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Primer on Fence Height Choice, Part 2

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the rules and regulations governing fence height. These are some of the most important considerations when choosing your next fence and how tall it will be, but they aren’t the only ones.

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we can help you with every element of fence selection, from height to details like supplies and accessories. We know that one of the other important factors for choosing fence height is the purpose the fence is being used for – let’s go over a few of the most common here, and look at the types and heights you might consider first.

primer fence height choice

Property Lines and Curb Appeal

One of the simplest reasons some homeowners get a fence is to clearly define their property line. There can be several reasons for doing this, and it’s absolutely not some offensive gesture to a neighbor by any means. When this is your primary goal, shorter options like three-foot picket fences can be the way to go.

Another property-related element here relates to property value. Fences are a big part of what real estate experts would call “curb appeal,” or the way your home looks upon first glance – this area has an outsized effect on your home’s value if you ever decide to sell, so visible elements like a fence are great assets to have.

Protection

Another primary function of some fences is to protect the garden and various plant life from any potential damage. This damage might include stomping feet, neighboring pets and even too much sunlight in some cases.

The height you choose here will depend on exactly the kind of protection you’re in need of. If larger animals like dogs or deer aren’t a concern, you can consider shorter fences that just block sunlight as needed and stop people from walking in those areas. If you’re worried about larger grazers, on the other hand, a taller fence option might be the right call.

Pets

One of the most common reasons for getting a fence is to secure a pet in the back yard, usually a dog. How high a fence you need here depends entirely on your dog’s height and leaping ability – a tiny pup with short legs won’t be able to leap over a simple four-foot option, but a giant hunting dog may require a taller option that you apply for a local variance for.

Privacy

Some people just want a little privacy, and this is totally understandable. In these cases, six-foot options made of solid materials like wood or vinyl (not spaced pickets) will be the best options.

Pools

One situation where you might actually be required to get a fence by law is if you install a pool in your back yard. There aren’t too many restrictions on these fences – they just have to be enough to prevent any accidental falls or danger for people who may not be aware the pool is there (such as neighbors who can’t see it from their house). As such, you can use open fence looks like vinyl or aluminum at standard four-foot heights – these materials also resist water damage, so they’re good for close proximity to a pool.

For more on fence height, or to learn about any of our fence supplies or installation services, speak to the pros at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

Primer on Fence Height Choice, Part 1

If you’re considering installing a new fence on your property, one of the first and most important considerations you’ll make is the height you desire. Fences come in a variety of different heights based on your property’s needs, with different corresponding costs and maintenance needs.

At Utah Fence Warehouse, our experts can help you make this and several other important decisions whether you’re looking at our vinyl, wood, chain link or wrought iron fences. There are actually several factors that play into your fence height, possibly including local regulations that you have to consider. In this two-part blog, we’ll look at these regulations, your potential options for getting around them, and some different fence heights along with their frequent corresponding uses.

primer fence height choice

Local Limits

One of the first things to think about when considering your fence’s height is the regulations imposed by your municipality. These rules are sometimes defined at the state level, but it’s more common for them to actually vary based on individual cities and even townships or communities – that means we won’t be able to give you hard and fast rules in this blog, but all municipalities with these kinds of restrictions have easy-to-access resources that allow you to find the specific numbers.

In some areas, six feet will be the maximum fence height in the back yard while four feet will be applicable for front yards. This is often because taller fences create blind corners where children and pets could be in danger of running into traffic. But other locations may have various different guidelines, and these may even include the type of material you use.

HOA Restrictions

In some cases, your homeowner’s association (HOA) will actually have tighter restrictions than your municipality. This often isn’t the case only for height, but for other factors like color and material type also. Again, these are easy to access – you just ask for the bylaws of the association, and ensure you’re in compliance with all their rules so you aren’t fined or forced to tear the fence down (at your expense).

