A recent project inspired me to discuss the topic of fences with you. There are many reasons to install fencing. It may be to contain your children or family pet, it may be to prevent intruders from entering your property, perhaps to increase your privacy, or to block any unpleasant views of your neighbours or just to boost your curb appeal.
There are hundreds of different types and styles to choose from, each with their own maintenance requirements and prices.
The first thing you’ll need to do to narrow down your list of hundreds of fence options is select fence options that will not create animosity with your neighbors (let your neighbors know your plan.), or violate local laws and regulations which dictate the maximum height allowed, how far they must be from property lines, and whether they’re even permitted in front yards. Note, that contractors also have construction codes to follow. (For example, if you’re looking to do a 5 ft. fence, you will have to purchase 9ft posts as 4ft of the post has to go in the ground.)
A defined purpose for the erection of a fence will help narrow your choices. There are four general categories to choose from:
Privacy Fence: This type has tightly spaced vertical or horizontal boards, or pickets (pointed stakes), or framed panels to prevent you from seeing out and others from seeing in. It should be at least 6 feet tall so most people won’t see over it.
Security Fence: This type of fence serves one main purpose…to keep people out. Again, you’ll again want a fence that’s 6 feet tall or higher to hinder anyone from simply hopping over it. Vertical tightly spaced fencing is preferred over horizontal and pickets or spiked tops will further protect your property from unwanted entry.
Decorative Fence: If you are looking to add a structural element to your landscape or boost curb appeal. You don’t have to get a large or obstructive one. A simple 2ft or 4ft tall fence with spaced pickets, or lattice work, or any other of the many sorts of ornamental designs will work to enhance the look of your landscape. Or you can go completely simple with a small horizontal rail fence, and then just paint or stain it a lovely colour of your choice.
Safety Fence: This type is for containment purposes in that it can be used to create a dog run, enclose a pool area, or deter wild life from trespassing on your property, all without changing the view or the landscape too much. The most durable and economic solution for this type of fence is a chain link type.
Pick Your Material
Once you’ve decided on your fence type you’ll have to select the material it’s made from. This is the step that truly dictates the price choose the material it’s made from. That’s what’s going to determine its price, the maintenance it needs, and its warranty.
Wood: The most common fence material, wood provides a traditional look at a moderate price. Depending on the species you choose, from low-cost pine to high-end cedar or redwood. Pressure treated wood is recommended also a stain or wood preservative to protect it from insects, rot, and ultraviolet light. Expect to repeat the job every three to five years.
Warranty: From 0 to 15 years depending on wood species.
Vinyl and Composite: These faux-wood fences are made from either solid vinyl or a mix of wood fibers and plastic resins. In either case, the material is formed into rails, pickets, and other fence parts that get assembled piece-by-piece just like wood fences.
The most available colour is white, but there are different hues around as well. The colour is mixed into the material itself, so it never needs painting. The best of these products look exactly like the real thing, so if you want a painted wood fence, this is a way to get it without all of the maintenance that wood requires.
Warranty: From 20 years to lifetime.
They’re actually made from welded tubes of steel or aluminum. Factory paint coatings means metal fence will need virtually no routine maintenance, however, you may have to spot treat/touch up any coating that cracks or peels to prevent corrosion.
Warranty: From 20 years to lifetime.
Chain Link and Wire: This is the most economical of fences. Chain links also have the advantage of almost disappearing into the scenery, especially if it has a black or green plastic coating on the mesh.
If, on the other hand, you prefer not to see through the fence, you can order it with vertical privacy slats woven into the mesh.
Warranty: From 12 to 15 years.