Abstract Homes

FAQs for Southern Vinyl Manufacturing

Do you have a question about fence post installation or the price of our fencing or railing?  We might already have an answer to your question in our frequently asked questions below.  Need individualized help or a technical CAD drawing for a custom job?  Call our customer service department at 1-252-523-2520.  

Placing an Order with SVM

What is the price for a panel of ‘xyz style’ fence or rail?

If you are one of our current trade account customers, our representatives can help you plan your projects.  Call our customer service department at 1-252-523-2520 for the price of a specific SVM product.  Place an order and we will return an order acknowledgment, priced with your building material professional's discount built in.  Consider using our suggested retail prices as a basis for your quotes.

Do you have the quote ready on that job?

To accept the quote prepared by a Southern Vinyl Manufacturing representative, a trade account customer signs the quote and returns it to us with a purchase order number.  Your accepted quote begins the process of placing your order in the queue for production and shipping. Occasionally, the volume of business causes a delay in returning a quote.

Not a trade account customer?  SVM also accepts credit cards.

Can you tell me the expected shipping date at the time I place this order?

After you submit your signed quote, confirming your order, our logistics department will assign an expected ship date for your order based on the current production schedule.  Then, you will receive your order acknowledgement. The expected ship date will be shown in the upper left hand corner of this acknowledgement.  Please keep in mind that many of our products are made to order.  We will attempt to meet your delivery needs when feasible if the existing production schedule allows. 

What do I have on order with Southern Vinyl Manufacturing?

Your SVM customer service representative tracks all of your quotes and orders and can answer this question quickly, by phone or email.  Contact them at 1-252-523-2520 or email [email protected].  You can request that we resend an order confirmation, prior quote, old invoice, statement, etc. by e-mail or fax.

Receiving an Order from SVM

When can I expect to receive my order?

Our customer service team at Southern Vinyl Manufacturing always returns our estimated shipping date to you on the order acknowledgement. Look for this date in the upper left hand corner of your acknowledgment. Providing the estimated shipping date this early in the process allows you to plan your time more effectively.  We can also provide the shipment tracking number, once the product ships.

For more information on our order-make-ship-bill process, ask for a free copy of our 8-page document, "Southern Vinyl's Order >Make >Ship>Bill Process”, sku 88523.

What is the charge for shipping?

Good news!  Shipping can be free if you are an account customer and meet the minimum order requirements.  The minimum purchase for free freight varies, depending on how frequently you buy and the size of your orders.   Individual orders can be consolidated so that the total shipment meets the free shipping threshold.  Call our Customer Service Department toll-free at 1-252-523-2520 for full details about our free freight program.

Shipping and handling charges appear on your original quote and on your order acknowledgment to remove any guesswork.  If you need to change shipping arrangements before your order ships, we will gladly requote these charges and send them to you for your sign-off.

For items not requiring a pallet that we can ship by FedEx or UPS, lower shipping rates apply. 

Palletized orders will ship LTL.  Standard rates assume delivery to a business address with forklift on-site and no unusual delivery requirements.  COD, jobsite delivery, residential delivery, etc. can incur additional charges for lift gate service, notification to arrange delivery, and necessity of transfer to a smaller truck.

Product Questions

Can you match the style of another manufacturer?

Yes, usually.  Ninety-nine times out of 100, Southern Vinyl Manufacturing can custom fabricate a fence using vinyl materials that match a fence that was not manufactured by us.  And in the case of the exception, we will put our ingenuity to work and closely match another manufacturer's profiles for an extremely similar look.  Call 1-252-523-2520 to speak with a customer service representative about how we can help you with your custom project.

Will this fence rack?

Racking refers to the ability of the fence to smoothly follow the contour of the land. An alternative method to racking is called stair-stepping, which involves installing the panels in stair-step fashion throughout the project. Either method results in a beautiful finished project when installed properly.

We can expand the routed holes on any or all of the rails of a fence panel. Expanding the routs allows the product to rack along limited pitches in line with the terrain. SVM does not recommend racking a scalloped fence system. The smooth look of a scalloped fence distorts when racked. If you can provide us with the slope/grade of the land you are working on, our customer service team can assist you with whether or not we can create a fence system that racks and is aesthetically pleasing.

How do you install this fence/fix this problem I am having installing this fence?

We assume that those installing our fence and railing systems have some experience or training in installations.  However, our trained customer service representatives may be able to help you troubleshoot certain small problems.  You can reach them by calling 1-252-523-2520.  We also have instructional videos for you to use in troubleshooting your problems.

What colors do you offer?

We offer fencing, railing and other outdoor products in 32 different colors and five woodgrains. You can speak to a customer service representative at SVM by calling 1-252-523-2520 to learn more about our color options.