Variance Application

If you’re dealing with a restrictive HOA, there’s only so much you can do to get around these kinds of fencing height regulations. In cases where the only obstacle is your municipality, though, you may be able to apply for a variance when you submit your fence permit application to your local code department.

As an example, perhaps your back yard sits opposite of a designated wooded area where deer or other wildlife regularly visit. In these cases, you might be able to provide justification for why you need a higher fence – to keep these animals away from your family and vegetation. The same theme might apply for several other circumstances. Your variance application won’t always be approved, but you can improve your chance by providing good reasoning and also getting support from your neighbors (this plays a real role).

For more on height regulations for your fence, or to learn about any of our fence services, speak to the pros at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

Guide to Cleaning Vinyl Fences

For those looking for a durable fencing material that will stand up to the elements this winter, vinyl fencing is just the thing for you. Resistant to everything from high winds to even direct impact, vinyl fences are growing in popularity for just this reason.

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we have a great selection of vinyl fence options for you to choose from. We’re also here to help you keep vinyl products well-maintained and long-lasting, and a big part of that is properly cleaning them. Here are some basic tips on cleaning a vinyl fence, from the materials you need to a basic checklist to follow.

guide cleaning vinyl fences

Materials Needed

The basic materials you’ll need to clean your vinyl fence panels:

  • Basic cleaning product – either store-bought or homemade (we’ll go over some steps for the latter in our next section)
  • Gallon bucket (or larger)
  • Garden hose with adjustable nozzle (if your fence hasn’t been cleaned in a long time and has significantly built-up dirt and grime, you might consider a power washer instead of a hose)
  • Scrub brush with stiff bristles, preferably nylon

Making a Home Cleaning Solution

If you choose to make a homemade cleaning solution for cleaning your fence, it’s actually very simple:

  • Fill up 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent or Dawn dish soap
  • Fill up 2/3 cup of trisodium phosphate cleaner, found at any basic store
  • Mix these with one gallon of water

Cleaning Steps

  • Mix your cleaning solution into the bucket. If you use a store-bought cleaner, ensure it’s right for vinyl materials – for instance, bleach is not acceptable in this case, as it could damage both the fence and any plants near it.
  • Wet a section of the fence using your hose, generally on the mist setting.
  • Soak your scrub brush in your cleaning solution. Do not use a wire brush, as this could damage the fence and cause scratches. Firmly scrub any areas that show stains or caked dirt. If needed, rinse the scrub brush off multiple times as you hit tougher areas.
  • Rinse of both soap and residue using the hose or power washer. This is a time where the spray feature of the hose is generally most effective – or the jet setting for tougher buildups that standard spray won’t get rid of.
  • Repeat this as needed until you get the pristine fence you were looking for. Make sure you’re properly rinsing cleaning materials off with each repetition, so as to avoid a film building up on your fence that might create a whole new host of cleaning issues to face.

For more on cleaning a vinyl fence or any other fence material, or to learn about any of our fencing supplies or installation services, speak to the staff at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

Preparing Fences for the Winter

The winter is just around the corner, and if you’re a homeowner with a fence, that means it’s high time for a few basic bits of preparation. The cold season is the toughest on most fence types, with snow and extreme temperatures putting strain on them that isn’t seen during much of the rest of the year.

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we can help you prepare for this in advance. Whether you have a vinyl fence, chainlink fence, wrought iron fence or one of our many other options, our experts can walk you through some of the basic steps you should be taking in the fall and even into winter itself to ensure your fence stays in great shape. Here are a few simple tips.

preparing fences winter

Tree Trimming

For starters, you want to limit the possibility of any damage taking place to your fence from impact during the winter – and the largest risk here is tree branches breaking off due to the weight of snow. Assess all trees near your fence line, and cut back any branches that hang above the fence or could contact it if they were to fall. Some of the most frustrating fence repairs are those that are caused by these kinds of preventable impacts.

