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How Long Does A Fence Installation Take?

-- Feb 17th, 2015

Typically a residential chain link or ornamental fence for a back yard would take two days. The first day the posts are set in concrete, with the rest of the fence being installed on the second day. If the property is much larger then a third day would be required.

For wood privacy, which requires more labour, two to five days is standard depending on length.


My Chain Link Fence is Down

-- May 27th, 2014

Winter is hard on chain link fences. You may have noticed that your fence has stood up well for years and then one spring it is sagged and torn from the top rail. The snow fall amounts dictate what will happen to your fence along with thaws and then freezing. The snow gathers in the fence and then wants to settle pulling the chain link with it. The problem is compounded when wet heavy snow freezes into the fence and then settles. There is no stopping it.

Repairs should be done before the next winter takes it down further. If the fence is not crumpled too badly at the bottom it can simply be pulled back up and retied. Should the fence look like an accordion then it is a better option to replace with new than put time or money into trying to reshape it. Stretched wire can not be returned to its original shape.

The best deterrent to snow damaged fence is to eliminate anything that may aid in collecting snow along the fence line such as vines, shrubs or backyard furniture. Extra ties on top rail and post in problem areas will add more staying power.


Should I Put a Gate On Both Sides of My House?

The answer is most always "Yes". Actually, I can't think of any situation where you wouldn't want a gate on both sides if it is possible. Sure, a gate may add a few dollars to the overall cost of the fence project, but will pay off greatly in reduced aggravation.

Picture yourself playing catch with your child in your back yard, on the side of the house that does not have the gate. Your kid throws better than you think and the ball sails over the fence. Guess how far you have to travel to retrieve that ball. You got it, all the way around the house to get to the other side of the fence. It grows old, fast. You will soon forget the bit extra paid, but will thank yourself for that gate every time you go through it.

The same goes for when you are doing your flower beds and yard work. Instead of wasting time trotting all the way around, you simply nip through your gate.
As far as that extra cost goes, your fencing contractor may just throw it in, if your project is large enough.


Will a Fence Increase the Value of My Property?

Many property owners who don't necessarily need a fence wonder if it will increase the sale price of their home if they have a fence installed. Or, those who need one, if they can recoup the cost if they ever sell.

There are as many answers as there are homes. Every situation is different. The simple answer is, that your value will be increased. The large realtor Century 21, on their website, suggest adding a fence to improve your property's saleability. You should be able to recoup all your cost if you sell, or better. Buyers, with pets and small children, will always be attracted to properties with a fence for peace of mind and privacy. If you are selling in an upscale neighbourhood where your neighbours have ornamental fence, then your investment will return you more than the cost, exponentially.

A few exceptions, to the rule of increased value, are if:

  • none of your neighbours have fences
  • you install a chain link fence in a neighbourhood filled with ornamental
  • if your existing fence is nearing the end of its life cycle
  • you have a "great wall of China" surrounding your backyard
  • you plunk chain link in your front yard

So, when you install your fence, remember to match it to your neighbourhood and keep it well maintained, ensuring that you come out ahead of your initial investment.

Do I Need To Know Exactly Where My Property Lines Are?

I have had customers tell me, "The property line runs right here... sorta". "Sorta" just isn't good enough. You need to locate your property pins or have an accurate lot survey diagram in order to avoid arguments with your neighbour and to dodge costly mistakes should it be discovered that your fence is actually on your neighbour's property. Or be really disappointed to find out you had the fence built three feet from the property line... on your own property. Either way it's a loss. You will either have less yard or your neighbour can make you move your fence. I guess if you want to give your neighbour the fence, if he wants it, it could save you paying twice for it by not having to remove and build it on your own property.

