Pricewise: Vinyl Picket Fences
They corral kids and pets, and give roses something to lean on—without wood's maintenance hassles. Here's how two versions differ in look, feel, and price
Sapling fences sprang up in colonial times, their sharp points a reminder to keep one's distance. Over the years they morphed into flat, unpainted stakes and then into decorative white pickets, leaving only the question of how to avoid repainting them. And that led to vinyl versions, now more popular than ever. Here are two, both U.S.-made in virgin vinyl. The budget choice has an innovative matte finish, available in 32 colors, and the high-end one is more solidly engineered. Prices don't include posts, caps—or installation, which is key to performance over the long haul.
New England Scalloped Square Picket
Dimensions: 3 by 8 feet Warranty: Lifetime
Is it for you?
If you want a well-engineered product with a glossy finish.
About $28 per linear foot, New England Fence available at The Cottage Yard
Kroy brand vinyl, co-extruded in two layers, is made into hollow pickets fitted with picket caps, hollow posts, and post caps. The outer layer contains titanium dioxide to resist yellowing. Post walls are relatively thick (almost 3/16 inch), and panels can survive 75-mph winds.
Preassembled panels snap into hollow posts. Posts (About $27 each) and post caps (About $12 each) are sold separately.
Posts (longer than the sample shown) can be set directly in the ground, but concrete is recommended, especially where soil is sandy or the winds are brisk.
The pieces have a smooth, solid feel and fit together tightly, with seams that are less visible and have no gaps. The finish is a bit shiny.
Grand Illusions Classic Victorian Scalloped Picket
Dimensions: 3 by 8 feet Warranty: 20 years
Is it for you?
If you want a flat finish, and maybe a color, and high winds aren't an issue.
About $11 per linear foot, Illusions Vinyl Fence
As with the high-end version, parts are co-extruded and the outer layer contains titanium dioxide. It also has a new-to-market matte finish. The standard posts are 1/20 inch thinner; heftier posts are recommended for high-wind areas.
Panels are preassembled and snap into hollow posts (longer than the sample shown). Posts (About $23 each) and post caps (About $7 each) are sold separately.
To resist 75-mph winds, upgraded posts (About $40 each) and metal fittings (About $5.50 per panel) to reinforce the panels are needed.
The pieces fit together less snugly, with more visible seams and spaces. The matte finish doesn't scream "vinyl."