Fence Visibility

Many fences sit near roads or driveways, and if this is the case for your fence, you want to take a few extra steps in the fall to ensure it can be seen properly when snow builds up. Particularly for white or lighter-colored fences, it can be tough to see exactly where they sit during a snowstorm or when lots of snow has built up on the side of the road (often increased due to plowing).

To avoid this happening, place some reflectors on your fence at the top. If you get particularly deep snow in your area, you might consider also purchasing extenders on the reflectors so your fence becomes even higher.

Fall Fixes

Before any snow begins to fall, it’s important to walk your entire fence and check for any damage, such as loose boards or cracks. You should take the time to make simple repairs like these before winter truly starts – they’ll be much harder to complete when there’s snow on the ground, and for certain fence types, allowing snow’s moisture to get into damaged parts of the fence could create further damage.

Plowing and Snow Build-Up

Once the snow has begun to drop, you’ll naturally be doing some basic plowing and snow clean-up near your fences. In cases where you have a fence close to your driveway, do your best to avoid piling too much snow up directly on the fence – this could cause damage like sagging, warping or outright falling over if enough weight is put on it. Also be careful when driving a mechanical plow; you’d be surprised how often we hear about people simply knocking their fence over because they weren’t paying attention.

For all fences, even those that aren’t close to the road, removing snow is important. Wood fences, in particular, absorb water and could rot or mold far sooner if you don’t take the time to clean snow up every so often. All you need is a basic broom or even a gloved hand. You can also consider staining or sealing your fence to prevent these issues if you aren’t able to clean snow off it regularly.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our fence supplies or services, speak to the pros at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

Choosing the Right Fence Finishing

When it comes to the lifespan of a new fence, one of the most important factors is the “finishing” option used. Finishing refers to paint or stain that’s put on the fence for both practical and aesthetic reasons, and it can have a big impact on how long your fence lasts after it’s installed.

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we can help you with finishing and all related fence supplies for vinyl fences, wood fences, wrought iron fences and numerous other types. In general, there are three broad options for finishing your fence: Painting it, staining it, or leaving it natural. Let’s look at some basics on each.

choosing fence finishing

Paint

Paint was the original finishing option for fences, and was used for a long time before staining really became popular. For many homeowners, there’s no replacement for that true paint look on a fence, particularly a wood option.

That said, paint comes with a few downsides. You’ll have a good deal of maintenance involved with a standard painted fence, including likely having to repaint it at least once every three years – or more often in many cases, since paint can crack and peel due to the elements. Repainting is a significant task, too; you have to scrape off all old pain, prep the surface, and then repaint. If you’re prepared for these tasks, though, nothing replaces good old-fashioned paint on the fence.

Stain

Staining generally comes at a higher upfront cost than painting, but it’s important to think about this from a long-term standpoint. Remember that if you paint, you’ll have to repaint every few years at least – this means that painting comes with recurring costs that add up over time.

With staining, there’s no such concern. Stains do fade and require re-staining, but this happens far less often than with paint. Stains don’t peel or crack, so even when you do rarely have to re-stain, the process will be much easier. There are several stain options, from solid stains to transparent and semi-transparent options that leave the look of your natural material below the stain. Some stains are only meant to waterproof the fence, not provide any color at all.

Leaving Natural

Finally, some homeowners choose the natural option – applying no stain or paint whatsoever to the fence, allowing it to stand up to the elements itself. Whether this choice is right for you often comes down to materials; vinyl fences, for instance, are made to withstand various extreme weather situations, including wind, moisture and even direct impact. Wood fences, on the other hand, will likely deteriorate over time if left exposed to weather – though these days, that “weathered” look for fences is becoming more popular if you don’t have functional concerns to deal with.

For more on which finishing option to choose for your fence, or to learn about any of our fence supplies, speak to the pros at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

Determining Your Deck’s Lifespan

At Utah Fence Warehouse, we’re your top stop for not only all your fence supplies and needs, but also all your decking requirements as well. Our deck and railing materials are the best in the industry, and our experts are available to help as much or as little as you need as you complete your project.

