If you’ve been staring at your tired or failing deck this summer and wish you could replace it, but are unsure where to start. This brief tutorial will get your outdoor project off the ground. Whether you want to build a deck, repair an existing porch, or want to add privacy to your property with a fence, you first need to determine your materials.
We’ll focus on the right material for your needs and arm you with critical details to make an informed decision. Once you’ve reviewed this article, you can walk the aisles of Home Depot with the confidence to choose the right material for you and your home. Looking for fencing services Melbourne services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
First and foremost let’s talk about wood. Regardless if you decide to go with a composite material for decking or fencing, your framing and posts will most likely be composed of pressure treated wood material or PT. Any outdoor projects you tackle should be built using this wood that has been treated with chemicals that resists fungus, bacteria, and insects. Additionally, it is applied in a pressure chamber, so these chemicals are forced into the core of the wood.
The generic wood material is labelled SPF meaning spruce, pine, or fir, which indicates that piece of wood or fence section can be composed of either spruce, pine, or fir. The characteristics of these species of wood are similar enough that they can be interchanged with no impact on performance. Here in New England, the Eastern White Pine is king, most often when you purchase an SPF labelled material, it will be Eastern White Pine.
When considering purchasing wood fencing sections, you’ll have a lot of options to choose from, one you’ll see is sections labelled DWLD, which means doweled. A dowel is used to join two separate pieces of wood together, and with fencing, the ends of the rails of each section extend beyond the pickets allowing that section to be inserted into pockets in the posts. This method adds strength to your fence as each section is “joined” to the next, instead of relying on mechanical fasteners (nails or screws).
Finally, you’ll see PVC which isn’t wood at all, but a composite plastic. Most people are familiar with this product, but what you may not know is that it is becoming more and more popular with carpenters and builders beyond fencing and decking. PVC is the common abbreviation of Polyvinyl Chloride, which is a plastic that has been widely used to create durable, long-lasting, and low maintenance building materials.
All You Need to Know About Fence Materials
Before you set out to build an enclosure for your property, consider these nine popular materials to find the type of fencing that’s best for your needs and budget.
From the zigzag post-and-rail of the Colonial era to the elaborate moulded vinyl styles of today, fences have always been a preferred means of ensuring privacy and deterring unwanted visitors. Whether you want to keep your pets safely in your yard or keep the neighbourhood children out of your flowerbed, there’s a fence style and material fit for your property.
Before loading your truck with fencing materials at the lumberyard, take a few minutes to call your local zoning office to find out what, if any, preliminary steps you need to take. If you’re putting the fence on a property line, you might need a lot survey. If you belong to a homeowners association or live in a development that is subject to covenants, you could be restricted to using specific materials and limited on fence height. Once you’ve got the green light, the next step is choosing the right type of fence material.Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of Melbourne fencing services.
Cedar, the king of backyard privacy fencing, is known for its long-lasting good looks—tight grain, fewer knots, and a desirable red hue—and its promise never to warp or shrink. While cedar also naturally resists decay and insects, this wood is not as impervious to the soil as treated wood and will likely rot after several years set in it. If you choose to build a fence from cedar, it’s recommended to install in a concrete base or secure to fence posts that are treated wood. Even so, the installation process is DIY-friendly, and you can customize the planks to create a variety of styles, including saddleback and lattice-topped.
Cedar naturally weathers to a silvery grey, and a fence of this material will require maintenance, including occasional plank replacement. For long-lasting colour and protection, apply a penetrating sealant immediately after installation and annually thereafter.
Vinyl fencing has been around for a few decades, but it’s still a relatively new kid on the block. Early vinyl fencing products had a tendency to yellow, sag, or become brittle after a couple of years, but today’s fence manufacturers are putting out durable fencing products in a variety of heights and styles. When it comes to quality, thickness counts; thicker gauge, “virgin” vinyl will look best for the longest amount of time (some with a lifetime guarantee). For the best results, installation must be precise, so consider hiring a professional fence installer. A little out-of-level here or slightly out-of-plumb there will be significantly noticeable in the finished fence.
Once installed, vinyl fencing is virtually maintenance-free. Wash dirt off occasionally with a mild detergent, rinse with a garden hose, and you’re good to go.
Manufactured from wood fibres combined with plastic polymers, composite fencing provides a like-wood look without the propensity to degrade from insects and rot. Such combination of style and substance runs slightly more expensive than vinyl and cedar, though, in both material and installation—like vinyl fencing, composite requires precise installation by professionals. Since the material’s quality varies, you’ll want to explore your options and buy composite fencing components from a reputable dealer.
After professional installation, composite fencing requires only occasional spraying with plain water to keep it looking clean and fresh.
Redwood and Teak
You’ll pay top dollar for a redwood or teak fence, but nothing else compares to their natural softness and lustre. Because they’re expensive, redwood and teak fences are usually limited to small areas: enclosures around spas or pools. Like cedar, redwood and teak both naturally resist insects, decay, shrinking and warping from the elements.
