Author Archives: Jeremy Floyd

Deck Railings Add Safety and Elegance

Whether you’ve just purchased a new deck for your home, or moved into a house with a pre-existing structure, making sure that you have a proper railing system in place is essential. Not only do railings add a beautiful custom look to your deck, they also ensure the safety of everyone who will be enjoying your yard – especially children. There are many options for the type of material you can use on your railings, and this article from Fence Center is meant to offer some helpful pointers and safety regulations you should keep in mind during the construction or remodeling of your deck.

Choosing Railing MaterialsImage of deck railings

When it comes to customizing the type of materials you would like to use on your deck railings, there is a wide variety of aluminum, steel, and vinyl options on the market today. There are vinyl railings that are designed to offer the elegant look of wood, without the tedious upkeep that can come with yearly staining and sealing. These models are typically 100% vinyl and can often be combined with TiO2 UV inhibitors for a significant boost in both strength and durability.

As for steel and aluminum railings, they have that wrought iron “traditional” look that homeowners use to create a refined look for their property. These materials not only add support and stability to your deck structure, they can be made to be weather resistant as well.

Deck Safety First!

Aside from improving a deck’s appearance, railings also significantly boost the safety of the people who will be enjoying it. Guidelines suggest that the posts on your deck or balcony have gaps no wider than 3 or 4 inches, thus eliminating the possibility of a child getting him/herself stuck or squeezing completely through. Furthermore, guardrails also must be installed on any deck that is more than 30 inches above the ground. Additionally, handrails are recommended for areas that include stairs; the difference between guardrails and handrails is that the latter must be “graspable.” Stairs with four or more risers require a handrail on at least one side for support; this is especially helpful to the elderly, who may lack balance.

Lighting your Space

It is also important to remember proper lighting for your deck. The lights for both your deck’s stairways and landings should be controlled by either motion detection switches or an electrical switch located inside your house; this allows lights to come on automatically when anyone approaches your home, and also gives you the ability to light the area prior to stepping outside.

Decks are a beautiful addition to any home, and proper deck railings can successfully equip your structure with the safety features and stability it needs. Make sure to follow proper installation guidelines when it comes to constructing your railings, and choose the right material for the look you and your family prefer. Call or contact us at Fence Center today to find out which options are right for you!

How to Use the New and Improved Fence Estimator

One of the main reasons our customers make the decision to buy their fence online is because of convenience. The ability to pick and purchase a fence online certainly has its benefits. However, these benefits are only realized if you have the tools to make an informed decision.

This is where the Fence Estimator comes in. The Fence Estimator is our interactive fence cost estimator, which allows you to virtually construct the fence of your choice to get a quote. Recently, to meet our customers’ needs, we made a few little tweaks. Here are some things you find with the new and improved Fence Estimator.

Step 1: Build the Fence

The first step in using the Fence Estimator is building the fence. To begin, you will be asked to choose the type of fence and the materials you want to use. Once you do this, the fun can begin.

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With the Fence Estimator, you can recreate your backyard with the new fence in mind. Although it might take a few minutes to get the hang of it, we hope that you’ll find it to be the easiest way to get an accurate quote on your fencing project. Here are several tips to get you started.

  • To begin, drag the end posts to create the corners of your property.
  • Click the gate icon and click on the areas where you want to have gates on your fence.
  • Now it’s time to build the fence. Click on the fence icon. You should now see the fence icon on the posts now. Click one and drag it to another post to connect the two. Repeat until you have a complete fence. Click on the counters in the red fence lines to enter your linear footage.
  • We’ve included pool icons, shrubbery and patio icons, so you can recreate your backyard to give you a better sense of what the property will look like. Please feel free to use them.

Step 2: Choose Options & Accessories

Once you complete your fence building, you will see your Build Subtotal at the bottom of the screen. Now it’s time to choose your options and accessories. Here you will enter your fence height and other options to customize your fence. When you’re done, click the Get Quote button.

Step 3: Get Quote

It’s time to get your quote. All you need to do now is fill in your contact information, and you are done. You can view the PDF of your quote online, have it emailed to you, or have a customer representative contact you with more information about your fencing project.

That’s it. Easy, isn’t it? We hope this guide helps you as you use the Fence Estimator to construct the perfect fence for your property. For more information about our fencing materials and process, please don’t hesitate to contact us today at 888-336-2358.

