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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.

Why You Should Choose an Aluminum Ornamental Fence

metal fence

When homeowners consider a new fence, many can only imagine a classic wood privacy fence. If you want something a little more decorative and traditional, some homeowners consider a white picket fence. But many fail to recognize one of the most classic and decorative of all styles, the aluminum ornamental fence.

What Is an Ornamental Fence?

Ornamental fences have been in use for centuries, and you’ve likely seen them in many places. The most common ornamental fence is a black metal fence made of thin pickets spaced about a foot apart. The pickets often have decorative finials such as spears or flowers that look good and also make it more difficult to climb over the fence. Fancier fences may include scrolling and other designs between the pickets. You can often find these classic ornamental fences in older neighborhoods both in the US and Europe.

Traditionally, ornamental fences were made of wrought iron. Wrought iron is a very pure form of iron that has been worked by hand—wrought just means worked. A blacksmith heats the iron until it glows red hot, then hammers it to shape it and remove any traces of carbon. The more the iron is hammered, the more carbon is removed, and the more malleable it becomes. Wrought iron is incredibly strong, and many wrought iron fences have been in place for centuries. For example, much of the wrought iron fencing in New Orleans’ French Quarter dates from the 1700s. Wrought iron is also so strong that it was used to construct the Eiffel Tower!

One significant drawback of wrought iron for residential use is its high cost. Because it is so labor-intensive to produce, wrought iron is the most expensive fencing material by far. So although many homeowners adore the look of wrought iron, the price tag is too high to be practical.

Aluminum ornamental fencing was introduced in the US by Jerith Mfg Co over 50 years ago. Today, it has become the ornamental fencing of choice for most homeowners.

Why You Should Choose an Aluminum Ornamental Fence [infographic]

The Advantages of Aluminum Ornamental Fencing

The most significant advantage of aluminum over wrought iron decorative fencing is the price. Aluminum is the most economical ornamental fence, at as little as half the price of wrought iron. Steel fence, another ornamental fence option, is a little more expensive, but still less than wrought iron.

Absolute Elegance

One reason why many homeowners choose an aluminum ornamental fence is for its absolute elegance. Ornamental fencing has a classic look and can be dressed up with a wide variety of finials and decorative scrolls. One benefit of ornamental fencing is the way it adds to your curb appeal and home value. Ornamental fencing stands out as the first thing visitor and potential homebuyers see when they arrive at your home. It makes a first impression of elegance and beauty unlike any other type of fence.

Ornamental fencing isn’t just for classical homes. While highly-decorated ornamental fencing can be found around many classic buildings, aluminum ornamental fencing is available in a wide variety of styles. From highly ornate classical styles to sleek, clean, modern designs, ornamental fencing can adapt to improve any home.

Ornamental fences can also compliment your home in a way that a privacy fence cannot. Because you can see right through most ornamental fences, the fence won’t block your landscaping and the facade of your home. So if you want to show off all the hard work you have put into your home, an ornamental fence provides security without blocking the view.

Added Security

In addition to beautifying your home, an aluminum ornamental fence protects it. While aluminum is not as strong as wrought iron, it is much stronger than wood, while still allowing a view into and out of your property. Ornamental fences come in four standard sizes: 3-foot, 4-foot, 5-foot, and 6-foot. The shorter 3-foot fences are used either as decorative features in gardens and along walkways or to create a taller fence on top of masonry walls. 4-foot and 5-foot fences are popular for residences, including for pool security fences. A 6-foot fence provides the most security, as it is very difficult to climb over. In most cases, just the appearance of a 6-foot ornamental fence is enough to scare off potential intruders.

If you’re looking for even more security, you can opt for thicker pickets that are harder to bend or cut through. One feature that is usually reserved for commercial fences is pickets that curve outward toward the top, making it harder to scale the fence.

If you have pets that you need to contain, a 5-foot fence is too tall for most dogs to jump over. If you have smaller pets or children who might be able to slip between the pickets, you can use mesh to increase the security of your fence.

Low Maintenance

One of the most significant advantages of an aluminum ornamental fence is the low maintenance requirements. Wrought iron and steel both have one major weakness: rust. While paint and coatings can help protect iron and steel, some rust is inevitable. To keep an iron or steel fence in good condition, it must be monitored for rust and bubbling paint. And about once a year, you need to sand and repaint any rust spots.

Aluminum, by definition, cannot rust. That’s because rust is defined as the oxidation of iron, and aluminum has almost no iron in it. Aluminum can, at least in theory, corrode, which would be a similar chemical process to rust, minus the iron. However, when aluminum corrodes, it creates a chalky powder that actually protects it from further corrosion.

To make the material even more resilient, aluminum ornamental fences are treated with a powder coating that protects them from corrosion. Unlike paint, which can crack and bubble, a powder coating is completely bonded with the metal. For a powder coating, a dry powder containing pigments, polymer resins, curatives, and other additives is applied to the surface of the aluminum in a process called electrostatic spray deposition. When the aluminum is put in a curing oven, the powder transforms into a smooth, hard coating. A powder-treated aluminum fence needs almost no maintenance and is almost completely impervious to corrosion.

