Author: Bravo Fence Company

Can I Fix My Fence?

Can I Fix My Fence

A common question we hear from homeowners is, “can I fix my fence.” It’s an important question to ask because while a new fence may be a good value, it’s not always cheap. A high-quality fence is an investment in your property. But if you want to get the full returns from that investment, you need to get the maximum lifespan out of your fence. Maintenance goes a long way to preserving your fence. But there also may be times you need to repair your fence. And while repairs are usually less expensive than a new fence, they are not always the best bang for your buck.

If you are repairing a fence that has reached the limit of its useful years, you’re just throwing money down the drain. It won’t be long before you need more and more repairs. Soon you will have spent more than it would have cost to get a fresh, new fence. So when homeowners ask if they can fix their fence, the answer is that it depends. Read on to learn how to make the right investment in your property, whether it is fixing an old fence or installing a new one.

Can I Fix My Fence [infographic]

Wood Fences

Wood is the most common material for residential fences. The wood privacy fence is a nearly ubiquitous feature of suburban living. But wood is more susceptible to damage than some other materials. Because it is an organic material, it is vulnerable to rot and insects. It can also be bleached and dried by the sun. Staining or painting your fence goes a long way toward protecting it from the ravishes of nature, but they’re not a permanent solution. A wood fence should be restrained or repainted about every five years to get the full benefit. And even with that kind of protection, fences naturally age.

When to Repair:

Wood can warp, splinter, and develop holes. If the damage is isolated to a couple of small holes, you can usually fix that with some wood putty and a new paint job. Even if the damage is more extensive, you can still fix your fence by replacing a few pickets or a fence panel. When a post is leaning or rotted, that can be a more extensive repair. Posts are cemented into the ground, so it’s a big job to remove and replace a rotting post. If a fence is leaning because the ground has shifted, you may be able to repair it by adding soil and realigning the post.

When to Replace:

If you find that you have to make repairs season after season, your fence may be nearing the end of its useful life. It may be time to cut your losses and invest in a new fence. The extent of the damage is another factor. If more than 20% of your fence needs repair, it is usually better to replace the whole thing. If large sections of your fence are warped or leaning, even if it’s not 20% of your total fence area, you may be better off with a new fence.

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences are popular due to their low price point and almost zero maintenance requirements. There’s just not a lot to do to your vinyl fence beyond cleaning it from time to time. But even a vinyl fence won’t last forever. If your vinyl fence is showing signs of age or damage, you need to decide whether you’ll fix your fence or replace the whole thing.

When to Repair:

A vinyl fence is basically plastic, so not much can damage it. You don’t have to worry about rot or insects as you might with wood. However, after years of exposure to sunlight, the vinyl can become brittle and crack. And although vinyl is more durable than wood, it also can’t be fixed like wood. If your vinyl fence cracks, the only option is to replace the damaged panel. (Vinyl fencing almost always comes as complete panels.) If you have a single crack, it certainly makes sense to replace just that section.

When to Replace:

It’s pretty easy to calculate when to replace your vinyl fence. If 20% or more of the panels need to be replaced, the cost to fix the fence will be significant. More importantly, it is a sign that your fence is reaching its terminal age, and there is no telling how much more you will have to replace in the next few years. At that point, it makes more sense to replace the whole thing than make patchwork repairs. Another reason you might replace a vinyl fence is if the posts are coming loose. One loose post can be fixed. But if your entire fence—or a large section of it—is leaning, you need to start fresh.

Aluminum Fences

Of all the ornamental metal fences, aluminum is one of the most popular choices. It is cost-effective, low-maintenance, and beautiful. Aluminum fence designs range from classical wrought iron styles to clean modern designs. They are the perfect solution for homeowners who want the look of metal without the very high cost of wrought iron or the maintenance requirements of steel. But even an aluminum fence is not entirely worry-free.

When to Repair:

Aluminum fences are hard to damage, but not impossible. The most common damage you’ll find on an aluminum fence is corrosion. Aluminum fences are coated with a durable layer of sealer that prevents most corrosion. But you can get dings and nicks in the coating that allow for small areas of corrosion. (Aluminum can corrode, but not technically rust because it has no iron.)

If corrosion is the issue, it’s pretty easy to fix your fence. You have to sand down the area to remove any loose or flaky paint and create a smooth surface. You can repair any pocking by filling in the space with anti-rust putty you can find at auto part stores. Then you just need to paint the area to match, and the fence is good as new. If that sounds like something you don’t want to do yourself, you can hire a reputable fence company to do it for you.

Aluminum can also dent, especially if it is hit hard with something like a falling tree branch or a misguided vehicle. Depending on the extent of the damage, it may be possible to replace just the section that is bent out of shape. However, it usually takes a professional to take apart and repair a full section of aluminum fencing.

When to Replace:

As with other materials, an aluminum fence follows the 20% rule. If more than 20% of the fence needs repairs, it is best to replace the whole thing. It may not be cheaper than fixing the fence, but a fence that needs that much repair will likely continue to require more and more work. If your fence is really bent out of shape, that would be another good reason to replace it. That kind of severe damage is usually the result of an accident as opposed to normal wear. If a tree falls on your fence or a car crashes into it, the damage can be significant enough to warrant a complete replacement.

Who Should Fix Your Fence?

When homeowners ask, “Can I fix my fence,” they may mean one of two things. They may be asking whether they can personally do the work. Or they may be asking whether the fence can be repaired in general. Those are two very different questions. A lot depends on how handy you are, what kind of tools you already own, and how much time and labor you want to expend. Small fixes on wood fences are often well within the abilities of an average homeowner. Sanding and repairing corrosion on metal fences requires more labor and the right tools but is also doable on your own. For more extensive repairs, we recommend hiring a fence company like Bravo Fence Company to fix your fence.

Of course, if your fence needs more than repairs, Bravo Fence Company has got you covered. We install fences in a variety of materials and styles. With a Bravo Fence Company fence, you can’t go wrong. Contact Bravo Fence Company today to talk about your fencing needs.

What Are the Benefits of a Privacy Fence?

