The Horizontal Fence Trend

Chances are, if you’ve been searching fences on the big wide web or Pinterest, you’ve come across pictures of beautiful, elegant fences with horizontal pickets. While there are many variations of horizontal fences, each offers it’s own set of unique qualities. Horizontal pickets can come in multiple sizes and can be arranged in many different patterns.

You can frame out the horizontal panels and add a cap to give your project a polished look.

Horizontal Fence

You can also use horizontal fencing to stair step up/down a sloped yard.

Horizontal Fence

You can even use horizontal pickets on a large slide gate to give it an elegant look.

Horizontal Fence

While horizontal fencing usually comes at a higher price, it leaves many options for creating just the right look for your space. If you are looking for horizontal fence inspiration, check out this link for 1000+ Ideas.

1000+ Horizontal Fence Ideas

Cap and Trim Fences

Are you ready for a new wood privacy fence but looking for something a little more elaborate without a huge cost increase? Maybe you should consider adding cap and trim to your project. Cap and trim can be expected to run you an extra $3-$4 per linear foot and traditionally consists of a 2×6 top cap run horizontally along the top of the pickets, trimmed with a 1×2 under the lip of the top cap.

Cap and Trim Fence

There are also other variations of cap and trim that incorporate double trim, lattice, rock columns, and horizontal pickets.

Horizontal Picket Fence

No matter which option you choose, cap and trim will leave you with an elegant, finished look that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Western Red Cedar Love

In a previous blog we discussed the pros and cons of using treated lumber as the material for your upcoming fence project. Now it’s time to discuss why you may want to consider choosing western red cedar.

Western Red Cedar

One of North America’s great renewable resources, Western Red Cedar is slow growing, naturally durable, and has one of the longest life spans of any North American softwood. It produces long lengths of timber with true, straight grain. It is free from pitch and its heartwood has natural decay resistance. Its also lightweight, easy to work, easy to finish, possesses excellent dimensional stability, and is a preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.

Lets discuss all of the benefits that cedar has to offer. Western Red Cedar’s most valuable characteristic is its well-known high resistance to decay. It is one of the most durable coniferous species and can be counted on to give long and reliable service under most conditions. Like all woods, Western Red Cedar will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. However, it has a very low shrinkage factor and is superior to other coniferous woods in its resistance to warping, twisting, and checking. It also contains thujic acid which helps make the wood resistant to insect attack. Properly finished and maintained, cedar will deliver years of reliable service.

Western Red Cedar Fence

Although cedar pricing is a little higher than some of the other options, it will leave you with a finished project that you can be proud of for many years to come. It also comes with a one-year material and workmanship warrantee, unlike treated lumber. While Barrier Fence specializes in Western Red Cedar projects, we are here to help you with all of your fencing needs , no matter the material you choose.

Why Not DIY

DIY (Do It Yourself) has become very popular over the last few years and with the help of websites like Pinterest, instructions can be found with just a few clicks of a button. The biggest reason most people consider DIY when upgrading or updating something on their property is MONEY. Yes, if you buy the products yourself and do the work yourself, you will save money. What you may not realize is that more times than not, even though your heart is in the right place, you haven’t considered how much time, money, blood, sweat, and tears are fixing to go into this major undertaking.

I can’t begin to tell you how many customers we’ve had who started a DIY fence project and quit before they even got the first section done. It’s hard work. Another thing most people don’t consider is the overall appearance of the final product. Drive around your neighborhood and take a good long look at the fence quality. I bet if you’re honest with yourself, you will spot the DIY jobs right away. Most of the time these fences are constructed using treated lumber, which has a tendency to warp and bow. You may also notice the inconsistency in spacing between the pickets, uneven picket tops, or leaning pickets. I’m not saying that every DIYer is incapable of creating a beautiful fence; there are the rarities out there. But are YOU capable of pulling off the fence you’re considering? Let’s face it, I can make a pretty delicious cake using a box mix and a few ingredients but I’m not going to offer to make my sister’s 4-teir wedding cake. You get what you pay for and I’m NOT a professional cake baker.

