If the time has come to replace your fence, you have an important decision to make. Should you go the more affordable route and opt for another pine, chain link, or aluminum fence? Or should you invest a bit more money in a new vinyl fence? Here are four good reasons to spend the extra money on vinyl this time around.

There's absolutely no maintenance required.

Many fencing materials are marketed as "low maintenance." Though you may not have to stain or paint them every year, they do still require some painting or care. Vinyl is one of the only types of fencing that are truly maintenance-free. You don't ever have to paint it or waterproof it. Even washing is is purely optional — the dirt won't cause any damage if you choose to just leave it there.

It's safe for kids and pets.

It's only a matter of time before your dog tries to lick or bite your fence. And if you have young children, there's a good chance they'll do the same. (Or else, they'll at least touch the fence and lick their hands while playing.) This behavior can prove dangerous if your fence has been treated with waterproofing agents, insecticides, or other chemicals. But vinyl never needs any of these treatments, so you don't have to be concerned about the risks to your family members — furry and otherwise.

It's an eco-friendly choice.

The fact that vinyl does not need to be sprayed with any chemicals, from pesticides to waterproofers, is good for the planet, as these agents are often harmful to wildlife and plants. You can even purchase vinyl that is made from recycled materials for a greater earth-friendly boost.

It comes in many different colors and patterns.

No matter what you want your fence to look like, you can find a vinyl pattern with that look. There are fences that look so much like real wood that only you will ever know the difference. There are others made to look like wrought iron or stone. Of course, if plain white or brown vinyl fencing is your preference, you have many options to choose from, too.

If you are in need of a new fence, you won't regret your choice to have a vinyl one installed. To learn more about the benefits of vinyl and the many designed available, speak with a fencing contractor in your local area or check out websites like http://www.phoenixfence.com.