Durabrac owner Mike Sheehan has been working with vinyl for several decades now. He started in the custom sign business molding, bending and heating vinyl into, well, brilliant works of art. He realized there was more he could do with vinyl than wood or metal and it would last!

Pub sign in vinyl. Sails, ship, water, lettering, flags, background, etc. are all vinyl. Only part that is not vinyl are ship masts which are copper tubing. The rest is painted to look weathered or like copper.

Over the decades, he has tested out multiple vendors and manufacturers of vinyl sheets. He has it down to a science. He knows which have the best properties for durability, color-fastness, and malleability. He’s learned how to use the grain (or lack thereof) to his advantage. And, in the last several years, he has perfected his Precision Heat Forming to make beautiful, seamless curves and bevels–no laminating done here.

Continuous, smooth curves made by Durabrac’s Precision Heat Forming.

So let’s ask the Expert a few things about Vinyl and Vinyl Brackets. (Or come and ask him in person at the National Homebuilders Show in Vegas, South Hall, Booth SU870, Feb. 19-21.)

  1. What is the Fire Rating? Durabrac brackets have a Class A fire rating while wood is Class B and polyurethane foam is Class C.
  2. Can they be painted? Yes. But they don’t have to be. They can be left in their natural white state. 
  3. Can they be painted a dark color? Vinyl is not tolerant of extreme heat.  As surface temperatures approach 140 degrees, distortion caused by the softening of the material is a possibility. That’s not to say you can’t paint PVC/Vinyl darker colors.  Vinyl manufacturers recommend using a LRV of 55 or higher when painting PVC/Vinyl (white has a value of 100; black is 0). In my personal opinion, I feel the LRV recommendation of 55 or higher is a conservative number and that the location of the vinyl should be factored in when considering the LRV rating of your paint color.  You should consider the location of your bracket and the level of sun exposure (ie. large overhangs and porches providing shade are better places for darker painted brackets than someplace with constant direct sun.)
  4. Can vinyl brackets be structural? In a word… no. At least not technically. But, we’ve actually come up with a solution to achieve the durability of PVC decorative brackets while maintaining structural support: use traditional angled braces of wood or steel to support the load and cover the structure with the PVC bracket. It may not sound original, but how we’ve designed the brackets to do this is. And it solves a major installation problem in the field.
  5. How do you install them? Very easily. Use stainless steel screws or nails (depending on the size of the bracket). The big builder brackets are hollow and easily slip over blocking. Our porch brackets can be nailed or screwed directly to a post or wall.
  6. How do Vinyl Brackets compare to polyurethane foam brackets like Fypon or traditional wood? There are many advantages to choosing vinyl over foam or wood. Fire-rating, light-weight, ease of installation, durability, longevity, low maintenance and paintability are just a few. In addition, we have found that our products can be much less expensive than their foam or wood counterparts. Not to mention, they will last forever and can’t be punctured or destroyed by burrowing bees or woodpeckers. In the end, their long-term value is undeniable. Click here to see a COMPARISON chart.
  7. Can I put Vinyl brackets on a historical home I’m renovating and get away with it? YES! You absolutely can and should! (Unless it’s listed on the historical records and you have rules to follow.) Vinyl brackets very often get mistaken for wood, especially when they are hung up high or painted. We have worked on many restoration projects where a customer has sent us a picture of an old bracket and we recreated it in vinyl. It’s much more cost-efficient and will last forever; looking the same year after year. Why spend the money to update and renovate a beautiful old home only to have your brackets fade, crack or peel in a few years?


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