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Fences Around Your Home, Which are the Best Choices?

Fences Around Your Home, Which are the Best Choices?

Most homes look much better and feel more secure or even comfy with a fence of some sort around them. In the front they can be attractive. In the rear they sometimes are a necessity. The question often asked is this one: what kind of fence is best?

Best Fence

Each of the fences or walls we’ll discuss has its drawbacks, but each also has its positives. Whether you are going for security or looks there are many choices. Do you choose chain link? How about wrought iron? A block wall sometimes fits well. What about the good old fashioned picket fence? Or, the new trend in vinyl?

Let’s start with the block wall. They are secure, safe and indicate strength. The downside is they often indicate “prison,” and no one wants to be a prisoner in their own home. Adding stucco over the block to match your home will be a big improvement in the appearance department.

Block Walls

Another negative to block depends on the area of the country you live. Californians loved block walls until the last 40 years of devastating earthquakes. Block walls have a tendency to fall over flat during a large quake. Of course if your block wall is the only problem you have after a 6.6 shaker you are pretty lucky. They are also the most expensive to construct.

In building a block wall it is very important to use the proper amount of rebar and to sink the wall well below the surface. Making sure a licensed contractor does the job is paramount. Once it is started there is no turning back so make sure it is what you want from the start.

Picket Fences

The old white picket fence looks great and gives the property a very nice homey feeling. It’s old school to be sure and if your home is in an older style with some character, a white picket fence can really add to the charm. These fences are probably the easiest to make on your own.

You still need to do all the important things such as making sure your lines are straight. An electric saw from any of the major appliance stores can be obtained inexpensively and you may even be able to rent one. Make sure all the posts are sunk properly and the fence rails are the proper length. There are lots of books on the market which will give you the correct details.

Wooden Fences

The downside to a wooden fence comes with the weather. If you do not properly stain and treat the wood it will shrink during wet weather and if not kept up looks very bad.

A similar problem exists with a wooden fence where you put the slabs tightly together. Usually meant for a back yard you can purchase 1” x 12” boards. Fit them after painting and nail them in place. However, remember wood will shrink if not properly treated and after a season of rain, you will be able to see between the slabs. This is not the optimum effect you wanted.

Chain Link

Chain link is the most durable and trouble free. It is not expensive; you can do it yourself although we recommend having a contractor or fence construction company do it properly for the best results. It wears in all kinds of weather, lasts forever and has no problems with earthquakes or tornadoes.

The downside of course chain link is not the best looking fence you can buy. It works well if you don’t mind the metal linkage. You can see through it so if you are trying to protect your view, this is not for you. For that effect you can slide metal strips into the chain link but while this helps protect your yard and your line of site, it is pretty cheesy and awful ugly.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is a quality item and quite durable. It can be pretty nice if it’s done well and not overdone. It can make your home look tacky as well. If you are trying to preserve a view, wrought iron may be best.

Vinyl Fencing

The hottest new trend is vinyl fencing. Usually vinyl is used in white but several different colors are available including a stained wood look. The nice thing about vinyl is its wear ability. It is very strong, easy to clean (just wash off with a hose), it doesn’t shrink or deteriorate like wood and it is comparable to the other mid range fences in price. It is more expensive than chain link but much better looking and less expensive than iron by far. It is very comparable to wood in price.

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