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Bakersfield, CA Provide Protection and Privacy for Your Home with a Quality Fence

Bakersfield, CA Home Improvement Guide


Fences
Fence Contractors; Fences; Fence Repair

There are many reasons to consider building a fence around your yard. Fences provide privacy, security, and curb appeal. A variety of materials are available to create a number of different looks, each with several advantages and disadvantages. This section provides tips and advice on what you need to know before starting your fence as well as a breakdown of material choices. Research the benefits and drawbacks to each fencing material to determine the best option for your yard.

Installing a fence is a good do-it-yourself project if you have the motivation and time. Most home improvement centers can provide you with instructions on what specifically is required when building a fence. There are also a number of online sites that provide quality advice. If time is limited, consider leaving this project in the hands of your contractor or a fence contractor. To find a quality professional in your area, visit the Fence Contractors heading at MyYP.com.


How to Get Started
Fence Contractors; Fences

Before digging the first hole or mixing the concrete for the posts, determine the purpose of the fence. Is it to provide a play area for children and pets, set boundaries between neighbors, add privacy, or to separate the pool area? Determining the purpose provides a guideline to selecting the right material. A chain link fence provides little privacy if that is your goal, but it is great for defining a play area for kids and pets. Perhaps you have a need for both so wood or vinyl is a better selection. Whatever your needs, having a specific objective in mind aids in the decision making process. Once you have a set objective, follow through with some required homework.

Building Code
Make a trip down to your local city council or city zoning office to determine the zoning laws and easement rules in your area. Find out the parameters upfront to avoid unnecessary headaches. Zoning laws specify the height, design, material, and placement restrictions your fence will need to adhere to.

Determine Property Lines
Consult the survey or plot plan for your home to determine exact property lines. Plans should have been provided to you when you closed on the house. If you cannot locate them, the local county courthouse or record office can provide you with a plan of the property. Determine the parameters of your lot and place stakes and string lines to outline the line of the fence.

Talk to Neighbors
Once the lines have been set, discuss them and your plans with neighbors. This is a courtesy effort that goes along way and avoids potential headaches. Make sure they are comfortable with the location and that the fence is entirely on your own property. If disagreements arise, consider hiring a property surveyor.

Call before Digging
Prior to digging any holes in the yard, call 811 (Underground Service Alert) to ensure you avoid power lines, natural gas pipelines, communication lines, or other utility lines. Serious damage can occur to you or your home should a power or gas line be struck in the course of digging. Call 811 at least two days prior to excavation and you will receive instructions on how to avoid potential problems.


Fence Components
Fence Contractors; Fences

Once you determine the function of the fence, determine the form. Fences can be designed in a variety of styles that follow the architectural appearance of the home or your own personal preference. The spacing between boards, decorative elements included on posts or the shape of the board tops each adds a distinct look to the fence. Consider the following factors when determining the design of the fence that is right for you.

Height
Most fences are either a picket fence or a privacy fence. A picket fence is shorter measuring 4 feet or under. The boards are typically narrow at 3-3½ inches wide with space in between each board. A privacy fence is typically 6 feet or higher with tongue and groove boards that fully close the gaps between boards, prohibiting a view inside the yard. Other fence styles use a combination of heights, widths of boards, number of rails, posts, etc.

Boards
Available in a variety of styles and widths, boards are defined by their shapes and tops. Most picket fences feature a Gothic top which narrows at the top creating a point. Creating a more ornate look, a French Gothic includes a nip at the neck of a Gothic top. Simple board tops include the flat top and dog-ear boards. A flat top board has a level top and the dog-ear board removes the corners from the flat top creating a softer look.


Posts
As the structural foundation of a fence, a variety of post styles can add character and elegance to any fence. Posts can be made with contrasting materials to help them stand out or with simple rounded or squared post that blends with the panels. The height either matches the panels or extends higher with an ornate cap.

Caps
Added to the top of posts, a variety of cap styles and shapes are available to further enhance the look of a fence. Caps typically match their fence style or period. Architectural styles include Victorian, colonial, New England, Cape Cod, etc. A variety of modern, classical, or ranch styles are also available providing a wide range of choices.


Fence Styles
Fences

Unless constructed of brick or stone, most fences are built using a similar structure. A traditional fence is also referred to as a “board and post” fence. Board and post fences use posts as the ground anchor with boards attached in between each post. To make fence building easier, many manufacturers create board panels which are pre-made and fit evenly between standard post dimensions. Different cap and board tops add style to the fence and match a period or theme. Below is a variety of the more popular fence styles.

