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6 Steps to Buying Vinyl Fence
All vinyl fencing is not the same.
Vinyl fencing quality varies depending on the manufacturer. There are many types of fencing out there and many different vendors, but by considering the following aspects of a vinyl fencing purchase you will get more for your money and you will end up with a product that will last. Any vinyl fencing purchase must involve research of structural specifications, long-term availability of parts, reliability of the vendor, and the commitment of the vendor to cover damage. So follow these steps and you will be on your way to obtaining a quality vinyl fence that will be easy to maintain:
1. Know your Specifications
Before purchasing vinyl fencing, make sure you compare the fence specifications so you know exactly what you are receiving. All quality vinyl fencing is made of vinyl extrusions – typically you have posts, rails, bottom rail reinforcement, and pickets. The best way to compare fences is the thickness of each vinyl extrusion. For example the 5” x 5” posts we sell at USAVinyl Fence Company are .150 inches thick (tolerance +- 10%). Most companies sell the lower grade vinyl fence posts that are .120” or .135" thick which are cheaper because they use less vinyl. USAVinyl does not handle .135" thick posts because they are inferior and could cause problems for you in the future. The thinner wall thickness of the discount fencing is more likely to sustain a dent, crack or even break upon normal impact.
2. Use Aluminum Supports
All vinyl fencing (except post and rail) should come with metal supports in the bottom rail to add strength and prevent the rail from sagging. USAVinyl uses aluminum reinforcements in the bottom rail of all of its fencing. Some companies use wood which makes no sense, and other companies use steel which can rust in the future. Make sure the vinyl fence you are buying has a strong aluminum support in the bottom rail.
3. Don’t Buy Parts that will be Obsolete Next Year
Another factor to consider is the availability of parts in the future. Vinyl fencing is supposed to be a lifetime product, but accidents do happen. I cannot tell you how many times a tree has fallen on a fence or an automobile has run through a fence. At USAVinyl we always stock parts that will enable you to get your fence back together affordably should any damage occur. The “cheaper” fencing typically found at your local home improvement store changes from season to season, and typically they do not keep any parts, so fixing one of their older fences to match their existing fence parts might be impossible. Parts are a very important topic to consider when purchasing vinyl fence.
4. Check the Vendor’s Background
Affiliations are one of the most import factors when purchasing vinyl fence. When purchasing over the internet the company must be a member of the Better Business Bureau Online in good standing. This is your first clue in determining whether or not the company is reputable. Most companies do not belong to the Better Business Bureau Online because of their strict guidelines and methods for mediation if an issue arises. Independent feedback from customers is also an excellent way to find out what their experience was like in dealing with this company. The Yahoo Shopping forum is one of the best sources for this kind of feedback.
5. Pay with a Credit Card
Using a credit card is another way to protect yourself when investing in vinyl fencing. If the company does not send you what you ordered you can simply call your credit card company and dispute the charge. Credit card companies will not mediate a resolution (like the Better Business Bureau) but they will want to confirm that what you paid for was sent to you. If it wasn’t, they will accept your dispute of the charge. By taking these basic precautions, purchasing vinyl fence over the internet is quite easy and presents virtually no risk.
6. Get a Warranty
Warranties are another major concern from homeowners. Most vinyl fences come with “lifetime residential warranties”, but at the end of the day, what does that really mean? You need to read the warranty and understand who is behind it. Will they be around if you ever have issues? If you’re not sure, think twice about buying from them.
Purchasing vinyl fencing is an important decision. Following these steps will help you find the fence that will serve its purpose with little or no maintenance. If the fence is damaged you will find the parts and the service providers to have it looking like new again. Overlooking any of these key aspects of the buying process could leave you with a real headache and force you to deal with a faulty fence, unavailable parts, a non-responsive vendor, and a big waste of money. Don’t make that mistake! Do your research and find quality vinyl fencing from a trustworthy source.
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