With Hurricane Lili bearing down on the Louisiana gulf coast, Alice Boutte’s neighbours were sure her three-year-old all-vinyl picket fence would be among the storm’s first casualties.
“I even thought myself it might not make it,” Mrs. Boutte later confessed. “I was asking my neighbours if they find pieces of the fence to please return them after the storm. Everybody always thought it was pretty, but they didn’t think it was strong.”
Riding out the storm, Mrs. Boutte and her husband Craig periodically checked on the 410-ft. long Westech Fence fence through windows.
“It didn’t budge,” she proudly declared weeks after the Category 2 storm made landfall with full force just to the west of New Iberia, Louisiana. “The wind gusts were up to 90 and 100 miles per hour, and the fence stood perfectly still the whole time.”
Ironically, the only damage to the durable vinyl fence which lines the sides and back of the Bouttes’ property came hours after the storm passed when a weakened limb fell from a neighbour’s tree and knocked loose three pickets.
“We chose Westech vinyl because it would be long-lasting in the heat and sunlight,” she added. “We didn’t really anticipate just how strong it would be.”
When the Bouttes shopped for fencing in the summer of 1999, their primary concern was to find a system that would be long-lasting and worry-free.
“We didn’t want the maintenance with a wood fence, and we didn’t like the looks of chain link and privacy fences,” Mrs. Boutte recalled. “We were really the first in the neighbourhood to get vinyl, and it was worth the expense.
“The bright white stays bright white -- all we have to do is hose it down once in a while -- and the fence really makes the yard,” she continued. “In fact, many neighbours thought it was wood at first.”
The all-white scalloped picket fence was installed by Bayou Fencing of nearby Abbeville.
After the limb damage, the pickets were replaced with extra plastic fasteners left by Bayou Fencing. Mrs. Boutte also logged on to the Westech Fence website to inquire about finding additional fasteners – and to rave about the performance of her fence.
“Westech was very fast to get back to me and help me,” she added.
According to Bill Zell, Sales and Marketing Manager of Westech Fence, the vinyl fence, rail and deck systems market is still in the embryo stage of growth, with about a ten percent share of the $3 billion North American fence market – but rapidly gaining acceptance.
“Word of mouth is one of the most convincing sales tools,” noted Mr. Zell. “I am sure that many of Mrs. Boutte’s neighbours took note of how well the fence withstood the storm and will keep that in mind when considering their own fencing options.”
Mr. Zell compared the market position of vinyl fence, deck and railing products today to that of vinyl siding and windows ten years ago, shortly before that market exploded to the point where now more than half the new homes built in North America have vinyl siding or windows.
“The demand for low maintenance products continues to grow since homeowners simply do not want to spend their leisure time on home maintenance of any kind and are willing to pay a premium to avoid it,” added Mr. Zell. “We are seeing a major increase in product awareness and sales in vinyl fence, deck and railing products as a result of this demand,” he concluded.
Westech Fence is an affiliate of the Westlake Group, a vertically integrated multi-national petrochemical company with a wealth of PVC processing experience operating more than 10 manufacturing facilities across North America.
Westech Fence’s vinyl fence, railings and deck systems are engineered and manufactured using state-of-the-art formulation and extrusion technologies that ensure its products meet and exceed industry standards. The proprietary PVC formulations include only the highest grades of PVC resins and high-performance additives processed with advanced blending and processing technologies to consistently deliver high quality. Every shipment of resin, additives and micro-ingredients that come to its Mount Vernon, Indiana facility is tested, and every extrusion is inspected for colour and gloss consistency, long-term colour retention, superior impact performance and dimensional integrity.
Westech Fence recently became the first manufacturer to secure BOCA listing for its all-vinyl deck and railing systems as a construction material. Westech’s fencing is distributed solely through a network of regional fabricators across North America and around the world.