Wood Fences and When to Replace Them

November 20, 2018 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Wood fence remains one of the most popular fence materials home and business owners use to surround their property; however, they do have a limited life span compared to other materials such as vinyl, aluminum or wrought iron. Chances are if you’ve purchased an older home with a wood fence around it, you may notice more signs of aging on your fence than the indoors as many home sellers tend to concentrate on renovating the indoors for resale. Sometimes you can repair a wood fence when a board or two tends to warp or if a post gets damaged during severe weather conditions such as a wind storm or heavy snow. And then there’s that point at which you just need to recognize that you may need to replace either an entire section or the complete fence.

Common Problems for Wood Fence Owners

When entire sections of your fence have faded or begin to warp, it could be time for a new fence

Since wood fence comes from nature, it’s subject to nature’s laws and does not last forever, no matter how much care you put into maintaining your fence. Yes, you can seal and stain it (and we recommend you do that to prolong its life), but over time the elements can take their toll on the fence itself. In the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area, we’ve seen harsher winters, wetter springs and summers and chillier falls (which makes it seem as if we’ve traded places with the north west pacific areas like Seattle and Portland!) and all that constant moisture lessens the durability of a wood fence over time. Combine that with insects and short but radical shifts in temperature, and your fence is more likely to warp, splinter, bow or become discolored.

Not all wood sources are created equal; some wood fence materials tend to deteriorate more quickly. Frederick Fence customers benefit from wood fences that can last several decades as we use a higher grade of wood such as western red cedar, pressure-treated southern yellow pine, oak and black locust. One of the best things you can do before investing in a wood fence is research the type of wood used to make it. For example, you should refrain from ever building a fence with red oak as it’s considered an inferior wood and is highly unsuitable for fence posts.

Signs It’s Time for a New Wood Fence

When you notice that several sections of fence are leaning, you can often strengthen the fence again with new wood posts. But when the sections are simply falling down, then it might be time to consider a new fence. Once you reach that stage where pickets and boards are falling off or missing, a new fence often outweighs the cost of frequent repairs.
If your fence is more than eighteen years old and begins showing signs of rapid decline, you may also wish to consider replacing the fence. Once a fence approaches its second decade, chances are nature has run its course and it may be time to say goodbye. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to replace more than 20 to 25% of your fence’s panels or pickets, you’re better off having the entire fence removed and either replacing it with a new wood one or a more durable material like vinyl.

When weather takes it toll and entire sections of a fence collapse, it’s definitely time to consider replacing your wooden fence.

Still, some home owners prefer the rustic and natural look that a fence offers. They are indeed gorgeous works of art when carefully constructed and beautifully maintained. If you happen to live in an area where you have a choice of materials, wood can be a great option. Many newer home communities tend to favor a mixture of vinyl or aluminum and both offer major advantages over wood fence. But if your heart is set on that natural look and feel or if your budget is not ready to fence in a large sprawling area with costly materials, wood fences remain a wonderful option!

Ready for a New Wood Fence?

If you’re in the market for a new wood fence or in need of wood fence repair, our Frederick Fence team is here for you! Click on our chat feature, give us a call at 1-800-49-FENCE or stop by our headquarters and lumber yard at Tilco Drive and we’ll be more than happy to give you a free price quote and then take care of the entire installation process from start to finish! If you’re a DIY enthusiast and just need materials, we are always happy to assist you with your home fence project and give you all the details that go into building a wood fence that will last a long time!

 

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Modern Fences for Modern Homes

August 3, 2018 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

RiverPlace, just outside of the Frederick City Limits, offers home buyers the potential to live in a modern environment.

When you drive through neighborhoods in the Maryland, DC and Northern Virginia area, one of the trends you’ll encounter are more contemporary building styles in new developments. For example, the River Place townhomes by Wormald resemble a futuristic city with their clean lines and minimalist facades. Visit any of the newest Toll Brothers homes in Loudoun or Montgomery County and you’ll see homes that combine elements like brick and stone to form homes that look as if they were plucked right out of stylish urban metropolis.

