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 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

Wood 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 a fence 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 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 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.

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 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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How to Maintain a Wooden Fence

August 3, 2015 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

Wood fences are one of the best ways to establish a clear border for your home.  Consumers appreciate the natural elegance and classic look that a wood fence creates.  Whether it’s solid panels, board on board fencing, picket fences or split rail fences, a wood fence can strongly enhance the look and feel of a home.  When you use western red cedar fencing, pressure-treated southern yellow pine, oak or black locust as fencing materials, you’re purchasing one of the best fences your money can buy.  However, because you’re using a fence made of natural materials, wooden fences—over the years—require a bit more tender loving care to help preserve them.  Read more…

5 Wood Fence Designs Perfect for Your Home

March 17, 2015 ~ Posted By Kathy Crum

Ask any fencing company to name their most popular wood fence designs sold from year to year and almost all of them will tell you that it’s a wood fence.  Consumers love the aesthetic appeal that wood fence ideas create next to a beautifully manicured garden or the privacy it offers when you want to enjoy the outdoors unobserved. Our wooden fence ideas also afford homeowners great flexibility in that they come in a variety of designs and styles that you can augment with various stains and finishes to create your perfect outdoor environment.  Read more…

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Enhance the privacy, security and value of your home with a fence from Frederick Fence Company. Please contact us and ask your local FenceCo Representative to show you the additional features that make-up The FenceCo Difference.™

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    Frederick, MD 21704
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