Everything You Need to Know About Backyard Fences


Everything You Need to Know About Backyard Fences

Fences are always beautiful additions to our backyards. Aside from the aesthetic flair they add to your backyard, these fences are great at achieving that sense of privacy in keeping our backyard activities from the curious eyes of onlookers. Backyard fences also enhance your security, preventing unhindered trespassing into your property.

Ideally, backyard fences shouldn’t be more than 2 meters high. These fences are commonly made from vinyl, pressure-treated wood, and aluminum. Wooden fences are cheaper than vinyl fences only that you would spend far more on the maintenance of your wooden fences. If well constructed and maintained, backyard fences can last more than 10 years.

There is so much to know when planning a backyard fence installation. You have to plan out your budget for the chosen materials you desire. You also have to see if you should get a permit from the authorities or approval from your neighbors. Also, you would want to know which is cheaper and more durable between materials like vinyl, wood, and aluminum for your backyard fence. Let us learn all about these.

How Much Does It Cost to Fence in Your Backyard?

On the lowest end of a wire fencing budget, you can expect to spend an average of $2 for per foot. If you go with vinyl, you can spend at least $15 per foot on an average while linear wood could cost you at least $13 per foot.

Many parameters contribute to the fencing cost of your backyard. The height of the fence as well as its length is a major determinant of the cost in addition to the terrain on which the fence will be constructed. Obviously, you will save a huge portion of your budget if you install it yourself. Nonetheless, it is advisable to get professional services for the installation so the fence can last long.

Typically, the lesser the acreage of your backyard, the larger the quantity of fencing material you need. This translates to a higher cost per acre. A typical backyard of 2 acres may need as much as 1,175 feet of material. Of course, in circumstances where the acreage contains slopes (as opposed to a typical square), you can expect to spend more.

From what we have seen, you spend anywhere from $1,000 to $32,000 to fence 1 acre of your backyard. The average budget we have seen most homeowners expend for such 1 acre of backyard fence ranges from $4,000 to $8,500. Wire fences cost the least. You may not spend much more than $1,000 for an acre.

If you choose to go with metal fences, you can spend anywhere from $20 to $45 for every linear foot of a chain-linking fence. Many homeowners prefer chain link fences because they are harder to penetrate, thereby enhancing their security and curtailment of pets and kids.

As regards their aesthetic property, metal fences aren’t as pretty on the eyes as wooden or vinyl fences. For black vinyl-coated chain links, expect to spend from $18 to $34 per linear foot on installation.

For a wooden fence, you can budget an average of $2,300 for your regular privacy fencing. Expect to spend an average of $16 per foot on the installation of a wooden fence. Wooden fences are pretty durable; hence, they are a popular choice. The likes of redwood, cedar, and pine can last as long as two decades if well maintained.

How Much Does a Typical Vinyl Fence Cost?

If you add the cost of installation (paying for professional services) and the cost of materials, you can spend an average of $3,600 on a typical vinyl privacy fence of 6 feet. A vinyl picket fence with a height of 4′ could cost you an average of $3,000, adding the materials and the installation cost.

In most cases, homeowners spend between $19 to $35 per linear foot on the installation of vinyl fences in their backyard. Many factors come into the cost of the vinyl fence.

The major determinants are the accessories you would need (like gates and hanging flower boxes) and the number of linear feet the length has.

How Much Does It Cost to Put up a PVC Fence?

For a PVC fence, you should be budgeting an average of $23 per linear foot. We have seen cases where homeowners spend as much as $5,700 on a PVC privacy fence. We have also seen homeowners spend as little as $2,750 on the same PVC privacy fence. For a PVC picket fence, an average of $2,400 is fair for installation.

What Type of Fence is Most Durable?

The most common types of materials used for backyard fences include vinyl, wood, and aluminum. They are practically the most durable fences around. Let’s look more at these materials.

Starting with vinyl fences

Vinyl is a relatively recent evolution in backyard fencing material. No doubt, the traditional option is wood. There are several notable reasons why many installers are choosing vinyl today. First, vinyl is very easy to manipulate and work being lightweight.

When installing vinyl backyard fences, there is little or no need for machinery as vinyl rails are famed for readily clicking into posts.

