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How to Choose the Right Fence for Your Home

Have you been staring out that window and dreaming of summer again? Do you imagine your yard surrounded and accented by a gorgeous new fence? You won’t be the only one.

 

 

Couple looking out window pointing

 

 

The pandemic brought about a massive investment in outdoor spaces. Big stores faced product shortages and the price of wood skyrocketed! Landscapers and contractors were worked off their feet and you’d be lucky to get a phone call back. With the world settling down and manufacturing back in full swing this could be the year to replace that ugly old fence and take your property to the next level.

 

Now is the perfect time to start researching, building a plan, and getting your job in the queue with a quality contractor.

 

Let’s go through a few considerations.

 

 

1. What is the Purpose of Your Fence?

 

It’s important to sit down and think about what you want a new fence for. This will help guide you when you’re considering materials, design, and budget.

 

Some common reasons for a fence are:

 

 

Security - A good fence can keep your valuables and children safely in your yard and can deter strangers from coming onto your property. The key features to consider are height, stability, lack of places to grip, and a lockable gate. A fence built for security should be 8 feet high.

 

Maybe you need a fence to surround your pool? Many municipalities have bylaws in place for this function with minimum heights required to meet code.

 

Mother and daughter swimming in their backyard pool

 

Privacy – Fences play a key role in blocking peering eyes and nosey neighbours. They can stand alone or be combined with hedges and greenery to create a private haven for your family and friends to enjoy. What material you choose will dictate how much privacy you can achieve.

 

Maximum privacy comes from a fence that has minimal or no space between boards. The height you choose will depend on local bylaws, the slope of your yard and neighbouring properties, and the layout of your outdoor space.

 

Take the time to walk the perimeter and determine where you need the most privacy. Is it beside your patio, where you love to tan, or maybe you’re trying to block a street view? Extra thought here will pay off big down the road.

 

 

Aesthetics – Sometimes a fence is just meant to keep a dog in the yard and then a simple chain link will do. But for many a fence can be ornamental or a critical part of what makes your landscape design beautiful.

 

Talking with an expert can open up infinite opportunities when it's all about the look. Materials, layout, and trends will make deciding much more difficult alone.

 

A unique fence design can dramatically improve your property’s appearance, value, and curb appeal. Consider going gateless and instead create a path for entry or a stepped design to provide privacy where you need it and lower sections for accents.

 

The style of your home also plays a part in selecting materials. Classic homes look good with brick and ornamental metal fences, while country properties tend to work better with vinyl or wood fencing. Needless to say, your fencing should align with the architecture of your home.

 

 

Dog-proofing – The type of fence you choose will be based on the nature of your dogs. Are they diggers or jumpers? How high can they jump? Are they adventurous and always looking for an escape or do they just like to chill in the yard?

 

A low 3- to 4-foot fence can work fine for smaller dogs and those who don’t jump; but larger dogs will need something higher. If your dogs are the digging kind be sure to bury the fence at least 6 inches underground or place hardscaping along the fence line.

 

What if your dog is a barker, and gets excited at everything they see? Consider blocking any visual stimuli with a solid fence. This can inhibit your dog’s view of cars, other animals, or people going by.

 

 

2. Determine Your Budget

 

The material you choose is one of the biggest factors determining the price of your fence. Before you get your heart set on a particular type it’s best to figure out what kind of budget you have to work with.

 

Take into account the size of your property and how much fencing you will need. Once you know that you can compare the different costs of materials and installation, and finalize a range or maximum spend.

 

Big backyard

 

 

Other factors that can affect costs are permits, utilities, and grading.

 

Before you commence work, you need to contact your municipality and inquire about permits, pricing will vary depending on your location and the scope of work. This is also a suitable time to inquire about property lines to make sure you build in the correct spot. And a fantastic opportunity to work on your neighbor relations and inquire about sharing the costs.

 

If you are doing the fence yourself don’t forget to call before you dig and verify that your fence doesn’t interfere with any service lines. In Ontario, you can rely on One Call or otherwise use Dig Safe Canada.

 

If you’ve hired a contractor, they will usually look into this for you. Damaging an electrical or gas line can definitely impact your budget.

 

The grading of your land is another factor to consider. For example, there’s a chance your costs could be higher for a fence installation if the land is sloped higher because it makes installation more difficult.

 

If you decide to use a contractor, the installation cost can vary significantly from company to company. It’s best to reach out to a few so you can compare costs and material charges. Fence installation labour generally costs $30 to $80 per hour.

 

Remember, the cheapest fence to install is not always the most economical overall. Considering factors such as maintenance helps determine the total cost of a fence over its lifetime.

 

 

3. Choose Your Materials

 

Once you have a good handle on your budget you can select your fence materials. Common materials include wood, vinyl, wrought iron, aluminum, and chain-link. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages.

 

Backyard with wood and wrought iron fence

 

Let’s look at little closer.

 

 

Wood – Wood can be a popular choice that provides security and privacy. To keep it looking great though it requires regular re-staining or painting.

 

Pros

  • Can be very affordable

  • Provides a classic look

  • Depending on the installation it can offer a great deal of privacy

  • A good contractor can get highly creative with assorted designs and looks, and a new stain or paint colour can quickly change it up

  • Easy to install

  • Plenty of sustainable options for the environmentally conscious consumer

 

Cons

  • As stated, it will require regular maintenance
  • Relatively short lifespan (10–20 years)

 

 

VinylPVC or vinyl fences are great alternatives to wood and are extremely popular. It is one of the fastest-growing choices across North America and comes with good warranties. The product is beautiful and can create a more expansive feel to a property line.

 

Pros

  • Low maintenance and never needs painting
  • Long lasting and durable. Does not rot or rust
  • Strong and flexible
  • Easy to clean and can be done with a garden hose
  • Tons of options for style and colours

 

Cons

  • Higher upfront cost
  • Can warp or crack in extreme temperatures
  • Can be more difficult to install

 

 

Wrought Iron – Wrought iron can give a classical and historic look to your home, but it is pricey.

 

Pros

  • Looks nice

  • Durable, can last a lifetime

  • Low maintenance

 

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Prone to rust

 

 

Aluminum – While aluminum fences are not ideal for maintaining privacy, they are totally functional in terms of security.

 

Pros

  • Secure

  • Low maintenance

  • Affordable alternative to wrought iron

  • Ornamental options to create unique designs

 

Cons

  • Not as sturdy as other materials, so no climbing!

 

 

Chain-link – Budget-friendly and used for many public spaces like parks and school yards chain-link can be a great option, especially for larger properties. A chain link fence is also one way to achieve a fenced-in yard and yet still keep an open airy feeling around your property.

 

Pros

  • Affordable

  • Easy to install

  • Keeps pets safely in the yard

  • Great to accommodate pool bylaw requirements

  • Comes in vinyl-coated options that include several colours

  • Maintenance free

  • Sturdy

  • Sustainable because the material can be recycled

 

Cons

  • Low security and easily climbable

  • Low privacy unless complemented by ivy or vinyl slats

 

4. Consider Hiring a Professional

 

Building a fence is a lot of work. Digging out holes for fence posts can be brutal and require specific tools depending on what type of land you have.

 

If you don’t have the know-how or the time it’s probably best to look for a good contractor. They can help you pick the right materials and design, manage the permits and “call before you dig.”

 

Best of all a skilled professional, like the team at Resolut, will have that fence up in no time and you can sit back and enjoy your yard.

 

 

 

Nunzio Romeo at 9:58 AM
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Name: Nunzio Romeo
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Last Post: April 4, 2024

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