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Quality Vinyl PVC Fencing

Quality Control
An aspect commonly overlooked by consumers in their quest for quality products is how that quality is ensured from the raw materials onward. A consumer is easily wooed by glossy pictures of mansions decorated by vinyl fence or by outlandish claims by manufacturers or distributors on the Internet. They fail to investigate more deeply what is being done to ensure that a 24/7-extrusion plant keeps the same level of quality day after day, hour after hour.

Westech's Quality Assurance Protocol ensures that QC officers are constantly on the job, from the point the resin and additives begin their trek through the extrusion process, through the extrusion process itself, and out into the finished product inventory. Resin is checked for moisture, color and content. The compound batches are analyzed in a pre-extrusion check for molecular fusion temperature and pressure. Extruded profile samples are cut and checked on line for color, gloss, radius and dimension, then samples are tested off-line for impact resistance, heat and freeze reaction and even UV resistance using an accelerated weathering technique.

Manufacturing tolerance norm is "plus or minus" 10% in this industry. Some manufacturers even use a "plus zero, minus 20 thousandths" tolerance. Westech's manufacturing tolerance of plus or minus 5% is among the most stringent in the industry, and applies to all of the testing described above. This results in a consistently premium product output, which has earned Westech the reputation of being the premier extruder in the industry.


Testing
Constant testing is part of Westech's Quality Assurance Protocol during extrusion, but there are other ways that Westech ensures a high quality finished product.

Westech designs fence, deck, railing and garden accessory systems that are tested for efficacy. Fences have to be designed to withstand windloads, or to protect young ones from endangering themselves around pools. Railings have to be designed to act as guardrails, not only for children, but also for large adults. Other products have to be designed to accept snow loads, or to resist wind uplifts. All of this is taken into account by Westech's Product Development Group, that meticulously ensures not only compliance with National and International codes, but aims to exceed these, even establishing new benchmarks for the industry to guide themselves by.

Westech's in-house testing and Quality Assurance Protocol is another reason why when you Demand the Best, you Demand Westech.


Comparison with Store-bought

"Why is the Vinyl fence available at the Big Box store so much cheaper than yours?"

That is the question that haunts dealers and consumers that lack understanding about vinyl. You get what you pay for. Resin prices are set at commodity levels (supply and demand strictly dictate pricing). Additives are similar in pricing. Competition is dramatic, with over 20 extruders in North America vying for the same market. In order to capture market share some new manufacturers establish a low price, which they later may raise. Others decide to make an 'economy' product, either by making a thinner product, which may not conform to industry standards or building codes, or by using recycled materials which change the dynamics of the product itself (see section on Co-extrusion, Regrind), or they may fabricate the product using inexpensive, high-volume and inferior methods, such as gluing the pickets on to the rails, or using brackets to attach the rails to the posts. Or they may use all or a combination of the above.

The most apparent differences in product quality are:

  • Striation lines along the face of the profiles (like drag lines all along the length).
  • Low gloss (possibly indicating inferior additives in the capstock).
  • Corner Radius measurements may show inequalities from one side or face of the profile to the other, or from one profile to another, indicating low Quality Control procedures.
  • Grey back (dark grey or brown inside usually indicates a high content of recycled materials used inside)
  • Thin Cap Stock (the capstock thickness may be so thin, that it looks like it was painted on, or is very irregular, in some places nearly disappearing - this indicates non-compliance to ASTM requirements).
  • Fastening Methods of the profiles to each other is by quick and easy methods, which, in of themselves are weaker, but become even weaker due to high volume production and inferior Quality Control.

Other differences may come to the fore over time.

  • Tio2 levels may be significantly lowered, resulting in a degradation of the product under UV exposure (yellowing, cracking, low impact resistance).
  • Impact modifiers may be of inferior quality, or have a lowered level, resulting in low impact cracking and sharding.
  • Usually these lowered standards result in a greatly reduced Warranty coverage and period.

All of the above information is designed to make the consumer aware of the differences. As in every industry, it must be emphasized, you get what you pay for in the end. There certainly are niche markets for all types of products, due to economic or logistical considerations. And this is not to say that a consumer will not get a premium brand product at a Big Box store. Several regional branches have decided to supplement their Do-It-Yourself business with a Furnish-And-Install Program which uses higher quality products, such as Westech's, through our network of Fabricator/Installers.


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