I once had a customer, we'll call him Fred, tell me he didn't know precisely where the property line was, but was pretty sure that it was where he said it was. He said he asked his neighbour, and that she concurred. He didn't want to pay the few hundred dollars to have a survey done. Who am I to say they are wrong, if they are in agreement? We do what the customer wants, as long as they assume the responsibility and we abide by the bylaws. So we put the fence in. Guess who calls me the following year? You got it. Fred. He asks if we can move his fence about 14 inches onto his property. His neighbour was thinking of selling and had a survey done and the property line wasn't where they thought it was. Poor Fred had to eat the cost of moving the fence since it was his and on her property.

It might not seem to matter to much now, not knowing exactly where your property line is. But as we have found out, it can come back to bite you. Always determine exactly where your property line runs.


"Invisible Fence" vs. Chain Link vs. Wood Fence for Dogs or Cats

-- March 24th, 2014

Choosing the best fence for your pets and for yourself can be a difficult decision as every fence has its advantages and disadvantages. We will sort through them here to aid in your decision.

"Invisible Fence"

This is a system whereby a wire is shallow-buried around the perimeter of the desired area. A transmitter situated in your garage/house sends a radio signal through the wire which is picked up by a receiver collar worn by your pet. The collar emits a warning sound and then a mild, programmable static correction to your pet as it nears the perimeter wire. With guided training your pet learns its boundaries.

Tip: Buy the brand name Invisible Fence from an authorized dealer and have them install it. The less expensive DIY kits are made of lighter gauge wire which easily breaks. Other parts may not be as good quality. The warranty is also better from a dealer. The dealer/installer can go through/under concrete or asphalt and other difficult areas and will have great advice concerning placement.

Disclaimer: We are not a dealer for Invisible Fence; just an advocate for a good product in the right circumstances

PROS:

  • Fairly inexpensive
  • Can add as many pets as you like simply by giving them collars
  • You can easily designate what parts of your property the pet uses or doesn't
  • Your yard is free of any visual obstructions
  • Virtually maintenance free aside from collar batteries
CONS:
  • Does not keep other animals or people off your property
  • Forgetting to change the collar batteries every 3 months as recommended can have undesired escapes
  • Does not prevent annoying barking when your dog sees something/someone

Chain Link Fence

PROS:

  • Fairly economical
  • Keeps other pets and people from wandering onto your property
  • Using black vinyl chain link allows blending in with vegetation and shadows, making it less conspicuous
  • Chain link of 5' height keeps pets contained and meets pool code regulations
CONS:
  • Dogs will see and bark at passing pets and people

Wood Fence

PROS:

  • Dogs will not bark at what they cannot see
  • Meets pool code if 5' in height
  • Most attractive alternative
  • Provides privacy
CONS:
  • Most expensive (double that of chain link)
  • Blocks potentially nice views


Prefab Wood Panels vs. Built In Place Wood Fence

-- March 24th, 2014

Many people may be tempted into thinking that, because it is offered by building supply centres, that prefab wood fence panels are a slick way to build a fence. They are attracted by the price and the perceived time saved.

The reality is that it comes at a hidden cost. Don't forget that you must still purchase posts and concrete. Your labour charges for setting the posts will be higher due to the fact that you must get every post set in the exact place in order to accommodate the panels. Or you must attempt to juggle every post and panel to install everything together. You don't want a space between post and panel, and the panels must be trimmed (very troublesome with lattice) if posts are too close together. Building in place after the posts have been set is much simpler and less aggravating (priceless).

Fence brackets can also be utilized with the built in place method where as they cannot with prefab panels. Fence brackets are thought to be flimsy, and when visible, not that great looking. The reality is that they are not that noticeable when the galvanizing weathers and dulls a bit. The advantage to using brackets for attaching the stringers to the post is that the brackets will flex if the post twists because of drying and keep everything together, instead of pulling screws out of wood and falling apart.

Since the panels, which have labour built into them and must still be sold at an attractive price point, have to have savings for the seller somewhere. That would come in the form of inferior and thinner wood. Add to that the fact that they are stapled together rather than screwed and you now have your "savings".