What Are the Benefits of a Privacy Fence

A white picket fence may be the proverbial symbol of the American dream. But when it comes down to the numbers, nothing beats out the privacy fence for popularity. In much of suburban America, privacy fences separate plots and mark where one property ends and another begins. They keep your backyard private, quiet, and secure. So if you’re considering a new fence, consider these terrific benefits of a residential privacy fence.

What is a Privacy Fence

There are many, many types of fences. From split rail fences, common in rural (and rural-style) homes, to ornamental metal fences and residential chain link, the options can be overwhelming. But if you live in a suburb, especially one built with houses close together in a subdivision, chances are you have seen a lot of privacy fences. In fact, you may have one already, albeit in poor condition after decades of neglect.

What defines a privacy fence is the fact that it is solid. There are no spaces between pickets or rails. Instead, a privacy fence forms a completely opaque barrier between your property and everything outside of it. However, there is a lot of variety within that definition. And that is one of the benefits of a privacy fence. While the goals are often the same, there are many, many ways to get there. Privacy fences are one of the most versatile and diverse fencing styles out there. So while the choices can seem a bit overwhelming, it’s almost certain that you can find something to fit your needs and personal style, which leads us to our first benefit: diversity.

What Are the Benefits of a Privacy Fence [infographic]

Privacy Fences are Diverse

There are many ways to go about installing a privacy fence. As long as the materials come together as unbroken panels, you can get the full benefits of a privacy fence. Beyond that, the styles and choices are quite broad.

The Basics

The most traditional privacy fence is a simple wooden fence with a flat top and little ornamentation. You can find these fences all over America and throughout the suburbs, but they are by no means the only option. One of the simplest ways to dress up a wooden privacy fence is to add post toppers. Adding ornamentation to the posts is inexpensive and can give a wooden privacy fence more visual appeal. In addition to posts, homeowners can choose fences with tops that are not flat all the way across. Dipped or scalloped fences are a popular choice to add some design flair without breaking the bank.

Different Construction

In addition to ornamentation, privacy fences can be constructed in various ways to break up the monotony of even, vertical pickets in a solid-board configuration. One option is to turn your fence on its side and install pickets horizontally instead of vertically. Another option is to break up the solid panel with a shadowbox style of construction. Shadowbox fences alternate pickets on both sides of the rail for a more three-dimensional look. You still get the privacy, but with a little more airflow and a more interesting appearance.

Adding Some Flair

Another way to spruce up your privacy fence is to add lattice or another decorative layer on top of the fence. A couple of feet of lattice running along the top of your fence can serve double duty. It works as a design element and can also increase your fence’s height from the standard six feet to eight feet. In many areas, fences can only be built taller than six feet if the top is lattice or a similar not-solid material.

Security

One of the most significant benefits of a privacy fence is the security it provides. With a privacy fence, potential intruders can’t see into your property, so that means they can’t see anything worth stealing. Although privacy fences are not considered high-security like some metal fences, they are still difficult enough to penetrate to ward off most criminals.

In addition to keeping out criminals, a privacy fence can keep out other unwanted guests. Stray animals and suburban wildlife typically can’t get through a solid privacy fence.

The security benefits of a privacy fence don’t end with what it can keep out. It’s also important to keep things in. With a solid privacy fence, you can keep your children and pets safely inside the bounds of your property. You can let a dog out to run or allow your children to play freely without worrying about anyone wandering away.

Privacy and Shelter

When discussing the benefits of a privacy fence, we can’t leave out the most obvious benefit: privacy. A privacy fence offers privacy and shelter so that your backyard (where most privacy fences are installed) is your sanctuary. You can keep prying eyes out, whether from neighbors or people on the street. You can also block undesirable views. If your house backs up onto a road, other buildings, or anything you don’t want to look at all day every day, you can replace that view with a quality privacy fence.

Many people don’t realize just how much shelter a privacy fence provides. Because of its solid construction, a privacy fence can provide ample protection from the elements, especially wind and sun. Depending on the location and size of your fence, you may get some much-needed shade in the summer months. Whether you live in a particularly windy area or just have some gusty days, a solid fence is an effective windbreak. It can make your backyard more pleasant to be in, even on a windy day. It can also benefit fragile plants that wouldn’t naturally grow in a windy area.

Besides keeping out the wind and sun, a privacy fence can significantly reduce noise pollution. If your home backs up onto a busy street, you’ll be amazed at how much quieter it is with a six or eight-foot privacy fence. The solid construction reflects sound and gives you some welcome respite from the hustle and bustle just outside your home.

How to Enjoy the Benefits of a Privacy Fence

If you’re ready to enjoy all of the benefits of a high-quality privacy fence, you’re in the right place. Bravo Fence Company has been serving the Atlanta Metro Area for years with the best fences at competitive prices with excellent customer service. Our motto is “Fences Without Hassle,” and we mean it. Installing a new fence shouldn’t be a chore. We’ll work with you from the earliest planning stages to the final cleanup to make sure that you are not just satisfied but blown away

Many homeowners spend months or even years thinking about a new fence without installing one. But once they call Bravo Fence Company, they realize they had no idea it could be this easy. To be fair, it’s not always this easy with your run-of-the-mill fence installation company. But when you choose Bravo Fence Company, we make planning and installing a fence straightforward and enjoyable. And you’ll enjoy your new high-quality privacy fence for years to come. Contact Bravo Fence Company today to get your free estimate.

5 Common Fence Installation Mistakes to Avoid

5 Common Fence Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Adding a fence to your home is a great way to upgrade your property. Whether you are adding a new fence or rebuilding an old one, a new fence will make your property more livable and add value. But before you go ahead with your fence building project, you should look out for these five common fence installation mistakes to avoid. If you keep these mistakes in mind now, you can save yourself a lot of trouble in the future.

5 Common Fence Installation Mistakes to Avoid [infographic]

You Don’t Know Your Property Line

Many homeowners choose to build a fence along their property lines. It gives them the largest enclosed space possible and helps identify the edge of their property. But building on property lines can be risky. If you build just a few inches over the edge of your property, you may find yourself in legal trouble. It is illegal to build a fence on someone else’s property without their express permission.

