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Is a Picket Fence Right for Your Home?

Is a Picket Fence Right for Your Home?

A white picket fence is associated with the ideal home and the American dream. Traditional fences are generally short, so they offer some level of privacy without looking like a fortress. The picket style is simple, and there are many ways to design it to complement your home.

Picket fences were used by American colonists who wanted to keep livestock and chickens out of their yards and offer some protection to their gardens. Soon different patterns of fences emerged, and people began to use them for other purposes. They are perfect for gardens, pool enclosures, and front yards, and they can be about 3 to 4 feet tall. These fences offer the ideal balance of security and beauty for your home. Nearly 400 years after they were first used in the Americas, picket fences are still popular with homeowners around the country.

Is a Picket Fence Right for Your Home [infographic]

The Benefits of a Picket Fence

Aesthetics

A perfect picket fence is like a picture frame that completes a work of art. These fences are pleasing to the eye and often used for decorative purposes. Most people choose picket fences for their traditional All-American look. Depending on the area, a classic white picket fence can make your home stand out in the neighborhood or fit in with your neighbors. If you have a beautifully manicured lawn and want to show it off, this kind of fence is also the best option. Picket fences are open and low, which means that you can showcase your well-kept yard to passersby.

High Wind Resistance

The large gaps between pickets allow wind to get through without damaging the fence. So they are ideal for areas that get strong winds. As Georgia and the Southeast tumble through hurricane and tropical storm season, picket fences typically sustain very little damage.

Easy Maintenance

Picket fences are relatively easy to maintain. Regular maintenance for a wood picket fence includes repainting every few years and replacing damaged pickets as necessary, which is easy to do and not too costly. Vinyl picket fences are even less expensive to maintain because the material is fade resistant and durable.

Security and Privacy

Though picket fences are short, they add some limited privacy and security to a home. While it won’t provide protection from criminal intruders, a picket fence can help mark the boundaries around your property, which adds some privacy and keeps out curious passersby, stray pets, and children.

Affordability

The fact that picket fences use less material than other kinds of fences means that they can cost less to install. They are also relatively easy to install, saving on labor compared to some other fence types.

Outdoor Freedom

If you have young children or pets, a picket fence around the yard has some great benefits. It allows children and pets to stay safe within the boundaries of your property while still enjoying their outdoor freedom.

Components of a Picket Fence

Cap. On a picket fence, the cap rests on top of each post. It offers protection to the end grain of the post when there is harsh weather, and it can also be a decorative feature.

Rail. The rail is the horizontal bar between posts that supports the pickets. Depending on the design and the height of the fence, the rails may be anywhere from 3 to 6 feet apart.

Post. The posts support the rails and other components of the fence. Posts are the primary component that keeps the fence stable and upright.

Picket. Pickets are vertical slats of poles attached to the rail. They often have a tip that is pointed or decoratively shaped.

What You Should Consider When Selecting a Picket Fence

Choosing the Material

Initially, picket fences were all made of wood. Today, however, these fences are made from various materials, such as vinyl, metal, cellular PVC, and composites. Wood is still the most common material used for pickets, and its advantages are that it is moderately priced and suitable for privacy. Some of the types of wood that last longest on a fence are cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine.

Vinyl can look like wood, and it has some benefits of its own. It can withstand severe weather and the elements and is highly durable. Vinyl picket fences cost more than wood, but they are worth the investment for many homeowners since they last longer.

Do Some Research

Before you build, check whether there are covenants or HOA regulations regarding a fence’s material, look, or height. You should also determine whether you will need a permit to put up your fence and how far from the sidewalk your fence has to be. If you are building along the edge of your property, make sure you have a plat map or property survey to establish your exact boundaries. This will help you avoid putting up a fence on your neighbor’s property. If you overstep your property line, you may have to remove the fence entirely.

Find Out How Much It Will Cost to Get Your Fence Installed

The cost of your fence will depend on its material, height, and length. Other costs that you may need to take consider include custom hardware and gates.

Hire a Professional

If you choose to put a fence around your property, you should find a professional to do it right. Always use a licensed company that is insured. A fence that is installed properly can last for decades. At Bravo Fence Company, we offer various fence installation services such as aluminum fence installation, wood fence installation, steel fence installation, PVC fence installation, and chain link fence installation. We can quickly and efficiently handle all your picket fence installation needs.

