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August 21, 2014

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

You may have questions regarding powder coating, aluminum products, or vinyl products. Our Manufacturer DSI has answered several questions to help you in making a decision on what products are best for you. Please look through these important FAQ's to guide you on your way to a lifetime of virtually maintenance-free products.

Vinyl Fencing Questions


What is Vinyl? Raw Material, Additives.


Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Salt are the raw materials used in the production of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin. Digger vinyl compound is formulated from premium grade raw materials, which include Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Resin, UV inhibitors, impact modifiers, stabilizers and toners.  Digger’s formulation is built upon Diggers many years of technical experience in the PVC industry.  Using only premium grade raw materials in conjunction with superior technical formulation capabilities produces a vinyl product that is far above the vinyl industry as a whole.

How is vinyl fence made?  Profiles & Fabrication.

Profiles:  Vinyl fence starts out as a PVC powder (Resin) that, when blended with all the required ingredients of our formulation is called compound.  This compound then is fed into an extruder.  With the proper amount of heat, pressure and mixing via screws in the extruder, the compound becomes malleable vinyl.  This vinyl is then fed through a die in the shape of the finished profile.  Using vacuum technology to keep the soft pliable vinyl in the proper shape, water is used to cool the vinyl into its final rigid state.  (See Engineering/Technologies)

Fabrication:  A Digger Fence fabricator cuts the wide variety of profiles to the proper length for the design of fence required.  The fabricator that routes the holes into the rails, so that pickets can be inserted into them, then holes are routed into the posts so that the rails can be inserted into them.  They then may assemble the completed fence sections or leave knocked down for distribution.  (See Distribution Strategy)


How is a vinyl fence put together?


Most assembly of vinyl fencing is down by snapping the rails into the post using rails that are tabbed with a special tabbing, or notching tool.  Depending upon the styles of fence, different fasteners can be used.  Vinyl channels, which are often used in the fabrication of Privacy and Semi-Privacy styles, are attached using rivets or screws.

Will a Digger fence mildew?

Mildew feeds off or organic materials.  Vinyl (PVC) is non-organic and therefore does not support mildew.  Mildew that grows on Vinyl is actual feeding off of the organic materials (dirt) that have become embedded in or stuck to that vinyl.  Digger fence profiles have a high gloss and smooth, non-porous surface that makes it very difficult for organic materials to attach to, and therefore, for mildew to thrive on.  This, combined with the use of non-chalking TiO2 helps to prevent most mildew growth.  The surface of vinyl fence that contains chalking TiO2 deteriorates at a much more accelerated level compared to non-chalking TiO2 creating a rougher surface that dirt and therefore mildew can attach itself easier to.  Only under very consistently damp conditions will the possibility of mildew occur.  If mildew does appear, a mild solution of bleach and water will easily remove it. 

Does Digger fence chalk?

Digger’s use of durable grade non-chalking TiO2 in their vinyl (PVC) formulation ensures that there will be a very minimal chalking of our fence products.  All vinyl fencing will chalk sooner or later, but with the superior protection capabilities of our TiO2 this will be kept to a bare minimum.  Chalking is the deterioration of the vinyl surface thereby exposing the TiO2 particles to the surface.  The white powder that you can wipe off from the surface of most vinyl fences is the TiO2 particles mixed with deteriorated vinyl (PVC).  Digger’s vinyl is formulated for exceptional beauty over a full lifetime.

Can I paint my vinyl fence?

Digger’s vinyl products are engineered to retain their beauty and good looks throughout their lifetime.  The only reason to use paints on our vinyl products would be to change the color of the product.  Digger fence does not recommend painting vinyl (PVC).  There are paints that are available to paint vinyl but painting or otherwise treating Digger’s Vinyl product voids the life time warranty.


How does the cost of vinyl fencing compare with traditional wood fences?

The initial cost of vinyl (PVC) when compared to wood is slightly higher for the material costs in most regions of the country.  However with the ever-increasing cost of wood this difference is becoming very minor in some regions.  When all the varied cost factors are taken into account over the life of your fence, vinyl (PVC) becomes the true money taken into account over the life of your fence; vinyl (PVC) becomes the true money saver.  Factors such as having to replace the wood fence in 5-15 years, yearly maintenance costs (labor, paint, replacement boards, etc), and the effects on the environment because of arsenic in treated wood or the toxic chemicals needed to maintain a wood fence show that wood truly isn’t as cost effective in the end.  Some costs are hard to measure such as the costs to you of having a fence that looks in need of maintenance.  The cost difference quickly vanishes, and in fact vinyl becomes a sound and financially viable investment in the future of your home.  Once your Digger vinyl (PVC) fence is installed you do not have to worry about painting, nails rusting, boards rotting, or splinters.