For the homeowners, vinyl fences are suitable choices for their durability and far-reduced need for maintenance. Vinyl has enhanced resilience to intense sunlight, rains, freezing conditions, and heavy winds. Just a hose and brush will do just fine in cleaning them.

Next are wooden fences

Wood is the conventional fencing material. Wood is pretty sturdy. Homeowners love them for their attractiveness. These days, many installers are resorting to pressure-treated lumber due to its enhanced resistance to rot.

Unlike natural wood, pressure-treated wood needs less fungicide treatment to keep it from weather-inspired deterioration and insect infestation. Such factory treatment significantly props up its longevity.

Wood is one of the cheapest fencing materials you can get. However, wood requires relatively intense maintenance from time to time. You will need to paint (or stain) your wooden fence periodically to sustain its resilience to insects and weather.

Lastly is pressed point aluminum fence

Admittedly, aluminum fences are not cheap. The good side is that they need minimal maintenance, which makes up appreciably for the cost. Aluminum fences have premium tolerance to weather and rot resistance. Yes, there is practically no need to stain your aluminum fence. Just a simple clean a few times in a year would do.

Installing aluminum backyard fences requires more technical experience, and it is not a typically advised DIY project.

Nonetheless, we have to point out that aluminum fences are not very sturdy as they have low resistance to pressure.

How Tall Should My Garden Fence Be?

We are regularly asked the ideal height of a garden fence. Realistically, the height of your garden fence depends on the local authorities and your neighbors. In most cases, if you are going to erect a garden fence that is higher than 2 meters, you would have to get permission from the local council. This law holds despite the steepness of the land.

Aside from this, the purpose of your fence would determine the height. In this context, if you are building a fence in your garden to protect your flowers and vegetables from deer invasion, you could consider making a garden fence of 8 feet.

In the case where your garden fence is built of a solid material that is impervious (to sight) from the outside, you can get a garden fence of about 5 feet.

How Far off the Ground Should a Privacy Fence be?

Privacy fences are typically deployed by homeowners to keep off unsightly objects from public view. In most cities, we have seen that there is a maximum limit of 6 feet on privacy fences.

Anywhere from 4 feet to 7 feet is cool for the height of your privacy fence. If you want your privacy fences to be more than 7 feet off the ground, a variance application may be necessary.

The depth to which you sink your fence posts determines its sturdiness in the long run. So you understand that if you are sinking your fence post in soils that are not very compact or strong, you need to drive your posts deeper.

Overall for a wooden fence, we recommend that you dig in a minimum of one-third of the height of your fence. So if you possibly have a wooden fence that is 8 feet tall, you should bury at least 2.5 feet in the ground.

Do I Need Permission to Put up a Fence?

Many factors come into whether you need an official permit for your fence. The height of the fence, the population density of your locality, and the position of the fence on your property will determine if you need permission to install the fence.

For those living in areas of high population density, there is a higher need for a permit.

On the other end, if you are living in a pretty isolated area as common in remote rural farm settlements, you wouldn’t need much of a permit if you were to install a simple fence with barbed wire.

The height matters primarily, as we have said. For a privacy fence in your backyard, you wouldn’t need a permit so long the fence is lesser than 6 feet. If this same privacy fence was to be installed in the front yard, you wouldn’t need permits so long it is no taller than 3.5 feet.

Of course, it would be deeply frustrating to build a beautiful backyard fence and run into problems with the local authorities. This is why we advise that you spare some time before you start the installation to make inquiries at the local city hall or reach out to your local building inspector.

How Long will a Vinyl Fence Last?

On average, your vinyl fence can last up to 2 or 3 decades. This span of durability is not definitive as a lot depends on the maintenance of the vinyl fence, how well it was constructed, and the weather and terrain conditions of where you are staying. Let us examine these deciding factors.

How well the vinyl fence was constructed

The quality or expertise expended in the construction of your vinyl fence matters too. Of course, a vinyl fence with poor structural integrity (courtesy of being installed by an amateur) can’t last as long as one installed by a seasoned expert.

