Co-Extrusion Vs. Mono-Extrusion In Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences are made from ultraviolet inhibitors that protect the vinyl from sun. Therefore, vinyl usually maintains its color, which means the homeowner doesn’t need to apply any type of stain or paint, ever! Wear and tear is also a minor issue with vinyl fencing, barring any storm or other accidental damage. Vinyl fence has “through-color,” so scratches and dents don’t demand any touchup paint or repairs. There is one issue or debate that you will discover when researching vinyl fencing and the way it is manufactured: co-extrusion versus mono-extrusion.

First, here are a few definitions to help you understand extrusion and vinyl fencing. Co-extrusion and mono-extrusion are not words that most of us use in our day to day interactions.

  • Co-extrusion: Two layers of molecularly bonded plastic
  • Mono-extrusion: Single layer of plastic sheet

So, when looking at vinyl fence components, you will find co-extrusion and mono-extrusion options.

Comparison of features

Let’s compare the two manufacturing options by first looking at the facts given to us about mono-extrusion and co-extrusion.

Mono-extrusion facts

  • Original way of manufacturing vinyl fencing and siding
  • Made from a single stream of materials
  • Uses titanium dioxide for ultraviolet protection
  • 100% protected from ultraviolet rays
  • High manufacturing cost due to the ultraviolet protection
  • Typically backed by an extensive warranty due to the durability of the vinyl product

Co-extrusion facts

  • Made from two streams of material:

    • Capstock – the outer layer of vinyl that includes ultraviolet protection
    • Substrate – the inner layer of vinyl material with reduced ultraviolet protection that helps sustain impact and holds the shape of the item
  • 20% coverage of ultraviolet protection (according to some sources)

  • Total material cost is lower, which means that cost for the consumer is lower
  • Typically backed by a lifetime warranty due to the durability of the product

Comparison of the two types of vinyl manufacturing

One way of looking at co-extrusion versus mono-extrusion might be to compare mono-extrusion to a solid wood piece of furniture, while co-extrusion would be comparable to furniture made of veneer or compressed wood pieces. There is very little difference in the quality and durability of co-extruded and mono-extruded vinyl, according to many sources, as long as the materials used in the vinyl manufacturing process are quality products.

Co-extrusion does offer the option of using a layer of recycled material, which may be a consideration for those wishing to make a “greener” fence choice. There is also less scrap material in the co-extrusion vinyl manufacture process, which adds to the earth conscious aspect of co-extrusion.

The Vinyl Institute, the collective voice of the vinyl industry, discusses vinyl without mentioning the two types of manufacturing processes. If there were huge differences in the two types of vinyl production, this group would more than likely expand upon those differences in their educational materials for homeowners and consumers.

It seems that the real consideration when choosing a vinyl fence, whether mono- or co- extruded, is the quality of materials that were used when producing the vinyl fence components.

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