Picket Style
Following an English garden theme, picket fences provide charm and quaintness to cottage-style homes. This shorter fence traditionally uses dog-ear, French gothic, or gothic board tops with spacing between each board.

Privacy Style
Traditionally at least six feet tall, a full privacy fence blocks the view of the house from the street or side yards. Boards are typically overlapped, shadow boxed or use tongue and groove to close off spacing between boards. Solid board fences and stockade fences are popular privacy fences. Solid board places boards directly next to each other with a decorated design on top such as lattice to add elegance and style. A stockade fence uses gothic or French gothic board tops for its style while placing the boards directly next to each other creating privacy protection and a noise barrier.

Lattice Style
Allowing some sunlight and air to pass through, lattice style fences employ strips of material in a crisscrossed, diagonal pattern. This creates a delicate and elegant look while opening up the fence.

Basket Weave Style
Similar to lattice, the strip material is wider and woven horizontally to fully block the view, creating privacy. The basket weave appearance adds visual appeal while ensuring privacy and noise protection.

Split-Rail Style
Popular with ranches and country style homes, split rail fences place two, three, or four rails between each post. Rails run horizontally or diagonally or use a combination of both creating a crossbuck-style fence. This style of fence is typically used to house livestock or define the perimeter of an area.


Materials
Fence Materials; Fence Contractors

The number of choices available for fencing makes choosing one very difficult. Determine upfront the advantages and disadvantages of each to aid in the final selection. Each material provides a distinctive look and requires a certain degree of maintenance. Review the section below as you contemplate your choices to select the material that is right for you.

Natural Stone
Advantage: Providing a natural rock look, stone offers an elegance and beauty that is timeless. The durability of natural rock and stone is also unmatched. Natural stone can withstand any climate, severe weather, animals, pests, and insects preserving its quality look for years to come. The look of natural stone is also an aesthetic blend with any yard and a variety of stone colors can match any exterior style.

Disadvantage: Overall cost is the largest disadvantage of natural stone. As natural stone requires molding rocks to certain heights and sizes, this is a project that requires custom installation.

Cost: Not only is natural stone the most expensive fence material but it is also the most expensive to install. You may be required to purchase the stone by the ton, further adding to the overall cost. Because stone is also extremely heavy, premiums are charged to deliver stone to a site.

Durability: As one of the most durable resources, stone lasts for centuries. It withstands any weather and resists water. Depending on the type of stone fence, one using mortar as the bond may need to be resealed occasionally to protect it from water and other elements. A mortar set fence is also more durable than the dry set option which stacks stone on top of each other directly without the use of any bonding agent.

Maintenance: Very little maintenance is required other than occasionally hosing it down to remove dust and dirt. When using a mortar setting, check it regularly and repair or reseal any noticeable weathering.

Installation: Due to the weight of some stones and the greater difficulty of installation, stone fences should be left to professionals. Work with your contractor to determine the design and size of the fence or contact a local expert directly by visiting the Fence Contractors or Mason Contractors heading on MyYP.com.

Wood
Advantage: The most common material used in fences, wood provides a natural, classic, and beautiful look. Wood can be painted or stained to match the color and décor of any exterior and is one of the more affordable fencing options. The fencing is readily available and as a renewable resource, wood is environmentally friendly. Some woods are more durable than others and using pressure treated lumber ensures a longer lasting product. Pine, cypress, spruce, redwood, and cedar are the most common types of wood fences.

Disadvantage: Weaker in durability and strength, wood fences are more susceptible to weathering and become weaker with age. They are also more prone to rotting and insects. If not properly treated, wood is very susceptible to water damage and after getting wet and drying over the years, it will begin to fade, warp, and crack.

Cost: One of the less expensive materials, wood averages $9-11 per square foot for a 4 foot fence and $15-18 for a 6 foot privacy fence.

Durability: The durability of a wood fence is not as good as other fencing materials. Anticipate 5-10 years for the life of your fence depending on the amount of quality maintenance it receives. While nothing can be done to eliminate natural weathering, regular sealing maintenance with a water-repellent solution will extend its life.

Maintenance: Wood fences require the most maintenance schedule of any fencing material. At installation, the wood needs to be sealed to protect it from absorbing water and fading from the sun. A regular maintenance of cleaning and resealing is also required every two or three years. With a little effort and upkeep, a wood fence will retain its beauty and elegance.