Here is just one example of a DIY fence. Notice the warped pickets and uneven top. DIY Fence

Something else to consider is your long-term plans. Are you going to be living in your home for the next 15-20 years or will you be selling in the upcoming years? Having a professional fence installed may up your curb appeal and your property value. Fencing done by a professional also comes with a limited warranty incase something structural needs to be fixed before a buyer signs a contract. Additionally, you will be reaching a larger buying market if you can insure that children and dogs will be safely contained while playing in the yard.

If you are still considering a DIY fence, I truly wish you the best of luck…you’re going to need it and we’ll be here if you need someone to step in and take the project over. If you are now reconsidering a DIY fence project I encourage you to give Barrier Fence Systems a call and get a free estimate . It never hurts to have all of the facts and numbers so you can make an informed decision.

Considering Treated Lumber?

There are many decisions to make when considering new fence installation . One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing your picket material. This decision is important because it directly affects not only your budget, but your warranty and fence life as well.

While treated lumber is the most budget friendly option, there are some things to consider if you are leaning towards using treated lumber for your project. While a cheaper option, you may want to note the warrantee policy for such materials. Between 1970 and 2003, treated wood was a top choice in residential projects , but due to the use of arsenic in the chemical process in which the wood was treated, the EPA phased out the process in residential materials because of exposure and prolonged health concerns. Changing the chemical process in which this lumber was treated has resulted in an inevitable tendency for said materials to warp and bow. Due to this issue, treated lumber projects will NOT come with a material warrantee.

Untreated Lumber

Although life expectancy for treated lumber is estimated at 15-17 years, it is known to shrink and expand more than other available materials on the market and this occurrence causes major unforeseen issues. For instance, gates will become difficult and sometimes impossible to operate, pickets will have larger than usual gaps, and the bottoms of the pickets will warp and bend leaving large openings for small pets to easily escape. While problematic, it is important to note that none of these issues are covered under warrantee.

If budget is the most important factor in your project, treated lumber may present as the best option for you, especially if you are planning to sell your property in the near future. However, if you are planning to retain ownership of your home for the next 8-10 years, you may want to consider going with a material option that will not only render fewer long term issues, but will also maintain it’s aesthetic qualities. Either way, Barrier Fence is here to help you come up with the options that work best for your time frame, budget, and project needs.

What To Expect When You’re Erecting Fence

Congratulations!! You just signed a contract to have a new fence installed on your property. Chances are you’re feeling a multitude of emotions. I’m sure you’re happy to be done with the “shopping around and price comparison” process. You’re also probably a little sad at how much money you are actually fixing to spend on a barrier to keep your kids or pets from escaping or to keep your neighbor’s kids or pets from an unwanted visit. Maybe you’re even feeling a little anxious because you’re not sure what to expect. Well, here are a few things you can anticipate over the course of your project.

How long will the process take? A standard backyard fence is roughly 150 linear feet with one pedestrian gate. Barrier Fence prides themselves on being very efficient without sacrificing quality and attention to detail. Our crews are extremely hard workers and have extensive experience in fence installation , making our standard install time for a new residential backyard fence approximately 2 days.

Residential Backyard Fence

If you are replacing your fence, it is common courtesy to let your neighbors know ahead of time that the fence will be down for a few days so that they can accommodate the needs of their animals. This will insure that the crew is able to get to work as soon as they arrive and not have to wait for loose animals to be dealt with on your dime.

The first thing the crew will do is set to work removing the old fence and stacking it on-site out of the way. There are a few options when it comes to disposal of old fence materials. Some clients choose to keep the old fencing materials for projects while others choose to haul off and dispose of the old materials on their own. Another option is to have haul off and disposal added to your contract at an additional fee. If you choose this option, the old materials will be loaded onto a trailer and hauled off for you at the end of the project. Please note, if you have any issues, it is always better to address them with the estimator you signed the contract with, not the erecting crew.