At Bravo Fence Company, we recommend two safety procedures to avoid a misplaced fence. First, get your plat or property map. It can help you identify the limits of your property. Second, build a few inches or a full foot inside your property line. You won’t be giving up much space, and it could save you from inadvertently crossing the line. If you do cross the line, you could face steep fines or even be forced to take down the fence. That would be a terrible waste, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You Don’t Know Where Utilities are Buried

Just as you need to find official documents to determine your property line, you need to contact your utility company to determine the official location of any utility lines. The last thing you need when during your fence installation is to dig a fence post and run into a utility wire or pipe. Hitting wires could be dangerous, and breaking a pipe can cause serious problems. It’s best to avoid these problems from the outset by confirming the location of any local utility lines with your local utilities.

You Don’t Know Local Regulations

Local regulations imposed by counties, cities, and homeowners associations can seem onerous and unnecessary. But regardless of your feelings about them, they are the law, and you could pay dearly for ignoring them. Many local governments and HOAs regulate aspects of your fence like its height, placement relative to the public right-of-way, materials, and styles. Failing to note and adhere to these regulation is one of the most common fence installation mistakes we see, and it can have dire consequences.

Typically, local governments are more concerned with safety and right of way. For instance, many local governments prohibit fences that block the view of oncoming cars on a corner property. They also may require building several feet back from the local right of way. Even if your property extends to the edge of a sidewalk, you may have to build the fence a few inches or feet from the sidewalk.

One of the primary duties of an HOA is to maintain and improve property values. To that end, many HOAs regulate the appearance of new fences. They can limit fence materials, heights, and even styles. So before you plan your perfect fence, it makes sense to see what choices are available on your property.

If you fail to adhere to county or city regulations, you may be fined or even ordered to remove the offending fence. HOAs may be able to fine you by the day for an “illegal” fence. If you refuse to pay up, they could put a lien on your property, and that’s no fun!

The Wrong Materials

Choosing the proper material is among the most critical choices you need to make to prepare for your new fence installation. Different materials have different characteristics. Some materials may lend themselves to your needs and concerns, while others may require not. Choosing the wrong material for your needs nad lifestyle is a common mistake.

Wood is one of the most common and traditional fence materials available. It is nearly ubiquitous for privacy fences. However, it also requires more maintenance than most other materials. Wood needs to be restrained or painted every few years, and it is susceptible to rot and infestation. You also need to regularly check the bottom fence posts for rot. But if you want a good-looking, sturdy fence, wood is still a great choice.

If low-maintenance is important to you, vinyl fences take the cake. There is very little maintenance beyond a simple wash with a hose when needed. Colors and styles are slightly more limited than with wood because vinyl comes in complete fence panels. But there are still plenty of good choices.

For price, nothing beats chain link. If you have a large area to enclose, chain link can help control costs. There are also plenty of ways to dress up residential chain link so that it doesn’t look too industrial.

For a classic, sophisticated look, try ornamental metal fencing. Steel and aluminum offer lower maintenance than wrought iron and are much cheaper. In some cases, you can even install complete metal fence panels to speed up installation and reduce costs.

The Wrong Fence Company

DIY fence installation sounds like a good way to save money, but common fence installation mistakes can be costly. ON the other hand, installing a fence can be a straightforward job for the right professionals. Unfortunately, not every business that calls itself fence installers is the right fit. Prices can fluctuate, and so can quality. The last thing you want is to get stuck with a fencing company that isn’t reliable. We’ve heard horror stories about no-shows, shoddy work, poor customer service, and even jobs left unfinished. Luckily, you don’t have to put up with unreliable installers because you have already found Bravo Fence Company. We have experienced builders committed to high-quality work and excellent customer service. We work with customers to build the fence of their dreams at prices they can afford. Contact Bravo Fence Company today for your free estimate.

Adding a Fence to Your Home

Adding a Fence to Your Home

There are plenty of benefits of adding a fence to your home. But one question we often get is whether adding a fence to your home will increase its value. To answer that, we need to start with the caveat that there are very, very few home improvement projects that have a 100% or higher ROI when you sell. Some people make a living flipping houses, but that’s generally because they start with cheap, run-down homes and focus on getting the maximum sheen for the minimum investment. If your home isn’t dilapidated, there is a limit to how much value you can add to it. So don’t think of a fence, or any home improvement project, only as a way to make money. Instead, think of the benefits you will enjoy while you live in your home. If you enjoy your fence, so will your eventual buyers.

Curb Appeal

There are other reasons a fence can help sell a house that have less to do with the direct value of your home. A major factor in any home sale is curb appeal. As the name implies, curb appeal is the impression someone has of your home while standing on the curb. The idea is that this is their very first impression, before ever stepping foot on your property, much less inside your home. And while you may think that the true value of your home will shine through once a buyer gets inside, the human psyche is not on your side.

We all know that first impressions are hard to shake. So if a potential buyer gets a good impression from the curb appeal of your home, they are likely to view the interior of your house more favorably. But if your home looks run-down on the outside, buyers will likely spend their time inside your home trying to confirm or debunk the idea that the house is in poor shape. And that is definitely not the mindset you want from a potential buyer.

Adding a Fence to Your Home [infographic]

How Curb Appeal Affects Home Values

Curb appeal doesn’t directly raise or lower your home’s value. But it can have a more indirect effect on your final sale price. Homes with low curb appeal sell more slowly, and a slow sale can equal a lower selling price.

As a home sits on the market, two things happen. First, sellers get anxious, especially if they have already bought a new home. With pressure to sell, the price can drop. Second, potential buyers look at the amount of time the house has been on the market and wonder why it hasn’t sold. In fact, if a home isn’t selling, some real estate agents will actually take it off the market for a while to restart the clock, so to speak. Taking it off the market and then putting it back on makes it look like the home has only been for sale since its second introduction to the real estate market. And in some cases, before that second introduction to the market, homeowners are advised to improve the house’s curb appeal.

Adding a Fence to Your Home Improves Its Appearance

Curb appeal is where your new fence meets your home value. The fence itself is a nice feature, and a new fence does have some value. But the real gains come from the way your new fence enhances the overall appearance of your home.

