You say “vinyl fencing,” I say “PVC fence installation.” Is this a “po-tay-to vs. po-tah-to” situation, like in the old George Gershwin song? Are vinyl fencing and PVC fencing really the same thing? This post examines PVC, one of the most popular construction materials in the world, and explains how the terms vinyl fencing and PVC fence installation are interchangeable from an installation perspective.
What is PVC?
PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a star player in many modern construction products. However, PVC is not limited to building applications; you’ll also find it in everything from clothing to electric cables. Many people associate the term PVC with the lightweight form of plastic piping that has transformed the world’s sewage safety. Because PVC is relatively inexpensive, even third-world countries have been able to use it in improving their sewage systems. Contractors like PVC because it’s easy to work with, durable and resistant to biological and chemical breakdown.
Scientifically speaking, PVC is a type of vinyl. Vinyl is a broader term that refers to several different ethylene-based compounds. For instance, polyethylene vinyl acetate (PEVA) is a type of vinyl that is used in shower curtains; polyvinyl acetate (PVA) is a vinyl that’s found in many adhesives and paints. A chlorine molecule distinguishes PVC from these other types of vinyl. Since PVC is the only type of vinyl used in fencing, we can safely call a PVC fence installation
“vinyl fencing,” and vice versa.
Where does PVC come from?
If you’re considering adding a new PVC fence installation, you may be curious about just how this ubiquitous material is formed. Although the world’s first vials of PVC were created accidentally, when flasks of vinyl chloride were exposed to sunlight, today’s PVC is typically created in a lab, through a polymerization process that involves several complex chemical reactions.
Why is PVC so well suited to fencing and other outdoor use?
As touched on earlier, PVC is an exceptional material for outdoor applications because it is durable, inexpensive and unaffected by biological and chemical variables. A PVC fence installation, for instance, will not rot, warp, splinter or check like a wood fence would. If you install a stretch of vinyl fencing on your property, the most maintenance you’ll generally have to perform is clean off the fence when it gets a bit dingy.