection capabilities of our TiO2 this will be kept to a bare minimum.
Chalking is the deterioration of the vinyl surface thereby exposing the TiO2
particles to the surface. The white powder that you can wipe off from the
surface of most vinyl fences is the TiO2 particles mixed with deteriorated
vinyl (PVC). Westech's vinyl is formulated for exceptional beauty over a full
Can I paint my vinyl fence?
Westech's 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. Westech Fence does not
recommend painting vinyl (PVC). There are paints that are available to paint
vinyl but painting or otherwise treating Westech's Vinyl products voids the
How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood
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 Westech vinyl (PVC) fence is installed you do not have
to worry about painting, nails rusting, boards rotting, or splinters.
Comparison with Store-bought
"Why is the Vinyl fence available at the Big Box store so much cheaper than
That is the question that haunts dealers and consumers that lack
understanding about vinyl. You get what you pay for. Resin prices are set at
commodity levels (supply and demand strictly dictate pricing). Additives are
similar in pricing. Competition is dramatic, with over 20 extruders in North
America vying for the same market. In order to capture market share some new
manufacturers establish a low price, which they later may raise. Others
decide to make an 'economy' product, either by making a thinner product,
which may not conform to industry standards or building codes, or by using
recycled materials which change the dynamics of the product itself (see
section on Co-extrusion, Regrind), or they may fabricate the product using
inexpensive, high-volume and inferior methods, such as gluing the pickets on
to the rails, or using brackets to attach the rails to the posts. Or they may
use all or a combination of the above.
The most apparent differences in product quality are:
Striation lines along the face of the profiles (like drag lines all along
Low gloss (possibly indicating inferior additives in the capstock).
Corner Radius measurements may show inequalities from one side or face of
the profile to the other, or from one profile to another, indicating low
Quality Control procedures.
Grey back (dark grey or brown inside usually indicates a high content of
recycled materials used inside)
Thin Cap Stock (the capstock thickness may be so thin, that it looks like it
was painted on, or is very irregular, in some places nearly disappearing -
this indicates non-compliance to ASTM requirements).
Fastening Methods of the profiles to each other is by quick and easy
methods, which, in of themselves are weaker, but become even weaker due to
high volume production and inferior Quality Control.
Other differences may come to the fore over time.
Tio2 levels may be significantly lowered, resulting in a degradation of the
product under UV exposure (yellowing, cracking, low impact resistance).
Impact modifiers may be of inferior quality, or have a lowered level,
resulting in low impact cracking and sharding.
Usually these lowered standards result in a greatly reduced Warranty
coverage and period.
All of the above information is designed to make the consumer aware of the
differences. As in every industry, it must be emphasized, you get what you
pay for in the end. There certainly are niche markets for all types of
products, due to economic or logistical considerations. And this is not to
say that a consumer will not get a premium brand product at a Big Box
Will Westech vinyl Fence turn yellow?
Westech 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?
Westech 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 Westech
vinyl fences. Because of the exceptional long life of Westech 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 the Westech vinyl fence. If the
Westech 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. Westech
uses only virgin ingredients in the extruding of our products.
Can a vinyl fence break?
Any fence will break when enough force is applied. However, Westech vinyl
(PVC) profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers
in precisely engineered amounts to ensure the greatest impact resistance
available. Westech vinyl (PVC) profiles are engineered to withstand higher
impacts than the minimum required by ASTM.
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.
Westech Fence is a division of Westech Building Products, Inc.
*You will need
Adobe® Acrobat® Reader installed on your computer to be able to
view and print the printable version of this page.