To get the most visual appeal from your fence, you need to think about the perfect type of fence to enhance your home. You should consider the design and architectural style of your home as well as neighborhood standards. Few buyers want to be the stand-out house on the block that looks wildly different than everyone else. So if wooden picket fences are the norm on your block, you may want to think twice before installing a rustic split rail or classic ornamental metal fence.

But if you add the right type of fence for your home and your neighborhood, you could substantially improve its appearance by adding a fence to your home. The key is to understand what the different types of fences say and use that to decide which to install.

Picking the Right Fence to Add to Your Home

Selecting your fence and getting it right is the most significant factor in how much value you get from adding a fence to your home. Different fences accentuate different types of homes. Here’s a little rundown to help you pick the best for your home.

White Picket Fence

The white picket fence is the epitome of classic Americana. It is nearly synonymous with the American dream. As such, it works well with many traditional architectural styles. From brick ranches to classic colonial styles, a white picket fence works best with homes that are not too modern. A craftsman home, ranch, bungalow, colonial-style, Tudor, Victorian, or cottage all look great with a wood picket fence. However, some house styles do not lend themselves to traditional picket fences. If your house is a Mediterranean or contemporary style, wooden pickets may clash.

Ornamental Metal Fence

Ornamental metal fences can take on many shapes and styles to match a variety of homes. Metal fencing can be classic or contemporary, ranging from delicate decorative embellishments to stark modernism. Traditional wrought-iron look fences are perfect for old-style homes like colonial-style or traditional styles like cottages and even craftsman homes. For modern and contemporary homes, metal fencing with sleek, clean lines can accentuate the modernist architecture.

Classic Wood Privacy Fence

While they may not work in most front lawns, the classic wooden privacy fence is a staple of the suburban backyard. It is the most common type of fence we install, and you’ll find them in millions of homes. In many neighborhoods, property lines are marked by wooden privacy fences, including nearly every single house. There are numerous style choices, such as the type of wood, paint or stain color, and the pickets’ shape and style. Wooden fences can have flat tops, or they can be designed with curves or ridges. You can upgrade the posts with finials or other decorative features. Wood privacy fences are extremely practical and go with almost any type of home.

If you like the idea of a wood privacy fence but don’t like the idea of maintaining it, try vinyl. Vinyl privacy fences can look just like wood but with much less maintenance. Vinyl fences need little more than occasional cleaning with a hose or power washer to stay in tip-top condition.

Chain Link Fence

While most homeowners wouldn’t think of chain link fencing as a way to boost home values, you can’t rule it out. Chain link fencing has the distinction of being almost maintenance-free. If other houses in the area have chain link fencing, it may not stand out as unusual. And there are lots of ways to beautify a chain link fence. If you have hedges around your property and want a fence that can add security without blocking your plants, chain link is a great choice. Chain link can blend into plants and hedges for a natural look.

Add a Fence to Your Home for Your Enjoyment

While fences can increase curb appeal and home values, we recommend installing a fence you will love to live with. Think about your needs and use them as your guide. If you build a fence that works well for your family and your home, there is a good chance any potential buyers will feel the same. If you are interested in adding the perfect fence to your home, contact Bravo Fence Company for your free estimate.

Is There Such a Thing as a Maintenance-Free Fence?

Is There Such a Thing as a Maintenance-Free Fence

Building a fence is just the beginning of your fence-owning journey. At Bravo Fence, we install great fences that are meant to last. But just like your car or your home, a little maintenance goes a long way toward protecting your investment for the long haul. Of course, how much maintenance you are willing to put in varies from homeowner to homeowner. Some materials require a little more care, while some require almost none at all. Depending on the material you want and the look you want for your new fence, your maintenance needs will vary. But some homeowners want a fence they can mostly forget about. So the question becomes, is there such a thing as a maintenance-free fence? Read on to find out how much maintenance your fence might need and whether you can really achieve the holy grail of the zero-maintenance fence.

Traditional Wood Privacy Fences

There is nothing more traditional than a wooden privacy fence around your backyard. So it’s no surprise that it is one of the most common types of fences we install. Wooden privacy fences offer a lot of benefits. A wooden fence is, in a way, a symbol of suburban living. It provides privacy for your family to relax in the yard, free from prying eyes. It keeps pets and children safe and blocks unwanted views. A wooden privacy fence can even block out noise, whether it’s noisy neighbors or a nearby road. But they also require a fair amount of maintenance.

Maintaining a Wood Fence

Maintaining a wooden privacy fence starts with proper installation. Setting the posts in secure footings will keep them from rotting in the ground. But the most critical part of the installation, as far as maintenance is concerned, is how you seal your fence. The two primary methods for sealing your fence are either painting or staining it. Paint will seal your fence for a few years, though it is prone to peeling and bubbling. Paint needs to be refreshed every few years. Stain works differently. Whereas paint sits on the surface, stain penetrates the wood. Stain can be mostly clear, providing a new color to the wood but preserving the grain. Or it can be opaque, creating a similar look to paint. Because it is absorbed into the wood, it doesn’t peel or bubble. But it still needs to be refreshed every few years.

In addition to sealing your fence, wooden fences are plagued by weather and insects. As a natural material, wood can host infestations or termites, carpenter ants, or carpenter bees. It can also rot, grow moldy, or get bleached by the sun. Regular staining or painting helps prevent such deterioration, but there’s no magic bullet. Wooden privacy fences require routine inspection for rot and infestation, as well as cracking and holes. It is not a maintenance-free fence, but your wooden fence could last decades if you keep up with the maintenance.

Is There Such a Thing as a Maintenance-Free Fence [infographic]

Ornamental Metal Fences

For pure sophistication and elegance, nothing beats an ornamental metal fence. The first metal fences were made of wrought iron, but today almost no fences are made that way. Instead, modern ornamental metal fences are almost always made of steel or aluminum.  Steel offers a little more strength than aluminum. However, aluminum can offer a lower-maintenance option.

Steel Requires Some Maintenance

The main concern with a steel fence is rust. Steel contains iron, which makes it prone to rust. However, modern treatment techniques can minimize the risk. The most effective process that reduces rust is covering the metal with a special coating. The coating starts as a powder and is baked onto the metal, forming a tight seal that keeps out rust. After the coating, steel fences are often painted for another layer of protection. The only way the metal is exposed to the air is when the coating is penetrated. This can happen through weather and wear over the years or if the fence is dented.

