Unfortunately there are no enforced regulations or standards in place to prevent homeowners from getting taken by the fly-by-night fence companies who are here today, gone tomorrow. They have no desire and in most cases don't care about quality or longevity of the end product. Most every fence looks good by the time you pay the company which is usually within the week.
As wood starts to dry and gates start to hang, posts start to bow and boards start to warp, between 1 and 8 weeks is really when the true quality of materials used start to show.
Your fence is an investment in your property. It can cause beauty and an increase in your property value or it can become an eye soar and decrease your property value.
Here are some helpful tips to consider when purchasing your fence.
Posts are the main structure of your fence.
Treated wood posts, 4x4 are stronger and cheaper than light metal posts. Consider4x6 or 6x6 wood posts which have a tendency to bow less when installed properly but drive the price up per foot.
Metal posts, used around here range in thickness from .055 which is the lightest, .065, .080, schedule 20, schedule 40, which is the heaviest. Through our past experiences dealing with hurricanes, tornadoes and severe storms, we now use schedule 20 pipe for all residential application and always have used schedule 40 pipe for the gate posts.
As a standard, you may consider schedule 40 line posts in applications of wide open areas with nothing blocking wind.
Horizontal Runners 2 x 4 treated lumber is standard but vary in treatment from .20 to .40. Although you can't tell by looking at them the difference could be 10 years to 20+ years more life before replacing.
On 90% of residential fences we install we use 2-runners with a good quality cedar board. You may have less than 1% warp-age. A third runner is recommended for applications in wide open areas. Although we could use the money we feel no need to spend it. A new treatment process causes galvanized nails and screws to rust and deteriorate. We now use a double coated galvanized nail for wood.
Fence Board - In our area, there are three types of fence boards typically used, cedar, cypress and treated pine.
Treated pine which 99.9% of the time should be installed with a 3rd runner because it warps and twists more than cedar. Even with 3 runners it still has a tendency to warp.
Cypress - Which at one time could be purchased easily from local vendors was typically around 1/2" thick x 5-1/2" wide and very wet, needed to be installed with three runners because as it dried it too would have a higher percentage of warping and twisting like pine.
Cedar - This is the board most used in our area on fences. A good cedar board can be used with only two runners. There are different grades of cedar from #3 to #1 and clear. The bigger the number typically the more knots. Cedar from what I understand repels termites and with a good sealer or stain could look good and last for 20+ years. It is best to install fence boards at least 2" off the ground to prevent earl rot and water damage.
We can help design or implement any design you may have to complete your dream home project. From wood to aluminum or ornamental gates, let us be part of your dream.