Saturday, January 21, 2006

PVC -Vinyl or Composite Pergolas?

PVC -Vinyl or Composite Pergolas?

People are writing and calling wanting Vinyl and Composite Pergolas. People see the beautiful photos on and for some reason assume that they are made of Maintenance Free Materials. This is because our pergolas are often solid color stain on wood finishes. We use an upgraded (good cut) of materials and normally it is red cedar which cracks little and the knots don’t bleed through the finish.
When we pre-finish the materials the first application on pergolas can last between 5-7 years. At which time you can re-finish and it will look new again.

Vinyl Materials= Poly Vinyl Chloride—plumbing materials.
They made eves trough out of it… (Didn’t work), fencing (photo)-early designs didn’t work-but later versions look much better. I suspect there is some metal inside the vinyl shell to prevent sagging. The PVC arbor’s I see look fine—but they are likely a bit wobbly when tested.

One thing to remember is that PVC gets brittle over time when exposed to UV. It’s not a product that was originally designed for exterior use. When it gets elderly it will begin to get weak and eventually shatter when tested.

Vinyl and composites will also discolor where it comes in contact with grass, dirt splash, rust or hard water and pollution in general. It will not remain the original color and look new forever. It will need a chemical wash to alleviate these stains every year or two. After the chemical wash it won’t quite look like the original-there will be a bit of a milky looking residue and the finish will appear a bit washed out.

Due to numerous law suits which proved that the materials being marketed as maintenance free materials were not in fact Maintenance free—most companies are now calling their materials “Low Maintenance” and advising people that it will need yearly cleaning. These materials are also not known or recognized to be structurally suitable materials.

These PVC—Vinyl—and Composite Materials are still in the development stage. They seem to have some promise, however is only recommending and supplying products we know you will be happy with for a 10 year duration.

Our opinion is that Vinyl, PVC and Composite Pergolas are not ready for our endorsement yet.

If your company offers any type of warranty and you are considering carrying these composite, vinyl or pvc products-consider carefully.


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