Monday, March 19, 2012

Choosing the Fence That's Right for You: Wood Fence

Shadowbox or Good Neighbor Fence 6' Tall Cedar

Arguably one of the most aesthetically pleasing fence styles available, Wooden fence, just like other styles, has it's up and downs. The upsides include that a wooden fence can be built to suit pretty much any need, it gives flexibility by it's availability in several styles and the variation of materials to choose from. The most frequent downside that I hear from our customers is that it requires more maintenance than other styles of fence like vinyl, chain link and ornamental aluminum and steel fences.

Is a wooden fence right for you? Let's explore the upsides first. It can fit any need. Wood fence comes in styles that are good for complete privacy, a little privacy or just a decorative fence to keep the dog and children in the yard. Solid Privacy fence is available in several styles. The styles typically vary by the type of picket used; usually a Dog Eared Picket or French Gothic Style Picket and by the material used typically Treated Pine or Red Cedar. Custom designs are also available. Pickets can be placed next to each other or with a bit of spacing to allow air to flow through the fence. You can also have pickets alternate sides of the back board. This is a semi-privacy style called either Shadowbox or Good Neighbor since the fence looks the same on each side. These styles usually stay right at the 6' height.

4' Tall Cedar Pointed Picket Fence
If you are looking for something shorter, usually between 42" - 60" tall, a Wood Picket fence might be good for you. Again, this style is available in treated or cedar material and really only varies by the style of picket that you choose, the width of the picket and the spacing between them. Picket fences are usually constructed of pickets that are 3 1/2" or 4" wide and spacing usually ranges from 1" to 3 1/2". You can also use a wider picket, but a 4" picket with a 4" spacing will give your fence the traditional look of a picket fence, especially if you paint it white! Again, the pickets can be dog eared, French Gothic, pointed or other styles and can be custom designed.

6' Tall Scalloped Top Shadowbox Fence - Pressure Treated Wood 

Apart from what I have mentioned above, there are several other styles of wood fence to choose from, a quick google search will result in countless styles of wood fence. Since custom designs can also be dreamed up and created, the possibilities are limitless. So, what about the maintenance thing? As a child many folks dream of someday having children, pets and their dream house with a yard surrounded by the white picket fence. Painting, sealing or staining a fence requires maintenance. In order to keep your fence looking great, you should plan on having the fence painted every 2 years. Custom Fence Company offers a maintenance package with every wood fence installation. You should also always pressure wash your fence before staining, sealing or painting. This will get all of the dirt particles out of the wood.

If you love wood fences, go ahead and have one installed. It does take a bit of maintenance, but you can always hire us to handle that for you! If you maintain a wood fence properly it can last you up to 30 years, that is a very long time considering the fact that it is much less expensive than the most common alternative, vinyl or PVC fence. Good luck on your search for your new fence!

6' Treated Dog Ear Solid Privacy Fence w/10' Double Gate

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Springtime Fence Repairs

Custom Fence Co. can easily repair damaged fence
and make it look new again!

Despite the awesome winter that we have had this year, winter is still cold, nasty and sometimes even dangerous! Winter can also take a toll on your fence in a few different ways. The freezing and thawing of the ground can cause issues with posts. The frozen, icy roads can cause even greater damage to your fence and possibly the well being of someone driving their vehicle past your fence.

In areas with high water tables the freezing and thawing of the ground can do some funny things to posts. When water freezes it expands into a solid. The opposite happens when the weather warms up and it's molecules contract and turn back into a fluid. Think about what happens to your plumbing pipes when they are full of water and it freezes, they rupture and burst!

The changes that the water molecules go though during freezing and thawing of the ground can cause your fence posts to either sink, raise up or in really bad cases, do both! As I mentioned, this is more likely to happen in areas with a higher water table, usually found in lower ground. But that is not always why it happens. If the company that originally installed your fence did not place enough cement around the posts or did not set the posts deep enough in the ground you may also get the rise or sink effect.

There are a few simple rules that all fence companies should use when setting posts below ground. When the following rules are followed, your fence posts will be much less likely to be affected by freezing and thawing ground. At Custom Fence Company, we set all posts at least 2' below the ground in cement with a diameter at least 3 times the diameter of the post. In our area and climate that should be adequate for the freezes and thaws that come with the changing seasons.