Consider Your Neighbors

When it comes to property, there are always boundaries with neighbors on the other side. When putting up a fence, it is essential to consider this. Talk to your neighbors and see whether you can share the cost of a new fence with them. If they agree to split some or all of the costs, get it in writing, so everyone is clear on the arrangement. As etiquette, you may plant to have the smooth side of your fence face your neighbor.

Consider the Local Climate

If you live in an area with a warm, wet climate, a wood fence can become damaged from being damp all the time. In this case, the best material to use is vinyl. In areas with strong winds, a picket fence will do well because it will allow the strong winds to pass through the gaps.

Add Entrances to Your Property

To make moving in and out of your property convenient, plan two openings in your fence. These are the areas you can add a gate. Consider an entrance size that can accommodate bulky items or even vehicles, depending on how you plan to use your yard. You may also add some decorations to your entrances, such as stepping stones.

Decorations

Once you have installed your fence, you can add some decorations for aesthetic appeal. You can customize your fence by adding decorative posts or painting the fence a stylish, contemporary color. Another way you may decorate your fence is by planting some flowers around it.

Other things that you may consider when planning your fence are:

  • The architecture of your home.
  • The scale and size of your home.
  • If you have pets or children
  • If you want a fence that will stand out or one that will blend into the scenery
  • The type of property that you have
  • The number of gates you wish to have

Different types of picket fence designs

There are different options available when it comes to styling a picket fence. Here are some common styles:

Traditional Picket

A traditional picket is simple, has clean lines, and can be paired with many different styles of architecture. These pickets have been used for centuries, but modern homes can use them, too.

Dog-Eared Pickets

These pickets have a modern look, tapered at the edges, so they are ideal for contemporary homes. To create a custom look, you can vary the spacing between the pickets.

French Gothic Picket

This kind of picket has a French Gothic style suitable for a Victorian home. You can alternate styled and plain pickets to add more interest.

Square Pickets

These are pickets made of square poles instead of flat pickets. They are often installed at alternating heights for a more dramatic effect.

Conclusion

A picket fence is just right if you want a combination of value and aesthetics. At Bravo Fence Company, we aim to offer superior services, high-quality materials, and competitive prices. Choose the kind of picket fence that you want, contact us to get a custom quote, and we will deliver by providing you with a fast fence installation that will be sure to meet all your needs.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to Maintain Your Fence

wood fence

At Bravo Fence, we specialize in installing the best fences in the Southeast. It’s a big job that takes significant time and labor. And although we offer great pricing, a fence is still an investment in your home. The fences we install are built to last, but no fence can last forever. If you want your fence to last as long as possible, you’ll have to take matters into your own hands. Fence maintenance is the number one factor in how long you can enjoy your fence. So once the builders are gone, it’s up to you to maintain your fence. Of course, you’re not alone. We’ve put together this handy guide to how to maintain your fence.

Fence maintenance will vary depending on the type of fence you have. In general, the nemesis of almost any fence is water. Water is the most likely culprit in aging your fence. Also, keeping your fence clean is the best way to make it last as long as possible. Sometimes just a simple cleaning is all it takes. But each material has its own needs.

How to Maintain Your Fence [infographic]

Maintaining a Wood Fence

Wood is a classic fence material, and one of the most popular. But as a natural material, wood is also subject to some of the most significant maintenance challenges. As we said, water is the big enemy. Wood is subject to rot, and water speeds up that process. Other concerns are pests like termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees that eat into your wood. Finally, the sun can bleach and dry out wood, causing it to splinter, warp, and eventually fall apart. But regular maintenance can help.

Sealing the Wood

The first thing you can do to maintain your fence is to seal it with paint or stain as soon as it is installed. If you use pressure-treated wood, you need to wait 4-6 weeks for the wood to completely dry before you paint or stain. Treating your wood this way prevents water from penetrating and damaging the material. Paint should last 2-3 before it needs to be sanded and repainted. Stain can last 3-5 years before it needs to be reapplied.

Inspecting for Damage

To maintain your fence, make it a habit every month to walk the length of your fence and look for any damage. Look for broken or loose pickets, tilted posts, splinters, and holes. Depending on how the fence was built, you may also need to keep an eye out for loose nails. One of the benefits of wood fences is that broken or damaged pickets are usually easy to replace. If you find loose nails, they can usually just be nailed back in place with a hammer.