To avoid rust problems, walk the length of your ornamental steel fence at least once a year to carefully inspect for any breaches of the paint and coating. If you notice any breaks in the coating or any rust, it is easy to treat. If you are handy, you can do it yourself. Or, if you prefer, you can hire someone. To do it yourself:

  1. Use a sander to remove any peeled or bubbled paint and remove the coating down to the bare metal.
  2. Fill in the rusted area with a filler like you might find at a hardware store or auto body shop.
  3. Apply an anti-rust treatment, then reapply new paint to match the rest of the fence.

Aluminum is Almost a Maintenance-Free Fence

Aluminum, unlike steel, does not contain any iron, so it cannot technically rust. However, it is subject to some corrosion. Aluminum is treated similarly to steel, with a powder coating and sometimes a layer of paint. The coating keeps the aluminum nearly 100% corrosion-free. However, if the fence is dented or the coating penetrated, some corrosion can form. Unlike steel, the corrosion on an aluminum fence is not rust, and it actually can create a protective coating to prevent further damage. However, aluminum is also less sturdy than steel and more prone to small dents and other damage that can affect the coating. It is a good idea to do an annual inspection as you would with a steel fence. It is unlikely that you will find much damage, but treating any damage right away will protect your fence over time.

Vinyl Fences are Nearly Maintenance-Free

When it comes to low maintenance, almost nothing beats vinyl. Vinyl has the advantage of being a human-made material that is not subject to insects, rot, or rust. This makes vinyl an incredibly hardy and almost maintenance-free fence material. One of the critical properties of vinyl that makes it so hard-wearing is that it is not painted. Instead, the material itself is colored. A dent or scratch will not reveal any underlying color because the entire fence is the color you choose. Also, vinyl—which is basically plastic—will not fade or rot. However, over a very long time, it can become brittle and crack. Luckily, vinyl comes in manufactured panels that are easy to replace.

The most common maintenance on a vinyl fence is less about longevity and more about looks. Vinyl, like anything you leave outdoors, can become dirty over time. Simple dust, dirt, and mud are easy to wash off with a garden hose. For more stuck-on messes, such as pollen or sap, you may need a power washer or some sudsy water and a brush. Occasionally, algae or mold can grow on the fence. It doesn’t harm the fence itself, but it may take some work to wash off. Start by using a diluted bleach solution to kill the algae, then wash it off as usual.

Chain Link is the King of Maintenance-Free Fences

Chain link is so hardy that it could be left alone for decades and require almost no maintenance. That’s why you see chain link fences in public places like parks, commercial or industrial sites, and even on the side of highways. Obviously, no one is going out to the side of the highway to maintain those fences. However, a completely unmaintained chain link fence can show its age, so a little maintenance can help preserve the beauty of your chain link fence.

Chain link is made of galvanized steel that will hardly ever rust. For a softer look, some homeowners choose vinyl-coated chain link. Whichever style you choose, there is almost nothing that can harm your fence. The only maintenance you need is an occasional spray with a hose to knock off some dirt, and even that is optional. So if your number-one priority is installing a maintenance-free fence, hardly anything can beat chain link. And if you’re worried about the look of chain link, we’ve written an entire article about how to dress up chain link for residential use.

If you’re ready for a fence, contact us at Bravo Fence Company. We can install any style of fence, and we’ll help you figure out what kind of maintenance you need.

Residential Chain Link – It Isn’t Just for Businesses

Residential Chain Link - It Isn’t Just for Businesses

When most homeowners hear the words “chain link fence,” they conjure images of warehouses on industrial boulevards or sports fields in public parks. What most people don’t picture is a beautiful chain link fence surrounding their home. But chain link fence has come a long way. It’s not just for businesses anymore. A chain link fence has many benefits that make it ideal for residential use. And there are many ways to beautify a chain link fence and make it look just as aesthetically pleasing as any other fence material. Despite what you may think, chain link fence can improve your home, and we’re here to show you how.

Residential Chain Link [infographic]

The Benefits of Chain Link Fence

Before we even begin to talk about ways you can make a chain link fence suitable for your home, we need to discuss the many benefits of chain link fencing.

  • Cost – There’s no question that chain link fence wins when it comes to price. Chain link is one of the most cost-effective fence materials out there. Unlike other materials that come as panels or individual posts and pickets, chain link comes as a roll that can easily be stretched between posts. If you are enclosing a large area, the cost savings of a chain link fence can be significant. In fact, to enclose a very large property, chain link may be the only cost-effective solution.
  • Speed – Because of the prefab nature of chain link fencing, it is extremely fast to install. The most time-consuming part of the installation is placing the posts. The posts need to be anchored in cement footings. But once the posts are up, the chain link is just rolled out and attached to the posts and rails.
  • Strength – Chain link is sometimes called the hurricane fence because it can withstand almost anything nature can throw at it. Although chain link provides an effective barrier for people and pets, it is mostly empty space. So when the wind picks up, it just flows right through the fence. Other more solid materials can act like a sail, picking up the wind and fighting against it. But chain link can take a beating and stand firm. It’s also hard to damage chain link by impact. A hard object thrown at a wood or vinyl fence can crack it, and aluminum could dent. But chain link can absorb the force since it has a little give. That’s why it’s used in sports fields and backstops where it can easily absorb the force of a 90-mile-an-hour pitch or a hard-hit foul ball.
  • Durability and Maintenance – Chain link fence can last for a very long time with almost zero maintenance. That’s another reason why it is so prevalent in commercial properties, public parks, and civil engineering (like along highway overpasses). The galvanized steel is extremely rust-resistant and needs very little upkeep.
  • Transparency – Like much more expensive ornamental metal fences, chain link doesn’t block the view or the sun. In smaller yards, being able to see out can prevent claustrophobia. There are also times you want to see out, whether it is to catch a spectacular view or to see who’s coming for added security. And if you plan to plant a garden, you need a fence that allows the maximum amount of sunlight to reach your plants. In hot climates, a fence that allows a breeze to pass through your yard can be a welcome respite.
  • Versatility – Chain link comes in a variety of sizes and is available with various coatings to improve its appearance. As we will discuss shortly, there are also many ways to enhance a chain link fence for a softer look.