Will Digger’s vinyl Fence turn yellow?

Digger’s vinyl (PVC) is formulated using a superior durable grade of non-chalking TiO2 that protects the vinyl (PVC) from the harmful effects of the Sun’s UV rays.  As long as your fence is kept clean, with a periodic wash from your garden hose, it will not turn yellow.

What effects does my vinyl fence have on our environment?

Digger’s vinyl (PVC) products are safe and non-toxic.  They will not breakdown and release harmful chemicals into the ground and do not require toxic chemicals (stains, waterproofing, pain, paint thinner) for regular upkeep like treated lumber can.  No trees are used in the manufacture of Digger’s vinyl fences.  Because of the exceptional long life of Digger’s fence profiles, several times the amount of wood that is needed to manufacture the same fence in wood can be saved over lifetime of the Digger vinyl fence.  If the Digger vinyl ever needs to be taken down it can be recycled into other products, such as hoses and watering cans.

What is virgin vinyl?

This is the term used for vinyl product that does not contain recycled products.  Recycled products that may be imported into extrusion plant may contain impurities or lower grade vinyl which can seriously affect the finished product’s resilience, impact resistance and UV inhibition.  Digger uses only virgin ingredients in the extruding of our products.

Can a vinyl fence break?

Any fence will break when enough force is applied.  However, Digger’s vinyl (PVC) profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to ensure the greatest impact resistance available.  Digger’s vinyl (PVC) profiles are engineered to withstand higher impacts that the minimum required by ASTM.

Glossary

PVC or uPvc:

Poly Vinyl Chloride can refer to the resin used in Vinyl production, or can refer to the finished product itself, including all additives.  Thus, PVC is vinyl.  In many countries, the term uPVC is used.  This simply refers to Ultra-Violet (UV) protected PVC.  All PVC used in the manufacture of exterior products by reputable manufacturers is UV- inhibited, therefore, is uPVC.

Vinyl:

See PVC above

Resin:

The base material used in the production of materials.  For Vinyl products, vinyl (PVC) resin is used.  There are several grades and several qualities of PVC Resin.  For example, there is high-quality Siding Grade Resin, and low-quality Pipe Grade Resin.  Different manufacturers may have higher quality or more consistent quality resin too.
 
TiO2:

Titanium DiOxide.  This is the most common ingredient used for Ultra Violet ray protection.  TiO2 is a white pigment that reacts with Water and Oxygen.  Water or moisture in the air is necessary for this product to do its job effectively.  It is not noxious, in fact, TiO2 is commonly used as a preservative or colorant in baked goods like the little white donuts you can buy at the corner store.  There are at least 2 grades of TiO2: Uncoated or Chalking Grade, and Coated, Durable or Non-Chalking Grade.  The primary difference, apart from the higher cost of the non-chalking grade, is that it will chalk at a much slower rate, therefore providing a more lustrous finish for a longer period of time.

Aluminum Questions

What colors are available?
Digger Specialties, Inc. can create any custom color imaginable for your project. Standard colors are shown below. All standard colors are Verified AAMA 2604 Compliant with the option to upgrade to a Verified AAMA 2605 Compliant powder coating finish.

Click on colors to enlarge view.
Colors shown are a close representation of the true color. Please consult actual samples for accurate powder coating colors.

Satin Black     Black Fine Texture     Metallic Bronze     Bronze Fine Texture

Speckled Walnut     Sandy Shore     Evergreen     Gloss Beige

Chocolate     Gloss White     Accent Gold


Why is aluminum fence a better fence solution than wrought iron fence?
Courtyard Aluminum Fence and Regis Aluminum Fence offer the ornamental look of wrought iron fences without the hassle and maintenance. Soil, water, and lawn chemicals can be harsh on wrought iron fencing. Due to its chemical composition to resist corrosion, aluminum stands up to these tough elements. All DSI aluminum products offer a lifetime limited warranty against defects in workmanship and materials and that, in the course of normal and proper use, DSI aluminum products will not crack, peel, blister, flake, rust, nor be subject to abnormal weathering per AAMA 2604 Specifications.


