Your Next Fence Contractor

Your Next Fence Contractor

The fence contractor you hire is just as important as the fence material you choose. In order to make the right choice, you should thoroughly vet your installer and their company. Think of your initial estimate as an interview. You don’t always have to go with the first contractor that appears after your Google search. Take the time to get a few different estimates from your local fence contractors. We’ve created a list of the top 22 questions you should ask your fence installer before getting started. Feel free to download and print off the PDF checklist we’ve created to help you through the estimate process. 

Questions for Your Fence Estimator

1. What are your credentials and experience in fence installation?

Find someone who has been installing fences for years. Also look for fence companies that are members of the American Fence Company and have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau.

2. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?

Check that your fence builder has a license to install fences. It’s also important that they are insured and bonded so that you are not responsible if something goes wrong.

3. Do the fence and labor come with warranties?

Trex comes with a 25-Year residential warranty, but you, as the homeowner, needs to register it. It’s also a good idea to make sure your fence contractor provides a warranty for the installation and labor, in case something goes wrong.

4. Do you have referrals or reviews from past customers?

It’s easy to find reviews of fence companies online, but they can sometimes be misleading. Ask the estimator if there are any recent customers you could contact to learn about their experience with the company.

5. What are some of the recent projects you’ve completed?

It’s helpful to be able the scope of the fence company’s work. Ask for pictures or a location where you can visit that they’ve recently installed a fence.

6. Can I review a copy of your standard contracts?

When you sign a contract, it will be specific to you. But if they have a standard contract, it’s good to look it over and ask questions about things you don’t understand.

7. Do you take care of permits?

There’s a lot of paperwork that you need before you can even start building your fence. Find out if your contractor collects city permits for you, or if you need to get them yourself.

8. Will you take care of marking utility lines?

Fence companies don’t actually mark utility lines, your city or gas company will do that for free. But it’s important to ask if that’s something the contract will take care of or if you need to do it yourself.

9. Do you subcontract out any of the work?

Some fence companies will use subcontractors to do the work they can’t always complete. Using a subcontractor isn’t good or bad, but you should always be aware of all the people you will be working with.

10. Have you ever installed Trex Fencing before?

Believe it or not, there are some fence contractors that have never installed Trex Fencing before. But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean they can’t do it! Trex Fencing is easy to install and we have install specialists ready to guide them through the process and answer any questions they might have.

11. What are the steps of your installation process?

It’s important to understand your fence installer’s process so you know what to expect and how long it will take.

12. How deep will you set the posts and will they be in concrete?

You want to be sure that your fence will be installed correctly. It’s important that the posts are installed below the frost line and in concrete, if necessary, for stability. You don’t want your fence builder cutting any corners.

13. Will my fence be stepped or sloped?

If your yard has any kind of a grade, your fence won’t be a straight horizontal line. Ask your fence builder if they plan on stepping the fence or sloping it. Find out more about the difference between stepping and sloping here.

14. How tall will be fence be?

Trex Fencing can be built as small as 4ft and as tall as 12ft. However, most cities have regulations on how high a fence can be. Your fence installer should be familiar on local city codes and together you can decide the height that works best for you.

15. What would I need to do before the fence can be installed?

Your fence builder might need you to clean up your yard, remove your exsisting fence, gather permits, mark utility lines, get approval from your neighbors, or secure kids and dogs inside. Communicate with them, so when they show up to work, there are no delays.

16. Do I need to be present while my fence is being installed?

There are some parts of the installation process that might require you to be home in order to answer questions or make decisions. It’s important to make a plan with your contractor to be around when they need you.

17. Will you take care of site clean-up?

Building a fence is messy. Find yourself a contractor that cleans up after themselves. You shouldn’t have to do it for them.

18. Is there someone I can keep in contact with throughout this process?

It’s always good to have contact information for someone who knows what’s happening with your fence. If you have questions, concerns, or you want to change your plan, be sure that you know who to talk to and how to reach them.

19. Can you provide me with a site plan?

In addition to a written estimate, your estimator might be able to give you a site plan which is a discriptive drawing of the fence plan. It can be helpful to have a visual, and to reference it while your fence is being installed.

 

20. Does your estimate include all reasonable costs to build this fence?

You should know exactly how much your fence will cost when you recieve your estimate. Occasionally things will go wrong and additional charges might be necessary, but a good contractor is upfront with all their prices and fees.

21. Are there any deals or discounts you can offer me?

It’s always nice to save some money. Find out if your fence contractor has any promotions or if there are things you can do to keep costs low. Sometimes you can recieve discounts by installing out of season or paying the full cost up-front.

22. Will you confirm with me before making any changes not specified in our contract?

Communication is key. Find yourself a fence company that will be transparent with you ever step of the way. And if something goes wrong, they’ll let you know. That way you’ll know exactly what to expect when your fence is finished and the final bill comes due.

HORIZONTAL FENCE DESIGN 101

HORIZONTAL FENCE DESIGN 101

EXPAND SPACES. PROMOTE RELAXATION. CREATE UNIQUE CURB APPEAL.

Horizontal fences are in high demand and there are a lot of materials and options available. Perhaps you’re contemplating a new fence for your yard and are considering if this style is right for you. Whether you are looking to do it yourself, have it installed by professionals, or just making plans for the future, this guide will help you sort through some of the most important details you should consider in choosing the right horizontal fence.

DESIGN

Horizontal lines have been adopted in numerous aspects of modern design. From wall treatments to furniture, they provide a signature look. The famous modern architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, used horizontal lines to form a relationship between his buildings and the landscape. Fencing is simply another extension of your home’s architecture. Choosing to build a horizontal fence over a more traditional design, will give your house unique curb appeal.

