You know you need a new fence. Maybe you’re overhauling your landscaping. Or perhaps your old one is falling apart. But the last thing you want, after a big investment, is another thing to maintain. What’s your ideal tradeoff when it comes to style, low maintenance, and function? Read on. In this article, we’ll break down the different types of fences available today, what they offer for your property, and what they require in upkeep.
Your Fencing Needs
Are you concerned about security? Providing a safe place for kids to play, or a pet to run free? Do you just want to relax in your yard with total privacy? Maybe you’re looking for something to add style and sophistication to your property.
When selecting a fence, start with the function. Make a list of the most important things that your fence will do for your property. You’ll quickly determine what styles of fence could fit your needs — a privacy fence vs. a picket fence, for example.
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Once you have a short list of styles, it’s much easier to narrow in on available fence material choices, designs, and installation options.
The material choices and construction of the fence has the greatest impact on ongoing maintenance and longevity.
Wood fencing can be durable and attractive. Wood makes a handsome picket fence and a sturdy privacy fence. However, wood can rot, though rot-resistant species like cedar and pressure-treated lumber can last a great deal longer than pine planks.
Wood fence maintenance: Depending on the type of wood used, wood can be a demanding fence material. It’s heavy and bulky. Paint or stain extends its life, but requires frequent scraping and recoating. When boards begin to rot, they may fall off the rails. You’ll need to find matching stock to replace missing boards or pickets. Rot isn’t the only issue caused by moisture — wood is a natural product, and may warp or shrink when exposed to changing weather.
Plan your wood fence maintenance around fall and spring. In fall, walk the fence line and clear up accumulated leaves, growth, and weeds. You may need to replace planks that warped in the hot summer. Check for moisture and flaking paint. You’ll want to repaint before winter weather sets in. In the spring, check again. Snow-laden tree branches may fall and damage sections of fence, or wet winter weather may cause more moisture issues.
Vinyl fencing is made to mimic the look of wood. It can be used to produce privacy and picket fences — just about any style that is traditionally made out of wood. High-quality vinyl fencing like Nobility offers sturdiness and weather resistance, virtually eliminating most of the maintenance associated with wood fences.
Vinyl fence maintenance is a significantly simpler undertaking. The material doesn’t rot and doesn’t require painting (though you can!) When a vinyl fence is made right, it resists warping and cracking, and offers a clean, attractive look without the rattle of loose joints. Nobility starts at the source: with only premium, American-made PVC, precision-engineered construction, and panels fabricated in the USA.
These advantages add up. Maintaining your vinyl fence is more about keeping it looking great and protecting it from the elements. Walk the fence in the fall and spring. Clear debris and leaves to avoid mildew-causing moisture buildup. Trim overhanging branches that could damage sections of the fence. If something does manage to damage the fence, a repair may be as simple as replacing the panel.
Cast iron fencing lasts for centuries… when properly maintained. Iron rusts very easily, requiring vigilance and intervention to protect them from deterioration. Rust often develops on iron picket fences in places where water accumulates – think vines, heavily planted areas, and intricate areas with inside corners.
Maintaining your iron picket fence involves frequent inspection for rust. When you see evidence of rust, remove it with a wire brush, apply a rust converter, prime, and repaint. Keep the fence clean, and apply a coat of metal-grade wax to keep moisture at bay.
Aluminum fencing offers the classic look of iron, without the risk of rust. Lighter weight, durable, and much easier to install, aluminum picket fencing offers a fantastic alternative to people seeking a stately, attractive fence, but who aren’t eager to hover with a can of paint. Like iron picket fencing, aluminum picket fencing is available in a variety of styles. The Nobility line of aluminum picket fencing ranges from traditional spear-point pickets to cleaner, more modern styles.
Aluminum fence maintenance is not terribly complex. Like vinyl, aluminum picket fence is often installed in panels. Premium fences like Nobility sport a durable baked-on powder coat and no visible fasteners, so the finish can last a decade or more. Maintaining these fences comes down to keeping them looking their best and extending their already long lifespan. Twice a year, spray down the fence with a hose to remove dust and dirt. Wipe stains with a mild soap. Aluminum doesn’t rust, but the introduction of salt can cause corrosion. If you live in a coastal area, maintain your aluminum fence by spraying it down frequently. If you fence is near a sidewalk that is salted in the winter, pay close attention to the posts and bottom rails for signs of corrosion, and remove snow buildup with a shovel, keeping salt away from the posts.
Maintaining your wood, metal, or vinyl fence can greatly extend the life of the product, significantly reducing the long-term costs of installing and owning a fence. Low-maintenance fencing materials — when made well — can be well worth the investment in terms of time, effort, and costs. As always, do your homework. Talk to a professional about what it takes to install and maintain a quality fence on your property.
Ask a Pro About Low-Maintenance Fences
Want more information on low-maintenance vinyl and aluminum fence styles and pricing? Download a catalog today, or get in touch with one of our friendly pros. We’re happy to answer your questions.
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