Choosing a Fencing Material


You may live in the perfect home, or on the perfect property, but keeping things that way can be difficult when you don’t exactly live in the perfect neighborhood. Whether you just love your privacy above all else, or you simply want to let your pets and children have some space to run around in, fences are a great solution. Unfortunately, getting a fence installed isn’t as simple as deciding you want one, and choosing a fencing material can be confusing. There are numerous ways to build a sturdy, secure outdoor barrier with controllable access points, and learning some will help you decide what’s best for you.

Basic Choices
Fence types vary as much as their purpose does. The most prevalent residential varieties include chain link, wood rails, stone and vinyl. As a general rule, the more durable the building material you use, the more secure of a perimeter your fence will be. A closer examination of the different categories highlights their pros and cons.

Chain Link Fences
Chain link fences, originally designed for security and animal corralling, consist of steel vertical posts with touch wire mesh between them. The mesh is made of individually twisted wires “chained” together, so sections come in all heights and lengths. These fences are good for keeping people out, especially when used in conjunction with barbed wire, but their gap-filled structure renders them useless when it comes to privacy.

Chain link fences are strong, but if a vehicle collides with one, large sections might need to be replaced. They are great for keeping pets and children in, and allow you to cordon off an area without disrupting your view, and can include long driveway gates as well as smaller access doors.

Wooden Picket and Timber Style Fences
For a more rustic look, those who live in well-timbered areas often select wooden fences. These come in a variety of styles, such as the zigzagged split rail common to an idyllic prairie or ranch scene from the Wild West. Post and panel wood fences are built in straight runs that use tightly packed vertical timber panels to completely block out the view around them.

Wood fences are subject to weathering, although their pressure-treated lumber reduces such effects. These fences increase privacy around a home and provide great barriers to animals and people, but they usually cannot accommodate gates wide enough for the passage of vehicles.

Vinyl Fences
Vinyl lets you experience the benefits of sturdy wood without the expense of having to maintain it in the face of weather damage. It uses timber posts, which although still treated, are covered by thick vinyl sleeves and post caps for a finished effect that blocks out weathering. Fence sections are lightweight affairs, entirely made of vinyl, often molded with material patterns like wood-grain. With a variety of colors and styles, it’s easy to find something to match your home.

Stonework and Brick
Often combined with wrought-metal grill work and sharp posts, stone and brick combine the best elements of short property walls with the non-obstructive view an open fence provides. These fences usually don’t require any maintenance, and can be matched to the brick or stonework outside your home. Heavy, automatic security gates also fit right in with these imposing barriers.

Hedge and Living Fences
For those with green thumbs, the best choice is an entirely green barrier. Rows of hedges can be planted at such a distance that the individual bushes intertwine as they grow, creating a barrier that’s tough to get through without losing some skin, especially if thorns are present. This type of fence, in conjunction with low mounds and other earthwork, is great for those who love to stay environmentally friendly. The main drawbacks to the living fence, however, are that it does require some patience to fully appreciate and small animals can usually find their way through the spaces near the bottom.

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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