Trex Horizons Horizontal Fence System

Trex Horizons Fence System

To best understand why horizontal fences look so appealing, it’s important to understand some basics of art composition.

  • Horizontal lines are used to expand spaces.
  • They run parallel to the earth and show a continuation of landscaping.
  • Horizontal lines are at rest and peaceful.
  • Horizontal lines are combined with vertical lines to build stable shapes.
  • A break in a horizontal line can create emphasis.

So what does that mean for my yard?

Horizontal lines occur naturally in nature like the horizon on the ocean.

Horizontal Line in Nature

BENEFITS

Horizontal fences can promote feelings of relaxation and peace. I know this sounds a little cosmic and existential but it’s true. There is an increasing popularity to promote health and wellness in home design through the use of neutral colors and clean lines. A horizontal fence carries that theme to the backyard. Since our brains are wired to recognize that objects laying down are in a state of rest, a horizontal line promotes that feeling. So, naturally while you are reclining on a poolside lounger you’d be able to look at that relaxed fence line and totally relate.

Installing a horizontal fence will expand your backyard. OK, maybe not literally, but visually the lines will make any space feel bigger. This happens for the same reason vertical lines are so slimming on clothing. They draw attention in the direction they run. Having a horizontal fence will emphasize how much area your yard has, rather than drawing attention to the height of your fence and other structures on your property. So, what once might have looked like a tiny patio will now look like there’s room to spread out.

Another major benefit of horizontal fences is that they tie landscaping together. Those lines that run from side to side draw the eye across your yard from one area to another. You can still create unique spaces within your yard by using plants and borders that break up the fence line.

Trees and other tall plants are great at defining different areas in a yard. A tree, tall plant, or yard ornament will be emphasized and stand out even more in front of horizontal fence. Any design that runs against the lines in the background will become a focal point, which is especially great if you want your landscaping to be the star of your design.

MATERIALS

There are a few material choices for building a horizontal fence in the United States that don’t require custom fabrication — wood, Trex, and other composites. With a variety options, it is important to balance your decision between aesthetics, performance, and cost.

WOOD

Wood is the most frequently chosen product because it’s a natural and traditional building material. Within the wood category there are many choices. It comes in a variety of dimensions and can be customized for any project. It also looks great when stained and the exotic varieties are quite eye-catching.

Post supports should be 4-5 ft apart to ensure greater strength and help control sagging. Another good option for structural support is to add a metal frame. This will also help make the fence more solid and provide a good surface to attach the rails. If you decide to go this route, you’ll want to choose which side of the fence will have the metal frame showing.

Hawaiian birch is a popular choice in Southern California because it is quite rigid. Some contractors might also recommend using redwood, ipe, or other hardwood deck boards as rails. These typically have a thickness of 5/4″. Many of the horizontal fence pictures featured on Pinterest are using hardwoods.

Wood has a tendency to shrink with time and temperature. To keep a full privacy look, it is good to overlap boards. Alternatively many homeowners choose to do a semi-private design that allows for a gap.

Wood fences do require some maintenance.. To keep your fence from weathering too quickly, it’s good to stain a minimum of every 2-3 years.

Tropical Wood Horizontal Fence

Tropical Wood Horizontal Fence

TREX

Trex Horizons is a horizontal composite fence system. It uses interlocking pickets to create a board-on-board design that is the same on both sides. Horizons is encased in a metal frame for added structure and to mount to the posts.

The interlocking pickets keep constant pressure on each other to prevent warping, bowing, and sagging creating a full privacy fence with no gaps. It installs on 8 ft centers and remains rigid throughout. A larger section width means less labor for installation.

Trex Horizons is made from 95% recycled materials and resists insect damage and will not rot. It withstands high winds and performs well in all climates. The Trex components of the fence come with a 25-year residential warranty.

There are some additional infographics to see how Trex fencing compares to wood, vinyl, masonry, and other composites

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

OTHER COMPOSITES

Other composite fences typically use tongue-and-groove pickets floating inside a metal frame. The fence boards are sometimes embossed with a wood grain pattern and the boards install in 6 ft and 8 ft sections. The composite fence boards are made from recycled wood or other organic material and plastic.

Manufacturers’ warranties vary, typically starting at 1-year.

SEMI-PRIVATE HORIZONTAL FENCE DESIGN

Fence gaps on a horizontal fence work roughly like a set of partially closed window shades. The closer you get to the gap, the more you can see. There isn’t a very large difference for visibility between horizontal and other semi-private fence designs. It all depends on the size of the gap.

RESIDENTIAL FENCING VS COMMERCIAL FENCING

Horizontal Fencing is becoming more common among neighborhood businesses that reside near or within residential areas. Many new businesses that require fencing or screening (especially larger national retail chains) have chosen to include horizontal fencing as part of their design, reflecting current building trends for fencing within the industry.

Trex Horizons in Woodland Brown Stepped Design

Louvered Wood Horizontal Fence With Brick Columns

OTHER USES

Horizontal fences are a popular choice for privacy screen panels. Sometimes a single section or two will be used as a divider to separate sections of the yard or to partition a patio or pool area. Additionally horizontal fences make excellent enclosures for utility areas or dumpsters.

Climbing vines do well on semi private horizontal fences but considerations should be made as to what impact the vine might have on the fence over time.

CHOOSE WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

To find out more about Trex Fencing, visit the trexfencing.com literature page for helpful tips, installation videos, and contact information for purchasing.

If you decide to go with wood, it’s best to talk to a local fence contractor to see what materials they recommend in your area. Make sure to do your homework and verify any service professional you hire.