Removing Old Fence

After the old fence is removed, the crew will immediately set to work running string lines for the new fence. Once this step is completed, homeowner approval of the new lines is suggested. Once approved, posts will be set for the new fence. In residential neighborhoods, the projects are relatively small, making it impossible to bring in large equipment with drills, therefore crews will be equipped with hand tools and jackhammers for manual digging. All posts will be set in 3,000PSI Pre-Engineered Concrete. If it is raining, you can expect a delay as the concrete will need to dry and properly set before moving forward. Once the poles are set and the concrete has cured, you can expect to start seeing your new fence going up quickly. Crews will set to work installing the brackets and 2×4’s, followed by picket installation and having gates cut in as needed.

Installing Fence Brackets

The last step is Clean Up and Final Walk. Once the fence is completed, it is important for you to inspect the material and construction quality to make sure it meets your standards. Again, if you have any issues, it is important to address them right away with your estimator so adjustments can be made.

Completed Fence

Now, that wasn’t worth stressing over, was it?

Replace or Repair…The Million Dollar Question

While most fencing materials are meant to last for many years, nothing lasts forever. And even if it did, it sure wouldn’t look pretty. Chances are you’ve come to the point where your fence is either an eyesore or is starting to have structural issues and you’re considering repair or replacement. Although there are some issues that can easily be repaired either by you or a professional, if your older fence is starting to deteriorate it may be time to consider replacement. While every fence is different here are a few considerations to help you decide if a fence replacement project may be in your near future.

With almost any wood fence, decay is inevitable but especially with wood of inferior quality. Wood decay weakens your fence over time and eventually compromises the integrity and safety you come to expect from your fence. In cases of severe decay it is always safer and more cost effective to replace the fence in it’s entirety.

Rotting Fence Post

Another issue is common wood damage. Maybe you got a new puppy and he ate the bottom portion of 30% of your pickets. Perhaps your fence has dry rot, which causes unwanted odors, unsightly stains, and mold. No matter the cause of the damage, if you are noticing problems on large sections of the fence, it may be more cost effective and esthetically pleasing to replace the fence as a whole rather than repairing those sections. The best thing for your budget in this instance is to get a quote for both the repair project and the replacement project.

Worn Out Fence Wood

Now, let’s say you aren’t having any structural issues and there is no visible damage to your fence but you can’t spend one more day in your beautiful home staring out the window at that ugly fence. You have multiple options here as well. You can demo the old fence and replace it with a beautiful new fence or perhaps a custom fence . Or it might be beneficial to hire a professional to power wash your fence and then stain it. It’s all a matter of preference and depends mostly on the integrity of the fence and your budget.

Broken Picket Fence

Yes, I brought it up again…the budget. Fencing in general can be quite expensive depending on the quality of materials and size of the project. You may find that your quote for fence repair is close to or exceeds the price for fence replacement; in this instance it makes more sense to go ahead with the replacement as long as the materials quoted are superior in quality. If the materials for the replacement are inferior, the costs will certainly be considerably less but by going with lower quality materials you will be jeopardizing the integrity and life of the fence. In the end it’s really about what makes the best sense for your particular situation. No matter your budget or project size, Barrier Fence Systems is here to help you make an informed decision.

Happy Neighbors…Happy Life

You’ve just moved into a beautiful new neighborhood. You’re excited and nervous. What will the neighbors be like? If you’re lucky they’ll be around your age and interested in the same things you’re interested in. Maybe you’ll have them over during the week for dinner or drinks and over on the weekends for cookouts and football games. Maybe you’ll be best friends. Or maybe…just maybe…they’ll be AWFUL. Maybe they’ll be the kids who party all night and play their music way too loud. Maybe they’ll have 14 dogs who bark at all hours day and night. Honestly, new neighbors are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Cheesy but true.

