Few landscaping choices are as timeless as an attractive fence. From tall privacy fences to traditional white picket fare, there are a wide range of options with regards to wood fences.
As with many landscaping choices, the installation part of having a wood fence is really just the beginning. With regular (minimal) maintenance, a good wood fence can stand strong in the face of the elements for many years to come. Like any home improvement project, however, it’s best to consider a few questions before jumping right in.
What Will it Cost?
With any new home project the first thing that comes to mind is the budget—at least, it should be. There are quite a few options that come along with installing a new wood fence. For that reason, prices can vary depending upon the materials you are using and the style you choose. To give you an idea of the range of prices, a 6-foot privacy fence can run you anywhere between $25 and $100 for each panel. On the other hand, you would be looking at $3 and $75 per panel for 4-foot picket fencing.
So, obviously, there is a significant discrepancy in prices, which will only increase as more panels are needed. One of the reasons for the difference, as mentioned, is the type of wood involved. Woods like redwood or white cedar are known as premium woods; they can cost about $100 per panel. White wood, though, can be as affordable as $28 per panel.
The first step to setting your budget, then, is to decide on the type of wood you want to use and what height you want the fence to be.
Who is Going to Install the Wood Fence?
Some homeowners think that installing a fence is a straightforward task they can handle themselves. Depending up on one’s skill level, it can be done. That said, to ensure safety, stability, endurance and compliance with local building codes, we strongly recommend you contact a professional. A professional can ensure the job is done quickly and correctly, with no hiccups. For instance, digging post holes is one of the more difficult tasks in putting up a fence. If they aren’t done with precision, the rest is the fence installation is in jeopardy. Also, utility lines. Do you know where they are and how to avoid them?
What is the Height Limit for a Wood Fence?
When some people are considering a privacy fence, they want ALL the privacy. So, the question of fence height comes into play quite often. The answer: it depends. Most HOAs and cities have guidelines regarding wood fence height. Generally, the height limit is six feet for backyard privacy fences. For the front yard, that number drops to four feet. As mentioned, this is just a common height restriction. You’ll want to refer to local codes before you spend any money.
What about Staining the Wood Fence?
A great way to keep that pristine look of a new wood fence is to apply a good-quality stain. In addition to enhancing the appearance, stain can help guard against inclement weather and water damage. Wood stain is not a “set and forget” option, though. On average, it will require reapplication every two-to-three years. Another option is a solid stain—which won’t need to be reapplied very often at all—but it has the tendency to cover the wood grain aesthetic that many people enjoy. Yet another option is a clear sealer. This does a fantastic job of letting the wood’s natural appearance come through, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of weather protection. One option that is a happy medium is a semi-transparent stain, which lets you see the wood and stands up well to weather. You’ll want to reapply every few years, though.
What Does Wood Fence Maintenance Entail?
Regularly restaining your wood fence is the first step in overall maintenance. Think of it as akin to regular oil changes for your car. If you plan on staining your fence, you will want to make sure that it is clean first. One way to do this is with a scrub brush and cleaner, both of which you can usually find at your local home improvement store. Another option is pressure washing. If you haven’t been cleaning the fence regularly and it has been awhile since the last cleaning, you may want to consider pressure washing. You have to be careful with the pressure washing, though. If you are too close to the fence and/or have the pressure set too high, you can easily do serious damage to the wood panels.
Beyond cleaning, you’ll want to eyeball your fence from time to time to see if there are any signs of damage. Wood fences can draw termites, particularly the posts, so you should keep them in mind when inspecting your fence.
How Often Will I Need to Repair My Wood Fence?
It all depends upon what you discover during an inspection, which is why we encourage inspection. With the weather changing the way it does in Michigan, two really good times to check for damage are in early spring and late fall. Beyond the aforementioned termite issue, you’ll also want to inspect for damage to posts, broken/damaged boards, and nails that are working their way out. Depending upon the issue, you might be able to remedy it quickly on your own. If you think you think you might be even a little in over your head, you should consult a professional.
While wood fencing requires more upkeep than, say, chain link fence, we can all agree that it is a much more attractive option. If you are fortunate enough to already own a wood fence, perhaps you found some pointers to help keep it in ship shape. If you are looking for a new wood fence, you should check with a professional first. For all of your professional landscaping needs, contact E.P.M. today or call us at (517) 990-0110!