One of the most common questions we get from clients in this realm: How long will my deck last after I install it? The answer is that it depends on a few things, the most important of which is the material used. With the right planning and care, you can get a deck that lasts decades without any concerns. Here are some basics on how long some of the most common deck types last, plus why maintenance is important.

determining deck’s lifespan

Wood Types

Wood is the most popular decking material out there, and it comes in several varieties. It’s the perfect look and feel for most decks, blending well with both the yard below and the home itself. On the flip side, wood comes with some of the most significant maintenance concerns of any deck material – it’s prone to rot and warping due to moisture, and there are several precautions you have to take to ensure it doesn’t wear down.

The particular type of wood you use will play a big role in how long your deck is good for. A few common types include:

  • Cedar: Cedar is popular for both decks and fences because it has less moisture retention than most other wood types. This means it’s at lower risk than most for rot issues, though these risks do still exist. With the proper care, cedar decks can last for between 25 and 40 years – but they will definitely require regular maintenance, and may only last 10 or 15 years if they don’t get it.

  • Pressure-treated: Pressure-treated wood has chemical preservatives in its grains, which are inserted using pressurized technology. These preservatives increase resistance to both rot and insect damage, and can last between 20 and 50 years. Even pressure-treated wood can warp, so maintenance is still needed.

  • Mahogany or ipe: These are hard wood types that resist scratches, making them great for homes with pets with large claws. They resist rot and mold naturally, and can last up to 40 years.

Composite

Introduced within the last few decades, composite deck materials can be made in a few ways. They generally involve plastic or vinyl materials, and will often include recycled materials as well. They’re created in a uniform fashion, meaning there’s no excess wood or pieces with imperfections. And perhaps most importantly, composite materials are made to resist warping, rotting and splintering.

Unlike wood options, composite requires very little maintenance. You just need to hose the deck off for bird droppings every so often, and you’re done. The only true negative about composite decks is that they aren’t true wood, and therefore lack the look and feel that wood brings. However, composite today is available in wood tones, and even with natural wood grains.

Maintenance is Vital

As we’ve noted throughout this blog, maintenance is very important for maximizing the lifespan of your deck. This is particularly true if you use wood products, which will require staining, sealing or minor repairs from time to time. Good maintenance will keep your deck in great shape, while poor maintenance could cut its lifespan in half or even worse.

For more on how long your deck will last, or to learn about any of our decking or fencing services, speak to the pros at Utah Fence Warehouse today.

How to be a Good Neighbor While Building a Fence

When you build a fence in your yard, it’s important to be a good neighbor in the process. There’s such a thing as “fence etiquette,” which is simply being considerate to your neighbor during your installation process.

Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself questions like “What’s the polite thing to do?” to maintain a good relationship. The last thing you want is a quarrel or resentment.

building a fence

Here are some ways to stay on your neighbor’s good side while you build your fence.

Discuss the Fence Before Installation

Before you begin installation, consider talking with your neighbor about your plans. No one likes surprises. Your neighbor might have to prepare for installation by clearing away yard items, making sure pets or children won’t get in the way, etc.

If the fence will go near or on your property line, then discussing the fence with your neighbor is likely mandatory, mainly to avoid property line disputes. Make sure there aren’t disagreements or confusion about property line locations. Contact a surveyor if you and your neighbor aren’t sure where the property line actually falls. Hiring the expert, then discussing feedback with your neighbor, will keep you both on the same page.

Otherwise, if you unintentionally build your fence on your neighbor’s property, there’s a chance you’ll have to tear it down later.

Fence etiquette rules vary from state to state. For local regulations, visit statelocalgov.net. Then click your state, county and city or town to view your local government’s website. There you’ll either find a phone number to call, or you’ll see everything you need to know about fence permits.