Cleaning the Fence

It’s also important to keep your fence clean. A little soapy water should be enough to clean dust and pollen off your fence. If you notice tougher stains, a strong garden hose or gentle power washer should do the trick. Keep an eye out for green or black stains. Green or black stains are usually mold or algae, and simple cleaning isn’t enough. If you don’t kill the mold or algae, the stain will come right back. Luckily, it’s not hard to kill mold or algae—a solution of one cup of chlorine bleach in a gallon of water usually works. For a more natural method, replace the bleach with white vinegar.

Maintaining an Ornamental Fence

Most homeowners who choose an ornamental fence select it for its classic good looks. Ornamental fences combine strength and style, but it takes some basic maintenance to keep them strong and good-looking. Like wood, the main enemy of metal fences is water. Steel and aluminum ornamental fences are usually sealed with a coating that gives them their color plus added durability and corrosion resistance. So the most important things to look for when maintaining an ornamental fence are dents and scratches where the coating could have been penetrated. Any gap in the coating could allow water to access the raw metal, opening the door to corrosion.

Basic Cleaning

To clean an ornamental fence, use a garden hose to spray from the bottom to the top and then back down. Spraying in that order allows for maximum cleaning with as little dripping as possible. If there are still dirty spots left after the cleaning, use a soft cloth with soapy water to remove them. If you have very stuck-on dirt and grime, you can use a gentle power wash, but keep it on the lowest setting to avoid damaging the fence’s protective coating.

Spot and Repair Damage

About one a month, walk the length of the fence and look very closely for scratches, dents, and other penetrations in the coating. Keep an eye out for paint that is peeling, flaking, or chipped. If you can catch it before it begins to rust, the repair is relatively simple. First, use a wire brush to remove the paint that is coming off. Next, paint over the cleaned area with two coats of primer followed by two coats of a rust-proof paint. If the area has started to rust, you need to use the wire brush to remove all the paint and rust down to the clean metal. Treat the area with a product like Rust-Mort™ to neutralize the rust, then apply primer and paint as usual.

Maintaining a Vinyl Fence

Vinyl is the ultimate low-maintenance fence. But even a vinyl fence can benefit from a little TLC from time to time. Vinyl is free of many of the concerns that come with other materials. It doesn’t rot or rust. It isn’t painted, so there is no paint to fade or peel. It doesn’t absorb moisture, and it doesn’t warp. In general, the structure of the vinyl is pretty durable. However, surface dirt and stains can still make your vinyl fence look old and grungy.

Cleaning a Vinyl Fence

Cleaning a vinyl fence is simple. It usually takes little more than a garden hose. Start at the bottom and spray towards the top, then back down from top to bottom. If spots are left over, you can use a sponge and soapy water to remove them. The only time you will need something more to clean a vinyl fence is when the stains are alive. Living stains are usually black, yellow, or green algae. To beat the stain, you need to kill the algae. You can use a diluted solution of chlorine bleach and water or, for a more natural approach, white vinegar and water, along with a little elbow grease to kill the algae and remove the stain. If you have a large enclosure and hand washing would take forever, you can use a power washer with a concentrated cleaning fluid made specifically for power washers.

A Quick Recap

To review, water is the number one enemy of every fence. Keeping your fence clean, with a garden hose, hand washing, or a power washer is the best way to maintain your fence and keep your fence looking great for as long as possible. Wooden fences need to be repainted every 2-3 years or restrained every 5-6 years. With an ornamental fence, the main concern is any damage to the protective coating. If there is damage, priming and painting is your best solution. Vinyl is the lowest maintenance fence material, and it really only needs some surface washing.

8 Tips to Stain Your Fence

8 Tips to Stain Your Fence

A wood fence is a beautiful addition to any home. And since the advent of the modern suburb, wooden privacy fences have been the standard. But wood is a natural material, and it ages over time. If you’ve had your wood fence for a few years, you may notice that it doesn’t look like it did when it was first installed. If your wood privacy fence has lost its sheen, is looking old, or has even turned gray, it can be saved. One of the best ways to revive an old fence and protect it for the future is to stain your fence. In fact, even new fences can benefit from staining. Staining your new fence can give you great color options and protect your fence for years to come. You should consider staining part of your regular fence maintenance to keep your fence in great shape for as long as possible.

Tip #1: Prepare Your Fence

Skipping this step is the quickest way to waste your time and money and get yourself into lots of trouble. The more you prepare, the better your project will be, and the better your fence will look when it’s done.

