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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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Chain Link Fence:
Maintenance Tips to Last its Lifetime

October 16, 2018 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

While most new home communities make use of vinyl or wood fencing as their main fence material, there are still a lot of neighborhoods that allow homeowners to select from a wide variety of materials to create a perimeter around their homes. Many still choose one of the most affordable fences on the market that can keep outsiders from entering the yard while keeping pets and children safe inside: chain link fence. If you happen to own a home surrounded by one of these fences or are looking to install a fence that will last many years without blowing out your home improvement budget, here are a few maintenance tips for taking care of a chain link fence:

Keep Your Chain Link Fence Vine Free

Keeping vines, flowers and shrubs off the fence affords you greater longevity for your chain link fence.

A lot of homeowners think that vines on a fence are a wonderful way to add natural beauty to their yard. While that may be true, we don’t recommend that you grow vines, flowers or any kind of decorative plant on a chain link fence. While they may look nice, plants can grow through the chain link, causing the fence to lift on the bottom, which can create slight warps among the panels. This combined with a heavy snow or rain season can result in the fence losing its structural integrity over time. What you have left is a fence with leaning sections or bowing panels, which can cause severe bowing. Plants can also burst through the links and cause them to break, leaving sharp openings which can harm bot h humans and pets if they’re not careful.

Clean Your Chain Link Fence A Couple of Times a Year

This many sounds like a time-intensive process, but a good hosing down of your chain link fence will help it last a long time. You don’t need to do much—if you own a power hose, a good spray once a year easily does the job for keeping the fence clean. If you have a regular hose, just set your nozzle on the highest setting and give it a good watering down. For any areas with a bit of a buildup, you can often just take a bucket of water and a sponge to get rid of mud, bird poop, clumps of leaves and other debris stuck to your fence. For truly tough areas, you may need to get out a scrub brush and some dish soap mixed in with your water to keep the fence sparkling clean.

Apply Rust Protection Every Spring

If you want that chain link fence to last more than two decades, applying rust protection each spring can help you reach your goal. The most problematic area of a chain link fence is the bottom portion and many homeowners never seem to look down until that fateful day when they realize that the fence is completely rusted out just above the ground, especially if you have flowers planted close to where the fence sits. Don’t let this happen to you! Set a calendar item in whatever app you use (or mark the free calendar you get from China Garden. Come on, we know you have them hanging in your kitchen or office!), and when May rolls around, head to your local box store to get enough Rust Oleum (one of our favorites) and apply it to your fence. One can of spray covers about 15 square feet and you can even purchase it with a color in mind if you want to give your fence more visual appeal.

The greater level of care you provide to your fence–such as applying rust protection and repairing sections as soon as you notice any damage–makes a world of difference as to how long your fence can lat.

Repair Your Chain Link Fence When You Notice an Issue

One of the main reasons why homeowners love chain link is that if you have a sprawling yard, it’s an affordable material that’s fairly free of intense maintenance. However, over time you may find that certain sections of your chain link fence may require some maintenance. If you have children or pets that pull on or jump on the fence often, you may see a need to strengthen the connection between a panel and a post. You may also find that after a heavy winter and wet spring that the hinges on your gate may get a little rusty. Additionally, after years of heavy use, your gate may start to sage or dig slightly into the ground.

As soon as you notice something about the fence that requires a bit of a repair, take care of it right away. If you don’t, all you’re doing is setting yourself up for either a major repair job over time or the need for a replacement fence sooner than planned.

Take the time to take care of your chain link fence and it will last a long time. You can tell a homeowner who makes the effort as their fence looks as good as new once spring time rolls around because they’ve both cleaned it and made some repairs to keep the entire fence looking as if it was recently installed. It’s not all that hard to do and the one weekend you spend in the spring means the difference between a fence that last six to seven years versus eighteen to twenty. Just ask any of our fence consultants!

Thinking About Chain Link Fence?

If you’re in the market for a new chain link fence, you now have several options available to you that are much better than what was available just a few decades ago. You can now get a fence with dark green or black panels and posts and you can also build a fence with a vinyl or powder-coating, options that will automatically prolong the lifespan of the fence you install. You can also purchase commercial grade galvanized steel, which is great for homeowners with larger animals (think large dogs or horses) as these fences are extremely durable and can withstand a lot of pressure.

If you’re weighing your options for a new chain link fence or have one that needs some maintenance, contact us at 1-800-49-FENCE, click on our chat button or go to our Contact page and we’ll visit your home (or business) and give you a complete estimate.

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Season of Change: A Goodbye and Hello at Frederick Fence

August 28, 2018 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

One of the distinguishing factors that makes Frederick Fence such a popular company among its customers and employees is its family atmosphere. Whether you’re a customer who bought a home nearly 30 years ago, a repeat customer on your third move or a new homebuyer in Frederick, you’re considered part of the family for this fence supply company. It’s one of the core values built into the company by our founder, Charlie Powers, since 1982.

When you look at Frederick Fence’s staff, you’ll see folks who have been there from day one—as well as a few recent additions—who call this place home. As with most families, there are those who simply choose to sometimes move on to get to the rest of their lives and sometimes there are new arrivals that continue to bring a richness and depth to the group. This summer, Frederick Fence will lose one of its most cherished family members while simultaneously welcoming a new one. We’d like to take a moment to honor them both!

Farewell to our master repairman–John Angles. Thank you for your many years of service and for being such an incredible asset to our team!