5 Reasons You Need to Finish Your Fence NOW!

You know exactly what you want your fence to look like, and you’ve already checked out the fences for sale. But you’re not quite ready to start yet, right? It’s still early and you have all summer to build your fence. But think again – summer is the time when most of your social interactions will happen. All the barbeques, going out, weekend getaways, weddings etc. will have you continually putting the project off. After all, why do work when you can head to the beach? And these things are just the beginning! Fence Center is providing these five reasons that you should put your fence up now:

  • It feels good to get it out of the way – It may sound clichéd, but it’s better to get a big project done early rather than let it hang over your head. Fencing is no different; if you let it go, not only will you probably be nagged all summer (by yourself and/or your spouse), but it will just become a bigger and bigger hurdle to dive in and do it. Check out our fences for sale online, choose one you like, and get this project off your plate!
  • You can enjoy your fence all summer – While fences provide privacy year round, it really only matters when you’re active in your yard—during the summer months. If you wait till late in the season, you will spend the whole summer looking at a wide open yard, but if you finish it early, those parties and barbeques we were talking about earlier can be held in your yard instead of someone else’s.

Image of the type of fences we have for sale.

  • It’s easier to add landscaping elements – Few people envision their fence as just a bare wall surrounding their yard. The best fence lines also have landscaping elements, like a row of flowers along the bottom, hanging baskets on the fence post, shade trees in one corner, or vines or roses climbing right up the fence itself. If you finish your fence installation before summer, you still have a growing season to start all these plants and see them begin to flourish. But if you wait, you will either see them struggle or, worse, have to put off the landscaping part until next year!
  • Working in the dog days of summer is no fun – No matter where you live, spring is cooler than summer and early summer is cooler than late summer. Pull up a weather website and check the average temperatures for May, then August. Enough said.
  • Those fence sales won’t come in time – A lot of homeowners put off the project because they’re waiting to see prices drop later in the season. It is true that home and garden centers will discount their fences for sale eventually… but not until it’s late fall or winter! Waiting for a September sale means waiting for a sale that will never come. On the other hand, our online rates are exceptional year-round, so there’s no need to wait!

What kind of fence do you want to build? Whatever you need, we have it here at Fence Center. Call us at 888-336-2358 to find out what fence is best for you!

Supplies to Consider Before You Start Building Your Fence

The market for DIY is booming these days for the obvious reason – post recession America is still trying to save money where it can. If you need a new fence and think you can handle the job of putting it up, you may need a few pointers on tools and other supplies. Here is Fence Center’s checklist of things to consider before visiting our online store and making a purchase

What type of fence are you building?

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The main types of fencing used around most homes are chain link, wood and vinyl, each of which has its own advantages. Chain link is the cheapest of all and yet also the longest lasting, but it’s not as visually appealing as the others. Wood is a classic, is reasonably inexpensive up front, but requires more maintenance and doesn’t last as long. Vinyl is the best of both worlds, being attractive and also long-lasting, but the up-front cost is higher. This may be offset by its long life span and low maintenance costs. Decide which type to use ahead of time and figure out how many panels you will need for the space.

Do you need concrete?

Homeowners are divided on whether to use concrete mooring for the fence posts or not. In normal soil, it may not be necessary, especially for chain link fences (which don’t suffer as much wind strain) or if you’re digging deep post holes. For shallow holes, or to give added wind resistance to wood or vinyl, cement is a necessary part of your fence supplies.

How are you digging post holes?

In most soil types, a simple post hole digger is all you need—this is a hand tool that digs narrow holes perfect for fence posts. It is not recommended to dig a trench or use regular shovels, because you’ll need to fill in around posts with loose soil, weakening the posts’ mooring. In very tough soil, you may need a power auger, which can be rented instead of purchased (if you prefer).

Do you have the right tools?

Tools for building make up an essential part of your fence supplies. II the case of wooden fences, a power drill and wood screws are best—nails are not recommended. For vinyl or chain link fences, you can always ask Fence Center about the right equipment, which will include a crimping tool or a fence stretcher and tension clips, respectively.

What about paint, stain or sealant?

If you’re building a wooden fence, you will need to finish and seal it. Some paints are meant to be all-in-one paints and weather sealants; otherwise, you will need to put a clear weather protective finish over the paint or stain.

Is there anything else you’d want on hand before starting your fence project?