What to Do About Fences That Benefit Both Properties

Sometimes, neighbors split the cost of a fence, especially if it’s on the property line. If you both are friendly with one another and mutually agree on a fence, split the cost equally.
Keep in mind that if your neighbor contributes to costs, they may expect to have a say in the style and color of the fence — which is only fair. As long as you’re both in agreement, see compromises like this as beneficial, helping you both work toward a common goal.
However, beware of wrong assumptions and pitfalls on your part. Never assume your neighbor will pay simply because you expect it. Don’t badger them or make demands. Always initiate clear, honest communication to avoid misunderstandings.

What to do About the Front Side of the Fence

Traditionally, it’s common practice and courteous to place the front, finished side of your fence facing your neighbor’s yard. The back side should face your property.

Once you and your neighbor are in agreement, it’s time to build the fence! Call the team at Utah Fence Warehouse to find the perfect option.

Building a Fence? What to Know About Property Lines and Regulations

Anyone building a fence knows that the bureaucratic process regarding property lines, local ordinances and communicating with neighbors can feel like a complicated, confusing hassle. Each jurisdiction has laws about height requirements, how far back an owner must build a fence and more.

What are your responsibilities, according to local regulations? What should you do about property line confusion?

Take a moment to pause and research. Doing so will be a huge relief.  You’ll realize the process isn’t complicated as long as you understand and obey local laws.

building-fence-property-lines

Here’s what you need to know:

Property Line Guidelines

Many homeowners choose to install fences directly on their property lines to ensure maximum yard space for pets and kids to play, gardening and more.

Building a fence directly on the property line involves your neighbors, which could mean that responsibility must be shared between you both. You have to decide who pays what, and which neighbor gets the nicer side. Open dialogue and clear communication are important so that you come to an agreement that suits both sides.

In some cases, building fences directly on property lines is prohibited. When this isn’t allowed, local jurisdictions have laws about how far back from property lines fences need to be set. This ranges from two to eight inches from the property line, depending on where you live.

Since every jurisdiction has different rules, don’t make assumptions; always check local ordinances about fence placement.

Fence Height Regulations

Fence height regulations are set by local ordinances called Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs). Most fencing laws put limits on fence height. Typically, in residential areas, fences are limited to four feet tall in front yards and six feet tall in backyards. Sometimes, natural fences made up of rows of trees, shrubs and bushes are regulated if they meet the neighbor’s property. Natural fences typically can’t be taller than five to eight feet.

Know About Forbidden or Required Fence Materials

Usually, people choose materials like wood, vinyl or chain link fences for their yards. Sometimes, though, fences are made of materials like barbed wire, which will most likely be forbidden due to safety hazards.

Additionally, some towns only approve certain types and styles of fences in order to maintain consistent aesthetics throughout the neighborhood. While this is rare, make sure your materials are approved of by local ordinances.

Hire a Surveyor

If you’re still not sure about local fencing regulations, that’s okay. Ask a professional to survey your property, clarifying issues such as property line confusion. Doing so will save you the stress of possibly making a mistake and having to re-install your fence down the road.

Call Utah Fence Warehouse

While we aren’t surveyors, at Utah Fence Warehouse, our experienced design consultants are familiar with most local codes and are happy to help any way we can. Give us a call today to chat logistics to get you one step closer to installing a beautiful new fence!

How to Keep Your Fence in its Best Condition

Fences require maintenance in order to last a long time and look great. All fences need upkeep at least twice a year, whether they’re wood, metal, iron or vinyl.

Fence maintenance is vital because it saves homeowners money, increases curb appeal and adds value to homes. Whether you’re in the market for a new fence and want to start out on the right foot or you want to work on your current fence, below are some ways to keep it in the best condition.

How to Keep Your Fence in its Best Condition

For Wood Fences

They’re beautiful and add value to homes, but if they aren’t looked after, wood fences can rot. To avoid this hassle and help slow down decay, buy pressure-treated wood.

