What fences would best suit my needs?

In this post we will discuss all the different type of fences that most homeowners will be considering.  Keep in mind that this is not one size fits all.  If you can’t stand your neighbors you probably don’t want a picket fence.

Plastic, PVC, Vinyl Fences

This is a vinyl picket fence.

Vinyl fences are also known as pvc, synthetic, or even plastic.  They are typically made from polypropylene, nylon, or polythene (polyethylene).  These fences have been around since the 1980s and started becoming popular for residential uses in the 1990s.  They provide a great alternative to cedar and pressure treated fences.  While some people cannot stand a white vinyl fence, there is no denying that these are one of the most popular fences on the market today.  At this point they probably make up 75% of fences in highly developed areas.  Like all fences, there are many pros and cons for this style of fence.

Pros for vinyl fences:

  • Will last an extremely long time.
    • Even the early fences from the 1990s are still standing today.  The technology today is light years ahead of the original products.  Think of the Trex decking when it first came out.  They claimed it to be no maintenance, no fading, etc.  But the original Trex decking looks like crap.  Companies can do all the testing they want but real life conditions will always show the products their true colors.  But just like Trex decking, the quality of the materials today actually does what the companies promise.
  • Virtually no maintenance.
    • This is what truly sets vinyl apart from wood fences.  Like Ron Popeil used to say, “Set it and forget it.”  If you have no idea who I’m talking about you obviously did not grow up watching infomercials in the 90s!  This was his slogan for his Showtime Rotisserie and this thing was awesome!  Super juicy foods and super simple to use.  Here’s a link to watch the infomercial if you are bored.  He also had a lot of other great products that I used to love watching as a 10 year old.  I’ve said it before, I am a little odd lol!
  • Comes in a variety of heights, styles, and colors.
    • Whether you want a privacy or picket fence, vinyl has you covered.  Click HERE to see the different vinyl fence styles we have to offer.
  • Most are made in USA
    • Notice how I said most.  When getting quotes please verify that they use USA materials.  Not only is it good for our economy, you also can be assured of  the quality.

Cons for vinyl fences:

  • It is susceptible to algae and mildew if you have a lot of tree cover.
    • This is mainly due to the fact that your fence will have moisture on it for longer periods of time that will facilitate this growth.  The solution to this is pretty easy.  You just need a bucket with water, soap, and some bleach.  This will kill the algae while removing the stains.  I do not suggest a pressure washer as some people will go overboard with the pressure and using the wrong nozzle.  This will eat away at the top layer and instead of a nice shiny flat surface you will be left with a duller appearance with a rough texture.  This will make your situation even worse!
  •  Relatively expensive:
    • This is especially true when you start looking into the vinyl fences that resemble wood.  You’ll end up spending double the amount and if you pick the wrong manufacturer you will be extremely disappointed.  Please read the blog post HERE to see more information.  That post goes into more detail than what most people need.

Wood Fences

This is a cedar fence

Wood fences are still one of the most popular fences but they are losing ground to vinyl and aluminum fences.  There are some times when wood fences are the obvious choice.  If you live in a wooded area or need maximum relieve from road noise this is definitely your go to fence.

Pros for wood fences:

  • Timeless 
    • Sure, vinyl is extremely popular now but what about in 20-30 years?  Things come and go but you will always see wood fencing.
  • Inexpensive fence
    • That’s if you go with pressure treat fence.  Cedar fences are actually quite expensive now that a NAFTA trade agreement took place in early 2017.  Basically all cedar fencing comes from Canada and incurred a 20% increase around April of 2017.

Cons for wood fences:

  • Maintenance:
    • Wood fences require more maintenance than any other style of fence.  They should be stained or sealed every 3 or so years to keep them looking great and to maximize their life expectancy.
  • Life span:
    • Wood fences will also need to be replaced much sooner than any other style of fence.  You will typically get about 10-15 years from a pressure treated fence and about 25-30 years from a cedar fence.

Chain Link Fences

This is a chainlink fence, also known as chain link fence.

There are basically two types of people when it comes to chain link: Those who absolutely hate it and those that tolerate it.  I agree it isn’t the prettiest thing out there but it does has it’s time as place.

Pros for chain link fence:

  • Very inexpensive
    • Chain link fence is pretty much the cheapest fence you can buy.
  • No maintenace
    • If you thought vinyl was easy, you have just met the ultimate in no maintenance.
  • Long lasting:
    • It’s safe to say that when you put in your chain link fence you will not need another fence for another 50 years.

Cons for chain link fence:

  • Appearance:
    • It’s true, it is not the prettiest fence out there.  However, I have been pushing most people into the all black option. It looks 10x better than galvanized or silver chain link.  We use this style fence a lot when the customers house backs up to woods.  It keeps their pets and children in while not blocking your view.
  • Another appearance issue:
    • You are basically limited to 4′ or 5′ height for residential.  And actually, 5′ is cutting it close as well.  Basically if you don’t want your house to look like a prison, never use 6′ height.
  • No privacy:
    • Sure, the make privacy slats and fabric but they look like crap!  And the worst part?  Those slats won’t even block out your view 100%.  If you need privacy I would highly suggest vinyl or wood.
  • Easy to climb:
    • If you think Im going to say it’s easy for people to climb you are partially right.  But, have you thought about your dogs?  I have heard countless stories on how a person’s dog climbed up the fence and ran away.  If you have a larger dog and they are like Houdini you may want to reconsider.
  • Easy for pets to escape under:
    • If you have a dog that likes to run away I would highly suggest that you have the bottom tension wire installed.  This makes it so your pup can just push the bottom of the fence.  After 2+ years the ground will settle around the fence making it extremely rigid.  But until then it is relatively easy to push away from the posts.

Aluminum Fences

This is an aluminum fence.

Aluminum fences have just started becoming popular in the last 10-15 years.  They look awesome and are the perfect choice around pool areas.

Pros for aluminum fences:

  • Great looking:
    • This is my favorite fence to install.  If you have a pool and want to keep your kids and pets safe this is your answer.  It keeps people and pets out while not obstructing your view.
  • Low Maintenance:
    • You pretty much can spray it down every 5-10 years and you are good to go.
  • Easy to install:
    • Even for the complete novice this fence is extremely easy to install.  The holes only need to be 6″ in diameter instead of 8″-12″ for other styles of fence.
  • Long lasting:
    • Since these fences are made of aluminum you don’t have to worry about it rusting.  You can pretty much put this up and forget about it for the next 40+ years.

Cons for aluminum fences:

  • Higher cost
    • Although it costs more than most other fences I feel as though the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
  • Easier to damage:
    • Let’s face it, this is aluminum and aluminum isn’t the most durable material compared to vinyl, chain link, or wood fences.  If you have an aspiring soccer play that loves to kick balls full force at your fence, this probably isn’t a great option.  Im not saying it will bend when you look at it but you do have to be more careful.  My aluminum fence was installed about 5 years ago and has stood up to the abuse from my 6 year old.  He used to hang all over it for several years at it still looks as good as the first day it was installed.
  • No privacy
    • If you are trying to hide from your neighbors this is absolutely the worst choice you can make.
  • Small dogs can escape:
    • If your dog is about 15 pounds or less you may have a problem.  My dogs squeeze through the fence all the time to get into the pool area.  They do make aluminum fences that are called puppy spaced but they are cost prohibited to most people.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post.  As time goes on I will update this post for any other styles of fence but this will give you about 90% of what you need to know to get you in the right direction.