Vinyl fencing, decking and railing

Vinyl fencing, decking, and railing are among the newest and fastest growing applications in the building products industry. Vinyl offers a lower maintenance and more durable alternative to the traditional materials that have dominated these products, including wood and metals.


One of the newest areas for vinyl in the building and construction industry is fencing, decking and railing. Vinyl fences are available in traditional and innovative designs, while for decks and railings vinyl is increasingly replacing traditional materials like wood and metals in residential, commercial and agricultural applications. Remarkable product characteristics are driving the demand for these types of vinyl outdoor living products. Also, the rising cost of lumber has driven more and more specifiers and consumers to look for alternatives to wood. Even though vinyl alternatives still have a higher initial cost today, the lower lifecycle cost due to lower maintenance needs makes vinyl a cost-effective choice.

Vinyl fencing can look just like any ordinary whitewashed wood fence and comes in standard styles such as ranch, crossbuck, post and rail, and picket.

Historical Background

In the early 1980s, many manufacturers of traditional vinyl products such as vinyl piping, vinyl windows, and vinyl siding all recognized the potential market for vinyl outdoor living products. As a matter of fact, for many of these manufacturers this new market helped close their recycling gap. Instead of selling the excess vinyl that results from die-cuts and extrusion lines, these manufacturers seized the opportunity to develop new products from this material. With added inhibitors for ultraviolet protection and modifiers for strength and durability, the vinyl outdoor living products industry was born.

The birthplace of vinyl outdoor living products was in the horse farm industry. It was there that vinyl fencing was fully appreciated for its product characteristics. Vinyl fencing allows more “give” than wood, thus preventing serious injury to horses. Horse farm owners also found another advantage: because vinyl’s surface retains virtually no moisture and has no taste – unlike wood – horses’ urge to “crib” or chew on a vinyl fence is greatly reduced.

As market demand grew, general contractors, architects and landscape architects began asking for these products, so it didn’t take long for manufacturers to look for other outdoor applications for vinyl and hence the vinyl railing and vinyl decking industries were launched.

In the mid-1980s, vinyl railing’s initial use was for decorative applications such as front porch railings. Manufacturing systems evolved; product testing evolved at the same time. Next, the railing was reinforced and ultimately an entirely new market was developed. Now vinyl railing is one of the most cost-competitive outdoor living products in the industry. It is being used wherever traditional wood and/or metal railings are found.

Vinyl decking is the latest newcomer to the vinyl outdoor living products industry. This part of the industry was formed in the late 1980s. In addition to the product characteristics shared by vinyl fencing and railing, homeowners found the benefit of a slip-resistant surface that provides safety underfoot for children and pets.

All indications show that market demand for vinyl outdoor living products will grow in Ireland.


Your cost over 20 years is constant because there are virtully no maintenance and repair bills.Wood or metal fences are less expensive in the first few years, but increse and become more costly than your virtully maintenance free vinyl fence.

Based on research conducted by Bufftech on costs in the market place.

  • VINYL (%)
  • WOOD/METAL (%)