Tips on choosing a fence

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Are you considering installing a fence but not sure where to start? Here's a quick primer on the types of fence materials and the pros and cons of each.

Purpose of fence

Material type

Pros

Cons

Privacy

Vinyl

 

Long lasting

Weathers well

No painting or staining needed

Lacks the strength of aluminum

Wood

100% natural

Easily repaired

Requires periodic painting/staining

 

Limited lifespan

Aesthetics

Vinyl

 

Long lasting

Weathers well

No painting or staining needed

Lacks the strength of aluminum

Wood

100% natural

Easily repaired

Requires periodic painting/staining

Limited lifespan

Wrought iron

Durability

Doesn't obstruct views

Expense

Require rust protection

Pet protection (for large dogs)*

Vinyl

 

Long lasting

Weathers well

No painting or staining needed

Lacks the strength of aluminum

Aluminum ornamental

 

Maintenance free

Strong and long lasting

No painting or staining needed

Can get scratches and dents in heavy trafficked areas

Chain link with vinyl slats

Quick installation

Cost-effective

Requires almost no maintenance

Long lasting

Available for high application (up to 8’ high)

 

Appearance may not work in all areas

Pet protection (for smaller dogs)

Post & rail with welded wire

 

Natural materials

Easily repaired

Strong

Limited lifespan

Picket fence

Natural materials

Easily repaired

 

Limited lifespan

* The size and configuration of the fence will vary depending on the needs of your dog. For example, if your dog is a jumper or likes to dig, this will impact the type of fence and potentially how it's installed. For example, burying the fence at least six inches in the ground can help deter a dog from digging underneath it to get out.

Tip: Before digging, contact Digsafe at 888-DIG-SAFE to make sure there aren't any underground wires or pipes in that area. Also, if you belong to a homeowner's association, check to see if they have any rules about fence installation.

PS. If you've been thinking about getting a pet, you can find many wonderful dogs who are awaiting new homes at Baypath Humane Society.

[photo courtesy of John Cabot]