FOR A LIFETIME OF LOW MAINTENANCE & DURABILITY
FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions
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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 (VCM).

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 state.

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 state.

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 distribution.

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 it.

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 lifetime.

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 lifetime warranty.

How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood fences?
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 yours?"

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 the length).
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 store.

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.

Glossary:
TiO2:

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.
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