How can vinyl rail be used in deck or porch applications?

Southern Vinyl Manufacturing supplies many designs that, when properly installed, can make a very stable and preferred rail system for these applications.

Shown here are T-rail systems, 36" high on the first floor and 42" high on the 2nd floor, with a 72" high privacy fence.

How are fence posts installed?

It depends on the region, soil makeup and frost line. In certain parts of the country, a hole can be dug to the appropriate depth, say 24" to 36", the post inserted, and then the hole backfilled with dirt or concrete and packed.

Best practices include knowing:

  • Your property line offset
  • Your easement offset
  • Any right-of-way restrictions
  • Required setbacks from sidewalks and driveways
  • Applicable city ordinances and codes by making a quick call to your local building code official

Call 811 before you dig to keep from hitting underground utility lines.

What does Southern Vinyl Manufacturing consider when building my gate project?

When the time comes that you need a gate to complete your vinyl fence or rail project, Southern Vinyl Manufacturing can provide a vinyl gate for nearly any application, as well as size and style of fence or railing that we offer. In most cases we can closely match a vinyl fence or railing style from another manufacturer. We can even help you design a custom gate using unique profiles and inserts, such as bent and curved rails, to create that one-of-a-kind gate. We manufacture every gate to order.

Here is a list of what we consider when you request a gate:

1. Style.
Does your gate need to match a standard SVM style of fence or railing? If you are matching an SVM style, then simply specify the style or item # of the fence or railing. Although item # is very helpful to our customer service representatives, a brief description will help us identify the style of gate you are looking for.

If you want us to match another manufacturer's fence or rail style, we will just need information about:

  • The style of fence or railing (i.e. privacy, picket, shadowbox, T-Rail, etc.)
  • Rail and picket dimensions (height, width and length)
  • The spacing (or gap) between the pickets, if any
  • The measurement from the top of the gate upright to the top of the top rail
  • The number of rails
  • The measurement(s) between the rails
  • The measurement from the underside of the bottom rail to the bottom of the upright gate
  • Any other information specific to your application that you feel is critical to the design of the gate you are requesting

2. Color.
Although the majority of vinyl fences and railings are white, we also offer a variety of other colors.

3. Height.
If the height of the gate you are requesting matches a standard SVM style, you simply need to supply us with a nominal height (i.e. 4 ft. high or 6 ft. high). A standard SVM gate is designed to match the corresponding standard SVM fence or railing. If the height of the gate you are requesting does not match one of our standard styles, please provide us with your specific height measurements.

4. Type.
We offer two different types of gates: “walk gates” and “double gates.” Walk gates are single leaf gates, basically doors in your fence. A typical walk gate opening is 4 ft. wide, used for people to gain access to a fenced-in area. Double gates are constructed of two leaves, used when access to the fenced-in area is needed by vehicles, riding lawn mowers, etc. A typical double gate opening is 10 ft. wide. Let us know if you need a walk gate or a double gate.

5. Hardware.
All Southern Vinyl Manufacturing gates include the necessary hinges, latch and a drop rod (for double gates), to install your gate. All of our standard gate hardware is stainless steel construction with a black powder coated finish. We use specific hardware as a standard depending on the style of gate and whether or not the gate requested is a standard SVM gate or a custom gate.          

  • Executive Privacy (G01 & G56) and Executive Privacy with Lattice (G08 & G57) gates are supplied with adjustable non-self closing privacy hinges (item # 48778) and an executive latch (item #89256).
  • All other executive gates are supplied with adjustable self closing hinges (item #45985) and an executive latch (item #89256).
  • All essential gates are supplied with essential self closing hinges (item #64023) and an essential latch (item #45523).
  • All Equestrian double gates are supplied with a 48” drop rod (item #82436).
  • All other double gates are supplied with a 24” drop rod (item #52198).
  • We can provide you with additional gate hardware, such as self closing springs, gate wheels, magnetic safety latches, wall mount hinges and latches. Special order rules may apply.

Please let us know if the standard hardware will accommodate your gate application or if you are in need of special order hardware (or no hardware) at the time you request a quote.

*Due to certain design elements, essential gates can only be supplied with essential gate hardware.

6. Width.
There are two ways that you can order the width of your gate:

1. The first method is to tell us exactly how wide you want the gate. This is what we call the “actual” gate width. Don’t forget to factor in tolerances for your hinges and latch. Below is a link to a table that you can reference to determine your actual gate width based on your rough opening or how wide to make your rough opening based on your gate width.

