Text by Reena Nerbas

Based on interview with Dan Friesen of Epic Doors & Windows Ltd and Epic Vinyl Designs Ltd.

Have you ever forgotten a toy outside only to discover that the plastic has cracked and the colour has faded? Well the future is here. Get ready. There’s a new product in town and it’s sweeping the world!

PVC- otherwise known as Polyvinyl Chloride has been around since the 60’s in the use of windows. It became popular as a building material beginning in the early 80’s as new ways were found to protect the product from breaking down due to UV rays.

With its growing popularity, analysts predict a sustained growth rate of 30% annually for this fairly new material. Experts believe that this popularity may simply be the result of superior manufacturing. Globally over 50% of PVC manufactured, is used in construction. PVC is replacing traditional building materials such as wood, concrete and clay in many areas.

When building a sun deck or adding a fence few decisions are as important as the choice of material that will be used. When comparing PVC to wood on a point-by-point basis, it’s easy to see why PVC is gaining huge popularity around the world.

While there are a few challenges regarding PVC, the benefits definitely outweigh the disadvantages. The first challenge is the limit of colour choices. There are approximately five. White is the most popular choice because its natural colour has titanium dioxide incorporated into it. Titanium dioxide blocks the heat and resists fading, making the white look very bright. Coloured PVC may fade because it does not have the same content of titanium dioxide and therefore the colour is not as well protected against UVA/UVB sunrays.

Price is also a factor to consider when choosing PVC. Although the initial cost is normally greater than wood, the product pays for itself over time (approximately 4-5 years). Be careful when choosing PVC products; not all material are created equal. Do your homework before deciding on a supplier. Find out how they install their product and is the product extruded from virgin materials or regrind? Does the company warranty the product? How thick is the material?

With that said PVC is an amazing investment. This product is easy to clean, ideal for around swimming pools, uniform in appearance, will not rot or decay, has excellent dimensional stability and is recyclable. PVC is a splinter free product that will not crack or peel and never needs to be painted. It is also easy to purchase, matching railing and trim systems. A good installation will ensure that fasteners are hidden and boards can be replaced or added and colour matched perfectly.

When choosing fence styles, the owner’s imagination is our limit. We offer CAD (computer aided design services for custom designs. We do have some standard styles such as semi-privacy and true privacy. True privacy means that the privacy pickets are tongue & groove so they will never separate. We also have a very popular style that is a privacy fence with lattice on top. It is available with either diagonal lattice or square lattice. Picket fences and ranch rail fences are also very common. There is a Garden Jewellery line that includes arbors and trellises, etc. We can do practically anything out of PVC that can be done with wood and we offer a lifetime warranty on parts and labour.

While there are cheaper grades of wood, PVC is a wise investment because it does not break and never needs to be painted or stained. Wood fences have a tendency to shift due to frost and other environmental factors but when PVC fencing is installed properly, a steel pipe is inserted below the frost line which allows frost to be released through the hollow pipe thus reducing heaving.

In terms of decks, a wooden framework is built and PVC decking is laid on top. The decking is a solid piece of vinyl with an embossed wood grain. Well made PVC will not absorb BBQ grease or sauce (clean with water) and the decking will not overheat your feet.

With so many advantages PVC is worth looking into and this is not difficult to do since PVC decks and fences are starting to pop up everywhere!

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