What you do to prepare depends on whether you are staining a new fence or an old one. If you are staining a new fence, it is critical that the fence has time to completely dry. The pressure-treated woods that are used for most fencing projects today come wet. That means that they are impregnated with chemicals that help preserve the wood, and when the wood is fresh, those chemicals make the wood moist. The fence needs time for the chemicals to dry out so that the stain can effectively penetrate the wood. Pressure-treated wood typically takes one to two months to dry thoroughly. Also, make sure it hasn’t rained in a few days. If you try to paint a wet fence, the stain won’t get all the way into the wood, and you will end up with disappointing color that needs to be restrained in just a couple of years.

For an older fence, you need to make sure that you have a clean, fresh surface to paint. A power washer set to a low pressure setting can prepare most fences. Make sure to wash away dirt and cobwebs as well as mold and mildew. The pressure washer will also scour away just enough of the surface to give you a fresh surface to stain. If your fence is gray, it could be from mildew, which the power washer will clean off, or because it is very dry. A mild solvent power wash should restore the color before you stain the fence.

Tip #2: Prepare Yourself

Fence staining is a tough job. Depending on the size of your fence, it can take many hours or even days. There is a lot of labor, and if you’re not prepared, it can make a large task even harder. First, make sure you have the appropriate protective gear. At the very least, some sturdy work gloves and eye protection are necessary. Also, make sure you have work clothes and boots that you won’t mind getting dirty. If you plan to use a sprayer instead of a roller and brushes, you’ll also need breathing protection to avoid inhaling an unpleasant mist of fence stain.

Besides preparing your protective gear, make sure to give yourself time. This may be a multi-day project, so consider when you might be able to find the time. One possibility is to do it over a weekend or multiple weekends. Depending on your endurance level, you may want to tough it out and get it done in two long hard days over a weekend, or you might try to do just a panel or two each evening for a week. You can only stain when the wood is dry, so opt for a time when you don’t expect much rain. But also try to avoid working in the hottest part of the day or year. Instead of staining your fence in mid-summer, try mid-fall, when the weather is cooler, but not yet frigid.

Tip #3: Get a Good Stain

It would be a shame to put in all the labor to stain your fence, only to find that the results don’t live up to your expectations—or to find that in just a couple of years, your stain is already fading. The most important decision you can make when staining your fence is what stain to use. Big box stores sell generic stains, but remember that you get what you pay for. Cheap stains will look cheap and won’t last as long. This is not a place to try to save a few bucks. Invest in high-quality stain to get better results. Also, using better stain now will mean you can wait longer before going to all the trouble of staining your fence again.

There are two general types of fence stain: oil-based and water-based. There is some controversy on which is better, and each type of stain has its advantages. At Bravo Fence, we usually prefer water-based stains. They tend to last longer and offer more protection. They also have fewer toxic fumes and are easier to work with, especially if you are doing it yourself. Water-based stains also provide superior UV protection to keep your fence looking newer longer.

The exception to this rule is cedar fences. Cedar is a hard, dense wood. It lasts a long time, but its density makes it harder for a stain to fully penetrate cedar. In this case, we recommend oil-based stains because they are better at penetrating hardwood for a more even, deep coat. However, if you like the advantages of water-based stains, they are still suitable for cedar. You may just have to restrain a little sooner than you would with an oil-based stain.

8 Tips to Stain Your Fence [infographic]

Tip #4: Get the Right Tools to Stain Your Fence

Sure, you could try to put a nail into a wall by banging it with your fists, but that’s why we invented hammers. Humans are uniquely effective tool creators and users, and there is no reason not to use the best tools to lake your life easier. When it comes to staining a fence, there are three types of tools you could use to apply stain: sprayers, rollers, and brushes. Which you choose depends on a few factors.

If you have a large area to cover, we recommend investing in a sprayer. Many big box home improvement stores carry handheld stain sprayers that are light and easy enough for even beginners. Just make sure to read and follow all the instructions carefully. If you don’t, you could end up with stain that comes out in gobs and splashes, ruining your fence, or your sprayer could even explode, splattering stain all over you and anything else nearby.

If your fence is a little smaller, you could get by with a roller and a brush. You use them just like applying paint. To start, pour some stain in a roller pan and thoroughly wet the roller. Starting at the top, make slow even strokes with the roller, carefully applying an even layer of stain. Use the brush to touch up any spots you miss and to get to difficult areas like corners and between slats.

Whichever method you use, be sure to keep a rag handy to sop up drips and clean up areas with too much stain.