Take a look at your fence real quick. It looks pretty nice, doesn't it? Imagine if some of your posts were rising higher than others and some were sinking lower than others. It would not look as nice as it does now! That calls for a repair.

What is worse than mother nature damaging your fence? When someone hits it with a vehicle or a snow plow! Icy roads can easily cause drivers to lose control and damage your fence. The worst thing that can happen to a fence with regards to damage is when it is hit by a vehicle. Vehicles have the ability to damage large portions of fence, usually leaving virtually none of the material salvageable. Please see an article that I wrote a few months ago regarding how to prepare your fence for winter. There are several great tips in that article on how you can prepare your fence to resist damage during the winter months.

Custom Fence Company can easily repair your fence and keep the cost reasonable for you as well. We make it our responsibility to ensure that your fence looks as good today as it did when it was first installed. Call us today for a free estimate and ensure that your fence looks as nice as it can.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Your 2012 Fence Project!

6' Treated Dog Ear Privacy Fence - Built on Site with Heavy Duty Materials!!

Is 2012 the year that you finally move forward with your new fence project? Custom Fence Co. is here for you whether you are planning on having a new fence installed or would like to have that old fence removed and replaced. Despite the cold weather and the snowy forecasts, now is the time to begin planning for your new fence.

You may be asking yourself, why should I begin planning now? There are a few answers to this question:

1. The sooner you act, the sooner we can get your fence installed - Time is always of the essence!
2. Sometimes the thought process takes a while, so contact us now to answer all of your questions so that we can begin installation asap
3. If you are replacing an existing fence and are on a budget, we can let you know if you actually need to do an entire removal and replacement or may be able to simply have some repairs done to get a bit more life out of your existing fence.

As always, make sure that you contact licensed and insured fence contractors for your fencing needs. Sure you may save a few $$ on hiring your cousins, neighbors, high school friend that worked for a fence company a few years ago. The problem is that they are likely not insured and when problems occur that person may not be there to fix it! We back all of our installations up with the best customer service in the business. Hiring a fence company like Custom Fence Co. will let you rest easier at night.

A few other items of note that will help you determine the style of fence that suits your need best are:

1. Do I want security or privacy?
2. Am I looking for something ornamental or something inexpensive that will serve it's purpose?
3. Do I need something taller than 4' tall?
4. How much maintenance am I willing to put into my fence?

Please call us immediately if you need help answering any of these questions. Our estimates are always FREE!!

We look forward to serving your fencing needs in 2012.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Prepare Your Fence For Winter!

Despite the welcomingly warm November that Mother Nature has blessed our area with this year, winter is on the way! Snow is inevitable during a mid-western winter. Snow also has to be cleared from drive ways, parking lots, side walks and other areas that border fence lines. Clearing these areas requires you to bring in equipment to remove the snow and pile it up somewhere.
Has clearing snow ever caused your fence harm? It likely has, especially if your fence is around a driveway or parking lot. These areas usually require the use of a snow plow that can damage fence in a few ways. The plow can physically hit your fence pushing it over, breaking some of it's parts or posts. Or the pile of snow itself being pushed by plows into the fence can cause damage as well.
Every spring the majority of repair calls that we recieve involve damage from snow removal of some sort. Of course Custom Fence Company will quickly come out and supply you with a free quote to repair your fence, but we would also like to offer some advice to help you prevent this damage from occurring, saving you money and stress.  

Here are a few simple things that you can consider to prevent snow related damage from ocurring to your fence:

  1. Speak with your snow removal supplier regarding your concerns of damage ocurring to your fence
  2. Set up a particluar "catch area" for snow to be piled that is away from fence lines
  3. Ensure that snow piles start at least 15' from any fence line, this will allow room for snow to be pushed through the year without pushing against fence
  4. Have snow piles removed if they are becoming too large for your fenced in area and you are concerned that it may damage your fence
  5. Do not have plowed snow piled inside fenced area. Most fenced areas have room outside of them where snow can be pushed and piled away from a fence line.
  6. If using a snow blower, try to blow snow to the opposite side of any fence lines. This will prevent snow from piling up on the fence and causing damage from it's weight.
  7. Install barrier posts in front of your fence if it is along a driveway, street curve or street intersection. This will slow vehicles down before they hit your fence or completely prevent them from hitting it at all.
  8. Only allow your snow removal company to remove snow from your property when it is necessary. Some contracts will allow them to remove snow when it is only a few inches deep. The less time they spend on your property, the less likely they are to damage your fence!
Please consider these tips over the next few months. We hope it helps! Happy Holidays from the Custom Fence Family.

Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Choose the Correct Gate Size

4' black vinyl chain link gate - 4' chain link

Everyone has a great reason as to just why they would like to have a fence installed. It is likely that you are either trying to keep something in or something out, right? All types and styles of fence will do this for you. Believe it or not, many folks simply envision this "barrier" when deciding on a fence. They simply forget that they will still need a way to access either side of the fence...they need a gate!

I meet with property owners on a daily basis to discuss upcoming fence projects. Some simple, basic information is needed before we can develop a quote for a potential customer. First, where they would like the fence to be located, second is the style and third is how many gates and finally how large of gate openings they need. Often times customers do not have a good answer when asked the final 2 parts to my basic questions.

6' double gate - vinyl privacy fence

You called a fence professional like Custom Fence Co. to help you answer every one of the questions that I listed above. To determine the width of gate a customer needs I ask them questions like:
  • What do you need to fit through the gate?
  • Do you anticipate the need to get a vehicle into your back yard?
  • How wide is your mower deck?
  • What do you expect to use the gates for?
  • Do you have a utility easement?
Thinking about points like the basics listed above will give you a pretty good idea of how wide of a gate you will need. You may also want to think about what you may need to use the gate for in the future. Ask yourself:
  • Do I plan on getting a riding lawn mower in the future?
  • Will I need to use the gates to access a door that I may move furniture through?
  • What if I need to have work done to something like a septic in my yard? How will I get a truck back there?
  • Will I ever be building anything within the fenced area, such as a garage or barn?
Answering these questions will ensure that you will not have to have adjustments made to your gate and fence line in the future. If you have all 4' gates, then decide to build a garage in your back yard you will accrue the cost of having fence and gates removed and replaced with larger gates that you can drive through. Make sure you are aware of your land plot and that you are not building fence across a utility easement that may need to be accessed by a utility truck. During an emergence a utility company will be forced to remove the fence so that they can get through. Long story short, you can save money and stress by thinking about the sizes of gates you will need.

4' walk gate - 6' shadowbox fence

Here are some standard sizes of gates and their purposes:

3' - smallest opening that is usually installed, good for a gate that will not be used often and will only be walked through

4' - standard opening, good for walking through and fitting most push mowers

5' and 6' - Good for getting most riding mowers through, a 6' gate can be made as a single swing gate or as a double drive gate made of 2 - 3' gates

10' - will fit most standard vehicles - i.e., cars, pickup trucks, jeeps, etc.

12' and larger - will fit large vehicles, farm equipment, trailers, etc.

Think about these points and you should be good to go with your gate openings and will save yourself the stress of having to make costly adjustments to your new, beautiful fence. Always make sure that the representative asks you the size of your gates. If they do not ask this simple question, then they likely do not care about your well being!

Good Luck!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Choosing the Fence That's Right for You: Chain Link Fence

The following article on chain link fence styles focuses on installations performed in a residential setting.

Property owners have many reasons for why they want to fence in their properties; privacy, security, pets, or children. Each reason warrants a unique style of fencing. Custom Fence Company professionally installs vinyl, wood, ornamental aluminum and steel, farm fence and chain link fence. The most versatile style in the aforementioned list has to be chain link fence. This article will explain the various chain link styles that are available to you.

Here is a description of chain link fence from to familiarize you with the style:

Picture of Chain Link Fence from
A chain-link fence (also referred to as wire netting, chain-wire fence, cyclone fence or hurricane fence) is a type of woven fence usually made from galvanized or LLDPE-coated steel wire. The wires run vertically and are bent into a zig-zag pattern so that each "zig" hooks with the wire immediately on one side and each "zag" with the wire immediately on the other. This forms the characteristic diamond pattern seen in this type of fence.

