How to Choose the Right Fence

Installing a new fence can create extra privacy, keep the yard secure, and increase the property's curb appeal. Choosing the right fence material can be tough, though. There are dozens of options, and they're not all created equal. Since a new fence is a serious investment, it's worth taking some time to learn about different styles and materials to make the right decision.

How to Choose the Right Fence
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Start by Developing a Budget

The first step to choosing the right fencing material is to establish a budget. While installing a fence will never be cheap, some options cost more than others. Illinois Fence offers three affordable options: wood, vinyl, and aluminum. These materials all come with additional advantages beyond affordability, and they're all great options for budget-conscious homeowners.

Homeowners can learn more about wood, vinyl, and aluminum fencing later in this article. For now, just take a moment to evaluate the family's financial situation and get a rough estimate of how much money can go into installing a new fence without breaking the yearly budget.

Make Sure the Fence Will Serve Its Purpose

Every homeowner who chooses to install a fence has different motivations. Some people just want to keep dogs and small children from wandering into the road. Others want full privacy from nosy neighbors or increased security. Not all fencing styles and materials are equally adept at meeting homeowners' diverse needs, so outlining the intention behind a new fencing project can make it easier to make informed decisions about what kind of fence to install.

Homeowners who want maximum privacy should consider wood fences. These traditional fences can be built to just about any height, and the slats can be placed close together to prevent prying eyes from getting a view of the yard. Vinyl is also a good alternative for homeowners who want maximum privacy but don't have the time to worry about fence maintenance.

Security fences don't need to block the view from the road. Their primary purpose is to stop people from getting into or out of the yard, so metal fencing may be a better alternative. Aluminum fences are the most affordable kind of metal fences aside from chain link, which doesn't hold up as well when it comes to safety and security. It's only worth investigating more traditional alternatives like wrought iron if money is not an issue, as iron fencing requires a much larger initial investment and comes with higher ongoing maintenance costs.

Don't Forget About Curb Appeal

Both privacy fences and security fences can also add to the property's curb appeal, but only if homeowners make wise decisions regarding fencing materials. For traditionally styled landscapes, wood is almost always the best option. Painted or stained, it offers the kind of natural beauty that can't be matched by manmade materials like vinyl. Upscale, traditional homes sometimes feature wrought iron fences, but that's not always a good choice. It's far less expensive to install a wood fence than a wrought iron fence, and wood is far more versatile.

Homeowners with a more contemporary aesthetic have far more choices. Wood is still a great option since it can be painted to match other exterior features, but aluminum, vinyl, and other materials can all fit the bill, as well. Vinyl fences are almost as customizable as wood, which makes it easy to find a style that will complement the landscaping and the home's exterior.

Decide on Maintenance Requirements

All fences require some maintenance, but some materials and styles have higher requirements than others. Wood fences must be repainted or restrained every year or two to keep them looking their best, while vinyl and aluminum only need to be washed periodically to remove dirt and road grime. Homeowners who want their fences to look great year-round, but don't want to put in the effort required to maintain wood fencing, should seriously consider man-made alternatives.

Vinyl and aluminum fences don't just have very low maintenance requirements. They're also able to withstand environmental pressures for decades. Eventually, though, every fence will start to break down under constant exposure to the elements, especially if it doesn't get the maintenance it needs. That's why it's wise to choose a material that offers easy replacement of damaged parts.

Take Landscaping Features into Account

Modern landscapes typically feature a mix of grass, gardens, trees, and shrubs. If there are trees near the edge of the property, keep in mind that they will shade parts of the fence. Wood fences can develop mold and mildew under these conditions, especially during the rainy season. They're also more likely to rot if they come into contact with soil from garden beds or excessive amounts of plant debris from nearby landscaping installations.

There are plenty of ways to prevent or remove mold growth, so homeowners who have their hearts set on traditional wood fences don't need to cut down all the nearby trees. It's just important to be aware of these problems. Vinyl and aluminum fencing doesn't require mold treatments, making maintenance easier in yards with complex landscapes.

Don't Ignore Building Codes

There are tons of good reasons to hire a professional contractor to install any new fence, regardless of its style and material composition. Navigating the complex world of building codes and permits is one of them. It's best to speak with a qualified contractor before deciding on a fence style since local codes may preclude fences over a certain height or otherwise restrict what options are available.

Get Expert Advice Before Moving Forward

There's no one fence material or style that will fit every situation perfectly. Homeowners who are feeling overwhelmed by their options can contact local fencing installation contractors to discuss their concerns. Consulting an expert ensures the fence will be a good fit and gets homeowners in touch with contractors who can help with everything from ordering materials to installing the fence and providing ongoing maintenance. Choose a contractor wisely, then call or fill out a contact form to discuss the project and request an estimate as soon as possible.

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