It’s said fences make good neighbors and there’s a certain merit to this old cliché. If you want to fence your yard, it’s probably for one or more reasons. You might want privacy, it could be to block a street view, keep pets and children from roaming, or simply to add a visual border. Regardless of the reason, a new fence will be a significant expense and since you want to make the right decision for function, style, and to save money, you’ll need to know how to choose the right fence for your home.
How to Choose the Right Residential Home Fence
As mentioned, new fencing can serve more than one purpose, and, it’s one great way to enhance your landscape with a low maintenance feature. Nearly regardless of its primary use, you’ll get more out of it than just a property line barrier. In addition, you are adding a feature which will require occasional care to keep it looking its best. If you don’t attend to it periodically, it will become an eyesore and if it’s damaged by the weather elements over time or is subjected to heavy inclement weather, it could become the source of a code violation.
The type of fence you choose will not only play a key role in your home’s exterior design, but also provide one of the most important benefits of all homes; security. Privacy and security are two of the most common reasons Americans look to buy homes. A professionally installed fence gives every homeowner that true sense of home we all desire. Fencing, whether it be wood, chain link or wrought iron, will greatly affect your sense of home. —Improvement.com
Fence design and installation isn’t necessarily complicated, but it will be laborious, no matter what type of material you choose. Some will require more upkeep than others and there might be at least one material which isn’t allowed in your neighborhood or community. Here in Sarasota, there are many homeowners association communities, so, you might be limited on your choices. Additionally, if you are replacing a fence, the same type might be prohibited. So, let’s consider the basic factors on how to choose the right fence for your home:
- Determine its function. While it may not seem to be high-minded insight, there are homeowners who put wants before needs when choosing a new fence. With so many choices (wood, picket, chain link, vinyl, aluminum, wrought iron, bamboo, and farm fencing), it’s easy to select one based more on aesthetics than function. But, its use should be the first consideration on your list. Is it for privacy, to enhance a landscape, or to corral kids and pets?
- Think about resale value. Right alongside function is its value to your home, when it comes to resale. Sure, you might love the idea of putting-up a wrought iron fence or a white picket fence along your front lawn, but will it be a minus when it comes time to sell your property? Generally, a fence won’t be a deal killer, but, if it looks out-of-place, you might have to remove it later-on in the future. This won’t be as applicable to your backyard, but it will definitely be a factor if you put-in a fence on your front yard.
- Learn what maintenance is needed. Regardless of what material you choose, there will be period maintenance involved. For instance, a wrought iron fence will need to be painted from time to time, as will a white picket fence. Even if you choose a vinyl fence or a wood fence, you’ll have to power wash it now and again. Look into what maintenance is involved before you make a decision so you aren’t saddled with buyer’s remorse.
- Find out if what’s allowed in your community. If your house is in a homeowners association community, there could be rules prohibiting certain types of fence materials. In addition, you might also be limited with height restrictions, color, and location. Get in the know before you start putting up panels or digging holes in your yard.
- Know if there are any building permits required. Even if you aren’t limited by HOA rules, there’s still a possibility you’ll need a building permit from the locality in which you live to erect a fence on your property. You should also be sure to know where the property lines are and if there are any utilities buried where you intend to put-up your new fence.
Fences function in two ways: an aesthetic boundary to confine children and pets and to give homeowners privacy. When a fence begins to degrade and fall into a state of disrepair, it compromises those very functions and becomes a safety hazard as well as a potential code violation. Add to it the possibility of it collapsing onto a neighbor’s property, then a homeowner’s insurance property claim might become an unpleasant reality.
When fencing is damaged, as the result of natural outdoor element ware and tear or as the result of storm damage, it becomes necessary to take it down. The problem with this task, of course, is the sheer size of the structure, which can easily run for yards and yards. Once it is removed from the perimeter of the property, you’ll have to decide to replace it with another fence or patch up the perimeter and enjoy a more open space.
Old Fence Tear Down Instructions
When it comes time to tear down an old fence, you’ll have a big project on your hands. In other words, don’t make the mistake of believing that it’s just comprised of hammering and prying, then hauling away the panels to the local landfill. This will take at least one whole weekend and might well stretch into two to three weekends, depending on the size and the number of helping hands you can muster.
A wood fence is wonderful to give privacy to you property. It won’t last forever, however. The time will come when it’s necessary to remove that wood fence and replace it. Removing a wood fence isn’t a complex job but it does take plenty of labor. Be prepared for some back-breaking work! —Do It Yourself.com
Before you pull out the hammer and pry bar, be sure to take the time to learn if it is really on your property in its entirety. Even if it only partially runs over the property line, you’ll have to consult your neighbor. Once you know that it’s completely on your property, follow these steps:
- Call local utility providers. You should know precisely where any buried utilities are to avoid accidentally damaging them. This also includes being careful not to damage your sprinkler system, like utilities, damage will be costly and take time to replace.
- Gather your tools and gear. You’ll need to wear eye protection, heavy leather gloves, boots, a power driver or screwdriver, 2″ x 4″ wood pieces, claw hammers, pry bars, and shovels. In addition, you’ll need at least one set of helping hands, as well as a truck or trailer to haul away the old fencing.
- Unfasten any gates. Begin with unfastening the gates. Place 2″ x 4″ wood pieces under the gate to support it and then unfasten the hinges from the gate with a power driver or a screwdriver. Thereafter, remove the hinges from the opening. It’s a good idea to place all the metal hardware in a plastic bag, as well as any nails to avoid future lawnmower projectiles and stepping hazards.
- Remove the fence panels. Unlike the way it was assembled, you won’t be able to pull off entire sections, but will have to tear it down vertical panel by panel. If you try to take off whole sections, you’ll have too large of sections to handle at one time. Use the claw hammer and/or pry bar to remove each vertical panel and pull out any nails and place them in a bag.
- Tear apart the frame. Once all the vertical panels are removed, the horizontal frame will be exposed, still connected to the support posts. Pull the horizontal frame away from the posts using a claw hammer and/or pry bar. As with the vertical panels, remove all nails from the wood and place them in a bag.
- Dig up the posts. Though the previous steps are time consuming, neither is as labor intensive as digging up the support posts. Start by digging around the posts, one by one, to expose the base, which is typically concrete. Dig until the entire base is exposed and then work the post out of the ground and backfill the hole.
If you’re going to replace the old fence with a similar new one, leave the holes unfilled to save a little bit of time. After all, you don’t want to dig more holes to sink support posts into when putting up a replacement fence.
Dilapidated Fencing Disposal
Now the entire fence is torn down, you’ll be faced with the task of disposing of it. Because the wood is treated with chemicals to make it withstand the outside elements, it should not be used as firewood. Stack the wood onto a truck bed or flat trailer and take it to the local landfill. If you don’t have a truck or trailer, hire a junk removal service to take it away.