Tip #5: Give Yourself Time to Stain Your Fence

You know the saying, “haste makes waste.” It’s as if it was custom-made for fence staining! Moving too fast will come back to you in the end in ways you won’t like. Make sure that you get a good, thick coat on your whole fence. Don’t rush. If you are using a semi-transparent stain, the stain will look different if you apply it in a thicker or thinner coat. Try to be as even as possible, and expect to apply two coats. There’s no prize for finishing in a single day, so if you find you are getting tired, stop before you get sloppy. Give yourself plenty of time.

Tip #6: Protect Your Property

Your goal is to get an even coat of stain on every surface of your fence, but not on every surface of your yard. Lay a drop cloth in the area you are working and move it along with you as you move along the fence. A drop cloth will protect the plants, grass, or other landscaping near the base of the fence. This is especially important if you use a sprayer since the mist can get to places you didn’t anticipate.

If you share a fence with a neighbor, be considerate of their property as well. Ideally, you can discuss the project with your neighbor ahead of time. It is best to stain both sides of a fence. After all, sealing one side of the wood but not the other doesn’t provide any of the preservative benefits of wood stain. Arrange to do both sides of the fence, if at all possible.

Tip #7: Watch the Weather

Fence stain starts to dry as soon as you apply it but can take 4 hours before it is dry enough to withstand rain. If the forecast calls for a chance of precipitation in the afternoon, don’t bother starting to stain in the morning. In addition to watching for rain, other weather factors can make staining more or less effective. Aim to stain your fence on a day that is slightly cool and overcast. Staining in direct sunlight will cause the stain to dry faster and can cause streaking.

Tip #8: Get Someone Else to Stain Your Fence

Maybe this should have been tip #1! The truth is that staining a fence is backbreaking labor and requires some experience and expertise to get it just right. That’s not to say that it is entirely out of the realm of DIY projects, but it’s a risk. Some homeowners expect to save money staining a fence themselves. But remember, there are plenty of hidden costs. Most homeowners don’t already have all the tools they will need. That could mean investing in a sprayer, brushes, a drop cloth, and protective breathing gear, at the very least. If you’re not staining a brand new fence, you will also need to buy or rent a power washer. Taken together, you may spend hundreds of dollars just to get your equipment together. And then there is the time. Remember, time is money. If you value your time, you may see how professional staining is a much better option. And you’ll be surprised at just how affordable professional fence staining is. Contact Bravo Fence Company today for your free, no-obligation quote.

What Is the Best Material for a Dog Fence?

What Is the Best Material for a Dog Fence

They say that dogs are man’s best friend. But that friendship requires some care and attention. If you have a high-energy dog, large or small, you’re probably very familiar with their need to run. Whether it’s tugging at their leash on a stroll around the block or making a run for it when the front door opens, some dogs just can’t be contained. A backyard is a great place for your dog to get outdoors and work off some of that energy. But if your yard isn’t properly secured, you could be chasing your dog down the block before long. If you want your dog to have the freedom to run and play in your yard, you need an effective dog fence. At Bravo Fence Company, we build fences for all kinds of dog owners, and we’ve got some experience keeping your furry friends from escaping. But every dog and every homeowner is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Here’s our rundown of some of the best materials for a dog fence.

Is Your Fence Tall Enough?

The first thing most pet owners need to consider when planning a fence to contain their dogs is how high it needs to be. For small breeds, a four-foot fence may be sufficient. However, larger dogs can easily jump a four-foot fence, so a standard six-foot fence may be the answer. If you have a particularly large breed or your dog is a standout jumper, you could opt for an eight-foot fence but check local regulations first. Some municipalities and homeowners associations limit the height of residential fences.

When considering the height of your fence, jumping is not the only concern. Some dogs are excellent climbers, as well. Depending on the material, a tall fence may not be enough to contain a climber. In general, climbers have a harder time with smooth fences, like a wood or vinyl privacy fence. If your dog is still getting out, you could add rollers to the top. A roller is usually a PVC pipe—it can be painted to match your fence—suspended by a wire or metal pipe. When the dog’s paws hit the tube, it rolls back toward them, making it nearly impossible to climb.

What Is the Best Material for a Dog Fence [infographic]

Chain Link Fence

Chain link is a durable and cost-effective fencing material. If you have a very large yard that will need lots of fencing, chain link can help keep costs down. Chain link comes in standard sizes from three feet up to six feet. If you need a higher fence, some fence dealers supply chain link that is eight feet or even taller, though it is not as common in residential settings.