  4' Privacy Walk Gate 10' Privacy Double Gate 4' Essential Walk Gates 10' Essential Double Gates

All Other 4' Walk Gates

All Other 10' Double Gates
Minimal (negative) Rough Opening Tolerance -1.75" -.50" -.50" -2.00" -.75" -.50"
Minimal Allowable Rough Opening 46.25" 119.50" 47.50" 118.50" 47.25" 119.50"
Maximum (positive) Rough Opening Tolerance +.50" +4.50" +1.00" +.50" +.50"


Maximum Allowable Rough Opening 48.50" 124.50" 49" 120.50" 48.50" 122.50"
Total Rough Opening Tolerance 2.25" 5.00" 1.50" 2.50" 1.25" 3.00"
Ideal Rough Opening (IRO) 48" 120" 48" 119" 48" 120"
Gate Hardware Allowance (ideal rough opening minus actual gate width) 3.375"
Actual Gate Width (ACW) (single leaf) 44.625" 58.625" 45.75" 57.75" 45.625" 58.625"
  • Example a: A 4’ wide privacy walk gate with standard privacy gate hardware can fit in a rough opening between 46¼” and 48½”; however, the ideal rough opening is 48”.
  • Example b: If you had a privacy walk gate that had an actual gate width of 38”, you would need to make your rough opening between 39⅝” and 41⅞”; however, the ideal rough opening is 41⅜”.
  • Example c: If you had a rough opening of 50”, you would request a gate with an actual width of 46⅝”.

2. The second and easiest method is to tell us your desired rough opening. We call this the “opening” gate width. Just like the window and door industries, we determine the width of gates based on rough openings. Your rough opening is the distance from post to post. We factor in the tolerances for the hinges and latch for you, and manufacture your gate to fit your rough opening.

Every standard Southern Vinyl Manufacturing gate is designed and manufactured to fit a standard rough opening. All you need tell us is the rough opening, set your gate posts accordingly, and we’ll handle the rest.

7. Other.
We also need to know any other pertinent information, such as:

  • Choice of picket cap (i.e. Dog Ear or Spade)
  • Choice of post cap. We use apex (pyramid) caps on every upright gate unless you ask for a different cap (i.e. Gothic or Dome. Due to design restrictions, New England caps are not available for use on gate uprights).
  • Do you have a need for a curved or bent rail?
  • Do you have concerns about the grade of the terrain where the gate is to be installed on your project?
  • Do you need the gate to be shorter to accommodate a sidewalk?

Performance Questions

Does vinyl have a warranty?

Your Southern Vinyl Manufacturing product contains two types of warranties.

As a fabricator, SVM warrants against fabrication defects caused by our company.  Fabrication involves cutting lineals to length, routing lineals on CNC machines, and, in some cases, assembling the product.  If we don't do these things right, we will make it right. 

Your product also carries a transferable, limited lifetime warranty as provided by our lineal extrusion supplier and accessory suppliers. Visit our Warranties and Technical Info pages for more information.

What effect does vinyl have on the environment?

PVC is the world's most versatile plastic. Approximately 76% of all PVC is used in construction materials. SVM's products are very durable, easy to install, and safe.  Our product is constructed from a rigid PVC, also known as uPVC or unplasticized PVC.

Our vinyl products do not support combustion (the chloride in poly vinyl chloride makes it self-extiguishing when flame is removed) and are non-toxic.  Read more about PVC and the environment here.  No phthalate plasticizers are included in the extruded lineals we purchase. The fabricated products you receive from us are made from these purchased lineals. Unlike the potential with flexible products, our rigid product cannot leach phthalate softeners, since these additives are never part of the process.

Less than 50% of the final uPVC product is derived from fossil fuels, requiring approximately 0.5 kg of natural gas to produce 1 kg of uPVC. Competing materials require up to 1.75 kg of oil to produce 1 kg of product, and are approximately 98% derived from fossil fuels. uPVC is roughly 50% natural gas and 50% common, everyday salt (the source of the chlorine that results in polyvinyl chloride).

What is our vinyl made of?

SVM vinyl is a product consisting of a predetermined mix of select raw materials such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), stabilizers, colorants, UV inhibitors, and impact modifiers. It is an unplasticized or rigid product.  Read more about the main ingredient, polyvinyl chloride, here.

What is TIO2?

Titanium dioxide is the whitener in PVC fence and rail. It is also used in paints, coatings, plastics, papers, inks, foods and medicine. Ti02 is the most widely used white pigment in the world and performs very important functions for Southern Vinyl Manufacturing’s PVC products. Read more about titanium dioxide here.

What are impact modifiers?

Impact modifiers are supplements added to compounded vinyl material that provide enhanced impact performance. They provide the product with enough toughness during impact to resist breaking and enough rigidity to prevent the product from warping or sagging under normal use and conditions.

