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Front Page » March 17, 2011 » Home and Gardening Focus » As the times change, so do fencing options for homes
Published 1,280 days ago

As the times change, so do fencing options for homes


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By KEVIN SCANNELL
Sun Advocate reporter

As the spring season begins to arrive, sunshine will be in abundance, warmer weather will make its presence known and people will be spending a lot more time outside. For many that also means watering and mowing the yard, planting gardens, fixing the house and other general spring cleaning activities.

But along with some of those examples listed, another topic that comes up in the spring time is fencing. What surrounds the garden and the house is something that must be maintained and kept up as many fences can last for years if they are well taken care of.

But over the years it seems that changes have taken place with those looking to install fencing at their home. Instead of just the traditional wood or chain link fence, many are now opting for vinyl fencing. Those close to the profession say people are choosing vinyl fencing because of the low maintenance it requires. While the cost for the vinyl fence may be higher than with other type of materials, it is not something that has prevented people from choosing it.

Rick O'Hearon of Southeast Fencing, said he thinks that a combination of low maintenance, privacy, noise reduction and a long lifespan are just some of the reasons for the popularity of vinyl fencing.

"Vinyl fencing is really big right now," he said. "It can add an extra touch to a home."

O'Hearon said about two-thirds of the fencing he installs in the area is now vinyl, with the other one-third being chain link fence.

When people have found out about the longevity of a vinyl fence, they seem to like the option more and more, according to Bob Howa, of John Howa and Sons Inc. Howa said over the years many people in the area have decided to install vinyl fencing.

"With vinyl fencing, it doesn't require as much maintenance as a wood fence would," Howa said.

To help maintain and extend the life of a wood fence, it must be stained or painted every few years. If they are not taken care of, wood fences have the propensity of splintering and sometimes rotting. Howa and others believe that people are not looking at wood fences as much as in the past.

"People will stop by every now and then to get replacement boards for wood fences here and there, but that's it," said Tom Patterick, co-owner of Kilfoyle's.

He said people have also run into problems with fencing because of the high amounts of alkaline in the soil which causes poles in the ground to become rusty and require replacing.

"They [vinyl fencing] can pretty much stay there in place unless someone hits it with a car," Howa said.

When it comes down to a choice of finding the right fence, people seem to want a nice fence to go along with the house, Patterick explained.

Vinyl fencing has been around for many years but over the last 10 to 15 years there has been a higher percentage of people going with it. At first, according to Patterick, vinyl fencing was not accepted as a possible option for a fence. But after seeing more and more houses with vinyl fencing, people have gotten used to seeing it around and have made it their choice for a fence.

"They questioned it [vinyl] at first," Patterick said. He listed concerns people about vinyl including the material breaking in the winter because of the cold weather. But vinyl has just about as much of a possibility of breaking in the winter as wood might, he said. "It's a very dependable type of fence and its longevity depends on what the fence is being used for," he explained.

No matter what choice a person makes on the type of fence they want, it should make for an interesting experiment to see if the trend of vinyl fencing continues to expand or if something new will arrive on the scene, Patterick said.

"It's been an interesting industry to watch grow over the years," he said noting he thinks vinyl fencing will be around and used for many years to come.

Tips on making a choice

Finding the right choice of a fence will be different for everyone who is looking to install fencing on their property. But to help make a choice, here are some tips to follow:

*Find out what you like. Finding out what you like is important because it will be your fence around your home, Howa said.

*Do your homework and prepare ahead of time. Check with neighbors to see if there might be any problems on the type or size of the fence before installing it.

*Get educated about fencing. There are many different types of vinyl fencing including colors, styles and grades, O'Hearon stated.

*Pay more now or pay more later. Compared to chain link and wood fencing, vinyl is not cheap. But compared to wood and chain link, vinyl does not need much maintenance over the years.

So would you want to pay more now and possibly avoid having to pay more in a few years to replace a fence?

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