How do aluminum products compare to steel products?
Aluminum will not lose strength over time where steel rusts over time and loses strength.


Do you manufacture fences that are safe for pool fence?

Courtyard Aluminum Fence and Regis Aluminum Fence are ideal for pools with several pool fence styles.
Always check local pool fence codes, building codes, property lines, and underground utilities before installation.


Do you make fence suitable to be used for puppy fence?
Yes. You can add the short picket option to the bottom of fences to create a puppy fence.


What kind of gates are offered?
Courtyard Aluminum Fence and Regis Aluminum Fence offer a variety of walk and entry gates. From standard arches to convex styles to designer arches, there is a variety of gate options for you to select from.


Can gates be custom designed?

Yes. You provide the concept, DSI provides the expertise to build your custom designed gates. With choices of decorative scrolls and engravings, ornate finials, and contoured rails to heavy-duty gate hardware and structural posts, we can turn your dream into a reality. We accomplish this through our automated approval process making a more accurate and timely delivery.


Are gates welded?
Yes. Courtyard Aluminum Fence gates and Regis Aluminum Fence are welded at all connections for strength and durability.


What kind of warranty do you offer with aluminum products?
All DSI aluminum products offer a lifetime limited warranty against defects in workmanship and materials and that, in the course of normal and proper use, DSI aluminum products will not crack, peel, blister, flake, rust, nor be subject to abnormal weathering per AAMA 2604 Specifications.


Can aluminum fences be installed on hills or severly graded properties?
Most standard Courtyard Aluminum Fence and Regis Aluminum Fence sections do allow for racking. If a greater slope than the standard section will allow is needed, sections can be ordered with the double punch option to allow extra racking. Note: Arched Picket Fences do not rack.


Can aluminum fences and railings be installed in a round or curved configuration?

Yes. Fence sections can be angled slightly to adjust at each post to create a rounded effect. For tighter curves, using narrower sections or standard sections cut down, add another post between these narrower sections. For a custom look, optional radius sections can be created to contour to a specific curve or configuration.


Can aluminum fence be used as railing?
DSI does not recommend or condone using it's Courtyard Aluminum Fence or Regis Aluminum Fence systems as railing. DSI does not assume liability for improper, unintended, or illegal use of products.


How does your powder coating compare to others?
View our Powder Coating section below for answers to this for your other powder coating questions.

Powder Coating Questions

What is powder coating?
Powder coating is the application of dry powder paint to a metal part for surface protection. In normal wet paint application the coating is suspended in a liquid carrier that evaporates into the atmosphere leaving the coating protecting the surface. A powder coated part is cleaned and the powder coating is electrostatically charged and sprayed onto the object to be coated. The object is then placed in an oven where the powder coating particles melt to form a continuous film.


Is powder coating environmentally friendly?
Yes, powder coating is a very environmentally friendly process. There is minimal waste water sent to the city waste stream. What is sent can be treated and released with no special process used at the waste water treatment facility. Liquid coatings emit VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the atmosphere during the cure process. For this reason, powder coating is embraced as the coating of choice for many manufacturing facilities in many industries.


Is all powder coating equal?
No, there are differences. There are many different types of powder coating created for many different types of projects. There are powder coating created for office furniture that do not require outdoor weatherability or chemical resistance. Other coatings are designed to be chemical resistant, while others provide some resistance to weathering for applications on lawn mowers, bicycles, and automobiles.

DSI uses a Customer Blended Premium Pigmented Super Durable Polyester TGIC powder coating to meet the AAMA 2604 specification and a Fluorocarbon Polymer powder coating to meet the AAMA 2605 specification. This coating is designed for superior corrosion resistance outdoors with limited fade and weathering as specified by AAMA specifications. This is a very big difference from regular TGIC powder coating.


What colors are available?

DSI can create any custom color imaginable for your project. Standard colors are shown below. All standard colors are Verified AAMA 2604 Compliant with the option to upgrade to a Verified AAMA 2605 Compliant powder coating finish.

Click on colors to enlarge view.
Colors shown are a close representation of the true color. Please consult actual samples for accurate powder coating colors.

Satin Black     Black Fine Texture     Metallic Bronze     Bronze Fine Texture

Speckled Walnut     Sandy Shore     Evergreen     Gloss Beige

Chocolate     Gloss White     Accent Gold


What quality control procedures are used at DSI powder coating process?
DSI completes and logs 10 powder coating pretreatment checks twice per shift and also completes 10 hourly quality control checks are completed and logged on parts coming off the production line.


