Fence Materials – Pros and Cons

by Matty Alvarez

Fences have long been a favored method of maintaining privacy and deterring unwelcome tourists, from the post-and-rail zigzag of the Colonial period to the intricate molded vinyl designs of today. There’s a fencing design and material suitable for your house, whether you want to keep your dogs safely in your yard or keep the neighborhood kids out of your flowerbed.

Take a few minutes to contact the nearest zoning office before packing your truck with fence supplies at the lumberyard to find out what, if any, tentative measures you need to take. When you place the fencing on a property line, you will need to survey a lot. If you belong to a group of homeowners or reside in a development subject to covenants, you might be limited to using particular materials and limited to the height of the fence. When you have the green light, the next move is to pick the right kind of material for the fence.

Cedar Fencing


Cedar is known for its long-lasting good looks-tight wood, fewer knots, and a desirable red hue-and its promise never to warp or shorten. Cedar, the king of backyard privacy fencing. While cedar still avoids decay and insects naturally, this wood is not as impervious to soil as treated wood and will possibly rot after many years. If you want to build a fence from cedar, it’s recommended to mount in a concrete foundation or secure to fence posts that are handled timber. Even so, the method of construction is DIY-friendly, and the planks can be modified to produce a number of designs, including saddleback and lattice-topped.

Maintenance Tip: Cedar naturally weathers to a silvery gray, and maintenance, including occasional plank removal, would be needed for a fence of this material. For long-lasting color and protection, directly after installation and annually afterwards, add a penetrating sealant.

Vinyl Fencing


For a few decades, vinyl fencing has been popular, but it is still a relatively young kid on the street. Within a couple of years, early vinyl fencing products have a propensity to yellow, sag, or become brittle, but today’s fence makers put out robust fencing products in a number of heights and sizes. Thickness matters when it comes to quality; “virgin” vinyl can look best for the longest period of time on a thicker gauge (some with a lifetime guarantee). Installation needs to be correct with the best performance, so try employing a skilled fence installer. In the completed fence, a little out-of-level here or somewhat out-of-plumb there would be significantly visible.

Maintenance Tip: Vinyl fencing is practically maintenance-free after it is installed. Clean the mud out with a gentle detergent from time to time, spray with a garden hose, and you’re all right to go.

Composite FencingĀ 


Composite fencing, made from wood fibers mixed with synthetic polymers, gives a look like wood without the potential to decay from insects and rot. Such a mix of form and content is marginally more costly than vinyl and cedar, but composite requires effective construction by specialists in both material and design, such as vinyl fencing. Because the consistency of the content varies, you’ll want to explore the choices and purchase a trustworthy dealer’s composite fencing parts.

Maintenance Tip: Composite fencing only requires an occasional spraying with plain water after competent installation to keep it looking safe and new.

Teak and Redwood Fences


For a redwood or teak fence, you can pay top dollar, but nothing else compares to their natural softness and luster. Since they’re costly, redwood and teak fencing are typically limited to small areas: enclosures around spas or pools. Like cedar, redwood and teak, insects, rotting, fading, and warping from the elements are all naturally resistant.

Maintenance Tip: In order to preserve their original colour, both redwood and teak require the application of a penetrating sealer or oil once or twice a year. Surface weathering can be eliminated by light sanding prior to application.

Metal Fence


Metal fencing choices vary from traditional to modern, with a choice to complement or combine with the exterior of the house. Wrought iron fences have survived decades of changes in style, and for good reason: they are highly robust, rather than merely classic. If you’re trying to integrate the conventional appeal of wrought iron into your house, consider employing a professional fencing manufacturer, as these enclosures appear to be specially made to suit the property and even have more complex designs. Few newer metal choices bundle the power of wrought iron for a more DIY-friendly panel installation, including cast iron, aluminum, and steel fences.

Maintenance Tip: Aluminum fencing stands up all year long without rust, but when they start showing signs of corrosion, wrought iron and some steel fences need treatment with a brush-on or spray-on, rust-inhibiting coating.

