| 1. What are the basic fence materials?
Basic fence materials for residential use include tubular iron in square or round shapes, steel wire with steel or wood frames, wood for panel and rail fences, aluminum fence available with wire mesh, panel or glass insert, and the new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) fences. BACK TO TOP
2. How many different styles of fence are there?
There are many different styles of fences, and they are called different names depending on the companies you talk to and the areas in which you live. Chain link fences can be vinyl coated or galvanized and could have plastic slats inserted for adding privacy. Wood fences come in a variety of styles, such as, stockade, wyngates, flat board, estate, paddock, picket and split rail. PVC fences are a relatively new to the fence industry. PVC fences come in many of the same styles as wood fence. This product is very easy to maintain. Aluminum fences can look much like the old wrought iron fences (which are still available). Both aluminum and wrought iron fence are often ornamental by design. BACK TO TOP
3. What do I need to tell a contractor who is going to build a fence for me?
Once you have decided to install a fence, you should be prepared to discuss the following points with your fence professional. The purpose of the fence, the exact location of the fence, what type of design features you want (height, style, material) approximate budget, desired completion date. BACK TO TOP
4. What kind of fence will keep my dog confined but will not block my view?BACK TO TOP
A chain link fence with black or green vinyl fabric and a black frame is generally considered the best solution that will least obstruct your view.
5. I would like an old fashion picket fence. How can I avoid painting it every year?
Depending on the location of your fence, you might want to consider a natural finish with a waterproof seal. Another option is to purchase a PVC picket fence instead of the traditional wood picket fence. PVC is very attractive and virtually maintenance free. Yearly maintenance on a PVC fence would involve a hose, soap, towel and some children who like to play with water.
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6. Do I have to put a protective coating on wood fence posts before they are set in the ground? BACK TO TOP
The American Fence Association (AFA) recommends that you consult with an experienced local fence contractor (preferably an AFA member) to ensure the type of wood you choose is compatible with the soil in your area.
7. How deep do fence posts have to be set into the ground?
This depends on many factors, including the type of material used and the climate conditions in your area (snow loads, frost, winds, etc.). The American Fence Association (AFA) recommends that you consult with an experienced local fence contractor (preferably an AFA member) who is familiar with the specifications and standards associated with fence installation.
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8. I have an old rusted and flaking wrought iron fence around my house. How can I restore it? BACK TO TOP
The recommended procedure for restoring a wrought iron fence with this problem is to either sand blast or wire brush the fence to remove the rust. Once the rust is removed, you should apply a zinc enriched primer, cover it with one or two coats of finish preferably with a rust inhibitor. Just like your car, you can enhance the life span of an iron fence by simply cleaning and polishing the fence with a good automotive wax.
9. What type of fence will keep animals out of my vegetable garden?
A temporary solution might be to enclose your garden with utility wire or chicken wire held up by T-posts. If you want a more permanent fence you can use Stockade fence with utility wire. Remember . . . you cannot stop gophers, moles, and prairie dogs with a fence.
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10. How long will my fence last? BACK TO TOP
There are many factors that affect the life of a fence, including, local climate, soil conditions, and the materials used to name a few. You can expect a properly installed fence will last a long time as long as it is appropriately maintained. Your fence professional should be able to help you decide which type of fence will serve your needs best.
11. What kind of guarantees can I expect from my fence contractor?
The American Fence Association recommends that you discuss specific warranty concerns with your fence contractor prior to installation. Material warranties are usually provided by the manufacturer. Workmanship is guaranteed by the contractor. The term of a warranty will vary from product to product. Be sure to read the fine print on all warranties.
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12. What is the best type of wood to use for my fence? BACK TO TOP
There are perhaps 10-12 different wood species that are acceptable and commonly used for fence applications. What is best for you will depend on what is readily available in your area and adaptable to the soil and climate conditions on the property works.
13. How do I select a good fence contractor?
The American Fence Association recommends that you do your homework before you select a fence contractor. It is acceptable to interview different contractors before you make a decision on whom to use. Some questions you should ask: does your company hold liability and workman's compensation insurance? Can you supply me with a sample of your contract and products? What type of guarantee and warranty come with my fence? Do you belong to your National or local trade association? Fence contractors that belong to AFA abide by a strict code of ethics governing quality workmanship and business practices (this does not, in any way, imply that nonmembers are not reputable companies).
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14. Are there standards that pertain to fence materials and products? BACK TO TOP
Yes. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) develops and publishes standards for thousands of products, including fences. A knowledgeable, well-trained fence contractor will be versed in ASTM standards for fence products and installation. All members of the American Fence Association are supplied with an updated ASTM Manual for Fence Products regularly.
Reprinted with permission from The American Fence Association