Enhancing a Chain Link Fence for Residential Use

We’ll admit that plain, industrial-style chain link fencing may not appeal to every homeowner. While it can work well in some situations, there are also many ways to modify and dress up chain link. You don’t have to settle for the chain link you’re familiar with.

Adding a Natural Touch

One of the drawbacks of chain link for residential use is that it can look cold and uninviting. But adding some nature can warm it up and make it look like a part of your landscape. One way to do that is to grow hedges along the fence. When plants grow up against the fence, they can hide it from view. You can have the look of a natural hedge with the added security of a fence. Unlike other fences, chain link can almost disappear into a hedge.

Another option is to grow a vine directly on the fence. Popular flowering vines like bougainvillea, jasmine, and honeysuckle can use the chain link as a trellis. It’s a great way to add additional flows to your garden and hide your fence completely. And unlike a traditional wooden trellis, the chain link provides security in addition to holding plants.

If you don’t want to grow an entire hedge or flowering vine, you can dress up a chain link fence with hanging window box planters. Window boxes are easy to attach to a chain link fence and can hold a wide variety of flowers or even edible plants and herbs. If you have young children, a window box can be an excellent introduction to gardening.

Improving the Fence Itself

There are many ways to improve or enhance a chain link fence to look softer and more residential. One option many homeowners love is vinyl-coated chain link. The vinyl creates a softer look and can add color. Black is a very popular color choice because it is simple and understated. For use in a garden, many homeowners select green vinyl-coated chain link. While other colors are less common, they are available. In some cases, chain link can also be painted, which allows for an extensive color palette.

Another way to make chain link look less like the familiar industrial variety is to select a smaller weave. Standard commercial chain link usually had 2” or 2 ¼” diamonds. But for residential use, a smaller weave and lighter gauge can make a fence look less commercial. When you combine a smaller diamond size with a vinyl coating, you can install a fence with all of the benefits of chain link but without the familiar commercial look.

If you want more privacy, chain link fencing can be enhanced with privacy slats. The slats are usually made of wood, though plastic and vinyl are also available. One thing to be aware of with this option is that you lose some of the benefits of chain link. Adding slats drives up the cost, so it is not quite as inexpensive as plain chain link. Also, the slats mean that you no longer get as much sun and don’t have a view out. In case of severe weather, or if you just want to enjoy a cool breeze, the slats still let through a lot of wind, but not as much as a fence without them. The slats can also break with moderate impact. However, individual slats are usually inexpensive and easy to replace.

Chain Link Fence for Residential Use

As you can see, chain link fence has come a long way from the industrial security fencing many people think of. There are many ways to spruce up a chain link so that it isn’t just suitable but ideal for residential use. If you’re interested in chain link fence for your home, contact Bravo Fence Company for a free quote. We are happy to discuss all your options to help you build a beautiful chain link fence.

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Fence and Other Common Fence Installation Questions

Common Fence Installation Questions

If you’re considering adding a fence to your property or replacing an old fence, you likely have some questions. At Bravo Fence, we pride ourselves on not just building fences but educating our customers. That’s why we’ve put together this collection of common fence installation questions.

Do I Need a Permit to Build a Fence?

The permitting process for fences and other construction projects is typically run by the city where you live. If you live in an unincorporated area, your county may require permits for some projects. Depending on where you live, you may or may not need a permit, and the process and requirements may vary. In the Atlanta Metro Area, the City of Atlanta, City of Sandy Springs, City of Milton, City of Johns Creek, and the City of Brookhaven all have permit requirements for building fences.

Are There Limits on How I Build My Fence?

There are no uniform fence laws on the state level in Georgia. Instead, fences are regulated at the county and municipal level. That leaves room for a lot of fence installation questions since the exact rules vary by location. However, many of the rules are similar.

In most places, there are limits on how tall fences can be. Fences in the back of your property are usually allowed to be up to six feet tall. In some instances, you may be able to build taller—for example, it may be permissible to add a lattice or other transparent section to your fence up to eight feet. In other instances, you may be able to build up to eight feet if you can demonstrate a reasonable need to do so. Exact rules vary by municipality.

Most cities also place height limits on fences in the front of your property, and they are often shorter than backyard fences. A front yard fence may also need to be set back from the public right of way by a few feet. If you live on a corner lot, there are likely rules about fence height that restrict you from blocking a driver’s view around the corner for safety reasons.

The finished side of a fence must face outward in almost every jurisdiction. And if you plan on building along your property line, you may require preapproval from your neighbor. If you don’t want to deal with your neighbor, your best bet is to build your fence a few feet inside your property line.

Do I Need to Know Where My Property Line Is?

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to determine where the fence will be installed. If you are installing a fence close to your property line, we recommend that you get the plat map or other surveyor’s drawing of your property. If you don’t have that, you can hire a surveyor to determine your property line. We’ll build the fence wherever you tell us to, but if you can provide us with the property map, we can help you determine the limits of where you can build.

Do I Need to Know Where Power, Sewage, and Gas Lines Are Buried?

You should always locate buried utilities before digging. In most cases, that information is readily available from the utility companies. We will obtain that information before we begin digging for posts.

Can You Stain My Wooden Fence?

Yes. We have a wide range of stain colors available for your wooden fence. You can choose translucent stains that allow the wood grain to show through or opaque stains that look more like paint. A stain isn’t just for looks. Staining your fence helps protect it from the elements and maintain its color. However, if you are using pressure-treated wood, we cannot stain your fence right away. It may take a few weeks for the wood to completely dry out so that it can take the stain.

Is There a Maintenance-Free Option?

