Picking the type of fence for your yard is a big decision that results in a long term investment. This page of Costimates will help you evaluate your needs and budget, then choose the right type of fence to fit those needs.
A fence is an incredibly vital part of your home. It not only provides functionality and privacy, but elevates the look of your home as well. While the job of installing a fence may seem like a rather straightforward process if you’re a handy homeowner, the task of choosing a fence might be a little harder than you expect. There are more types of fences to choose from than there have ever been, which is why you need to consider a few factors before you head out to the store and pick up supplies, or call out a contractor to give you a price.
To make the process easier and help you attain results you’ll be happy with for the next 10-15 years, we’ve listed several questions that you need to ask yourself before you install your fence.
The first question you need to answer is, why are you installing a fence? What is its main purpose or function? Some people choose to put up a fence to maintain their privacy, while others put up a fence to keep their pets and children from running out onto the street. Others may just need it around a pool to meet laws in their area.
Different types of fences are designed to meet different needs and getting it right the first time is important. For example, if you want a fence that your dog won’t jump over, you need something that is high enough to serve as a deterrent. It is always better to give preference to your primary fencing needs before appearance, because the look of a fence can always be altered. The functionality however, has got to remain constant for the life of the fence.
I’m sure there are more reasons than these, but they seem to be the most relevant. If you installed a fence for a different reason, please go to the comment section below and tell us why.
Once you’ve decided to put up a fence, it’s very important to check on local laws or community bylaws that may be governed by a Home Owners Association. While you may have your heart set on an 8′ privacy fence, local laws may prohibit a privacy fence that tall in all but commercial areas. HOA’s present their own challenges, since they may require it match adjoining property, or only allow specific styles, sizes and types of fencing in your managed community.
While you may not think the city, county, or local laws can be a major factor in your new fence, the Lectric Law Library will dispel that myth quickly with an overview of various laws and regulations pertaining to fences. Always check local ordinances and HOA bylaws before buying and installing a fence.
While your neighbors needn’t be your first concern when deciding what you can and can’t do on your own property, communication is the key to good relations and effective planning. After you’ve installed a new fence is definitely not the best time to hear that your neighbors are just about to put up a fence of their own. This is especially true if they are putting up a completely different kind of fence.
By working together, not only can you save money by doing both fences at the same time (whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor), but you can also avoid the frustration of installing a $20,000 ornamental wrought iron fence and then watching your neighbors put a chain link fence right next to it. Communication now, can save you headache and grief later.
While budget concerns are always an important consideration for money conscious homeowners, your needs may differ from your bank account, which is why we listed the other questions ahead of this one. For example, if all your budget allows for is a split rail fence, but your primary objective is privacy or your HOA doesn’t allow anything taller than 4 feet, you’ll have to either adjust your budget, move to a new area without strict bylaws, or as a last resort, consider other options.
Additionally, if you have 300 feet of fence to be installed, wood may be a less expensive option than a vinyl fence while still achieving the desired look and results. If you are setting up the fence yourself, you need to take into consideration the cost of all the tools and materials that you will need. If you are hiring an outside contractor to do the job, you need to take into consideration the cost of installation as well as allowing a 10% overage budget for unpredictable charges, like underground wires or pipes that needs to be worked around or routed differently.
Nobody likes to add more tasks onto their exterior home maintenance checklist without a very good reason, and different types of fences require different kinds of maintenance. Some, like vinyl fencing, only require you to pressure wash it every few years, while a wooden picket fence may need to be washed, scraped, and/or painted every 4-5 years. Likewise, fences that are made of metal or aluminum don’t need much maintenance at all, and can last for many years without much care.
We’ve got that comment box down there so readers like yourself can talk to us and tell us their own experiences (or nightmares) with fence projects. Share ideas, experiences, costs, and anything else you think might help the next visitor looking for advice on buying a fence.