Vinyl Fence Installation Guide
Costs, Maintenance and Hiring Tips
Vinyl fencing has been around for about 30 years, but its popularity has increased significantly in recent years. Much like vinyl siding or windows, vinyl siding is popular because it is durable but also very low maintenance.
The tradeoff for ease of maintenance is the price. Vinyl fencing is considerably more expensive than wood, starting at about $25 per linear foot.
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About Vinyl Fences
Vinyl fences are made with a material known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which holds up well in harsh weather. A vinyl fences will almost never rot, chip, peel, fade or rust. It never needs to be repainted or re-stained. Termites and other wood-eating insects are not a threat; they don’t like vinyl.
Vinyl fences are available in a variety of styles and colors. You can opt for a privacy fence, a semi-privacy fence, a picket fence or even a pool fence. Choose a solid color such as white, tan or gray - or choose a finish that mimics the look of more traditional fencing materials such as wood or metal.
All vinyl fence panels are premade in a factory, which makes for relatively easy installation. Vinyl fences are often sold in kits that include all of the parts needed for installation. However, unlike wood fences, you typically can’t buy or replace individual boards if one is damaged - you have to spring for the whole panel.
Cost of a Vinyl Fence
Most fence companies quote jobs by the linear foot, including all materials and labor. Vinyl fencing usually costs anywhere from $25 to $40 per linear foot. For a typical residential backyard with 150 linear feet, that works out to $3,750 to $6,000.
Dark-colored vinyl fences are more expensive and less common than light-colored vinyl fences. Dark colors require a more complex vinyl formula to prevent fading. For this reason, some fence companies only sell light-colored vinyl.
Not surprisingly, the height of the fence and its design also have a significant impact on price. A 6-foot privacy fence is going to fall on the high end of the price range listed above, while a 3-foot picket fence should fall on the low end.
Removal and haul away of your old fence - if one exists - adds about $2 to $6 per linear foot to the total price (depending on type and size of the fence). For a backyard with 150 linear feet, that’s an extra $300 to $900. Gates tend to cost extra, too, running $200 to $1,000 in most cases.
Vinyl Fence Maintenance
The only required maintenance with a vinyl fence is an annual washing. Use warm water and a mild detergent for light stains and baking soda for tougher stains. Vinyl fences are susceptible to mold and mildew, but both can be removed with a cleaning.
Rinse the fence with the garden hose when it’s clean.
Use caution when mowing or trimming near your fence. Vinyl fences, while very durable, can be damaged by these machines if you’re not careful. A small push mower is unlikely to cause much damage but a commercial machine might.
Keep in mind that you can never paint your vinyl fence, even if you want to. It’s not just that vinyl fences don’t require repainting - they can’t hold paint. Most people appreciate that they never have to paint the fence, but know that the color you choose is the color you will have to live with.
Choosing a Vinyl Fence Builder
You want your fence to look good and last a long time, so it’s important to pick a reputable and experienced fence company. Look for one that specializes in vinyl fences and understands the unique installation techniques. Better yet, find a company that is certified in vinyl fence installation.
Seek quotes from several companies before settling on one, but don’t make your decision on price alone. The cheapest quote isn’t always the best deal in the long run. Ask for references, read customer reviews and check the company’s standing with consumer organizations like the Better Business Bureau.