Fencing: All You Need to Know and Then Some

Choosing fence material, or fence panels, is a choice based upon usage and fence type. For example, if the usage is privacy and security, i.e., to protect children, pets, or for a pool enclosure, then, a solid fence panel, of wood or vinyl composition, is the best choice. If the need is for barrier with visibility, then, chain-link fence fabric is a good option. Modern fence panels are constructed of wood, metal, or vinyl. Common metal fences are chain-link, or wrought iron type, with chain-link as the popular choice. Avoid purchasing the wrong type of fence material. Prior to purchase, check municipal and homeowner association codes and regulations. Save time and money, a satisfied customer plans ahead.

Chain-link fence material is made of galvanized metal with some fences constructed of vinyl covered chain-link fabric.  Steel posts secure the chain-link fabric. Metal wires run in a vertical zigzag pattern and are hooked together giving the appearance of a diamond shape. Chain-link fence fabric is available in 10 to 50 foot rolls. Weather-resistant vinyl covered chain-link fencing comes in green or black colors with bare silver metal as the most common choice. Decorative plastic slats are inserted for aesthetic appeal and privacy. Considered as sturdy, inexpensive, low-maintenance fencing, it comes in three to 12 feet height with various mesh sizes and gauges. Special tools include hog-ring pliers, tie wires, stretcher and tension bars, and tension bands. Commercial security fences are topped with barbed wire.

Wood fence panels are very popular and long lasting. Pressure-treated wood panels and posts stand the test of time and last many years longer than untreated wood panels. Homeowners living in extreme weather areas should consider using pressure-treated wood fence material and posts. Pine, Douglas fir, redwood, and spruce wood may be treated with a pressure-treated chemical and process to avoid termites and fungal decay. Wood panels are decorative and commonly called stockade fence panels. Some panels have lattice on top to provide beauty as well as function. Preassembled fence panels are easier to install than stick-built common component fences. Stick-built fences are constructed of individual boards, rails, and posts but they follow the lay of the land, called racking, easier than preformed fence panels. Preassembled fence panels, also use posts and stair-step installation conforming to landscape contour. Easier and faster to construct than stick-built fences, the panels come in sections that are four to six feet tall and six to eight feet long.

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Over the past 30 years, vinyl panel fences have become a popular choice. Vinyl, PVC or polyvinyl chloride, fences have low-maintenance. More homeowners are choosing vinyl fence panels because they are attractive, easy to clean, and do not decay or fade. Vinyl fence panels are constructed as four to six feet tall and five to seven feet wide sections. Vinyl rails vary from eight to sixteen feet long. Vinyl panels use racking and stair-step installation to conform to landscape contour.