Installation: As one of the easier fences to install, a good do-it-yourselfer can save additional money by installing the wood fence themselves. Many home improvement centers or lumber yards can provide detailed instructions or a number of websites can guide you through the process. If time is limited and you want to have a professional handle the work, discuss the job with your existing contractor. Or find a local expert yourself by visiting the Fence Contractors heading at MyYP.com.

Brick
Advantage: Like natural stone, brick provides extreme durability and strength. The cost of brick is much lower than stone making it a strong option at a more attractive price. Brick also provides freedom in the style and design of the fence. It can look traditional like a red brick wall or be colored and shaped for a unique, one-of-a-kind look. The surface is also easily painted to provide a different look.

Disadvantage: If more simple brick and cinder blocks are used fences can look dull and plain. Once erected, brick fences are difficult to change and remove. Installation is usually beyond the ability of a good do-it-yourselfer which increases the overall cost. More in-depth designs or combining with another material for a more sophisticated look further increases installation costs.

Cost: The materials themselves are less expensive averaging less than $10 per square foot. Installation costs make using brick much higher in price ranging around $15 per square foot on top of material costs.

Durability: If built correctly, a brick fence can last a lifetime. The durability of the materials and construction make it resistant to a number of elements including water, fire, rot, and insects.

Maintenance: Little if no maintenance is required with a brick fence. An occasional hosing off of dust and dirt keeps it looking clean and well maintained. If not properly installed, cracking can occur in the mortar which will damage the durability of the fence. Occasional checking to stay on top of any visible cracks can ensure the fence will last for a century.

Installation: A brick fence can be a do-it-yourself project but make sure you are comfortable with the material and how it is used. To ensure long-term durability consider using a professional to install the fence. Discuss the options with your existing contractor or visit the Fence Contractors or Mason Contractors headings at MyYP.com to find experts in your area.

Vinyl
Advantage: A widely popular choice, vinyl fences are very durable and available in a wide variety of styles. Available mostly in white, this plastic fence never needs to be painted and the color doesn’t fade over time. The color is included throughout the manufacturing of the product, making scratches or gouges less visible. Vinyl is also rot and rust resistant. Produced in panels and posts, installation is easier and can be done yourself.

Disadvantage: Initially, vinyl fences are more expensive than wood. Over the lifetime of the product however, the fence saves money as it does not require the maintenance of wood fencing. The sizing of panel pieces require the posts to be closer together which increases the cost and labor.

Cost: Averaging $20 per square foot, vinyl fencing is one of the more costly to purchase but money can be saved over time due to the low amount of maintenance.

Durability: Vinyl is one of the more durable fencing materials and is stronger than natural wood. Due to its strength and flexibility it stands up better to severe weather.

Maintenance: Requiring very little maintenance, vinyl is quickly becoming the top choice for many homeowners. Remove dust and dirt with a garden hose and use a sponge to remove tougher stains. Add a powder detergent for deeper set stains to restore the vinyl, making it look new.

Installation: A quality do-it-yourselfer can handle the installation but as with most fences, durability is based on the quality of installation. Make sure you are comfortable with the task and requirements before taking on the project. If time is limited, discuss installation with your contractor or find a local expert at MyYP.com under the Fence Contractors heading.

Composite
Advantage: Combining the durability of synthetic plastic and wood, composite fencing uses the same quality material used in decks. Composite fences do not require painting or sealing and are offered in a wide variety of colors to mimic real wood. Using solid wood for posts, composite places a sleeve over the post to protect it from weathering and provide the strength and durability of the panels. Panels are made from solid composite material offering a product that is resistant to rotting, rusting, and insect damage. The solid composite material is also much stronger than vinyl, which is hollow; allowing it to stand up to harsh weather conditions.

Disadvantage: At the same pricing as vinyl, composite decking is significantly more expensive than wood. Solid planks are often heavier than natural wood requiring posts to be set closer than other fences, increasing the amount of material and labor. Scratches can occur easier with composite fences which are often permanent.

Cost: Similar to vinyl, the cost of a composite fence is $17-20 per square foot. More expensive up front, the cost become significantly less over time as limited maintenance is required.

Durability: Composite fencing is extremely durable withstanding harsh weather conditions, harsh climates, and insect damage. If installed properly, the lifetime of the fence is similar to decks providing 20-30 years of beauty and durability.

Maintenance: No painting or sealing is required with composite fencing making it a low maintenance product. An occasional spray of the hose removes dirt and dust. Avoid using pressure washers as the extreme water pressure cuts into the material or scratches the surface. For stubborn stains, consult manufacturer specifications for the best cleaning solutions.

