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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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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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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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Debunking the Myth…You CAN Install a Fence in Winter!

February 10, 2017 ~ Posted By Jim Jenkins

Even though Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow—meaning we’re all in for six more weeks of winter—now’s one of the best times of year to install a fence!

What? Seriously? You’re thinking “But it’s winter! Isn’t it too cold to install a fence?”

Just because we’re roughly six weeks away from the official start of Spring (March 20, 2017 to be exact), doesn’t mean you have to wait until the weather gets warm to put a fence around your property. Yes, the outdoor home improvement industry does slow down during colder months, but that’s typically because most homeowners hibernate indoors during winter. Unless the ground is truly frozen solid several inches below the surface, installing fences in winter is still possible. That’s right, even if we get a few inches of snow—as long as it’s not frozen solid and caked with ice, you can still install fences in winter.

Advantages to Buying a Fence NOW!

Here we are in early February and look at the weather conditions for the DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Southern Pennsylvania areas. We’ve had a few days where the unseasonal highs were in the 70-degree range and the lows have barely dipped below the low 30’s. True, we may still see a bit of snow and who knows how low the temperatures will go, but the environmental conditions outside lend themselves nicely for digging three-foot post holes that serve as the guide for fencing installation.

Buying in February and March also means that your fence project ends just as many your neighbors begin shopping for fence. That means longer waits to get permits approved, longer delivery times for getting the fence installed and the less time you have to truly enjoy your outdoor creation once the warm temperatures settle in and you start wishing it would snow or turn cold again.

If your idea of the perfect fence for your home is a custom design—one that includes ornate lattice work, a vibrant vinyl color or a unique logo welded to your driveway gate—now’s the best time to get started on your fence project. Custom work always takes longer because manufacturers keep a low inventory on special materials. If you want an iron gate that has trees, geometric patterns or your family name welded in a decorative font, these orders take time. During the summer months, people are surprised when they hear highly ornate fence building materials can take as long as six to eight weeks to produce. That’s because there’s a high demand for custom work in summer and there are—realistically—only so many local vendors who specialize in custom fabrication of fence materials.

If you know you want something new and different that creates maximum curb appeal and sets you apart from your neighbors, get that fence project started now while there’s a lull!

Waiting until mid-June to get started on a fence project means more waiting to get what you want. Calling this time of year means your fence project can go in the ground even faster than getting your tax refund (You do know that April 15th is not that far away either!)!

Even if You’re Just Thinking About it….

If you’ve planned ahead for your home improvement needs and a fence is on your list, give us a call now or click on our online chat feature and see how easy it is to get your fence project underway. We think you’ll be surprised at how short the timeline will be.

You can also use our free online estimate tool, which gives you a realistic idea of how much your fence will cost! And, of course, any of our fence experts are more than willing to come to your home and walk you through a variety of options should you want some advice on the best fence to meet both your needs and your budget.

And Just in Case the Big Chill Happens…

If the weather does dip and things turn bitter cold and we’ve only just begun work on your fence, don’t worry! As soon as the ground thaws, we’re right back out there to get your job done in time for spring!

Still have questions about winter fence installation? Call us at 1-800-49FENCE!

 

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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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