Treated Wood


Pressure- and chemically-treated wood pickets or cedar-style planks are a common alternative for whole outdoor structures-gazebos, decks, pergolas, and more-and assembled as a fence, at a wallet-friendly rate, they give protection. While this more inexpensive fencing alternative is a great choice for fence posts embedded into the ground (treated wood avoids all insects and moisture), the fence pickets begin to warp or curl as easily as one month after installation. Instead of getting them shipped in bulk, handpick the planks individually from your nearest lumberyard for the best chance at a warp-free performance. Look for the straightest planks and miss any “green” or moist looking planks that may mean they have just come from the factory and are more likely to slip as they dry.

Maintenance Tip: For a better look, seal or paint treated wood, and repair bent planks as appropriate.

Masonry Fences


Concrete, stucco, brick, block, and stone fencing establish a stately aesthetic around the house, but at a cost: expensive and competent installation is needed for these materials. Masonry fences require a structural foundation poured below the frost line due to their weight, or the extent to which the groundwater in the soil is likely to freeze in winter. For reasons of both design and expense, often homeowners combine some form of masonry with another fencing material, such as wrought iron or wood. Block and poured concrete require steel protection and brick fences also have an inner barrier of concrete or block just on the outside of brick veneer.

Maintenance Tip: Over time, mortar joints will work loose in stone and brick fences and need re-pointing to stabilize.

Chain Link Fencing Solutions


Although their open ties obviously don’t do much for safety, at a competitively low cost, chain link fences provide sufficient protection for pets and children. The materials are among the least costly fencing alternatives available, making this type of fence a popular choice for large rural yards where other solutions are cost-prohibitive because of the amount of fencing involved. An easy-to-DIY construction, in addition to inexpensive materials, which includes placing poles, adding a top rail, and then extending connected mesh between rails and posts, saves more money for homeowners.

Maintenance tip: Chain link can corrode, but it is difficult to avoid, particularly at the junctions where the mesh connections meet. Consider switching to vinyl-coated chain links for a cleaner appearance and a longer life.

Barbed Wire For Fences


This kind of fencing is purely practical, typically set up to hold cattle out or natural predators in. For land owners looking to fence in a wider area, the basic configuration is simple and cheap enough: five strands of barbed wire strung taut between metal T-posts along the perimeter of the property, with heavier wood or steel posts mounted at the corners to maintain the extended wire stress. Know the barbed wire fencing is limited to rural use and banned in most areas until you mount it.

Maintenance Tip: If they sag due to cattle leaning on them, barbed wire strands should be re-stretched from time to time.

Getting a fence will increase your home’s safety, protection and curb appeal. Some fences clearly add a break between busy houses and street traffic, while others are built between a home and the outside world as an additional layer of protection. And all are mounted to keep livestock confined.

When determining what sort of fence is best for your home and your needs, there are a range of aspects to remember. Luckily for you, we have put everything you need to know together to find the right fence for your property at the best price for your budget.

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You need to determine what you expect it to do before you know how large the fence should be or what it should be made of.

Provide privacy: You can actually want a fence to break up the line of sight if you live in a crowded community or on a busy street. For the sake of safety, PVC/vinyl and wood are perfect materials to consider if you want to create a fence.

Provide security: Any form of fencing may provide an access barrier between your home and the world beyond, but those constructed of aluminum or wrought iron provide greater protection than other materials.

Contain Your Pets: With the right fencing, keeping your animals in your yard (and probably other animals out) is easy. It needs to be tall enough that it can not be leapt over or climbed by your pet, and the structure needs to be clear of any holes or loopholes they might escape into. For containment fences, aluminum and PVC/vinyl are typical materials.

Keep in mind that a mixture of privacy and protection is provided by most fences. A specialist in fencing installation will analyze your property and assess the scale and style of fence that is appropriate for your yard and needs.

DIY or Hire a Specialist Fencing Contractor

Many homeowners can self-install basic fencing. You may, however, choose to employ a specialist for the position because of time limitations and the physical demands of the job.

A DIY setup will save you money, but you’ll run the risk of errors as well. It could cost more to correct such errors later than if you had hired a specialist at the beginning.

Hiring a trustworthy fencing contractor is your best choice if you’re installing a major privacy or security fence. He or she is most likely to achieve outputs with consistency and finish the job on schedule. Interview at least three experts when interviewing to get the pricing quote in writing before construction starts.

To ensure the construction is legal, check central, county and state codes before building any fencing. Additional permits can involve the job.

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