Whether you are friends with your neighbors or mortal enemies, you share a property line which means that you currently or will share a fence in the future. Most of the time there will be few issues. The neighbor who decides to replace their fence pays for the entire project and gets the “pretty side” of the fence facing their yard.

Sometimes neighbors will come together and decide to split the cost on a “good neighbor” fence, which means the panels flip flop facing opposite directions. Good Neighbor Fence

Another option for neighbors wanting to split the cost and still have an esthetically pleasing fence is the “shadow box” fence. This fence alternates each picket instead of each panel. Shadow Box Fence

Both of these options are great for neighbors who can come to a mutual agreement. But what happens when your neighbors are the nightmare neighbors? We’ve seen it many times. Our customer wants to replace their fence but the neighbor refuses to share the cost of their section and wants their demands met. Are you under any legal obligation to meet their demands? The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considerate in the process. Make sure to keep the lines of communication as open as possible. Inform your neighbor of the demo date ahead of time so that they have time to prepare for the containment of their pets. People get understandably cranky when their fur babies escape. It takes just a little common courtesy to avoid the Missing Pet posters.

It’s also a good idea to talk about the project ahead of time so that your neighbors know what to expect from the final product. If you’re ripping out an old fence and replacing it with a new fence that is exactly the same, you shouldn’t have an issue. However, this may not be the case if you plan to change the size or quality of the pickets, add cap and trim, or change the type of materials used.

In the end it is always a good idea to keep in mind that you are neighbors and whether you agree or not, you will still have to interact with each other from time to time. Being considerate and respectful of each other’s time, property, and opinions will certainly make things easier.

Remember…Happy Neighbors…Happy Life 🙂

The HOA Mob Runs My Life

The Austin area seems to be growing by the second and almost every neighborhood now comes with an HOA. When house hunting, they may seem enticing. Someone will guarantee that the neighborhood will always look nice and presentable? Who wouldn’t want that? Where do I sign?

Fast forward 6 months…you’re starting to think that the HOA Mob is actually just out to run every aspect of your life. For instance…you accidently put the trash out on the wrong day and now have a violation notice with a picture to prove your transgression. Now, lets say you didn’t ok the new paint color for your shutters (they are now a beautiful barn red) and guess what? You have to change it to a community-approved color (your choices are tan, tan, or tan). Or maybe it rained for 3 days before you were gone on vacation for a week and you forgot to schedule lawn care. You now have yet another violation notice with a picture of your grass next to a ruler proving that your grass is 3 inches too long. Welcome back to the real world. Where am I going with this?

Grass with Ruler

Well, perhaps you’re searching around the Internet for ideas for your new fencing project . Maybe you’ve found some beautiful photos of iron fences with custom scrollwork or pictures of wood fences with oversized horizontal pickets. You love the fact that your project will stand out; that your fence will look original and not like all of the other cookie-cutter fences in the neighborhood. However, you may have just put the cart before the horse. It is important to verify the restrictions of the community as far as uniformity of fencing. Some neighborhood HOA’s may have very strict rules and regulations as far as fencing height, picket size, and quality of materials used. Before signing any contract for work or material orders, it is important to contact your HOA to confirm that you are within the limitations of the contract you signed with them. If this step is skipped and you decide to go ahead with your project without HOA approval, you may be out the cost of work and materials for a fence that has to be ripped out. Believe me when I say, it happens. Save yourself the headache and get your project approved. Then give Barrier Fence Systems a call and we will do our best to make your fence dreams come true.

Also, try not to be too upset with the HOA Mob should they deny your request. Their goal is to make sure that your house and neighborhood maintain their property values, and this will be very important when you decide it’s time to sell your property. Also, consider getting involved in your local HOA. It’s a great way to meet other people in your community and voice your opinion on policies you may not agree with.