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl Fencing

While the type of fencing material that you get may not seem all that important, it has a huge impact on both the appearance and utility of your fence. After all, when making this decision you’ll want to consider more than simple aesthetics. Our last post covered the pros and cons of chain link, so now we’ll move onto vinyl to help you come to an informed decision. Here is Fence Center’s list of things you need to know about vinyl:

Pros:

1.  Long-lasting – Probably the biggest reason so many people opt for vinyl fencing is because it’s a durable, long lasting material. When most people build a fence, they consider it a major home improvement project and they don’t want to have to repeat the work or expense a few years down the line. Vinyl fencing stands up well to the elements and exhibits little wear and tear compared to wood, never splintering or rotting.

2.  Never repaint – Similarly, a major advantage of vinyl fencing is that unless something damages your fence, you will never have to paint it. Where wood needs to be sealed and routinely repainted or refinished, vinyl will continue to keep its color and tone for many years.

3.  Large range of decorative stylesVinyl fencing has come a long way and is now available in more styles than ever. This includes different “grains,” colors, and fencing shapes, plus a variety of decorative tops for the fence posts. No matter what you’re envisioning for your fence line in your head, chances are good that you’ll find a style to match it in vinyl fencing.

Image of vinyl fencing post cap.

One of our unique post caps.

4.  Easy to clean – There is probably no material easier to clean than vinyl. If your fence gets dirty, whether it’s from bird droppings of mud being splashed up from the garden by rainfall, you can simply turn a hose or pressure washer on it and blast the grime off. Dirt has a hard time keeping its purchase (even on textured vinyl) because on a micro level, the vinyl surface is incredibly smooth and not porous like wood.

Cons:

1.  Higher initial cost – Some homeowners are turned off by the upfront cost of vinyl fencing. Although the durability, long life span, and lack of need to repaint all mean that vinyl is typically a cost saver long-term, the fact is that it costs a bit more than wood or chain link to install at the outset. This is a tradeoff you have to consider.

2.  Installation and replacement – Installation of vinyl fencing requires a bit of skill and experience, plus crimping tools that not all homeowners have. It’s not as intuitive as constructing a wooden fence. If something does manage to damage your vinyl fence, such as an impact or extreme weather conditions, you will have to patch the crack or even replace a segment of the fence.

Do you have vinyl fencing? What do you like about it?

When deciding on a fencing type, consider the many advantages of vinyl. With picket styles to match any wood and the durability that wood lacks, vinyl is a smart choice that will definitely pay off in the long run. Peruse our many vinyl options at Fence Center today!

Advantages & Disadvantages of Chain Link Fence

If you’re considering installing a fence, whether it’s around your back yard, your business, as a boundary between rural lands or in a public area, you’re probably considering chain link. Chain link fences are among the most popular types and are chosen again and again for many different applications. But why are they so popular? Fence Center provides the following list of some of the major advantages and disadvantages of chain link, which you should consider before choosing your fence type.

Advantages:

  • Low cost – Out of all of the varieties of fencing available, chain link is among the most cost-effective to install, especially when its long lifespan is considered. Many homeowners, business owners and parks use chain link fencing as a cost saving measure.Image of chain link fence.
  • Durable – Chain link fencing is incredibly durable. Because the wind passes right through the open links, these fences are less susceptible to strong winds, storm damage, and snow damage. They are made of steel and incredibly strong. Properly installed, a chain link fence will last for decades.
  • Little maintenance required – Hand in hand with the durability, a properly installed chain link fence will not require significant maintenance. The main maintenance is trimming off plants that grow up along the fence links, if desired.
  • See-throughA huge advantage of a chain link fence is that it is effectively see-through. This has led to widespread use of chain link fence at high-security locations where guards or cameras need to be able to see people approaching on the far side of the fence line. No other fence type boasts this unique advantage. Similarly, chain link fence is preferred in schools and parks where parents and teachers can easily oversee children even through the fence line.
  • Does not block light – In less security-focused environments chain link’s transparency still carries an advantage: sunlight. If you have a garden or landscape elements, you may not want to block their light with an opaque fence. Chain link allows a solid fence line without creating shade.

Disadvantages:

  • Climbable – As most kids know, a chain link fence is climbable. Climbing is harder for adults (who have bigger feet) but still possible. In a security situation, this can be offset by adding barbed wire at the top, but this isn’t ideal for all applications.
  • Aesthetics – Although chain link fences have become a normal part of the urban environment, many people still prefer a “prettier” fence such as wood, white picket or a wrought iron fence.