If you’re looking for your first home or wish to move to a more urban and modern community, you’ll also want a fence that complements a contemporary home. There are some great modern fence and gate options available to you, many of which combine manufactured with natural materials. Here are some of our options for fences for these modern style homes:

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing represents the new standard for most housing communities sprouting up in the area. Vinyl fencing is one of the most durable fences as it never fades, warps, bows or rots and can

Vinyl fence offers you multiple options that work well with a contemporary home, including the look and feel of natural wood.

withstand the harshest weather conditions. These modern house fence designs maintain the beauty within a planned community and create great curb appeal when it’s time for putting the house on the market.

Vinyl fencing offers homeowners many choices when it comes to colors and textures—some vinyl fence panels now look like wood to where you must get up close to see that the panel is manufactured and not natural! You can also have your panels be one color and your posts a different one to create a more futuristic and eye-popping space. Many homeowners prefer vinyl privacy fences to create a private oasis in their backyard while making use of vinyl split rail or pickets in front.

The best thing about vinyl fencing is that you’ll install just one fence as they last for many years. Depending upon the community you choose, you can often roll the cost of your fence into the mortgage. When you purchase a Wormald townhome at Eastchurch in Frederick, you automatically get a six-foot, white vinyl privacy fence!

Aluminum Fence

Aluminum fence with a flat rail to enclose the panel complements a minimalist style home.

Aluminum fence is a popular option for modern homes as this fence’s panels carry the clean lines from the home to the ends of the yard. Home owners traditionally install aluminum fence with ornamental fence caps or finials; for homes with a modern look, a clean fence rail at the top of the panel helps maintain the minimalist look the home conveys. You can also combine other elements such as brick or stone for a base and then install an aluminum fence on top to create more visual interest.

Wood Fence

Even though wood is one of the oldest and most traditional of fence materials, you can still create a modern look with a contemporary wood fence! For example, you can build a privacy fence where the wood planks are attached horizontally as opposed to vertically. You can also choose to create a wave effect with the boards or integrate metal shelves and lights within the fence. You can also stain and seal the fence with colors that complement the home—such as black, gray or dark brown. You can also build fence made from square pickets and install a top rail that squares off the fence, giving it a more modern look.

True, you will need to maintain this fence and reseal it or replace boards or panels over time, but wood fence makes sense if you’re trying to design a minimalist looking perimeter to match the look an feel of modern architecture on your property.

Frederick Fence is Here to Help You Go Modern

You can easily combine fence materials such as aluminum and brick for a more modern look and feel.

Purchasing a home in a new community and need a fence? Are you looking to replace an existing fence for something more contemporary? Frederick Fence is here to help!
Just let us know what your ideas are, and we’ll work with you to design a fence solution that complements your modern home! Click on our on-line chat icon, visit our Contact page or just give us a call at 1-800-49-FENCE to get started on your historic fence project! 

 

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Fencing a Home in a Historic District

July 16, 2018 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Considering buying a home in the downtown Frederick area? Thinking of looking into other areas such as Emmitsburg, Thurmont, or New Market? Have a home in Hagerstown or Middletown? Before buying a home or installing a fence, one major factor you need to consider is that some of these have historic areas within them and each of these counties may limit the type of fence materials you can use to build a fence around your home.

Fencing in Frederick’s Historic District

Frederick County, in particular, has an entire set of guidelines for both home and fence construction in its historic area, resulting in some commercial retailers from locating in the downtown area. This is done to protect the historical architectural style within the city. In addition to fence materials, you are also limited to how tall the fence can be, the type of railings you can build in and around your front entrance and the types of materials you can use to treat your fence once it’s built.

Wrought iron railings in the historic district in Frederick help preserve the historical feel of the downtown area.

For example, the guidelines for wood fence in downtown Frederick clearly state that “Any species of untreated, non-composite wood can be used for wood elements in the Historic District, except as prohibited by building codes. Plywood may be approved, but only where the edges are not visible. All visible wood surfaces must be painted or stained with a solid, opaque stain that resembles a paint finish and conceals the wood grain.” So what does this mean for home owners (and commercial businesses)?