What is the warranty on DSI's powder coating finish?

The DSI warranty is an industry-leading lifetime limited warranty. Not only are the powder coating warranties covering cracking, peeling, flaking, and rusting for a lifetime, they also include a weathering warranty based on the AAMA 2604 specification. The AAMA 2604 specification states the product cannot fade more than 5 delta E color units and must retain 30% of its gloss after five years. Most brands will fade more than 5 delta E color units in less than 1 year. An optional Lifetime Limited Warranty is also offering AAMA 2605 weather specifications. AAMA 2605 specifications state the color cannot change more than 5 delta E color units in 10 years and needs to retain at least 50% of its gloss in 10 years.


What processes are involved in powder coating a DSI product?

DSI uses an 11-step powder coating process. Prior to powder coating, incoming aluminum is inspected for defects and white rust. Aluminum can never be subject to moisture prior to the powder coating pretreatment process.

Step 1: Fabricated product is inspected and fixtured on a moving overhead conveyor system that will carry the product through all the powder coating processes.

Step 2: Fabricated product is cleaned with an alkaline cleaner to remove all fabrication and manufacturing impurities. All pretreatment process is completed using a spray wash system utilizing nozzle placement for maximum impingement.

Step 3: Fabricated parts are cleaned with a (clean) city water rinse.

Step 4: Fabricated parts are cleaned with a (cleaner) recalculating reverse osmosis water rinse.

Step 5: Fabricated parts are cleaned with a (cleanest) fresh reverse osmosis rinse.

Step 6: Fabricated parts are pretreated with a titanium and zirconium conversion coating with a fluoride additive.

Step 7: Fabricated parts are again rinsed with a (cleanest) fresh reverse osmosis water rinse.

Step 8: An air-knife creates a 200 MPH blast of air to remove all water drops.

Step 9: The dry-off oven evaporates any moisture the air-knife did not remove.

Step 10: Powder is applied with 10 automatic guns by adding an electrostatic charge to the powder particles attracting the powder particles to the product to be coated.

Step 11: The cure oven gels and then cross-links and cures the powder with zero VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) found in liquid coating processes. Parts are not touched by human hands after the parts are fixtured on the overhead conveyor system.


How is DSI's powder coating finish different than competitors powder coating finish?
Most competitors are using a general purpose Super Durable or Standard Polyester TGIC powder coating. DSI uses a Custom Blended Premium Pigmented Super Durable Polyester TGIC powder coating. DSI also provides third party test results documenting our processes are Verified AAMA 2604 and AAMA 2605 Compliant. This needs to be completed every 18 months. Every 12 months, the Powder Coating Institute audits the powder coating process based on the PCI4000 A2 and A3 164-point criteria. Most competitors rely on their powder coating suppliers to provide testing documentation instead of an independent third party lab approved by AAMA. Competitors may only complete this testing once every 5-10 years.


What is AAMA 2604 and AAMA 2605?
AAMA
AAMA (American Architectural Manufacturing Association) creates specification for the window, door, skylight, and outdoor architectural products market. AAMA 2603, AAMA 2604, and AAMA 2605 are architectural coating specifications.

AAMA 2603 is the least difficult to attain but more stringent than general purpose powder coatings used on products like bicycles, lawn mowers, and most of DSI's competitors. The AAMA 2605 specification is very difficult to meet and requires coating and processes that add to the applied cost of coatings meeting this specification.

A third party test labratory approved by AAMA requires testing every 18 months to be listed as a verified compliant applicator on the AAMA website. There are 10 tests to pass the AAMA 2603 test. There are 15 tests, including a 3000 hour salt/fog test, and maximum 5 delta E color change in 5 years to meet the AAMA 2604 specification. The AAMA 2605 specification also requires 15 test procedures including 4000 hours of salt/fog testing and maximum 5 delta E color units change in 10 years.


What is PCI4000 A2 and A3?
PCI 4000 A2 and A3 Certified
PCI (Powder Coating Institute) has created the PCI4000 certifications program. Powder coating application systems are audited and scored using a 164-point criteria. A minimum score of 725 is required to receive this certification. DSI scored a 918 on the first audit and was Certified PCI4000 A2 (AAMA 2604) and A3 (AAMA 2605).  This certification is recognized on the PCI Website.  DSI is listed as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer).