A friend of mine once asked me what to look for in a fence. I told him that he should look for someone with underworld connections. Maybe someone named Louie. He then informed me that he wasn’t looking to unload stolen goods, but rather something with which to enclose his backyard. Well, that changed the whole discussion.
So, I asked him, “What do you like?” Steel, aluminum, wood – maybe vinyl? Short, tall, see-through, privacy? He said he didn’t know and that was why he was asking me. Like I would know? So, we did a little research and here’s some of the stuff we found out.
Wood fences are very popular as they can be constructed in a way that ensures privacy. Wood fences are available in a myriad of different styles and materials. Pine is probably the most affordable at around $10–$35 per linear foot. Cypress comes in at about $12 per linear foot, cedar about $15 per linear foot and redwood around $20 per linear foot.
Most wood fences take some maintenance. Waterproofing and/or staining is recommended. However, it must be noted that cedar has its own protective oil, so it can go unprotected as long as the owner doesn’t mind the gray color it takes on with age and inclement weather.
Steel fences are probably the most durable. Steel doesn’t bend as easily as, say, aluminum. And your steel fence certainly won’t break as easily as wood or vinyl. Most high-end steel fences are guaranteed for 20 years, as long as they’re installed 10 miles or more from salt water. Fences closer to the ocean will have lesser warranties. Steel fences cost in the neighborhood of $25 per linear foot.
Aluminum fences are cool in that they look great, and because they’re coated, they’ll last a long, long time with no maintenance at all. Aluminum is a softer metal than steel, so the drawback is that it’s not as resistant to damage as steel, however the price is very similar to that of steel.
You’ve probably seen a lot of vinyl fences popping up lately. They’re becoming increasingly popular because they’re affordable and easy to maintain. Just spray off your vinyl fence with a house-wash type product once in a while, and you’re good to go.
Parts snap together and the close spacing of slats makes a vinyl fence great for privacy. However, vinyl fences don’t take well to abuse and can crack and break. Be sure that your supplier will be stocking the same material long into the future in case you should need to purchase some for repairs. Colors used to be limited to white, however other colors are now being produced. Prices can range anywhere from under $10 per linear foot to about $40 per linear foot.
And then, there’s the ever-popular-in-the-past chain-link fence. Easy (and hazardous) for kids to climb, maintenance-free and lacking in privacy are some of the traits of this traditional American fence. However, galvanized steel will rust in as little as 10 years, depending on climate, so it’s best to spend more money up front and get the vinyl-coated variety. Galvanized chain-link fences will run about $12 per linear foot, while vinyl-coated chain-link fences climb to around $15.
There you have it. Those are the most popular fences going up today. Now, hum a rendition of “Don’t Fence Me In” and look for a reputable fence supplier. And, if you find a really good one, tell us!
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