Aluminum, vinyl, wood, steel, wrought iron, chainlink . . . One thing is for sure: if you’re shopping for a new fence, you will be spoiled for choice. Many people can immediately rule out some types of materials; for example, you might be in the vinyl/wood camp or the aluminum/wrought-iron/steel camp. Other shoppers feel lost in the woods, unable to choose between materials or even limit their contenders. If you’re wondering how to choose a fencing material, scroll down to learn about the many things you should take into consideration during this process.
How to Choose a Fencing Material
Consider your objective.
As we’ve discussed previously, there are many reasons why one might choose to build a fence. So before you start shopping for fences, pinpoint the primary purpose of the fence. Do you need to enclose your pool? Would you like a fence to keep your dogs in the yard? Are you frustrated that your neighbors ignore property lines? Have you always dreamt of a white-picket fence? Would you like to increase the privacy of your yard and ward off peeping Toms? Once you know what your fence needs to achieve, you can start browsing materials.
Some fencing materials have drastically different looks. For example, compare wrought-iron fencing with vinyl fencing. While both can be beautiful, they are stylistically divergent. Or, compare chain-link fencing with aluminum fencing. With their no-frills, utilitarian style, chain-link fences are typically used at industrial sites and in utilitarian applications (schoolyards, prisons, etc). Aluminum fences, on the other hand, offer an elegant and timeless appeal. Explore the styles of different fencing materials to find one that suits your requirements.
Consider the upfront cost.
What is your budget for this fence? Consider the cost of the fencing system as well as the cost of installation (whether you choose to hire pros or DIY it). If you can’t afford the fencing material you most prefer, look at inexpensive alternatives. In addition, consider whether it would be worthwhile to hold off on this purchase and save more money. If your budget is tight and you purchase the cheapest fence you can find, you may pay more in the long run due to replacement costs. Speaking of which . . .
Consider the long-term cost.
Don’t just factor in how much money you can spend on this fence right now. The price tag may appear final and finite, but over the years, many fences present further costs. For example, remember to think about the fence’s durability. A fence that lacks the ability to withstand wear, tear, and damage in the long run will require repairs or even a replacement, both of which can be costly. In addition, think about maintenance and the costs that go along with it. Speaking of which . . .
Consider the required maintenance.
Some fences boast self-sufficiency; they don’t need any help from you. For example, aluminum and vinyl require virtually no maintenance at all. You might choose to hose them down after a particularly nasty storm, but you won’t need to worry about staining, sealing, painting, cleaning, etc. Other fences, like wood, ask a lot of you. Are you willing to give up some of your Saturdays to care for your fence? Have you considered how much it will cost to maintain your fence (especially if you choose to hire professionals for maintenance)?
Consider your climate and location.
Is your home located in a wet, humid climate? If so, vinyl will fare far better than wood, as wood is more susceptible to water damage. If you will install your fence near the ocean, don’t select steel (which is vulnerable to corrosion). Stick to powder-coated aluminum, which won’t rust or corrode. When you’re learning how to choose a fencing material, remember to also consider factors like extreme heat, extreme cold, strong winds, snow, and ice.
Consider your property’s resale value.
Before you buy a bargain fence, looking only at the bottom line, consider your property as a whole. Your fence will affect your property’s resale value, after all. If you plan to move someday (like most homeowners), think about how your choice in fence will influence your eventual sale of the property. For example, cheap fences, unattractive fences, and privacy fences can all negatively impact a home’s value. Long-lasting, high-quality fences, on the other hand, will attract buyers and improve your home’s value.
Consider local building codes and your HOA.
If you live in an area with a homeowners’ association (HOA), you may not need to learn how to choose a fencing material; the HOA may decide for you! These governing groups typically set standards regarding fencing materials, heights, and colors, so check with them before you make your purchase or begin installation. If you don’t, you could face huge fines or be forced to take down your fence. In addition, research local building codes to ensure that your fence follows the law. For example, this is especially important for fences that surround pools, because a poorly selected fence could place people’s safety at risk.
Now that you know how to choose a fencing material, are you ready to get started? If you’re interested in purchasing a new fence, be sure to check out MMC Fencing & Railing. In our online store, you’ll find high-quality and virtually maintenance-free vinyl and aluminum fencing systems. All of our products come with a protective warranty and are built to last a lifetime. To learn more about our fencing systems, please give us a call at 1-866-931-5002. We would be happy to help you select a fencing system that fits your needs. Good luck!