This is one of the most common fence installation questions. Many homeowners are concerned about the ongoing work of owning a fence. Luckily, most fences don’t require a lot of maintenance. Wood fences need to be restrained every year or two, and steel fences should be inspected for rust. But if you want a truly maintenance-free option, we recommend chain link, vinyl, or aluminum. Chain link fences hardly need any maintenance. Vinyl fences can be cleaned with a hose if they get dirty but don’t require any real maintenance. And aluminum fences are rust-free and can go for years without any kind of maintenance.
Common Fence Installation Questions [infographic]

Are There Color Options for Chain Link Fences?

Yes. Chain link is an excellent option for homeowners who want a strong, maintenance-free fence. But many homeowners don’t like the idea of industrial-looking chain link fences. Luckily, chain link is now available with vinyl coating in a few different colors. Black is the most popular. It’s simple and elegant and blends in nicely. You can also grow hedges up against a chain link fence to help disguise it. And if you plan to do that, you might consider green vinyl.

Do I Need to Talk to My Neighbor?

If your fence will be where your neighbor can see it, it is always advisable to at least let them know what you are doing. After all, there will be construction work for a couple of days, and then they will have to see your fence for years. If the fence will be along the property line between you and your neighbor, the law may require you to get their approval. Also, in many instances, you and the neighbor can split the cost of a fence on the property line. It’s best to check with your neighbor if they have any fence installation questions, too.

Can I Finance My Fence?

We realize that a fence is not always cheap. And while we try to offer competitive pricing and great value, many homeowners would like to pay for their fence over time. We offer financing through partners at Wells Fargo. You can learn more about financing your fence on our Financing Page.

Can I Get a Free Quote Before I Make a Decision?

Absolutely. We want you to make the best, most informed decision you can before you take the plunge to hire a fence contractor. We are happy to offer a free, no-obligation estimate for your fence project. We’ll talk with you about your needs, where the fence will be, and what you want to accomplish to help you decide what works best for your situation. Then we can provide a free written estimate before you decide to move forward.

How to Prepare Your Yard for Fence Installation

Installing a fence is a significant and exciting process. The vision of a fresh new fence in whatever material you choose is very appealing. But before you can get started, there are several steps you will have to take to prepare your yard for fence installation. The more well prepared you are, the smoother your installation will go. So here are our tips for preparing your yard and your property for a smooth fence installation.

Get Your Plat

In many places, a plat is required to get the permits you need to build a fence. In others, it may not be a firm requirement, but it is the best way to know your property lines. But what is a plat? A plat is a scale map of your neighborhood prepared by civil engineers. The plat map delineates the boundaries of all of the properties in the area, which is why it is so critical for your fence installation. Without it, you run the risk of overstepping your property line.

While it may seem like no big deal if your fence is just an inch or two over your property line, the law is not on your side. If a neighbor or county inspector notices the infringement, you may be forced to take down your brand new fence and start over. That can be a colossal waste of time and money, plus a bad move for your relationship with your neighbors.

How to Prepare Your Yard for Fence Installation [infographic]

Get the Permits

Once you have the plat, you can go about acquiring the permits you need for your project. In general, only a homeowner or a licensed contractor can apply for a permit. Different jurisdictions may have slightly different requirements for granting a permit. However, in most places, you will need at least a plat or survey of your property and detailed drawings of what you plan to construct.

While you are getting your legal ducks in order, it’s also a good time to check local laws and rules to ensure that your fence meets all requirements. Typically, fences may be regulated by municipal or county zoning laws, state and local building codes, and HOA rules where applicable. There’s no sense in building a fence that doesn’t comply with the local regulations. You may have to pay hefty fines or take down the whole thing.

Start Preparing Your Yard by Cleaning

The first step to prepare your yard for fence installation is simple: clean up. Whether you plan to install the fence yourself or hire a fence building company, a messy yard will make everything harder. Take a walk around your yard and first clean up any obvious trash. Old tires, broken toys, tarps, or anything else that doesn’t need to be there should be thrown out. Next, collect items you are keeping, like yard furniture, large toys, and similar articles, and move them as far as possible from the area where your fence will be built. The more room you can give yourself or your installation company, the easier the process will be. Remember, besides your tools, you will need space for lots of materials and wide aisles to move materials and yourself as you build.

Stake Out the Property Line

Once you have your yard cleared enough to work, you can start staking out your property line. Preparing your yard for fence installation includes making absolutely sure that you know where you are building your fence. A mistake of just a few inches could be disastrous. So when in doubt, move the fence inside your property line. The best way to mark your property line is also one of the simplest—place stakes along the line and run string between them.

In many cases, you can find your property’s boundaries by locating metal stakes that were driven into the ground when the plot was first laid out. If that was a long time ago, you might need a metal detector to find the stakes. But if you can find them, following those stakes is the most accurate way to find your property line.

Stake Out the Fence Line

If your fence will go somewhere other than exactly along your property line, now is the time to stake out the fence line. Using the same method, driving stakes and running sting between them, mark the precise path your new fence will follow. As you do this, it can be helpful to place the stakes where you plan to drive the fence posts. Marking the posts will be useful as you plan and order your materials. Once your posts are marked, you can measure the space between them and calculate how much fencing you need to order.

Clear the Fence Line

With your fence line precisely marked out, it’s time to clear the path for your fence. Hopefully, your yard is already cleaned up, and you’ve made space around your work area. But now it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. Move carefully and slowly along your fence line and look for any obstruction. Large items like trees and bushes may require shifting the fence line. Smaller items, like stumps and rocks, can be removed. Doing this work to prepare your yard for fence installation now will significantly speed up the installation process. If you’re hiring a fence installation company, it could also save you money.

As you clear obstacles from your fence line, now is a good time to note any slopes or grades. If a bump or dip is small enough, you might be able to level it now and save yourself time and trouble on installation. But if the grade is significant, you will need to measure the grade and plan to build a fence on a slope.

Talk to Your Neighbors

They say that good fences make good neighbors, but not if you don’t talk to them about it. If you are building a fence precisely along your property line, your neighbor may have some partial ownership of the fence. Talk to them ahead of time to let them know your plans. This new fence will affect them as much as it will affect you, so give them a chance to comment on your plans. Also, if you have a decent relationship with your neighbor, you may even be able to split the cost of a new fence.