Available in heights from 42" up to over 10', chain link fence is a steel product that is coated with different materials that each give it a different appearance. The most common is galvanized coating. This gives the fence a silverish or sometimes grayish appearance. Aluminized coating gives the wire a dull silver appearance. A benefit of choosing an aluminized coating is that it does not have buildups of metal particles like galvanized coating sometimes will. The buildup is sharp and can cut the fingers of your children or pets when they come into contact. Both of those coatings are very high quality and are available in a variety of gauges for all types of installations.

Black Vinyl Chain Link
 If you want to dress up the appearance of your chain link fence you can choose a vinyl coated fence. Custom Fence Company offers vinyl coated chain link fence in green, black and brown. Vinyl coated chain link gives the fence a dressed up appearance and blends in well with backgrounds. This type of fence is also commonly installed using a wood frame; a style called San Lido. The vinyl coating is also very smooth making vinyl coated chain link fence desirable to have around swimming pools and playgrounds where children may come into contact with the fence.

Not all chain link fence is created equally! What I mean by that is that there are different gauges of the wire in the fence and of the wall thicknesses and diameters of the line posts and top rails. Always check on these factors. The gauge of wire for a typical 4' or 5' residential fence installation is 11.5, posts should have a wall thickness of .065 and top rail should be at least .055 with a diameter of 1 3/8". Post diameters are also important for the strength of the fence. Line posts should be 1 5/8" and terminal and corner posts should be 2.5".

Bundles of Top Rail
 Those numbers are a good guideline. Some circumstances require heavier duty material. If you have a dog that is large enough to jump up to the top rail or are near a park or school you may need a heavier duty top rail. Children and pets jumping on top rail can cause the rail to sag or even bend over time. The cost difference will be trivial to the extended life time that you will get if you decide to use a heavier material.

Follow the guidelines on materials above when having a chain link fence installed and your fence will last you a long time! Chain link is made of steel and coated to help reduce the rate of rusting and improve the durability of the metal. If the steel is erected with steel materials you also do not have to worry about rotting like you do with wood fence. It also serves many purposes. It will secure your property, keep your pets and children in the yard or create a barrier.

So chain link fence is great for multiple purposes, will last a lifetime and is available in different styles/colors; it must cost a fortune! Acutally chain link is typically the most inexpensive fence that we quote in residential settings. It is about half the cost of wood privacy fence and 1/4th the cost of vinyl picket or ornamental aluminum. It is also great for hilly landscapes as it follows the contour more fashionalby than it's competitors.

So basically chain link is great for a budget. You can have an effective, durable and stylish fence installed at a cost that fits your needs. Custom Fence Company custom builds chain link gates for each job as well. It is almost May and our schedule is filling up rapidly. Call us today for a free estimate for chain link fence or any of the other styles that we offer.

Look our for the upcoming "Choosing the Fence That's Right for You" article on Wood Fence

Friday, April 22, 2011

Take Caution when Digging Holes For Fence Posts

Call 811 before you dig - Utility line marking is
free of charge and could save your life!
Fence companies, like Custom Fence Co., dig tens of thousands of holes each year to set posts. Many people probably do not realize just how dangerous digging holes can be. Utility lines have been buried below ground for decades. Typical buried lines include cable, telephone, gas and electric. Gas and electric lines are the most dangerous to hit because hitting these lines can result in electrical shock or a fire/explosion.

Custom Fence Co. always takes the necessary precautions before digging. I received the following tips a few days ago from AT&T. Their purpose in sending out these helpful tips is to limit the amount of damage to underground utility lines. My purpose for posting it on our blog is to help those of you who are unaware of the steps you should take in the event that you decide to dig on your property. This is good information for anyone who plans to dig.

  • Call Before You Dig
  • Wait the Required Amount of Time to Ensure Facilities are Located
  • Verify marks and visually inspect dig site
  • Ensure all utility companies have responded with identifying flags or paint. Look for obvious signs of facilities in the area, such as pedestals, lateral feeds or cross-boxes, and make sure those facilities have been marked.
  • Dig with care around marked facilities
  • Hand dig or vacuum excavate when working within the safe dig zone. Exposing the cable or conduit is required when an excavation is crossing an AT&T facility. This practice ensures the marks are accurate and the excavation can proceed with care while working around the facility.
Don't Take Chances!