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!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Choosing the Fence that's Right for You

Let's Make a Deal on the Fence that You Need!
Custom Fence Company has been professionally installing all types/styles of fence since 1975. We offer full service installation of chain link, wood, vinyl and ornamental aluminum and steel fence in residential, commercial and industrial settings. We always insure that our customers end up with the style of fence that fits both their needs and their budget. So how do we always get to that conclusion?

When you call Custom Fence Company either my father or myself will come out to your property for an initial consultation. We help you determine where the fence will be installed and take measurements. Then we go over the various styles of fence that we offer to fit your specific needs. Some property owners can become overwhelmed with the amount of choices available to them. After a few simple questions we use our experience to narrow the options down to fence styles that will meet your requirements.

After we determine the fence style that is right for you we then use the measurements and gate sizes to create a bid for you. The big question is, "What fence style is RIGHT for you?" Over the next few weeks I am going to blog about the differences between the various styles of fence. My articles will explore the functionality of each style of fence and the differences between each. Some fence styles are more well suited for particular purposes or even for the variations in landscape.

My first article that will post later this week is about chain link fence. Chain link is one of the most effective styles of fence for residential and commercial applications and it also comes at a very efficient price. The upcoming article will also inform you on the different colors and materials that chain link is available in.

Despite the severely long winter that we are experiencing in the South Bend, In area this year - WE ARE BUILDING FENCE!!! Spring is right around the corner and our schedule is filling up. Call us today for a free estimate and let Custom Fence Company ensure that you get the quality installation and materials at a price that fits your budget. Stay tuned for the upcoming series on "Choosing the Fence that's Right for You."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fence Jumping Causes Damage!

Man jumping a 4'chain link fence

I can still hear my grandfather today, "Stop jumping over my fence," he would tell my cousins and I as we would continually jump over his 4' chain link fence in search of a loose baseball or Frisbee. It never made sense to me as to why he would get so upset over something that an 8 year old boy found so unimportant! Today I understand just why old grand-dad would get so upset...

We get multiple calls each year to repair fence that has been damaged from people (usually younger people!) jumping over it in lieu of using the more sensible alternative - the gate! Damage can occur to any type of fence simply from someone jumping over it. The damage increases in severity the more this activity is repeated. It can break or rip-off boards on wood fence, it can crack vinyl fence and make it sag in the middle (that type of damage will not be covered in the lifetime warranty that comes with all of our vinyl fence products), jumping a fence can severely bend and damage ornamental steel and aluminum fences and most of all it can devastate the top rail of chain link fence.

We have noticed calls for fence jumping damage increasing over the years. Many home or business owners with property near schools or playgrounds install fencing to keep folks from cutting through their lawns. While this measure will typically deter most folks from taking the short cut through the lawn, sometimes it does not deter everyone! At Custom Fence Company, we understand this. That is why we offer our residential chain link fence with a heavier duty top rail than our competitors install. We do this because we care about quality and the longevity of your investment, many other fence companies simply want to "get the job." In order to do that they sacrifice the quality of the materials they use.

