Planning a new fence is both exciting and overwhelming. In the simplest case, you're just replacing a wood privacy fence with another wood privacy fence of the same design. But fences can be much more than just a simple wood barrier. Fences come in a wide variety of materials, colors, and styles.

Your fence is a very visible part of the exterior of your home. You wouldn't just pick a paint color for your home's exterior without giving it serious thought. So why would you do that for a fence? Making decisions about your fence should be just as carefully considered as choosing colors, siding, or roofing for the exterior of your home. And if you're overwhelmed or don't know where to start, just contact one of our TrustDALE certified fence builders. These fence builders are trustworthy partners who can help make your new fence dreams come true.

Planning a New Fence? Here's What You Need to Know [infographic]

Check Your Boundary Lines

If you plan on putting a fence on the boundary of your property, make sure you know precisely where the boundary is located. Cities, counties, and your neighbors take property boundaries seriously. If you build a fence that is even a few inches over the boundary of your property, you could be in for some real trouble. While it is unlikely you would face any criminal charges, you could be required to remove the fence. So if you don't want to put up a fence and immediately take it down, check and double-check your boundary line.

The easiest way to find your boundary line is to check the survey plan that came with the deed to your home. If you can't find the original survey that came with your deed, you have a couple of other options. First, try going to the city or county to get a copy of the survey. If that doesn't work, you may need to hire a surveyor to get it right. But if you're not 100% sure of your boundary line, it is worth going to the added trouble of mapping it out.

You should also be aware that a fence located on the boundary between two properties is the responsibility of both neighbors. If the fence needs to be maintained or replaced, the neighbors have to share the cost equally by default. However, the neighbors are free to enter into any other agreement. For instance, when building or replacing a wood privacy fence, the smooth side only faces one neighbor. The neighbor with the smooth side may pay 60% of the costs while the neighbor with the less attractive side pays 40%. Also, this only applies if both neighbors are using the fence. A neighbor is only considered to be using the fence if their property is fenced on all sides, and the shared fence is one of the sides.

Setting a Budget

The material you select for your fence should be based on several different considerations. 

First, you must consider your budget. A steel fence can be pricey, while a vinyl fence can be very cost-effective. Setting a budget from the start will allow your fence company to help you pick a material and design. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a fence only to learn that you can't afford it. And if you have a larger budget, you want your fence builders to know that they can offer you more options.

Take Note of Your Neighbors and Local Ordinances

Second, you should look at what your neighbors are doing. While your choice of materials is ultimately yours to make, you don't want to stick out. If your neighbors all have wooden fences, chain link or steel may seem out of place. Homeowners associations may also regulate fence materials, colors, and styles. The regulations aim to maintain some level of uniformity throughout the neighborhood. The ultimate goal of a homeowners association is to preserve and increase home values. An unusual fence could be an eyesore that lowers the value of adjacent properties.

Select Your Design

Once you know your budget and local preferences, you need to consider your own design preferences. Some materials are suited to very specific designs. For instance, steel and aluminum offer the look of classic wrought iron. A steel or aluminum fence can be shaped into ornate designs and topped with decorative caps or finials. It is most common in black, and caps can be painted gold for additional adornment. Steel and aluminum can also be fashioned into sleek modern designs. Both materials offer high durability and high security.

Wood is highly versatile and offers a wide range of options. A wood privacy fence can be more or less transparent, offering a lower or higher level of privacy. Privacy fences can also be built with a wide variety of tops, from shaped tops to decorative lattice and post caps. Wood fences also include decorative fences such as picket or split rail fences. Wood can be painted any color or left natural, so the design options are endless. Vinyl has also come a long way, and can often mimic the look of wood quite closely while offering lower installation costs and minimal maintenance.

Chain link is more versatile than most homeowners realize. Modern chain link fences are much more varied than just the bare steel fences you see in commercial and industrial applications. First, you can purchase chain link fencing that is coated in vinyl. The vinyl coating softens the look of the bare chain link and offers several colors. Chain link fencing can also be painted any color you could imagine. With the addition of slats, you can turn a chain link fence into a privacy fence. The slats can be any color, so you control the final look of your chain link fence.

Finding the Right Fence Company

The most important decision to make when planning a new fence is who to hire to build it. While some homeowners may consider a building fence a DIY project, we don't recommend it unless you really know what you're doing. There is simply too much at stake. Poor installation can lead to a fence aging prematurely, or even failing altogether. It can also be a safety hazard.

Instead of doing it yourself, find a competent, reliable fencing company. Remember, price alone is not always the same as value. In many cases, the lowest bid may indicate a builder who cuts corners. Instead, try one of these TrustDALE certified fence companies. They have all passed Dales's exhaustive seven-point review.

TrustDALE certified fence companies offer the best value, the highest quality products, the most skilled installation, and exceptional customer service. Don't get scammed. Don't get a fence that doesn't stand up to the test of time. Choose TrustDALE for a fence you will love for years to come.

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