Building a new fence around the yard is a major expense for homeowners. If you don’t learn something about what you’re buying and shop around for the best price, you may end up with a disaster instead of a fence. We suggest contacting the local office of the Better Business Bureau to see if the company you choose has complaints lodged against it. Also ask a neighbor about his fence or check out fencing jobs in progress.
We talked to contractors about wooden fences-specifically spruce and cedar-the most popular types for the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. Although the charge per foot for a spruce fence is $2-$3 cheaper than cedar, a cedar fence is really the better buy. Experts say a cedar fence will outlast a spruce fence by at least five years. Spruce is more popular, however, because most people don’t think they’ll be living in their homes long enough to replace their fence. They’ll leave that duty for the next buyer.
One way to protect your interests is to look at the wood that will be used for your fence before it’s delivered. Check for signs of poor-quality wood and deterioration, like excessive cracks, splits and knot holes. (Some companies won’t replace the boards when knots fall out.) Irregularities in the wood may eventually cause problems.
As for fence posts, the companies we talked to said that if quality is important and money is not, choose steel. (You’ll pay at least $1 more per foot for steel.) Unlike either wood, steel won’t warp or attract termites and will stand up better against strong winds. Additionally, we were told that posts should be set deep into the ground (two feet is average, three feet is ideal) and in concrete.
Find out how to maintain your fence properly. Some contractors say to water the fence as often as possible. This prevents the concrete foundation of the posts from cracking. Others counsel waterproofing the fence to prevent excessive warpage.
Carefully discuss with the contractor how the fence is to be built and what is to be covered under the warranty and for how long. Most companies do not guarantee materials, only workmanship. Remember, many requests are considered extra-like removing your existing fence, or adding another gate. Check the chart above for a quick price comparison.