Here are some steps that you can take if you are concerned that the neighborhood kids may try to jump over your fence some day:
  • Always ask the gauge of the top rail, posts and wire when getting a chain link fence installed. They cheapest guy in the race may be using cheap material. You want to be certain that you are comparing apples for apples (top rail should be at least .055 gauge rather than .047)
  • Use vinyl coated chain link fence. Vinyl coating is offered in black, green or brown. The vinyl coating adds to the beauty of the fence and you can select a color that allows the fence to blend in with it's surroundings. Vinyl fence material is not only coated with vinyl, but it is also a heavier gauge. This will deter the product from bending and sagging from illicit use and age. Vinyl coated chain link also comes with a great warranty.
  • Increase the height of your fence. This is important for home or business owners that live near parks and schools. If your 4' fence is ruined from jumpers, replace it with a 5' or 6' tall fence. That extra 1 or 2 feet can be what calms the braveness of the jumpers!
  • If you are having a wood fence installed, ask that the panels be built on site. If the installer builds the fence on site they should be using material that is stronger and higher quality than the pre-manufactured panels that can be purchased at home improvement stores. Pickets should be 1" thick and stringers should be 2"x4" - This will ensure that your fence is more durable and the increase in cost is trivial to the increase in quality that this step provides.
  • Like Vinyl Fencing? Vinyl fence is great and at Custom Fence Co., it comes with a lifetime warranty! A few things to increase the durability of your vinyl fence are:
    • It should have an aluminum reinforcement bar across the bottom stringer of the fence. Do not consider a vinyl fence that does not offer this. It will sag in the middle within a few years.
    • Make sure that the panels snap into the posts as opposed to using screws to attach them. This will help the life of your fence out in 2 huge ways. First, screws rust and most vinyl fence is white. Over the years when the screws begin to rust the rust will leave orange lines running down the fence everywhere that a screw is installed ruining the appearance of your once beautiful fence. Second, fence that fits together by engineered slots and notches is more durable. As the screws rust, they also become weaker and are more likely to loosen over time leading to your fence possibly falling over.
  • Aluminum and Steel Ornamental fencing are great quality and come with a lifetime warranty. You should not have much of a problem with this style. You can always choose to go with a commercial grade fencing to beef up the strength and I always suggest making sure that the panels are 6' wide to help reduce sagging.
I hope these tips were helpful for you. Custom Fence Co. is always here to answer any of your fencing questions. Call us today for a free estimate -


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Call Custom Fence Co. Anytime!

Custom Fence Co. has proudly served property and business owners of the greater Michiana area for over 35 years now. We have learned a lot about what our customers need and how we can take care of their fencing needs in the most effective, cost efficient manner. We offer free estimates and maintain a business model that allows us to offer the highest quality installations in the area at extrememly competitive pricing.

It is no secret that it gets really cold and snowy in the South Bend, IN area. As much as we would like to build fence 12 months a year, we usually just can't. Mother Nature tries to not allow it! With that being said, you can imagine that our phones don't ring as often during the snowy, winter months. Property owners are not thinking about installing a fence when the snow is 3' deep. However, you can call us any time of the day, month or year for a free estimate. We also do repairs 12 months a year, so always give us a call.

Lucky for all of us, winter is over. Thermometers hit 70 degrees a few days ago! We are all getting out in our yards, doing some landscaping and taking care of fence projects that we have had on our minds. A few days before that 70 degree day it was bitterly cold though.

We notice a trend throughout every fence building season. Our phones ring off the hook on beautiful days, but calls slow on colder and/or rainier days. It makes sense. No one is out in the yard on a rainy day, and they aren't thinking about yard work. Remember that we work rain or shine!

I have a suggestion to all of the future Custom Fence Co. customers. CALL US ON RAINY AND/OR COLD DAYS!!! These are the days where you will be able to contact us the easiest. Many property owners aren't aware of this simple principle. We are always available to assist you with any of your fencing needs and guarantee you the best customer service in the Michiana area 365 days/year. But, you know, every industry has slower days and ours happens to be those filled with rain and cold weather.

Call us today for a Free Estimate!! (refundable deposit for insurance quotes)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Time to Start Thinking about Your 2011 Fence Project

The snow is melting and the sun is beginning to shine more. Over the next few weeks property and business owners, like yourself, will begin focusing on their yards. 2011 is the year that you should move forward with your fencing ideas. Custom Fence Co. can assist you with choosing a new fence that fits your specific needs and we offer Free Estimates!

Property owners have fence installed for many reasons. Security, safety, privacy and curb appeal are the major reasons to have a fence installed. A fence will keep your property more secure and your pets and/or children safe. We all deserve a little privacy as well. Privacy fences are offered in many styles of wood and vinyl. It is a great way to relax in your back yard and be guaranteed peace. Some folks don't have a pet or child or even need privacy; they like the way a fence makes their property look. A nice vinyl coated chain link or an ornamental aluminum or steel fence will dress your property up nicely. 

Regardless of the reason that you seek to have a fence installed, Custom Fence Co. can help you. When considering a fence contractor you should choose a professional, licenced and insured fence company like Custom Fence Co. Let one of our professionals guide you through the process of choosing a fence style that is right for your needs. Our installers also have decades of combined experience and we guarantee all of our work. Call us today for a Free Estimate and get the ball rolling on your 2011 fence project!