Frederick’s historic district requires that visible pressure-treated wood only can be used where wood is in direct contact with the ground, such as posts, lattice and some structural and trim elements. It also can be used for structural elements that are concealed. However, there are exceptions, so that means that your steps, porch posts, porch floors, trim and balustrades cannot be built of pressure-treated wood; nor can you use pressure treated wood for all street-facing gates and fences. You also cannot use board on board fences, stockade and split rail fences as well as vinyl fence.

Two of Frederick Fence’s finest installers adding a fence in the Historic District.

Walk around Frederick’s downtown area and you’ll see that many buildings make use of decorative metal such as cast iron, sheet metal, pressed metal and corrugated metal in front, while many backyard areas make use of wood fence, such as five or six-foot privacy fence (five is the norm and you must seek special permission from the Historic Preservation Commission for six-foot fences), picket fence or chain link.

What to Do When Building a Fence in a Historic Area

The most important thing to do when you build a fence in a historic area is obtain a fence permit and then check whether you need to contact a county or city’s historic district and read the guidelines before submitting a permit. Failure to do this will result in delays and—if you’re not paying attention—additional fees should you begin building a fence without prior approval. We’ve seen homeowners attempt to build a fence without contacting the county first and if you happen to live in a historic district, you can pay lofty fines and shell out additional costs to build a fence that meets city code. Bottom line: do your research on fence regulations before building a fence in a historic district or work with a professional fence vendor who already knows how to navigate through the permit and approval process.

Popular Fence Materials in Historic Districts

If you want to live in a historic area, there are many materials to choose from to ensure your fence upholds the natural charm that comes with living in a home with great architectural appeal. The most popular fence materials you’ll often see include:

Wood Fences

Wooden fences—especially picket fences—are popular in many historic areas. However, note that in many instances, you can use wood materials to fence in the backyard area as opposed to the front. Picket fences are popular in many historic areas as are solid board fences with cap boards or “dog ears,” which are rounded edges.

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron remains a most popular fence material for homes situated in a historic district. These fences offer a classic look that go well with Victorian or Federalist style homes. The drawback to authentic wrought iron is that it can be among the most expensive of materials to fabricate and often require a lot of care to prevent them from rusting. A great alternative to wrought iron is aluminum; just make sure you can use ornamental aluminum in your area before ordering and installing your fence!

Brick, often combined with other types of fence materials, helps maintain the architectural legacy of historic areas.

Brick and Stone

Aside from wood and iron, historical districts often allow homeowners to build fences with bricks or stones, which were popular options as homes began to sprout up across America during its infancy. Many historical districts still feature brick fences around homes from when the homes were first built. You may also be able to combine brick with other elements such as wrought iron or aluminum or see brick fences that make use of negative space in their design to allow homeowners to peer through the fence from the privacy of their yards.

Ready for a Fence in a Historic District?

If you’re interested in purchasing a home in a historic district or have an existing home in one of these areas and need a new fence, we are more than happy to help you design an historic fencing solution that keeps you in compliance with all county and city codes. In fact, at Frederick Fence, we will handle the entire permit process for you!
Just let us know what your ideas are, and we’ll work with you to design a fence solution that complements your home and meets all city requirements! Click on our on-line chat icon, visit our Contact page or just give us a call at 1-800-49-FENCE to get started on your historic fence project! 

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6 Tips for Building a Split Rail Fence

November 25, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Traditional wood split rail fence is both economical and fairly easy to install.

Traditional wood split rail fence is both economical and fairly easy to install.

Homeowners like split rail fences as they are among the simplest and most economical type of fence to build.  Drive around the rolling hills of the western Maryland area and you’re sure to see quite a few of them surrounding some lovely farms or gorgeous homes in suburban areas.  To many of us at Frederick Fence, there’s nothing more gorgeous than a split rail fence—they’re one of the most decorative and you can now build them using vinyl, which means the sections will never warp or fade!  A majority of the time you’ll see split rail fence covered with welded wire, which helps keep your children and pets in the yard and pesky critters like deer and rabbits off property.

