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vinyl fencing
August 26, 2012 - 8:58 am

My next door neighbour wants to build a vinyl fence between his property and mine, a length of about 35 ‘ and 8’ high.  Is vinyl fencing the same thing as PVC?  I would rather have a wood fence mostly because of the chemicals used to manufacture the vinyl and the fact that it can’t be disposed of properly once it’s worn out. Plus I like the aesthetics of wood, but my neighbour is not in that head space at all.  He mentioned that vinyl will last a lot longer than wood, and I know that he is wanting to go for “maintainance free” in terms of not having to stain it or replace it as quickly.  Plus I think the quality of the wood available in building materials is lower than it used to be and early warping would be a pain.  The current wood fence probably lasted 20 + years.

Does anyone have info about the toxicity of vinyl fencing?  Will vinyl leach chemicals into my garden soil?  Will it affect the air quality in my yard, or is the fact that the fence is outdoors mitigate most of the harm?  Is there anything else I need to think about?  How to I broach the topic with my neighbour, who I would like to have good relations with, without alienating him?  Thanks. 

Beth Terry
409 Posts
August 26, 2012 - 9:27 am

Hi. Yes vinyl is the same as PVC. Check out the film “Blue Vinyl” for info about the toxicity of vinyl siding and fencing. There is tons of info about the environmental and health impacts of vinyl in that film, and you can get it on Netflix:

Eve Stavros
August 28, 2012 - 4:42 am

Despite Robert Frost’s claim in “Mending Wall” that “Good fences make good neighbors, you could be heading into dangerous territory here and you’re right, it needs to be handled tactfully.  Whatever you do, approach him in the spirit of helping, not preaching…perhaps even go so far as to offer to pay some of the cost (if you can)…or provide some of the labor if it’s a DIY project.  Or…check into fences made from recycled materials, which could be a good compromise. The makers of Bear Board which uses recycled HDPE, state: “Recycled HDPE creates no harmful emissions during its production or during its use by the consumer.  Also, HDPE leaks no toxic chemicals into the soil or water.”…..encing.cfm

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