Also, if you invest in quality materials and accessories, it is only natural that your vinyl fence would last far longer than one where quality was sacrificed for affordability.

Your maintenance practice

The cleaning frequency and how effectively it is done will contribute to the durability of your vinyl fence. Admittedly, vinyl fences don’t need as much cleaning as their wooden counterparts. When you frequently clean your vinyl fence, you are better positioned to determine defects or signs of deterioration (mainly wear and tear as well as fading) and quickly fix them.

If you clean your vinyl fence frequently, you can expect it to last at least a decade.

Compared to a vinyl fence that is sparsely cleaned, you can expect a well-cleaned vinyl fence to last 6 years longer.

The terrain where your backyard is

Aside from your maintenance regimen, the environment where your backyard fence is situated matters as well. First, let us examine the soil conditions where your fence was dug. If your soil isn’t compact or solid, your fence won’t last. This explains why your vinyl fence would perform poorly in swampy terrains.

If the terrain of your backyard is uneven, it will eat into the supposed longevity of your vinyl fence. If your vinyl fence is situated in a dense collection of weak trees, it will hamper its durability.

Is Vinyl Fence Cheaper than Wood?

If we are going just to consider the installation, wooden fence is cheaper than vinyl fence. Looking precisely at the upfront expenditure, wood is far cheaper a material than vinyl. However, if we examine the bigger picture and consider the long term costs, then vinyl is fairly a cheaper option for your fence than wood. Why is this?

First, you are going to spend far less on maintenance on vinyl fences than you would spend on a wooden fence. You will need to seal, paint, or stain your wooden fence regularly. This can be expensive.

Also, while you can be expecting your vinyl fence to last you 20 to 30 years, many wooden fences can’t go longer than 14 years and would be in urgent need of replacement by then. So if we look long term, you can end up spending three times the cost of your vinyl fence on a wooden backyard privacy fence.

Is Aluminum or Vinyl Fence Cheaper?

While it is easier to state which is cheaper between vinyl fences and wooden fences or between aluminum fences and wooden fences, it is harder to decide which is cheaper between aluminum and vinyl fence.

The prices for both tend to be very close, with vinyl being just a tiny bit pricier.

This, however, depends on factors like the length and height of the fence, the design pattern and of course the manufacturers.

Is It Better to Stain or Paint a fence?

Many homeowners are caught up in the notorious confusion of deciding whether to stain their fence or paint it. The reality is that both painting and staining come with their respective advantages and disadvantages. Let us examine both finishes.

Which is more durable between paint and stain?

Paint lasts longer than stain in most cases. Nonetheless, both finishes need regular maintenance. Typically, a painted fence should last about 5 years in terms of the finish. In the same sense, a stained fence should last 3 years.

There is no denying that prevailing weather conditions contribute actively to the respective durability of both finishes. Intense winters, sustained winds, and prolonged rainfall will affect both finishes making the need for regular maintenance more pressing.

Stain has a more significant propensity to wear than paint. It fades faster than paint to say. On the other hand, paint is more susceptible to cracks and peeling.

Which is harder to apply between paint and stain?

The procedures for painting are more demanding than that for staining – especially for wooden fences. To realize that desired sticking power and smooth finish, it is necessary first to apply a coat of primer before you apply the paint proper.

The drying process is, however, lengthier for stain. While stain requires less than 48 hours to dry up, paint may take as many as little as 5 hours to dry up depending on the prevailing weather conditions.

Another point to note is that the application process of stain is more sensitive to weather conditions. Staining works best in an environment of minimum 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t do well with high humidity. Paint is not that restrictive and can be applied in just any weather provided there isn’t a downpour.

How about the surface?

The surface is another core factor to choose between paint and stain, especially for wooden fences. You should also be concerned about the existing finish the fence has as well what type of wood the fence is built from. If it is treated wood, then it is not advisable to stain it.

This is because treated wood has a relatively poor stain absorption capacity compared to raw wood. Also, if it is cedar, then it is not recommended to paint it. This is because paint shortens not only the longevity of cedar but also cedar has poor absorption capacity for paint.

Regardless of which finish you go with, it is paramount to prepare the wooden fence for your chosen finish. Execute needed repairs before painting or staining. A good way to prepare such wooden fences for your desired finish is pressure washing it.

