Fencing in a property can be one of the wisest decisions a homeowner can make for his home. A fence not only looks great and has fantastic utility (keeping pets in and neighbors out) but it also increases the value of your home. Adding a fence to your home is a great all-around decision. However, sometimes homeowners stumble a bit in the initial stages because there are lots of issues that need to be addressed and the task can seem daunting. One of the biggest stumbling blocks is choosing the right fence material for your home. Luckily, Franklin Fence and Deck is here to help.
As we said, one of the absolute most difficult decisions facing a homeowner wanting to get started with a fence is choosing the right type of fence material for their home. There are many different types of materials out there all with pros and cons, but which one is right for you? Maybe it’s wood because you’re on a budget, or maybe it’s wrought iron because of a particular homeowner’s association. There are many different issues to consider and while you definitely need to do your own research, we like to think that your research starts here, at Franklin Fence and Deck, with our very own Fence Materials Guide. We think you’ll find it both incredibly informative and extremely helpful in helping you decide which type of fencing is right for you.
Elements of Selection
There are three elements you need to consider in your material selection: 1) maintenance that will be required over time on your fence, 2) the type of look and feel you want to evoke with your fence, and 3) obviously price is a huge factor for any potential Nashville area fence owner. Let’s look at these individually.
Maintenance. Maintenance is incredibly important to consider. There are two prices for your fence, the initial cost (installation and project cost) and then the cost over time (repairs, repainting, etc.). When it comes to keeping your fence free from damage and looking nice, certain materials are better than others. For example, aluminum is one of the least labor-intensive fence materials available. You can set it up the way you want and not have to worry about it for years. Vinyl is also one of the easier materials to maintain. Wrought iron tends to be harder to maintain than aluminum and wood fences exceed all types of fencing for its maintenance needs. Each material has a virtue or vice in maintenance and it’s important to understand the type of maintenance that will be required with the material you choose.
Look. Look is also very important when it comes to your fence. Often times, it can be the most important factor, depending on who the homeowner is. Look is mainly subjective so it’s impossible for us to comment on each individual material’s look because each person’s preference will be different. We recommend you take a look at pictures all over the internet (Google each type of fence in Google Images) and envision which look would go best with your house. Consider the look and feel of the fence and how it would complement the style and color of your own home.
Price. Consumers must always consider the price of a project, both initial price and maintenance price. For instance, while aluminum is not the cheapest material to use for a fence, it does not require much maintenance, meaning it will actually save you not only money but time as well in the long run. On the other hand, wood is one of the cheapest materials to use initially, but its high maintenance requirements end up costing more money. It’s really the age old question of spending less up front and more over the long run or spending more up front and less later.
So, once you understand the staples of maintenance, look, and price and the role they play in your fence material choice, it’s time to become educated on each individual material and make the final choice on what’s right for you.
Wood: Wood fencing has for centuries been the most popular. It gives a very classy, olden look. Many people decide to go this route on look alone. Another attribute that people like about wooden fences that we mentioned earlier was the cheap initial price of wood. But unfortunately what modern Americans forget in the glow of nostalgia is all the painting and repairs that wood fences require. Remember the white washing scene from the famous novel Tom Sawyer? Wood fencing may offer a warm and inviting exterior, but it also means repainting a fence when you could be doing a hundred other things. Wood is cheap to buy, certainly, but it is going to cost you much more in the long run in time and money, giving it a burdensome and highly expensive maintenance price. However, if you have plenty of time and money and are set on wood, we don’t blame you. There’s just an undeniable sense of style and comfort that wood brings to a home; any a reasonable person will admit to that.
Pros: Lowest initial expense
Cons: Higher than average maintenance (time), higher than average maintenance (cost).
Vinyl: Vinyl is known as a synthetic material in the class of plastic and PVC. Vinyl is about an average initial cost and average maintenance cost. Really, homeowners who end up choosing vinyl just tend to like the look, as Vinyl is about average in maintenance and price relative to all other materials. It’s also worth noting that it is much easier to clean than a material such as wood.
Verdict: As we said, Vinyl is about average when it comes to price and maintenance. So, vinyl’s attributes are neither really a pro or con. As we mentioned, most people usually choose it based on the look.
Chain Link: Chain link fences are the easiest to install, the cheapest to purchase, and require the least maintenance of all fencing materials. It can be a desirable fencing option, but where some homeowners tend to balk is at the look it brings to your home. Chain link does not normally evoke the same amount of emotion and home ownership pride that the other fencing materials do. Some homeowner’s associations won’t even allow chain link as an option for your fence because of this. However, if you like the look for your home, we would not discourage you from making that your fencing material choice.
Pros: Lowest initial expense, lowest maintenance (time), lowest maintenance (cost).
Cons: Some do not prefer the look.
Wrought Iron: Wrought iron is the king of fence material. It is known as the most elegant and luxurious fence material available. It just brings out that classy look in your home and can really make your property shine. However, wrought iron is also the most expensive to purchase initially, and only slightly less expensive to maintain than wood. Even though it does look amazing, there are tradeoffs. If you’re looking for the ultimate look in class and aren’t too worried about initial cost or maintenance cost, wrought iron might just be for you.
Pros: Easily the most elegant looking fence material available.
Cons: Highest initial expense, average maintenance (time), above average maintenance (cost).
Aluminum: Well, if up to this point you haven’t seen a fence material that fits your exact style, we saved the absolute best material for last: aluminum. Fences made from aluminum are often deceptively beautiful; this is because aluminum is often made after the fashion of wrought iron giving it that elegant and classy look without the wrought iron price. It is almost as easy to maintain as chain link (which keeps your money and your time in your pocket) and is one of the most durable fence materials on the market. A five-year-old aluminum fence looks like it is six months old, whereas a five-year-old wood fence looks…well, five-years-old. Aluminum is one of the most inexpensive yet best looking options available for fencing material.
If you were thinking to yourself, “Man, I would like the classy look that wrought iron brings to the table but I wish it was just cheaper and easier to maintain,” aluminum is the fencing material for you. With maintenance (time and cost) similar to chain link, the look of wrought iron, and average initial expense, aluminum is easily the best fencing material available and one that Franklin Fence and Deck highly endorses.
Pros: Expensive look of wrought iron, average initial cost, low maintenance (time) of chain link, low maintenance (cost) of chain link.
So, Which Material to Choose?
When it comes time for you to pick out a material for your next fence, we want to stress that it’s really your decision. You’re going to be the one that looks at the fence every day, get what you want. However, keep in mind that at Franklin Fence and Deck, we normally recommend aluminum fencing for just about every project. It’s just so versatile.
Why do we recommend aluminum almost every time? It’s simply just impossible to beat aluminum as a fencing material. As mentioned previously, aluminum is made to look like wrought iron. In fact, it looks so impressive that many homeowners’ associations that require a wrought iron fence will actually accept an aluminum fence instead because it meets their expectation in look due to its nearly identical resemblance to wrought iron. Aluminum is also incredibly inexpensive. It has nearly the same maintenance cost and maintenance required as chain link. If you had the option to have a wrought iron fence at almost the same price as a chain link fence, wouldn’t you pounce on it? That’s aluminum for you.
We didn’t even mention the fact that for aluminum fences, Franklin Fence and Deck provides a lifetime warranty on paint against chipping, cracking, and peeling for aluminum fences.
But once again, the choice is all up to you. The best thing to do is to choose the fencing material you like best and the rest will fall in place. If you are still having a hard time selecting a specific fence material, give Franklin Fence and Deck a call.