Are you considering a chain link fence? What gave you the idea?

Check out our selection of chain link fencing, as well as our variety of other types, and see which one suits you the best. At Fence Center, we can help you find exactly what you need to protect your yard, property, or other space. Contact us today!

Decorating Your Pool Area in Style

Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner. With the warm weather starting to roll in, it is time to start thinking about pool days! If you live in a home that has a pool and love entertaining guests, you should consider new ideas for how to decorate the area. Here are some great suggestions from Fence Center for accentuating the space:

1.  Accent the Pool – You can give an exotic, tropical or east-Asian look to your pool area by simply using the fencing and enhancing it with the appropriate accents. For instance, pagoda-shaped path lighting and the careful placement of a Japanese maple could give your pool area the air of a true Japanese garden. There are several types of bamboo fencing to choose from for this or other looks, so take the time to consider your options. In addition, a bamboo fence is often stronger and longer-lasting than many other natural options, so you’ll get many years of use out of it.

2.  Select outdoor furniture that will fit nicely around the pool – Don’t overcrowd the area and don’t pick out too many pieces. Arrange the furniture so that you can move around easily. Make sure to place the reclining chairs in the sun for sunbathing.

3.  Purchase an outdoor table set with an umbrella – Set up a barbecue grill near the seating area for cooking up hot dogs and hamburgers. If you are going to choose chairs with cushions, make sure they are waterproof for when it rains. Consider buying a weatherproof chest or box that you can put the cushions in, if the cushions you fall in love with aren’t made to withstand the weather.

4.  Decorate your pool deck with tropical-themed decorations – Put flowers and plants in colorful vibrant pots in different areas around the pool. Consider planting flowers around the fence, as well. You could even buy a fake palm tree to place in one of the corners of the pool deck.

5.  For nighttime entertaining, place a few tiki torches around the perimeter of the pool – You could also string lights along the fence for additional illumination or hang globe lights or Chinese paper lanterns for parties. Put a few glass lanterns around on tables or buy colorful candles – and don’t forget the citronella, since the bugs love pools! Purchase an outdoor fire pit for cooler summer nights. You can opt for anything from a simple round, stainless steel fire pit to an elaborate chiminea in stone or terra cotta.

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Not only does a swimming pool increase the value of your house, it also provides an entirely different section of the home to congregate with family and friends. Once you’re done decorating, all that is left to do is to sit back, relax, and soak up some sun!

Choosing Your Backyard Fence – Aluminum or Wrought Iron?

Are you trying to choose between a wrought iron and aluminum fence for the perimeter of your backyard? At Fence Center, we are going to make the decision easier for you by providing all the information you need on each material.

Choosing to put up a fence on your property not only makes the yard nicer to look at, it also adds value to your home. Fences have many practical uses, as well; they provide safety to children and pets, and allow you and your family to maintain privacy. So even though choosing a fence material may seem like a simple decision, it is still an important one. Now let’s take a closer look at each fence:

Aluminum Fences

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Standard aluminum fences are typically made of 5/8 x 5/8 pickets (which are vertical) and 1 x 1 rails (which are horizontal). Each section weighs about 12 pounds and is 48″ high. With aluminum fencing, you never have to worry about peeling, rust, or chipping and you will never need to paint. Aluminum is much lighter than wrought iron and comes in a variety of styles. This fence is extremely stable and sturdy, but if for some reason it does break, it can be easily repaired. Aluminum fences are also super easy to install. You do not necessarily need a flat terrain to put up this type of fence; you can erect it on sloping ground. Deciding on an aluminum fence will save you more money and time overall.

Wrought Iron Fences

This type of fence is usually 48″ high and the vertical pickets are made of gauge square tubing and the horizontal rails are made of punched channel. The coating on the fence is black powder. Wrought iron fences will rust after time and require a bit more maintenance than aluminum. The material is extremely heavy and normally used for high security settings. You will also find wrought iron fencing in historic districts where they carry a nostalgic appeal. This type of fence needs to be installed on flat ground and doesn’t have much flexibility.

As you can probably see, an aluminum fence would probably be more suitable for your backyard than a wrought iron fence. While both can be used as a barrier or simply as decoration, aluminum would make for a far more functional backyard fence. An aluminum fence will give your yard the extra appeal and upgrade you have been looking for, so contact us at Fence Center today to discuss options and details!

