Thinking of building a fence? You’ve come to the right place! Today, we’ll be looking at the top 10 things you need to consider when starting a new fence project, the first in an article series on the subject. We’ll cover essential tips that can help you save on time, costs, and stress. Let’s get started!
Know what You Want the Fence to Provide
Before you install a fence on your property, you need to take the time to ask yourself why you’re building one in the first place. If it’s simply to keep family members and pets safe, a chain-link fence might be a better option. If it’s for privacy or sound, you might consider something more solid and taller. But, if you’re like 90% of all homeowners, your reasons for building your fence will be more complex than that. In the end, whatever the reason you’re choosing to install a fence, the first step is deciding what exactly it will be providing, then choosing the best option for you and your family.
Choose the Right Materials for Your Job
A white picket fence is one of the first things we picture when we think about fences, but there are some things to consider before buying your wood and paint. Wooden fences, beloved for the elegant look they lend to your yard, will almost certainly require occasional staining, painting, or sealing. They also often warp and rot over time, especially if untreated. A low-maintenance solution such as vinyl can offer the look of real wood, but without all the maintenance involved in having a wooden fence. Other material options including aluminum, steel, and wrought iron make good choices for low-maintenance fences as well.
No matter what material you choose, don’t skimp on quality. City of Ottawa fence by-laws require fences to be constructed with quality materials. The city also expects you to take proper care of your fencing. Wooden fences need to be stained and treated, for instance, while other types should be protected with paints, sealants, or other weather-resistant solutions. There are certain features that your fence cannot include. These include sharp attachments such as barbed or chicken wire, or anything with an electric current. When you erect a fence, it should always be perfectly vertical, as a sloping fence hints at problems with the construction and installation. If this happens, you will likely be asked to take it down.
Mix it Up a Little!
Don’t be afraid of mixing styles when building a fence! For instance, perhaps go with a nice wooden picket fence in the front yard and a chain link fence in the back to protect the neighbourhood from your teacup terrier! This combination can cut down on both installation and maintenance costs while providing the right fence for all your needs. On that note, height regulations put forth by the City of Ottawa can actually work in your favour when you add a bit of variety to your yard. They require visibility triangles, or unobstructed areas on intersected roads, so that vehicles and pedestrians can see and pass safely. This means that fences have a maximum height level. For example, the front yard cannot have a fence higher than one metre high, and other yards have a maximum height of 2.13 metres.
If you have a fence that faces city property like an open field, consider a chain-link fence that can be grown over with ivy for more privacy. Though you’ll need to trim the ivy from time to time, it can cut back on other maintenance. You are responsible for both sides of your fence, so if it is vandalized on the other side, it is up to you to keep it clean. A chain-link fence can eliminate this risk while still looking classy and, with some ivy, it adds a touch of natural greenery to your backyard.
Do Some Research and Check Those Property Lines!
Check with your neighbours and local building code officials about the rules and regulations on fencing in your area. There may be certain building codes that specify height, and materials, for instance. Not taking this step can be even costlier than the fence itself. Some cities and towns require you to install your fence with the nicer side (the one without posts and rails) facing your neighbours or city property. They can also regulate the distance your fence needs to be from the sidewalk or property lines. Some areas may even require building permits for fences. Checking the rules and regulations can save time, money, and even neighbour relationships.
Make sure you know exactly where your property lines are. According to city by-laws, you aren’t allowed to build a fence on City of Ottawa property, which means that you’ll be wasting your time and money by building a fence where it doesn’t belong (plus you’ll need to pay for its removal). Building on your neighbour’s property can be just as bad. You’ll have to pay to have the fence taken down in this case as well, and neither you nor your neighbour will be very happy with each other. Your contractor can find information about your property line for you, so never decide to guess where it is!
Hire Fence Installation Professionals
Fence installation is harder than it looks but, with a little research, it can be easy to find an experienced local fence contractor. The right choice knows all the details when it comes to installing fences properly, plus best practices for maintaining your investment. Visit our Fence Installation page to learn about the fence types we install and take a minute to look at the work we’ve already done here. This may even generate ideas for your own fence-building plans.
Did you find this first part of our series informative? Stay tuned for the five more things to consider when planning your fence project! For more information on our services and past projects, reach out to us at Ideal Fence today. We’re happy to help!