Chain Link vs. Wood Fence

-- March 11th, 2014

Your decision whether to install wood or chain link will be determined by several factors.  Many variables come into play.  The information here should enable you to make an informed decision.

Chain Link

Wood

  •  Most economical
  • Life expectancy of 15 to 30 years depending on grade of chain link
    (ie. residential or commercial) and snow load 
  • Quickest installation
  • Easiest to follow grade changes
  • Black vinyl chain link blends in well with vegetation
  • Allows for a virtually unobstructed view

 

  • Figure on twice the price of chain link
  • Life expectancy of 15 to 30 years dependent on wind and ground moisture
  • Longer installation time
  • Must step fence to accommodate steeper grade changes
  • Most aesthetically pleasing
  • Offers best privacy

 


What is Involved in Planning a Fence Installation?

-- March 4th, 2014

There are several things to consider in planning your fence before you get into the actual installation phase:

Purpose
Fences function as protection, property delineation, aesthetics, child or pet containment, privacy or any combination of these. Choose the type of fence that would best suit your present requirement keeping in mind that your needs could change down the road. For example at this moment you may simply want to keep your pets contained in your back yard with a 4 foot high chain link fence, but a few years from now you may want to install a pool for your growing family. You would be best choosing a higher 5 foot chain link fence right away to meet pool code or a wood privacy fence to provide pool code compliance and privacy both.

Budget
Do some research online or call a reliable fence contractor to determine the price points for different fence options to achieve best value for money invested. For example as a rule of thumb wood is around twice the cost of residential chain link. So if privacy was not an issue then chain link would be the way to go.

You may be spending more than you had anticipated but remember that a fence is an investment and will increase the value of your property (as long as it fits the aesthetics of your neighbourhood). Always add some extra in your budget to cover unforeseen instances such as cost to repair a damaged drainage tile not shown on your property plan or replacement of some shrubs or ornamental trees that had to be removed to accommodate the fence.

Inform Your Neighbour
Approach your neighbour to discuss the proposed fence. It is the polite and neighbourly thing to do as it invades their vista and is a very personal thing as it butts onto their property. I remember starting a customer's fence in the morning then having their neighbour arrive home for supper and see fence posts along their property line. They flipped! They had not been made aware of the project and took it as a personal affront thinking that my customer wanted to shut them out of their lives. After a little explanation for the reason of the fence and some soothing words I was able to diffuse the situation.

Had they been the more unreasonable type my customer may have had an offended and contentious neighbour for life.

Permits
Determine if your municipality requires you to take out a permit to install a fence. Most municipalities in Ontario do not require a permit for a fence but most do have bylaws regulating them. For instance they may limit the fence height and distance from the road allowance if you have a corner lot to keep vehicle sight lines clear at intersections, or so your neighbour can see to exit their driveway.

Property Lines
Ensure that you know where your property lines run. You can usually find the existing square metal property pins, if they aren't buried too deep, by stabbing the ground at a 45 degree angle in the approximate area that the pins would be expected to be found. Newer pins are denoted with a white and red wooden stake above ground. Failing that a metal detector can be used. A property plan with house and lot dimensions is a great way to determine where to place your fence. You want to be sure that your fence is installed on your property!! If it is found later to be on your neighbours property they can make things miserable and expensive.

Locates
Have underground locates for utilities done. In Ontario a simple call to Ontario One Call (ON1CALL) at 1-800-400-2255 is all it takes to have gas, electrical and telecommunications located. You can also go to www.on1call.com. Your water and sewer lines must be located by your municipality. All locating services are free of charge. Drainage tiles may be more difficult to locate. Your home builder may be able to tell you or you could have someone experienced in water "witching" find them for you. We as a fencing company hand dig by the foundation where your fence is most likely to intersect with a tile.

Every fence and circumstance is different but these items should make you well prepared to start your project.