How is vinyl fence/rail made?

The raw materials to make vinyl are mixed, heated and extruded into lineals that look similar to lumber. Then, Southern Vinyl Manufacturing purchases these lineals from suppliers. Today, most extruders produce co-extruded lineals, with a capstock of roughly 15 to 25% of the product containing many additional additives and weathering ingredients to help protect our products from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

We add value by making products to order. When we receive your order, we schedule for production. We cut the lineals to size, route holes for pickets or rails, assemble the desired style, package the order and then ship it out. Our order >make >ship >bill process is one of the most efficient in the industry.

Will my fence/rail turn yellow?

Your fence has an appropriate level of UV inhibitors which prevent the sun’s rays from turning it yellow.  We do recommend that you keep your fence clean from dirt and grime to avoid discoloration from foreign contaminants.

Will my fence/rail mildew?

Mildew is a living organism and grows on organic materials. Vinyl is a non-organic material and cannot support mildew growth.  Mildew will, however, attach to dirt on the vinyl if the vinyl is not cleaned periodically.

How do I clean my vinyl product?

The product can be cleaned with a mild detergent and water. For more difficult stains or dirt, use a non-abrasive cleaner like Simple Green. Vinyl fence and rails can also be pressure washed, the same as you might do to the vinyl exterior of your home.

An annual cleaning is usually sufficient to prevent organic material like dirt from accumulating on the product.  At Southern Vinyl Manufacturing, we pride ourselves on offering products that are very low maintenance.

Will vinyl expand and/or contract?

Vinyl, like most materials, will expand and contract.  Extreme cold will cause vinyl to contract and make it slightly less flexible.  Extreme heat will cause vinyl to expand.  However, our designs and installation instructions take these conditions into account and allow for normal expansion and contraction.

Will my fence stand up to wind?

Our vinyl fencing designs are produced in accordance with testing required to meet specific wind loads if installed according to the installation instructions. Look over our Warranties and Technical Info for more information.

Will my fence/rail crack, rot, chip or peel?

No, unless abused. Direct contact with weed trimmers and other lawn equipment can and will damage vinyl, metal and wood products. Please use caution when operating equipment around these materials.

Should vinyl be painted?

No. Vinyl fence and vinyl rail systems should never be painted. First, painting your vinyl product voids our lineal supplier’s warranty. Second, vinyl needs to expand and contract. Painting inhibits this inherent quality and, if painted, may cause the vinyl or paint to buckle and distort, as the vinyl finds a way to move slightly in the heat of the day and the cool of the night. You may have seen this type of movement with other vinyl products, like vinyl siding. Vinyl siding is hung, not firmly face-nailed in place, to allow for this expansion and contraction feature. Even though vinyl fence and vinyl rail profiles are much thicker than vinyl siding, meaning the movement is much less, the product still needs to be allowed to expand and contract. Painting locks in these small, imperceptible movements and may lead to big problems, including paint cracking and peeling.

We offer plenty of shades of colors in each of our vinyl products to accommodate your needs.  Different colors can be used together to create striking, one-of-a-kind designs.

Why are Southern Vinyl Manufacturing’s riveted picket systems superior?

A riveted picket system satisfies several needs by mimicking the traditional look of a wood picket fence and allowing for a high degree of racking (great for sloped yards).

It's all in the details. Southern Vinyl Manufacturing uses larger-than-normal, 3/16" thick aluminum triple-fold blind rivets in its riveted picket systems. The rivet's all-aluminum design delivers a high degree of resistance to rust and corrosion. Aluminum rivets are particularly useful where high strength is critical. SVM designs our systems to keep the picket firmly attached to the rail. The thick rivet means the blind end of the rivet expands by roughly 1½  times its original diameter upon installation, leaving a very tight fit on the blind side that maximizes strength. The expanded tri-fold butterfly wings leave a wide footprint and anchor to the inner wall of the rail, keeping all parts of the system in place.

Close up interior shot of installed rivet Sample 2"x3-1/2" rail with 7/8"x3" picket attached (picket cut out and rotated 90 degrees from normal, for presentation)

Because the picket is riveted to the rail, the picket can rotate on the rivet's axis. This allows for a high degree of racking.

You may see other systems that have glued, welded or screwed-on pickets. Glued and welded systems do not allow for racking and may be difficult to repair. A missing picket undermines the look of your entire yard. A screwed-on system, where the pickets are screwed onto the rails, cannot obtain as tight a fit as a riveted system. In addition, a screwed-on system may wobble loose over time due to wind, vibrations and normal expansion and contraction. The screws can also rust away, if not made out of a superior material like aluminum. Our pickets will remain attached. Our tests show our special rivets resist failure extremely well.

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