Installation: Depending on the area, a simple, level area fence can be installed by a qualified do-it-yourselfer. However, if you want to ensure maximum durability, consider a to handle the job. Talk with your contractor about installing the fence or visit the Fence Contractors heading at MyYP.com for a professional in your area.

Wrought Iron
Advantage: A prevalent choice in ornamental fencing, wrought iron provides a strong, secure perimeter while enhancing the elegance and beauty of the yard. When installed properly, it becomes almost impossible to tear down and very difficult to scale. The strength and durability of the product ensures that it will outlast other fencing materials and when seams are welded together, versus bolting, the fence becomes even stronger. The standard colors are black or white but wrought iron can be painted to match any exterior style.

Disadvantage: The large spacing between iron rods provides a limited amount of privacy. It is difficult to install on steep grades as the material does not offer much flexibility. Rust is also something you need to keep an eye out for if unprotected areas are exposed to moisture. A more expensive material, wrought iron fences are significantly more expensive than other fencing materials.

Cost: One of the most expensive options, wrought iron costs $20-30 per square foot.

Durability: Wrought iron is a strong and durable metal that lasts for decades. Providing a sturdy perimeter, these fences withstand abuse and make the home more secure. This solid metal also holds up to harsher climates and weather conditions and is resistant to insects and rot.

Maintenance: While resistant to rot, it is not resistant to rust. Iron rusts when exposed to the elements and excessive rust can weaken the iron. Avoid rust by keeping a vigilant watch on the fence and eliminating it as soon as possible. An occasional scrubbing eliminates the first signs of rust and regular repainting keeps it looking fresh, clean and rust free.

Installation: Wrought iron fences are custom made based on the specifications of your yard. Therefore, a specialized fencing contractor should be brought in to handle the installation. Discuss the best choice with your contractor or find one in your area by visiting the Iron Ornamental heading at MyYP.com.

Aluminum
Advantage: Obtain the look of wrought iron at a more efficient price. Available in a wider variety of colors, aluminum never requires additional painting. Aluminum is also rust resistant providing another advantage over wrought iron. Due to its ability to be easily recycled, this is also one of the more environmentally friendly material choices.

Disadvantage: Installing the fence on a slope is still a difficult task as aluminum does not provide much flexibility. The durability of aluminum is much lower than wrought iron and is more prone to damage. The grade of the iron is not as heavy duty and aluminum will be damaged if someone attempts to climb or sit on the fence.

Cost: In between a chain link and wrought iron fence, aluminum fencing runs about $12-15 per square foot.

Durability: Not as strong as wrought iron, the durability of aluminum is lower however a powder coating makes the material rust proof and stronger against the elements. Aluminum fences are particularly good for specific areas of the yard such as swimming pools. Panels and components are made from quality stainless steel that are pre-drilled prior to powder coating further protecting them from rust. Components are sealed with bolted brackets that provide additional strength and stability to the fence.

Maintenance: Most aluminum fences are made with aluminum frames, stainless steel fasteners and fiberglass nylon hardware eliminating the possibility of rust. Maintenance is therefore very minimal and general clean up can be done with a hose. No painting is required further eliminating the need for maintenance.

Installation: As most of the fence is made pre-assembled, installation by the do-it-yourselfer is much easier. If you prefer the help of a professional, discuss options with your contractor or find a local professional by visiting the Fence Contractors heading at MyYP.com for a professional in your area.

Chain Link
Advantage: For more extensive yards or areas, chain link fences provide durability, rust protection and rotting protection at a very economical price. Commonly used in backyards or play areas, chain link fences are easy to see through and let sunlight pass through for shrubs and plants placed near them. It provides a solid choice for securing animals and pets.

Disadvantage: A less decorative option, chain link fences offer little privacy. Slats can be placed between fences diagonally or vertically providing added privacy and are available in a wide range of colors.

Cost: One of the lower priced options, a chain link fence costs $8-10 per square foot.

Durability: Chain link fences are available in galvanized or vinyl coated metal making them strong and rust resistant. With strong posts, this fence can withstand heavy weather and climates as well as abuse from excessive climbing and hanging.

Maintenance: Little maintenance is required as it is rust resistant and very little can stick to the surface of the fence. An occasional hosing may be required to posts that become dirty or dusty.

Installation: Chain link fences are an easier option for a strong do-it-yourselfer. If time is limited or you want to ensure building code compliance, opt for a contractor to handle the installation. If you want to find a professional in your area, visit the Fence Contractors heading at MyYP.com.

 
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