Looking for an environmentally friendly way to enclose your yard? Consider bamboo fencing!

When considering the variety of materials available for a fence, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Chain link, traditional lumber, and wrought iron all have their advantages. Among the different options, bamboo fencing stands out as particularly advantageous. Not only is bamboo fencing an environmentally friendly option, it’s also extremely durable and highly economical. Read on to learn a few of the many benefits of bamboo fencing.

Bamboo fencing is sustainableFence_Center_shutterstock_152789258

A house with a bamboo fence gives the impression that the owners are conscious of their impact on the environment. The material is extremely sustainable when compared to other fencing options. Bamboo, which is actually not wood but grass, has been called the most environmentally friendly fencing material available on Earth simply because of the speed at which it grows. Bamboo can be harvested and made into wood every three years – compare that with a cedar tree, which can take as long as fifty years to grow to a point where it can be cut down for fence construction. Bamboo also yields more “wood” than trees; harvesting a regular forest yields twenty times less wood than harvesting a bamboo forest. Finally, bamboo can be harvested over and over again without harming the environment.

Bamboo fencing is durable

Bamboo fencing is the “iron man” of fences. It is twice as strong as a fence made from cedar, and can be as much as three times as strong as regular timber. In fact, bamboo fencing can withstand hurricane-force winds! This may be surprising given bamboo’s classification as grass rather than wood, but it’s true. In many places, homes are built from bamboo—which is chosen specifically for its durability. Even if it cracks or fades, bamboo fencing will remain strong, and it can last for up to twenty years if properly installed and maintained (Tip: Make sure your bamboo fencing is not in direct contact with the ground when it is installed; this can cause it to erode).

As an added bonus, bamboo fencing does not face infestation from termites. Termites can’t digest the high amount of silica found in bamboo.

Bamboo fencing is economical

You may be surprised to learn that, despite its many benefits, bamboo fencing is a cost-effective choice. As mentioned above, bamboo grows quickly and can be harvested frequently; therefore, it is extremely affordable. Compared to a vinyl fence, bamboo fencing will be far cheaper. The initial cost of a bamboo fence may be more expensive than a cedar fence—but keep in mind that it will last longer, reducing your long-term investment.

Do you have a bamboo fence? What other advantages have you found?

 

Spring Home Improvement Projects You Should Consider Now

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Congratulations ladies and gentlemen, you’ve survived another winter, and we must say that this winter’s stretch was particularly rough.  Your home could probably use a little TLC now to make a comeback for the warmer months. The truth of the matter is that the early spring months are the perfect time to take care of those home improvement projects that you’ve been dreaming about all winter. Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

Get a New Fence: If you own a wood fence, you understand how the elements can affect your fence. First and foremost, snow and fences don’t make good partners. The snow warps and damages the fence. It can also cause fences to rust. We recommend installing a new aluminum fence as a highly durable, aesthetically-pleasing way to secure your property. Aluminum fences don’t rust and can withstand the elements far better than wood. As soon as the ground thaws, take some time to check out our extensive collection of aluminum fencing materials.

Take Care of Those Gutters: Okay, so you probably haven’t cleaned out those gutters in a while. We don’t blame you; it’s not the most fun job out there. Still, you should probably get the ladder and clean them out. The fall and winter months have produced a ton of dead vegetation, which could clog your gutters. Luckily, it’s very easy to clean them out. Just angle your ladder against your house, position a tarp below your gutters, and scoop the gunk out. It might be a good idea to wear some rubber gloves depending on how long you’ve waited.

Get Your AC Inspected and Repaired: Repeat after us: I will not wait until July when something breaks to have someone take a look at my HVAC unit. Anyone who has experienced an outage during the hot summer months knows how much of a pain it can be to get it fixed. You’re normally not alone in your procrastination, and it could take weeks for a HVAC repairman to have an appointment. It’s much smarter to have your HVAC unit inspected now when it’s not 100 degrees, so any repairs can be made. Remember that you can do some maintenance here too, like replacing the filter. A functional HVAC unit will be very useful during pollen season as well.

When it comes to home improvement projects, spring is the perfect time to get some things done. Now is the time to get out of the house and give your home a little TLC. Contact us today with any questions you might have about purchasing and installing your aluminum fence.