Adding a split rail fence to your yard augments its appearance with a natural, rustic beauty. Split rail’s design is simple and it’s one of the easiest fences for a first time DIYer.  If you’re considering building a DIY split rail fence soon, here are seven tips to help you build fence that will make your process easier:

 

  1. Consider installing a split rail style gate.  It’s a lot easier than installing a picket gate fence.  However, if you want to install a picket gate and are not sure how, call us for help!
  2. Make sure to set your posts on 10’6” centers.  Rails for a split rail fence are 11’ tip to tip.  The ends of rails are tapered or “paddled” so they can overlap when they are put in the post. If you set you posts 10’6” from the center of post to center of post, this will give you the perfect space to accommodate the rails.
  3. Rails should overlap 3” on either side. If you have less overlap, the rail are more likely to fall out over time, if your posts are too close, you can’t overlap too much and the rails won’t fit.
  4. Secure your rails with a nail on the ends and corners, and short sections.  These portions of fence are the most likely to move.  The ends are corners are called terminals and bear a lot of the load.  The short sections are custom built and need to be secured to avoid any rails falling out.
  5. Dry pack all post holes with about 25 lbs of concrete.  This will keep them in place even among the harshest of weather conditions.  If your posts are not properly set, your fence may become less sturdy over time and you may find yourself re-installing some sections if we have to endure a lot of harsh weather during winter and spring.
  6. Your gate opening should be 2” wider than the width of the actual gate panel in order to accommodate for the hardware
3 rail vinyl fence

Vinyl split rail fence is the perfect fence for DIYers wanting to install one fence to last a lifetime that requires little to no maintenance!

Got more questions on building a split rail fence? You can chat with us online or just stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive—we’re open weekdays until 5 PM during winter and we’ll be open on Saturdays from early spring through late fall—we’re happy to offer you everything you need to build a split rail fence!

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Wood Fence Installation: Assembled Versus Stick Built Fence

November 15, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Are you a DIY devotee and wonder what type of wood fence design to install?  There are two ways to install a wood fence—you can either install assembled panels or build your panels on site.  It all depends on what your needs are and the grade of your property.  Here’s some basic information to help you decide:

Stockade fence is the most popular type of assembled fence for DIYers.

Stockade fence is the most popular type of assembled fence for DIYers.

Assembled Fence

The only type of fence we install in panels is stockade fence, which is a six foot privacy fence.  If you’re looking to build a fence where you, your children and pets can enjoy the outdoors without being observed by everyone around you, this is a great fence that’s highly cost effective compared to vinyl.  Paddock fence installs also tend to go quickly and easy as most of your time is spent measuring the posts to hold up the sections.

One of the biggest downsides of using assembled fence is that you cannot accommodate a grade (a slant or hill on the fence perimeter) and you would need to step your wooden fencing panels. If you have a yard with any type of hills or slope, it’s best to stick build your fence rather than installing fence panels.

Stick Built Fence

When a fence is stick built, the posts are set, runners are strung, and then the fence is boarded.  This way the fence can flow with the grade.  It is often sturdier as well because it typically is installed with joist clips for the 2x4s and uses the highest quality pressure treated or cedar boards.  Stick built fence requires significantly more time than assembled fence and a bit more skill as you constantly have to pay attention to the grade each step of the way.  You also need to measure twice as joist hangers requires an EXACT space between posts. If you measure incorrectly, your fence will turn out uneven and will not be as sturdy.

When working with stick built fence, remember your fence needs to flow with the grade of your ground in order to remain both even and sturdy.

When working with stick built fence, remember your fence needs to flow with the grade of your ground in order to remain both even and sturdy.

Just remember that wood fence is typically installed in 8’ wide sections; most pre-made wooden fencing panels are cut to this width.  When you install a fence and a portion of the fence that is less than 8’, you would need to cut the panel down to fit (which can sometimes be a pain).  If you’re building a fence and one of your sections requires you to install a 28’ stretch of fence, do not install three 8’ wide sections and then a small 3’ section, people will see the panels and think that the one small panel looks like a mistake on your part.  We recommend splitting the difference among several sections to make them all appear to be similar widths.  Trust us, it will look more appealing than the odd shorter section on one end of the fence.  When you install pre-made fence panels, you’ll just need to cut several sections to achieve that consistent look.

