Wood Fence vs. Vinyl Fence
Let’s talk fences. Do you go wood, or vinyl? Vinyl has become much more popular lately and we believe for good reasons.
But first let’s talk about wood fences: why do they turn gray? How long will they last?
Here’s the technical reason wood fences turn gray according to ‘The Effects of Daylight’ by Rebecca Ellison, an expert article in The Building Conservation Directory 2000:
“WOOD WILL ALSO GRADUALLY DEGRADE WHEN IT IS EXPOSED TO SUNLIGHT. THIS IS BECAUSE ONE OF ITS MAIN COMPONENTS, CELLULOSE, UNDERGOES AUTO-OXIDATION IN THE PRESENCE OF UV RADIATION IN SUNLIGHT, LEADING TO SURFACE BLEACHING.
CELLULOSE ITSELF DOES NOT ABSORB UV, BUT LIGNIN, HEMI-CELLULOSES AND SOME DYES AND PIGMENTS CAUSE CELLULOSE TO DETERIORATE BECAUSE THEY ACT AS PHOTO-SENSITISERS, ABSORBING UV RADIATION AND TRANSFERRING THE ENERGY. AS A RESULT SOME OF THE LONG MOLECULAR CHAINS OF CELLULOSE BREAK UP, WEAKENING THE MATERIAL."
Basically, the sun and other environmental factors cause the exterior color to take on the gray appearance. Consider a tree; the bark is gray because it is exposed to the environment. But when you cut into the wood the yellow color is still present on the inside.
The Good News
The good news, for you wood fence lovers, is that graying by itself does not diminish the durability of the wood. The gray is just an aesthetic problem. What does impact longevity is rot. The bottom portion of the wood stakes are continuously absorbing water from the soil, and the top portion from the rain. Unlike a live tree which is living, dead wood cannot regenerate itself and produce fresh fibers to protect itself. Depending on the moisture in your area this may take a few decades. Eventually though, a wood fence will lose its strength and will need replacing.
Vinyl fences have a lot of benefits
Vinyl is a synthetically created material and can be designed for privacy, or character, or style. It will not rot over time and the color will not permanently be changed. We are able to charge much less to clean a vinyl fence because the process is much simpler than wood. Wood is cheaper to install upfront, but requires more maintenance over time.
We may be a little biased, however both wood and vinyl have their place in the fence world. And the good news is that we can clean both! Let us know how we can serve you!
Proudly serving: Newport News, Hampton, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Gloucester, Poquoson, and surrounding cities.