How Often Should a Wood Fence be Replaced?

As we have pointed out, if your wooden fence is properly maintained, you can expect it to last over 17 years. Of course, wear and deterioration are natural for wooden fences and even quicker when the fence is not made from treated lumber.

In the case where it is not treated lumber, expect wear and deterioration to set in after the first decade. This suggests the pressing need for replacement.

There are several ways you can tell your wooden fence is due for replacement. Let us examine these signals.

When your boards split

Sustained exposure to rain and intense sunlight could crack your boards. Repeated freezing cycles can also crack your board. When you notice your board warp, there is still room for repairs.

However, when you notice missing boards and repeated splits, it is time to replace the entire structure. Cracked boards don’t even look good and threaten the robustness of the entire structure.

When your wooden fence starts to rot

This is one of the strongest signals for the urgent replacement of your wooden fence.

Rotting is most times instigated by prolonged exposure to moisture. This is why you notice that it is those areas of your wooden fence closer to the ground that rots faster.

Indeed, the wooden fence must rot eventually from natural deterioration; the application of preservatives can reasonably delay this. If you see that the boards and posts of your fence are all rotting, it is urgent to replace them.

When you notice that your wooden fence is already leaning

Elements like rain and wind can prompt wooden fences to lean on the side. Such one-sided leaning of your wooden fence can also be provoked by shifting soil. Leaning is evidence that the fence is losing its structural integrity. Leaning can occur anywhere from 5 years after installation.

If you notice some posts leaning, you can repair it by fixing in new posts for those selected leaning areas. However, when you notice a general inclination or tilt of your fence, it is obvious the structure is no longer strong. This can’t be necessarily repaired, mandating an immediate replacement.

Should I Seal My Fence?

Yes, a sealant is almost necessary for your fence. Applying a layer of sealant on your fence makes it harder for moisture to penetrate the fencing material – especially for wood. We advise that you seal your fence at least once in 12 months.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Fence Replacement?

In most cases, your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover your fence replacement. However, this changes when you buy unscheduled structures coverage. This supplements your extant policy, covering detached structures like fences on your property.

With this detached unscheduled structure coverage, your insurance policy could cover fence replacement capping at $5,000. Most insurance policy will like to examine the cause of the damage to your fence to know if such replacement costs are eligible for cover.

You wouldn’t expect your providers to be willing to pay for fence replacement from humanmade damages like landscaping mishaps. In the case of natural disasters like storms, your fence replacement can fall in line.

Can My Neighbor Put up a Fence Without My Permission?

If the neighbor doesn’t exceed the height limits for a fence, he doesn’t practically need your permission to put up a fence so long the fence is within the boundaries of his property.

Neighbors would only need your permission to install fences within their property if they plan to build the fence taller than 2 meters.

Should Neighbors Split the Cost of a Fence?

If the fence is for sole use (where your neighbor is not sharing it), the cost is all on you to install the fence and maintain it. The law varies though. There are states where the law mandates the neighbor to part with one-half of the value of the fence in payment to the owner.

Can I Remove a Neighbor’s Fence on My Property?

Despite how intrusive a neighbor fence may appear, we advise you don’t autonomously pull it down. This is because the boundaries of a property can be controversial or disputed. In most cases, those areas you assume are your property may also appear to your neighbor as owned by them.

If you think that your neighbor is trespassing into the boundaries of your property, don’t instinctively pull the fence down. Your best choice (when the neighbor refuses to acknowledge your agitations) is to secure a court order.

The court can determine to remove the fence if it compromises the official property line. There are also cases where the owner of the intruding fence can file claims for adverse possession. This could prove nasty for you if the fence has been installed for over 10 years.

Does a Fence Add Value to a House?

Practically, a fence may not directly affect the value of a house, but it sure makes it more marketable. We will admit that fenced properties are more attractive (particularly your backyard fences), promising the prospective homeowner increased privacy and security.

This makes your property appear to be a good catch. Note that all would be turned on by the beauty and security of the fence. Others could be discouraged from buying fenced houses because of the seeming need for heavy maintenance.

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