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.
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.
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.
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.
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.