Deciding on the best fence for your yard can be a difficult decision. There’s more to it than just slapping up any old fence. You must base your decision on a various range of factors including the reason you’re building one in the first place. Beyond that, however, you must also decide on the type of fencing material you want to use for your fence. This part of your decision may be based on cost, aesthetics, or again have to do with your reason for installing the fence.
Lucky for you, this decision just got a little bit easier. Take a look at this comprehensive guide that details how to choose a fence for your St. Louis yard.
How to Choose the Best Fence for Your St. Louis Yard
Living in St. Louis offers a lot of opportunities to spend time outdoors. Maybe you like to spend time with your neighbors or other friends around a fire or even at the pool. And, if you want to spend time outdoors, your backyard is the perfect place to do it.
But, you definitely need something to shelter you from the outside world so you can create your own private oasis. That’s why you need a fence.
With that said, deciding which type of fence to choose might be based on the following factors:
Chain Link and aluminum fencing are considered the best type of fences for security purposes. They are more difficult to climb as well as more durable than wood or wrought iron.
If you want a fence that nobody can peer through, then wood and vinyl are your best options. Both can be installed completely site proof or with small gaps.
Aluminum and chain link fences don’t offer any privacy. Some homeowners plant vines and other greenery to fill in the gaps.
Living fences add privacy but it takes several years for them to mature.
Some fence types are virtually maintenance free. Vinyl requires hosing down once in a while to keep it clean but unless there is damage you shouldn’t have to worry about repairs or maintenance. High-quality aluminum fences are coated with durable powder coated paint which resists fading and will never lose its adhesion from the aluminum. Simulated stone and wood fencing made of low-density polyethylene plastic also resists fading and requires no more than occasionally power washing it to remove any contaminants such as dirt, bird droppings, mold, and mildew.
Wood is the most maintenance as you’ll have to stain or paint it at least once per year. Galvanized chain link, steel and wrought iron fencing will eventually rust requiring extensive maintenance of rust removal and then repainting or complete replacement of the respective fence materials.
The type of fence you choose might have to do with how you will use your yard. Take into consideration that wood splinters and chain link can have sharp edges and wires that stick out. If you’re trying to keep something IN the yard like children or pets, a tall vinyl fence is safest to avoid the aforementioned hazards since it has a smooth surface with no exposed fasteners for children or pets to get cut on.
Repair or Replace?
If you already have an existing fence that is in poor condition, you may be wondering whether it’s better to repair or replace it. This, too, depends on a few different factors.
How Long Do You Want Your Fence to Last?
Depending on the condition of the existing fence, it may require more maintenance in the long term if you plan for it to last a while. If you want a fence that you don’t have to think about for a few years at a time, it may be time to consider installing a new one.
Desired Final Result
Depending on the aesthetics of your home may also depend on whether or not you replace your fence. If you want the look and feel of a certain style and your current fence doesn’t fit the scene, it’s probably time to replace it. Likewise, if you want to save as much money as possible and you feel like your fence looks fine with repairs and maintenance, then you should keep it!
Repairing or maintaining your existing fence may be initially cheaper than replacing it, but you should also consider the amount of time it will take. If you have this done professionally, it will accelerate the cost of maintenance compared to repairing or maintaining it yourself.
If you want to do the work yourself, recognize how many hours it will take and make sure you have the time. If you don’t have the time, then, you will be better off replacing a fence requiring continual maintenance with aluminum, vinyl or simulated stone or wood fence that requires very little maintenance.
The cost of a new fence will vary on the type of materials used. Of course, the fence materials with the least expensive initial cost may at first seem like the best idea. However, when you consider the maintenance and eventual replacement costs of less expensive products like chain link and wood, you will see that your initial savings will quickly disappear over time and will actually cost you more in the long run.
Types of Fence Material
Once you’ve decided you want to install a new fence, it’s time to consider the different fence types. No matter what you’re trying to keep in or out of your yard or how much privacy and safety you care about, there is a fence type that will fit your needs. Let’s take a look.
Many homeowners choose cedar fencing for its initial great looks. If you simply like the look of wood, then you might consider this type of material, but be prepared to stain it annually, replace rotted posts and warped pickets over time, and eventually replace the whole fence as a wooden fence can last only up to about twenty years with proper maintenance.
Aluminum fences are virtually maintenance free and very versatile. You can paint them or leave them in the weather. They resist rust and are very easy to clean. If you really want the look of aluminum, you might opt for iron or steel instead, but you’ll need to take into consideration that these two products cost more and will eventually rust.
Sometimes referred to as plastic fencing, a vinyl fence made its debut in the mid-1980s. It can be made to appear like a wooden fence with relatively zero maintenance over the life of the fence. The first exterior use of vinyl came in the form of vinyl siding in the 1970s, so it has an almost 50-year history of withstanding the outside elements and it’s still going strong. Vinyl fences make great privacy fences. Most manufacturers provide a lifetime warranty as vinyl fences are expected to perform for several decades.
Chain link is the cheapest of all fencing materials and a common choice among homeowners across the US. This is a great fencing material to keep kids and dogs in the yard. However, in the metropolitan St. Louis area, you’ll definitely want to check with your Homeowners Association as most of the subdivisions built in the last 20 years don’t allow chain link fences due to the lack of their aesthetic appeal when compared to vinyl or aluminum fences.
Brick is usually paired with aluminum, iron, or steel. This is the ultimate fencing material for privacy and offers a feel of luxury both outside the fence on in your backyard. Keep in mind that installation can be costly and brick fences look best with a brick house.
Wrought iron fencing is the most expensive option but is also the strongest fence to add security to the perimeter of your home. Wrought iron is long-lasting, but since it rusts it requires periodic maintenance.
A living fence is merely a property barrier made of shrubs, plants, hedges, or trees. This is a much more sustainable option for privacy if you’re concerned about the environmental impact you’re making with your new fence. A living fence can take several years to mature but is also the most natural looking barrier you can create.
If you don’t feel like installing a fence just to keep the dogs in the yard, you may opt for an electric fence. These have become increasingly popular in neighborhoods with Homeowners Associations where certain fencing materials are not allowed. It’s important to note that electric fences won’t keep other dogs or anybody for that matter out of your yard.
Picking a Fencing Contractor
Whether you choose to have a fencing contractor install your fence or do it yourself, there are zoning and permit laws to be aware of in your municipality. Check with your local planning and zoning office to find out what types of permits you may be required to obtain before installing your new fence.
If you live in a subdivision with a Homeowners Association (HOA), make sure you comply to any restrictions the HOA may require. If you choose to use a fence contractor, before you sign a contract, get a few quotes and referrals if you can. Also, make sure the contractor is licensed and insured. A quick and easy way you verify that you’re dealing with a contractor with high business ethics is to check their rating with the local Better Business Bureau and to review the ratings they have on the many social mediums such as Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, etc.
Choosing the best fence for your St. Louis yard ultimately boils down to personal preference. Just keep these tips in mind as you journey through your decision so you’ll know you’re making the right one. It’s not easy, or cheap to replace your fence because you’re not satisfied with something about it after the install. That’s why it’s better to consult a fence professional with years of experience over a hardware store where you may be dealing with a person with little or no fence experience when trying to decide what type of fence to buy that will accomplish your intended purpose.
Keep in mind that a new fence could add value to your property if it suits your home well. It’s important to take careful consideration of installation costs and building material cost if you plan to see a return right away.
When you’re ready to have your new fence installed, feel free to contact us for a free, no-obligation estimate! We have been offering maintenance-free fencing, railing, and decking for 25 years.