Goodbye to Our Friend and Master Craftsman, John Angles

If you’ve called Frederick Fence for a repair on your fence in the past 20 years, chances are that John Angles paid a visit to your home. Hired initially in 1988 as a Foreman and Deck Builder, John has acted as Frederick Fence’s Service Manager since 1998 in charge of all repairs. Having taken a brief break in his early employment, John has skillfully applied his master carpentry skills to the delight of many customers within the Maryland, Virginia, DC, West Virginia and Pennsylvania area. “John is a brilliant problem solver,” says Erin Powers, Vice President. “He can fix practically anything and always manages to make people happy when he visits their homes. We’re all sad to see him go, but nearly 30 years of service is truly a great way to end his time with us.”

Originally from Dickerson, Maryland, John comes from a large farm family—he’s one of nine children— and is widely known and loved by Frederick Fence staff and its customers for his warm and friendly approach to making fences whole again. “He loves coming into work knowing that he’s going to spend a lot of his day fixing people’s problems,” says Powers. “He has a generous spirit that’s infectious and fun—people around him are always smiling.” After his many years of service, Angles plans to spend much of his time traveling and seeing the country, his friend and family from his RV; however, he’s still open to do the occasional creative fence design project should a customer specifically require his amazing carpentry skills.

We wish you all the best, John Angles. Thank you for all you’ve done and for your truly humble but inspiring dedication to Frederick Fence.

Hello to the New Mrs. Powers

Frederick Fence sends many blessings to both Todd and Laura Powers. Congratulations on your wedding–may you share many years of happiness and joy!

The Powers family at Frederick Fence recently celebrated its newest addition—Todd Powers, son of Charlie and Diane and the company’s Director of Vinyl Operations, recently married Laura Lebherz. Todd and Laura were married on August 11 at St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church in downtown Frederick, followed by a reception of about 200 of their closest family members and friends at the Walkersville Overlook.

Todd met his bride about five years ago through mutual friends and got engaged earlier this year. Their first date featured target shooting and dinner and the rest is history. “It’s great to have another female in our ever-growing family,” says Erin Powers. “We were all thrilled that Todd found his true soul companion when he met Laura; this is a very happy time for us.” After their wedding, the couple honeymooned in Antigua.

As for their future, Todd and his lovely wife are still figuring out what happens next for them. According to Erin and Kelly Powers—Todd’s sisters: “Our biggest hopes are that they soon take advantage of the amazing babysitting service that Charlie and Diane Powers offer up to all their children and that we see a bigger home and fence in their future!”

We wish Todd and Laura all the best and many happy years of marriage in the decades ahead.

 

 

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Winter Warning: Get Your Fence Repairs Done Now!

December 15, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

broken-fenceTemperatures are falling, holidays decorations are up, and hopefully by now you’ve remembered to shut off your outside faucets so that nothing bad happens while we experience chilly scenes of winter the next few months.  Before you settle in for the long cold spell here in the NOVA/MD area, we encourage you to take a few minutes and walk along your fence line to make sure that your fences are fine and that you’re not in need of any repairs.

If there’s a warped board or two or your fence panels are starting to lean, it’s best to get them fixed before we have our first major snow as a dense snow fall can sometimes prove detrimental to a fence that’s starting to fall apart.  Since our area can also experience an ice storm or two in the middle of winter, you may also consider trimming the branches on trees that may tend to droop or fall over should they end up covered in ice.

Here are a few of our tips for making sure your fence survives the winter months so you can return to the great outdoors and enjoy your yard once the warmer temperatures return:

Taking Care of Wood Fences in Winter

Check your wood fence and make sure that there are no warped boards or panels.  A heavy snow can easily create more damage.  Remember, it’s not just the snow that causes fence damage, it’s also the heavy winds and freezing temperatures that can wreak havoc on your fence’s structure.

If you own a split rail fence, make sure that the snow doesn’t tend to settle on any one section as the weight from the snow can cause the rails to break in the middle section.

If you’re a dog owner and you tend to let your dogs take care of their business in your yard instead of taking them for walks in winter, just make sure that your dogs refrain from trying to dig themselves out of your yard during cold weather.  Yes, sometimes your four-legged loved ones can damage your fence, especially if they’re left to their own devices in the cold.

Got a new snow blower and can’t wait to use it?  Just remember not to get to close to your fence or bump up against it while removing the snow as you could easily damage your fence should the rotors rub up against the lower portion of the fence panels.  Those high speed snow blowers are great and we recommend buying one if you live in our area; just don’t lose control of your machine and let it hit the fence—especially if you have a gate that straddles a walkway!

Inspect Your Vinyl (Aluminum and Wrought Iron) Fence

The good news about vinyl fence is that its maintenance free and so the most you may need to do during winter is wipe it down if any yard debris has left any kind of stain on the panels.  As long as your fence panels are set in concrete with posts at least three feet deep, you should be fine.  However, if you’ve purchased a home with an existing vinyl fence, we encourage you to check the integrity of your fence’s structure after any winter storm to make sure there are no panels that need reinforcing.

picket-fence-in-snowLikewise, if you own an aluminum or wrought iron fence, there’s not much you need to do to prepare for winter; just remember to take a walk and ensure your fence’s structure remains intact should we experience a brutal winter storm.

The only real danger for these types of fences are trees that may fall should they be subject to extreme winds and freezing rain.

Need a Fence Repair Now?

Regardless of whether or not we installed your fence, our service teams are happy to come out and repair your fence.  Depending upon the magnitude of the repair, we can take care of it while you’re away from home!

Need to replace a board or two and need materials? Stop by our showroom on Tilco Drive during regular business hours and we’ll be more than happy to get you what you need for repairing fences.

To get started, either use our online chat feature to discuss a fence repair cost estimate or give us a call to schedule your repair or materials pick up!

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