While chain link is durable and cost-effective, it has some drawbacks. First, it is not the most attractive fencing option—many people associate chain link with commercial applications or sports facilities. However, there are some ways to dress up residential chain link. Some chain link comes with a vinyl coating that softens the look and adds color. The color options are somewhat limited, but it is a decent way to avoid the industrial look of bare metal. If you aren’t satisfied with the color options of pre-fab vinyl-covered chain link, you can always paint it.

Other options to improve the look of chain link include placing wooden slats through the chain link. Not only do the slats make the fence more attractive, but they also make it more private. However, large dogs crashing to your chain link fence could break slats, so choose wisely.

Finally, it may take time, but many homeowners grow vines and flowers on their chain link fences. Once the plants take over, they can completely hide the fence. You get the look of a beautiful hedge, but the strength and security of chain link. For that matter, you could always just grow and actual hedge right up against the chain link, so the fence is invisible from your backyard.

Another drawback of chain link is that some dogs may be able to climb it. If your dog is a potential climber, you can make it harder to climb by adding slats in the fence or a hedge in front of it. Rollers at the top of the fence are also an option.

One advantage of chain link is that it is an excellent option for pets that dig. If your pet tends to dig under fences, you need to dig a ditch at least 12 inches deep to install the fence. Once the fence is up and the ditch refilled, it will be harder for your pup to dig under. But not every type of fence can be buried. A wood fence would rot if it were buried underground. But chain link is a perfect option for a fence that extends a foot or more underground.

Metal Fences

Whether you choose wrought iron, steel, or aluminum, a metal fence is as elegant as it is classic. But can a metal fence contain a dog? The answer is that it really depends. The main drawback of metal fences for dogs is that most metal fences are made with thin pickets spaced three or four inches apart. A small dog could easily wriggle through that. And a slightly larger dog could try to get through, only to get their head dangerously stuck. So metal fences are really only appropriate for big dogs who absolutely cannot fit their heads between the pickets. Of course, a fence with narrower gaps is also safer, so if you’ve got your heart set on a metal fence, look for styles with smaller gaps.

Another feature that makes metal fences useful for larger breeds is that they are very strong. There isn’t a breed out there that could knock one over or chew through it. So if you have a large dog who throws himself against your fence, a metal fence might be a useful solution. Like chain link, metal can also be buried in the ground to thwart diggers.

Wood Dog Fence

A solidly built wood privacy fence has a lot to offer dog owners. First, unless your dog is exceptionally strong or heavy, they are unlikely to be able to break through a wooden privacy fence. Second, a standard six-foot privacy fence is tall enough to prevent most dogs from jumping over. Another benefit of a wood privacy fence over chain link or metal is that it blocks your dog’s view of the outside. That alone may discourage some of the escape attempts. And if your dog can’t see people and animals outside your yard, they may be less likely to go nuts when one passes. For dogs who go wild over squirrels, people, and other dogs, a privacy fence can have a calming effect.

In addition to keeping your dog in, a wooden privacy fence can keep other animals out. If you live in a place with raccoons, coyotes, and other wild animals, a wooden privacy fence can keep your dog from getting caught up with dangerous wildlife.

One major drawback of wood fences is that they cannot be buried. If you have a dog that lilies to dig, you may need to find another solution. You could bury chicken wire to prevent digging, or you could use stones, gravel, and raised planters to block access to the base of the fence.

Another drawback to wood fences is that over time they can develop cracks and holes that could give a small dog enough space to get out. A wood privacy fence is great for small breeds because there is no space between the pickets, but it needs to be maintained. If your fence is not maintained, small gaps could make it too easy for a small breed to escape.

Vinyl Dog Fence

Vinyl isn’t as classic as wood or metal, but it is a favorite for its low cost and extreme durability. It also makes a great dog fence. Vinyl privacy fences have a smooth surface that is hard to climb, and no gaps for a dog to squeeze through. Unlike wood, vinyl won’t rot or weaken. So even after many years, the fence should be as solid as the day it was installed. A six-foot vinyl privacy fence should be tall enough to keep most breeds from jumping out. Some vinyl fences are also available in eight-foot-high sections for dogs who are exceptional jumpers.

Vinyl’s weak spot is that it can become brittle over time. If your vinyl fence has been around for many years, it could crack under the force of a large dog crashing into it. Vinyl also cannot be buried, so it’s not ideal for dog breeds that tend to dig.

If you’re looking for just the right fence for your dog, contact Bravo Fence Company today. We’ll work with you and your furry friend to find the best fence to suit your needs. With decades of combined experience, our builders have seen it all, and they’re happy to help you find the right solution for your home.