Angie's List: Steps you need to take when installing a fence

Fences have both practical and aesthetic value, but a badly conceived fence can be an eyesore and a source of conflict with neighbors.

Fencing Materials:

Wood: One of the most common types of fencing, wood can give properties a traditional look. However, the lifetime of wood fencing varies. Many types have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years and require regular maintenance, ranging from cleaning and sealing to painting. It's important to understand the different types of wood and which are preferable for your purposes, tastes and climate. Bamboo is among the most recent newcomers to the range of fencing options. It is highly touted because it is considered environmentally friendly

Vinyl/composite: Often a top choice among homeowner associations in newer neighborhoods, this type of fencing tends to have clean, uniform lines. It also is a cost-effective option because it is easy to maintain; no painting and sealing required. In most cases, vinyl/composite fencing has a longer warranty than other types of fencing.

Metals:  Materials in this category can include aluminum, steel and traditional wrought iron – an expensive but beautiful choice. These options are ideal if you want to establish boundaries on your property but would rather maintain your views. They also can be highly decorative and enhance the overall aesthetic of your property.

Brick/masonry: Though an expensive option, brick as fencing is appropriate for historic neighborhoods and more stately properties. It also provides a high degree of privacy and security.

Angie's List Tips: What to consider when installing a fence

What's the purpose of the fence? Is it for privacy? To keep your kids and dogs in or another reason?

Are you allowed to have fence? If so, what type? Homeowners are responsible for checking with their homeowners association on types of fences allowed, verifying their property lines, having their yard checked for buried utility lines, etc.

Be a good neighbor: While it's not legally required, communicate with your neighbors that you're thinking of putting up a fence so they don't learn of it only when they see it being installed.

Factor in maintenance: Your fence will lose its appeal if you don't maintain it. Check your fence every few months for splintering, peeling, mold, breakage and insects. Be careful with the weed whacker near the fence. Over time, that causes splintering and scratches which breaks the seal and encourages damage.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a fencing contractor

A quality fencing company should provide you with written estimates, a warranty on the work, as well as a product warranty on the materials. 

Are they a full-service company? In addition to the installation, do they do repairs and adjustments?

Ask for references and don't be afraid to do a little leg work to check up on the company's past projects.

Get at least three written estimate and read the contract thoroughly.

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