If you’ve never built a fence before and need help, feel free to use our online chat feature and we’ll be happy to answer your wood fence design and installation questions. For expert wooden fence installation advice, stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive and our fence experts will give you all the tips you need for a successful fence installation. In fact, if you want the best price on quality wooden fence materials, just bring your truck by our shop and you’ll drive home with everything you need to build a fence!

 

 

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Ranch & Paddock Fence

August 17, 2016 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

Are you considering a fence for your property and want something that enhances the beauty of your yard or field? The perfect fence for any open area is a ranch style fence.  Sometimes called a paddock fence, this is the perfect solution for any type of terrain.  Ranch or paddock fencing is typically constructed out of wood (pressure treated pine, western red cedar, or rough cut oak board) or out of top of the line quality vinyl.

A ranch style fence can also offer security and peace of mind, especially when wire mesh is added to it. The wire mesh can help contain animals and will also allow a ranch style fence to meet the standards of BOCA (Building Officials and Code Administrators) for pool safety compliance.

A ranch or paddock fence is one of the more popular fence designs offered at Frederick Fence. With the endless options of style, height, color, and material, there is a solution for every need.

Check out this beautiful wood 3 board ranch style fence designed by Sales Rep, Luther Fitzgerald, and installed by crew Manuel and Antonio!

paddock wire

Here is another great example of a beautiful 3 board ranch fence. It is constructed out 100% beige virgin vinyl.  Designed by Sales Rep, Louise Barnard, and beautifully installed by Foreman Mike Henline and crew!

RANCH WIRE

If you like what you are seeing, give us a call at 1-800-49-FENCE for a free estimate of ranch fencing supplies!

 

Protect Your Loved Ones, Investments, and Peace Of Mind With A Privacy Fence!

June 17, 2016 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

privacy-fence

A wooden privacy fence keeps intruders out, noise pollution down, and children safe.

Looking for some alone time after a stressful work week? Whether you’re reading quietly in your backyard, basking in the Maryland summertime heat, or taking a rejuvenating nap on your favorite lawn chair, having a peaceful environment to collect your thoughts is important. With constant noise pollution from busy highways, rowdy neighbors, and barking dogs installing a DIY privacy fence gives you that peace and quiet you’re so desperately searching for. Let’s take a look at how the right privacy fence  will give you a relaxing backyard oasis.

Read more…

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A Wood Fence Could Be Exactly What You Need

April 26, 2016 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

wood privacy screen fence

The classic wood fence is still one of the best options for home owners.

Choosing a new wood fence design can become difficult and time-consuming, largely due to the many fencing options now available to home owners. Often, though, the best option is still the classic, trusty wood fence design. When you begin to research and shop for fencing, consider what your needs are first, as this will help you to determine which style of fence is best for your home. Read more…

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Seven Fence Installation Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

April 19, 2016 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

Many things can go wrong prior to your fence installation. Know what to avoid before you start!

Many things can go wrong prior to your fence installation. Know what to avoid before you start!

With the beautiful springtime finally upon us, you may very well be thinking of putting up a fence or replacing an old one. And, while the do it yourself fencing spirit is appreciated, it’s only too easy to make a mistake (or several mistakes) and wind up back at square one after days or even weeks of installation. Putting up a fence is often part of creating a home and for the do it yourself fencing enthusiast, building his or her own fence is one of the greatest projects to undertake.  Read more…

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5 Cedar Fence Designs You’re Sure To Love

October 21, 2015 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

Want to add a natural and rustic looking border to your yard?  Looking for a wood fence that’s made to last longer than most wood materials?  Want something that offers a more elegant look than most wood fences?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, then consider these DIY cedar fence ideas for your home.

Cedar fence designs remain one of the top sellers in the residential fencing market.  While you can easily find cedar in among all parts of the globe, cedar that comes from the Pacific Northwest represents some of the best quality wood used for fencing.  In fact, if you’re ever lucky enough to visit Portland, Oregon; you’ll find many homes built with this highly durable and gorgeous wood- perfect for cedar fence ideas. Read more…

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