If you’re considering installing a new fence, no doubt, you have already asked yourself plenty of questions. After all, even a low-cost new fence is a considerable investment in your home and not something you would do without careful consideration. But while you may have thought through your decision, you may have overlooked some questions, too. To make sure you know all you need to know going into a fence installation, here are seven excellent questions to ask before installing a new fence. Once you have a clear answer to all of these questions, you will be in the perfect position to find your fence company and start building.
1. What is the Purpose of This Fence?
You know you want a new fence. But do you really know why? Obviously, something has gotten you thinking about it, but clearly laying out all the expected functions of your new fence is an important exercise. There are several reasons people install fences, and each one comes with its own set of considerations.
For many homeowners, a good fence is the best way to keep out prying eyes and unwanted views. A privacy fence is a solid fence with little or no gaps and usually at least six-feet high. It can block others from seeing into your property, but it can also block unwanted views from your property. For instance, if your home backs up onto a busy road or some other undesirable view, a privacy fence can make your yard feel a little more secluded. A solid privacy fence can also block out some noise.
Curb appeal is the first impression you get of a home as you approach from the curb. It relies solely on the home’s external appearance, so no matter how lovely the inside is, if the curb appeal stinks, that first impression can be hard to shake. If you plan on selling your home, increasing your curb appeal is of paramount importance. If you don’t have any plans to sell, you may still want to improve curb appeal just to make your home look great. Whatever your reason, if your goal is to increase curb appeal, you have to consider what a fence will look like from the street. It should be made of high-quality materials and match the style of your home.
For some homeowners, a well-constructed fence is a security measure. A installing a new security fence keeps intruders as far from your home as possible. And even the appearance of a security fence is often enough to discourage the average criminal from attempting a break-in. Most criminals go for easy targets, and a home with a security fence is not so easy to get into. If your fence is there to provide security, you need to consider the strength and durability of your fencing material, as well as its placement, gates, and latches.
Protecting Children and Pets
Both pets and young children often have a mind of their own when it comes to wandering off. If you want to spend playtime in your yard but don’t want to spend your time corralling children and pets, a fence is a great way to keep everyone contained. For children, most privacy fences will suffice. For pets, you may need to consider their size, strength, and abilities when selecting a fence. Here’s a handy guide to choosing the right fence for your dog.
Marking a Boundary
One of the oldest reasons for fence building is to mark the boundary of your property. A boundary fence may pull double duty, also supplying privacy, security, and other benefits. But it also comes with its unique needs. Specifically, if you plan to place a fence around the boundary of your property, you need to obtain a survey that clearly marks your property line. The documents are usually available from your local county assessor’s office. Make sure you share those documents with your contractor before they begin. You also may need to talk to your neighbors since a fence build right on your property line is actually shared property with your neighbor.
Pool fences are unique because they are installed inside your property instead of around it. A pool fence is a critical safety tool, and many state and local governments require them. There are usually laws that govern the details of a pool fence, so you need to make sure your contractor knows them and follows them. Otherwise, you could find yourself tearing it down and starting over.
2. How Much Do You Plan to Spend?
It might seem like you should make other decisions first, like which material you want or what you want your fence to look like. But starting with your budget ensures that you don’t get stuck on a fence you can’t afford. On the other hand, it also prevents you from underspending. Saving money is great, but if you have the cash budgeted, there may be additional features that you hadn’t considered.
Of course, deciding a budget goes hand in hand with determining the purpose of your fence. There is a very wide variety of fence types and materials, with drastically different costs. So if you don’t know where to start with budgeting, you can begin by considering the minimum cost for the type of fence you want. If you can’t afford it, you’ll need to make other plans. Of course, never let price discourage you completely. You never know what kind of deals are out there. Whatever type of fence you are trying to budget for, Bravo Fence Company can help with a free, no-obligation estimate. We also provide financing options.
3. What is the Right Material?
Once you know what you want your fence to do and how much you have to spend, you can start thinking realistically about what material you want.
Wood is a traditional and versatile fencing material. Some popular and very different types of wood fences are short decorative picket fences, taller privacy fences, and rustic split-rail fences. When you choose to build with wood, it is important to think about maintenance. As a natural material, wood is subject to weathering, infestation, and rot if it is not well-maintained. The type of wood and finish you use can affect how you maintain your fence, too.
Aluminum or Steel
A steel or aluminum fence can imitate the look of traditional wrought iron, or it can provide a sleek, modern style. Whichever style you choose, metal fences are elegant and strong. For added security, steel is stronger than aluminum, but aluminum tends to require less maintenance. Many metal fences are incorporated as half fences on top of a hardscaped while such as brick. Metal is a great material for a fence that will increase curb appeal. The thin, widely-spaced pickets allow you to see the home and its landscaping while providing an upscale touch of design.
Chain link fences have gotten a bad rap due to their use as commercial and industrial security fencing. But modern chain link makes a great residential fence, too. Chain link comes in different sizes, and chain-link coated in vinyl provides a softer look, more color options, and added durability. Chain link is relatively inexpensive, so it’s a good choice for installing a new fence on large properties where the cost per foot can really start to add up. Chain-link can also be dressed up with hedges or privacy slats.
Vinyl is the lazy person’s ideal fence material. It’s a little more expensive than wood, but it requires almost no maintenance. It is not an organic material, so it won’t rust or rot, and it is impervious to insects. The color is baked into the material itself, so scratches hardly show. And it stands up well to almost any weather. The most common maintenance for a vinyl fence is just an occasional cleaning with a garden hose or pressure washer to clean off dirt and pollen. Vinyl can mimic the look of any type of wood fence, from ornamental pickets to solid privacy fences.
4. How Tall Should the Fence Be?
The height of your fence will be based mostly on its purpose. A privacy fence needs to be tall enough that people can’t see in. Typical privacy fences are six-feet tall, but they can stretch up to eight feet. Ornamental fences can be as short as four or even three feet. One consideration when choosing a fence height is whether there are any local regulations about it. Some homeowners associations or municipalities limit fence height, which you need to know before you start installing.
5. Are There Local Rules or Regulations About Fences?
No matter where you live, there is a good chance that your jurisdiction has something to say about fences. County and city governments sometimes regulate where you place a fence and how tall it can be. Homeowners associations can be even more specific, getting into the nitty-gritty of fence styles and other design features. At the very least, your contractor may need to contact the local utilities before digging to learn about any buried pipes or wires. Make sure you have researched all the applicable rules and regulations in the planning stages, or you could risk fines or even have to remove your brand-new fence.
6. Have You Talked to Your Neighbors?
They say good fences make good neighbors. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. If you plan on installing a new fence along the edge of your property or anywhere your neighbors can see it, you may want to give them a heads up about your plans. While you have no obligation to them (assuming the fence is entirely on your property), giving them advance notice can help prevent disputes and contention down the road.
If you plan on installing a new fence along the boundary of your property, you absolutely must consult with your neighbor. Many local law codes stipulate that a boundary fence is shared property. Your neighbor has certain rights. And if you let them know ahead of time, they may also be willing to share some of the cost of the new fence.
7. Do I Really Need a New Fence?
Planning a new fence can be exciting, but before you dive in, consider whether you really need a whole new fence. Sometimes an existing fence can be repaired. Of course, as fences age and break down, a replacement becomes more cost-effective than a repair. But just in case, check out our post about whether you should repair or replace your fence.