Both redwood and teak require the application of a penetrating sealer or oil once or twice a year to maintain their original colour. A light sanding prior to application will remove surface weathering.
Options for metal fencing range from classic to contemporary, with a variety to match or blend with any home exterior. Wrought iron fences have survived centuries of style changes, and with good reason: More than simply classic, they’re extremely durable. Consider hiring a specialized fencing contractor if you’re looking to incorporate the traditional appeal of wrought iron into your property, as these enclosures tend to be custom made to fit the property and even include more intricate patterns. Some newer metal options—including cast iron, aluminium, and steel fences—package the strength of wrought iron with a more DIY-friendly panel installation.
Aluminium fencing holds up without rust all year long, but wrought iron and some steel fences require treatment with a brush-on or spray-on, rust-inhibiting paint when they start to show signs of corrosion.
Pressure- and chemically-treated wood pickets or cedar-style planks are a popular pick for outdoor structures as a whole—gazezbos, decks, pergolas, and more—and assembled as a fence. They offer privacy at a wallet-friendly cost. While this more economical fencing option is a perfect choice for fence posts inserted in the ground (treated wood resists both insects and moisture), its fence pickets have a tendency to warp or twist as quickly as one month after installation. For the best shot at warp-free results, handpick out the planks individually from your local lumberyard rather than having them delivered in bulk. Look for the straightest planks and skip any that look “green,” or damp, which could indicate they recently came from the manufacturer and are more likely to move as they dry.
Concrete, stucco, brick, block, and stone fences create a stately aesthetic around the home, but at a cost: These materials skew pricey and require professional installation. Due to their weight, masonry fences need a structural footing poured below the frost line or the depth to which the groundwater in soil is expected to freeze in winter. Many homeowners mix some type of masonry with another fencing material, such as wrought iron or wood, for reasons of both design and cost. Block and poured concrete require steel reinforcement and brick fences often feature a concrete or block inner fence with brick veneer only on the exterior.
While their open links certainly don’t do much for privacy, chain link fences offer adequate security for pets and kids at a competitively low cost. The materials are among the least expensive fencing options available, making this type of fence is a common choice for large rural yards where the amount of fencing needed makes other choices cost-prohibitive. In addition to economical materials, an easy-to-DIY installation—one that involves setting posts, installing a top rail, and then stretching linked mesh between the rails and posts—saves homeowners more money.
Chain link can corrode, especially at the junctions where the mesh links meet, but it’s difficult to prevent. For a better look and a longer life, consider upgrading to vinyl-coated chain link.
This type of fence is strictly functional, usually set up to keep livestock in or natural predators out. Its standard design is simple and affordable enough for property owners looking to fence in a larger area: five strands of barbed wire strung taut between metal T-posts around the perimeter of the property, with heftier wood or steel posts installed at the corners to support the tension of the stretched wire. Before you install, know that barbed wire fencing is limited to rural use and prohibited in most communities.
Best Fencing styles
The huge number of styles of fences and fencing materials can be overwhelming. Wander down the fence aisle of any hardware store, and you’re looking at different terms like “dog-eared fence” and “scalloped fence.” Then there are the half-dozen materials, which may or may not suit the needs of your yard and budget. As far as the budget for putting in a fence, even that can get confusing. Looking for home deck services? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
It can be easy to look at the fence panels alone to determine the price. But that’s before you take into account the costs you’ll need, any additional parts like gate pieces and labour costs to install the fence. The average cost to install a fence runs all around the low thousands of dollars. If you do it yourself, getting fence posts into the ground can be backbreaking work that requires a post hole digger.
Beyond basic fencing materials, fences also come in a wide range of styles. So you’ll want to consider those next. Each of these work in different aesthetic settings and with different goals for the yard. Here is a basic guide to help you weigh fencing styles against each other:
This is a common utilitarian type of fence that blocks all views outside the yard. It often comes in 6-foot-high panels.
This blocks out most sightlines but has a partial view through a decorative checkered pattern at the top of each panel. It adds a bit of romantic style to a yard. You can commonly find the lattice fence in 6-foot-high panels.
Spaced picket fence
When someone references the quintessential suburban white picket fence, this is the type they’re talking about. It’s usually waist-high and has widely spaced slats. It can give a clean and classic look to yards.
This is like the white picket fence, but the top of the fence has a curved design formed from pickets of different heights. It can give a romantic, decorative feel.
The dog-eared fence obstructs views with alternating planks placed in front of or behind each other. This type can add some attractive texture to any yard.
This basic fence type is simply narrow bars placed a few inches apart from each other. It’s a good addition to yards with a stark, modern appeal.
The farm fence is formed by a few widely spaced narrow planks of horizontal wood. It’s usually around waist-high and gives just enough obstruction to stop a cow from wandering off. It’s great for a country or rustic-styled homes. And remember, before finding your dream fencing materials and styles, check with your local municipality. Some areas have height and privacy regulations for fences.