Immediately after installation, fences should be sealed with a protective coating. Sealing contributes to a longer life and helps withstand insects, rot, and the elements. Additional routine maintenance includes power washing and painting or staining every few years to remove mildew and mold.

Every year or so, examine the fence for hardware that needs to be replaced: broken nails, screws, loose boards — anything that looks out of place. These routine checks extend the life of the wood and ultimately save the owner thousands of dollars on major replacements.

For Iron or Metal Fences

Iron and metal fences are extremely durable. With proper care, they look great for decades. 
However, one thing is out to get them: rust.

Even a small amount can spread and impact their life spans. Routine maintenance can prevent rust though, so regularly check for signs. Rust tends to appear most often in moisture-heavy areas with a lot of rain or humidity. If rust does appear, scrub it off with a wire brush. Then wash the area with a mild cleanser afterward.

Also, keep fence areas clear of foliage, and paint your fence for added protection. If you want your fence waterproofed, apply wax.

For Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences are the easiest to maintain. They come in a variety of colors, so they don’t require painting or staining, and unlike iron and metal, they don’t rust.

For long-lasting fences, maintenance is still required, but the job is simple. Just rinse off dirt, grass clippings and fertilizer with a garden hose or gentle cleanser. Minor stains are removed with soap and water, while plastic-safe degreasers or 10:1 water and bleach mixes solve major stains.

Don’t push fence maintenance to the bottom of your to-do list. Give your fencing the care it deserves. At Utah Fence Warehouse, we sell wood, vinyl, iron and metal fencing and would love to work with you. Call or email us today!

When Is it Time to Build a Fence?

Fences serve a variety of purposes that are aesthetic, practical and safety-oriented. It’s probably time to build a fence around your property if you identify with any of the following concerns.

When Is it Time to Build a Fence

A Fence Keeps Children & Pets Safe

If you have young children or pets, installing a fence will help create a safety barrier between them and the outside world. Especially if you live close to a road or if your home is in a congested area, you don’t want to deal with the anxiety of having to watch for cars.

Fences create peace of mind. With a fence, you can let the kids play in a safe, confined space without worrying about them wandering off and getting hurt. Your pets can roam the yard leash-free, and you won’t have to stress about them running into the road.

What style fence would work best for you? Low picket fences safely keep in small children and puppies, and tall privacy fences are the best option for bigger dogs.

If You Have a Pool

Fences are legally required if you have a swimming pool. Check your local city or residential codes for specific requirements. Most codes require installing fences that are 4 feet tall or higher with a self-closing gate. Fences must surround the pool and obstruct outside access to it.

With a fence, you’ll feel more secure knowing that when summer hits, your friends, family and neighbors’ kids are safe from water-related accidents.

Ornamental aluminum, wood, and vinyl fences are some of the most popular choices for building around pools. They are pretty and offer a bit of privacy, too.

When You Need Privacy

Homeowners often install fences for privacy. A fence is the solution if you feel too exposed, whether you spend most of your time inside your home and want an added bit of quiet, or if you enjoy being out back or in the front yard but prefer a private retreat.

Fences create cozy, contained atmospheres and take care of any issues caused by nosy neighbors. For optimum privacy, select a tall wood or vinyl fence.

For Security

Fences are great solutions to safety concerns. Do you live in an area where break-ins or other types of crime are common? Or if you live in a safe neighborhood, do you worry about a random, unexpected burglary? Building a fence will help deter any unwanted attention and break-ins.

They Increase in Curb Appeal

Homes featuring stylish fences have more welcoming façades, increasing property values. If the fence is in good condition with decorative posts and ornaments, accented by rows of flowers, the overall result will be a complete look showcasing a distinct personality and style.

Have questions about building a fence? Talk to the experts at Utah Fence Warehouse today!