The PVC fencing industry was started in the early 1980’s by PVC pipe manufacturers. Unfortunately, many of these PVC pipe manufacturers used the same pipe formulation to make PVC fencing with little success, as a result the destructive ultraviolet (UV) light caused the fencing to break down in the sunlight.
Some of the pipe manufacturers responded to these early failures and developed a more advanced technology. PVC extruded for use in the fence industry has a different composition, or recipe to the PVC used in the other industries such as piping, gutters, barge board, furniture, etc
How is PVC made?
The major raw materials used to make PVC resin are all natural – crude oil, natural gas and salt. Ethylene gas is made from crude oil and natural gas; Chlorine gas is made from salt. These gasses are then chemically reacted to form ethylene dichloride (EDC). The EDC is heated to produce two gasses: hydrogen chloride (HCl) and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM).
The VCM is then converted to PVC resin by means of a chemical reaction called polymerization.
The PVC resin is then blended with additives such as UV inhibitors, impact modifiers, stabilizers, pigments and plasticizers to produce PVC for fencing.
Important Note: Be wary of a bright white PVC profile, this is often a sign of a brittle product or a product with a small amount of plasticizer. Plasticizer is critical to promote plasticity and flexibility and to reduce brittleness. A bright white PVC profile does not mean a better quality product!