Find a Quality Fence Builder

Some people think fence building is a DIY project. But most homeowners simply don’t have the skills and experience to build the fence they want to see. The best way to prepare your yard for fence installation is to talk to a local fence builder like Bravo Fence Company and find out what you can do to make their work easier. Having your plat prepared is a great first step, and you may need to clear stuff out of the way of the new fence. But working with a fence building company will pay huge dividends in the speed, quality, and ease of your fence installation experience.

7 Questions to Ask Before Installing a New Fence

7 Questions to Ask Before You Install a New Fence

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.

Why Do You Need to Install a New Fence [infographic]

Privacy

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

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.

Security

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

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

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

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

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.

Metal Fences: The Ultimate Guide

Metal Fences - The Ultimate Guide

Metal fences have a long history as an upscale alternative to historically more affordable wood fences. When most people think of metal fencing, they think of wrought iron. However, most metal fencing today is made of steel or aluminum, which is much easier to fabricate, much lighter than wrought iron, and much more cost-effective. Wrought iron is, by definition, handmade, so the costs can be prohibitive. Steel and aluminum fencing can be prefabricated, and they are light enough to be fashioned into panels. That makes them much more cost-effective to produce and to install. If you are ready to install a metal fence, you may be wondering which type of fence is ideal for you. This guide will outline the history and different kinds of metal fencing to help you decide what is best for your home or business.

Wrought Iron

The first ornamental metal fences were made of wrought iron. Wrought refers to metal that is beaten out or shaped by hammering, requiring extensive labor by a skilled blacksmith. In the Colonial period, only the wealthiest Americans could afford wrought iron because it had to be hand fabricated in England and shipped to the colonies. However, in the early nineteenth century, local factories began to produce cast iron fencing that retained the look of wrought iron but brought this kind of ornamental fencing within reach of many more Americans. However, the cast-iron fence pieces were still extremely heavy and complicated to install.

Modern Metal Fences

Today, most ornamental metal fencing is made of tubular steel or aluminum. The pieces can be machined in a factory and installed on site. Because the metals are lighter and the posts, rails, and pickets are hollow, tubular steel and aluminum can be sold as complete panels, which are much more efficient to install. The lower production and labor costs make ornamental steel and aluminum viable alternatives to other materials without driving costs through the roof.

Tubular steel and aluminum fences can also be shipped with the rails, posts, and pickets disassembled, making them much easier to transport. The components are then assembled onsite with fasteners. Some homeowners combine tubular steel or aluminum fencing with cast iron ornaments for a more traditional look since cast iron allows greater detail than machined steel or aluminum.

Metal Fences [infographic]

Tubular Steel

Tubular steel is made to mimic the look of traditional wrought iron. It is produced from metal sheets that are bent into posts, pickets, and rails. The pieces are coated with a rust-proof primer and then painted. Most homeowners paint their tubular steel fences shiny black to mirror the traditional look of wrought iron. However, it can be painted practically any color to match your personal design.

Tubular steel comes standard with 5/8-inch hollow pickets to match the style of wrought iron. Look for tubular steel fencing with hidden fasteners. The more hidden the fasteners are, the more solid the whole fence will look.

Tubular Steel Maintenance

Steel, like cast iron, is an alloy of iron and carbon with other elements, so it can still rust. But modern tubular steel metal fences are treated with coatings that prevent rust. If the coating is scratched, it can expose the metal to rust, but the repairs are simple. To repair a scratched or even slightly rusted area of steel fence, start by sanding down the area to remove any rust or loose paint. Sand all the way down to the bare metal. Next, paint over that area with a rust-inhibiting metal primer. Finally, cover the primer with paint to match the rest of the fence.

Installing Tubular Steel

An 8-foot long section of 4-foot tall tubular steel fence can weigh 50 pounds, making it challenging to install yourself. If you want the strength of steel, your best bet is to hire professionals like Bravo Fence Company. We have the right tools to install tubular steel fencing that looks like wrought iron at a fraction of the cost. To find out more and get a quote, contact Bravo Fence Company.

Tubular Aluminum

Tubular aluminum has many of the same features as tubular steel, but with several advantages. One significant advantage of tubular aluminum has to do with weight. While an 8-foot section of 4-foot tall steel fencing can weigh 50 pounds, a 6-foot section of aluminum weighs just 11 pounds. However, because aluminum is not as strong as steel, it’s not practical to build sections longer than 6 feet, compared to 8 feet for steel. So an aluminum fence needs more posts than a steel fence. Each post requires digging a pit and installing a cement footing. Over a long distance, the difference between 8-foot and 6-foot sections can mean quite a few more posts to install.

The second advantage of aluminum over steel is aluminum’s nearly nonexistent maintenance. Aluminum is not an iron alloy, and so it cannot rust. It is susceptible to some corrosion, but with a standard powder coating, aluminum requires almost no maintenance.

Limits of Tubular Steel and Aluminum

While tubular steel and aluminum are great materials for an average ornamental fence, they still have some limitations compared to wrought (or cast) iron. The most significant difference is the level of detail possible in ornamentations. Tubular steel and aluminum allow for a variety of finials and some level of ornamentation in the shapes of the fence. But intricate loops, scrolling, and braiding are difficult to achieve with hollow posts, rails, and pickets.

Solid Steel

One alternative that allows for more detailed ornamentation is solid steel. Solid steel is extremely heavy and requires special machinery to hoist into place. It is also significantly more expensive than hollow steel. But it allows for designs that mimic almost anything possible with traditional wrought iron.

Another limitation of tubular steel and aluminum is its strength as security fencing. Steel is stronger than aluminum, but because they are hollow, neither one is as strong as solid metal. For added strength, some homeowners and commercial properties select tubular steel with thicker walls. But nothing beats the strength of solid steel. For high-security applications, solid steel is still the best option.

Proper Installation

Whether you choose steel or aluminum, proper installation is critical. If you want the look of real wrought iron—and who doesn’t—you need to install your metal fence perfectly. Hiding fasteners, getting every edge perfectly straight and lined up, and racking or stepping for sloped surfaces all make a huge difference. So if you are ready to install the ornamental metal fence of your dreams, it’s time to contact Bravo Fence Company. We have the experience and expertise to install the best metal fences with the best results.