An Environmentally Friendly Option

Besides all of its useful qualities, aluminum ornamental fencing is also one of the most environmentally-friendly fence materials. Aluminum is highly recyclable since it does not degrade when melted down and used to create something new. Aluminum can be recycled many times over without losing any of its qualities. In fact, your aluminum fence is most likely made from recycled scrap. In the fencing industry, the standard is to use at least 70% recycled material to make new aluminum fencing. And when your fence is eventually taken down, it will most likely be scrapped and used again for something new.

Ornamental Aluminum Fences from Bravo Fence Company

Bravo Fence Company has been installing custom aluminum ornamental fences for over a decade, with hundreds of satisfied customers. Our skilled team is made up of builders and installers with decades of experience who can make your ornamental fence dreams come true. Whether you want a traditional wrought iron-look fence, or something modern and sleek, we can create an aluminum ornamental fence to meet your style and functional goals. Contact us today for your free estimate.

Building a Fence on Uneven Ground

part of the yard

Very few yards are completely flat, and different parts of the country have more and less even ground. But here in Georgia, flat expanses are the exception, and the Atlanta Metro Area is known for its hilly topography. Building a fence on uneven ground poses a challenge, but it’s not impossible. Bravo Fence can build beautiful fences on slopes and undulating ground, even if it takes a little more work. We have over 15 years of experience building fences all around Georgia, on flat ground, undulating landscapes, and steep slopes.

The Challenges of Building a Fence on Uneven Ground

When the ground is just a little bit bumpy, it’s only a minor task to even things out enough to build a level fence. But with truly uneven ground—ground that dips or slopes—regular fencing becomes problematic. On flat ground, a fence consists of three parts. Vertical posts, driven deep into the ground, support the rails. Horizontal rails that run between the posts, and in most styles of fence, they hold pickets. Vertical pickets or boards are attached to the rails to give the fence its appearance, either with openings or sealed off for a privacy fence.

When the ground is sloped, there is a problem with this basic structure. The posts end up at different elevations, and they cannot be connected with level rails and pickets. There are three ways of fixing this problem, each with its own challenges.

Building a Fence on Uneven Ground [infographic]

 

Level-Topped Fence

If your ground doesn’t slope but instead undulated with dips and rises, you may be able to install a level-topped fence. This is just a fancy name for the same sort of fence you would install on flat ground, with a top that is level all the way across. If your land doesn’t slope but suffers from uneven areas where it dips, you can build a level-topped fence with a little landscaping. Start by filling in the low spots with a bit of soil and grass seed. For larger dips, you may need to fill in with rocks and gravel with dirt on top. Another alternative is to plant bushes and plants along the base of the fence to hide irregularities.

Stepped Fencing

If you have a steep slope to contend with, stepped fencing may be your best option. With stepped fencing, each panel (the space between posts) is a step up from the one before. While it doesn’t provide the smooth, even lines of a regular fence, it can accommodate steep slopes without installing an excessively slanted fence line.

The significant drawback of stepped fencing is that it leaves a triangular open space between each panel and the sloping ground below. If you have pets or small children—a common reason for installing a fence—that may be unacceptable. So if you need a fully-enclosed fence, you can combine stepped fencing with additional landscaping and fill in the spaces with new soil and grass seed. If the spaces are small enough, they can also be blocked with planters or thick bushes.

Racking Fences

Stacking fences are a relatively new technology that first appeared around two decades ago and has grown in popularity since then. Stacking fences are prefabricated fencing panels in which the pickets are attached to the rails with hinges. The posts are placed at different levels, as dictated by the sloping ground, and the rails between them follow the angle of the slope. The hinged pickets remain upright and follow the slope of the rails. For slight to moderate grades, racking fences provide a quick solution and a custom look without all the meticulous calculations and labor-intensive installation of a genuinely custom fence.

The primary disadvantage of racking fences is that as the grade of the slope increases, the pickets will be closer together. This can give an uneven appearance, and most manufacturers recommend a slope of 10º or less. Some specialty racking fences are available for steeper grades, but in general, steep grades require custom fencing for a smooth, level top.

Custom Fencing

When your yard includes steep slopes, undulating terrain, and other challenging building surfaces, custom fencing is the best, and sometimes the only, solution. Bravo Fence Company has been building fences for over 15 years, and many of our technicians have been building fences even longer than that. We have the experience and skills to achieve a beautiful, smooth-looking fence on even the most challenging terrain.

Custom fencing is cut and built on-site to match your yard’s specific needs, whether it includes hills, dips, or valleys. We provide wood, aluminum, steel, chain link, and vinyl fencing in a wide variety of styles. Whether you want a sleek wooden privacy fence, an ornate steel fence, or traditional white pickets, we have you covered, whatever your yard looks like. Contact us today for your free quote.