Fencing has many materials to choose from and starts with whether you want privacy or not. If you are not too worried about privacy, you can go with products such as chain link, iron or even a short little picket fence.
On the other hand, if you wanted something with privacy we recommend looking at either a PVC or wood fence materials. Wood fencing and PVC are very different. PVC as we’ve talked about before doesn’t require any maintenance post installation, yet still manages to look good without.
If you decide to go with wood, you will not only get a natural looking finish but you will also end up saving a little bit of money as well.
With wood being a natural product of the environment overtime you will notice that the wood will start to grey. Most people don’t like this look and decide to stain their deck on average every 2-3 years.
Depending on the elements that the wood is exposed to and soil conditions you can expect a lifespan up to 25 years.
With staining your fence every few years and with a lifespan of up to 25 years, you will notice that costs will balance out to the cost of a PVC material that requires no maintenance post installation.
This should be a major consideration if you can anticipate yourself being in that same house for the next 20+ years. Although PVC material costs a little bit more at the beginning in the end you will end up saving money and not have to worry about maintenance.
TYPES OF PVC PRODUCT
There are many different brands of PVC products to choose from.
If you go with a base product, you will notice that the walls of the PVC are a little thinner and will also come in 6 foot sections and are usually not reinforced with anything as they are 100% plastic.
Higher end products will have a thicker wall of plastic and you will find that they are reinforced with steel. Steel is added to the post and the bottom rail to alleviate any sagging and flexibility to the post.
Deciding on a well known PVC brand will cost you a little bit more than not so well known brands due to the fact that it is backed by a better warranty.
If the brand has been around for 20 years you can expect that it’s going to be around for another 20 years. When purchasing PVC products it’s not so much about the product but more about the warranty that comes with it.
Wood products are great but there are also many different grades of wood to choose from. If you go with a pressure treated fence or cedar fence you will notice different categories of grades such as 1st grade, 2nd grade.
1st grade has less imperfections compared to the 2nd grade with more imperfections. Meaning in comparison to 1st grade wood it won’t look as nice nor last as long in some cases.
IRON & CHAIN LINK
When it comes to iron and chainlink, there are different grades. You will find the thickness of the chainlink comes with the gauge. You can get a 7 gauge, 11 gauge, 14 gauge which ultimately means the higher the gauge the thinner the mesh and the thinner the mesh the easier it is to bend.
If you are looking for something a little bit more durable, we suggest going with the lower gauges.
WHATS THE DIFFERENCE?
If you are looking at iron products, they are all the same in the sense that they have the same style, look, and height. What is not clearly noticeable is that the paint finishes and coating are very different.
At the end of the day when you buy an iron fence you want it to last. Some products will last 5 years with no maintenance and then you will notice the paint starts to chip. This is usually due to the fact that there is no coating on them. Usually higher end products come with an armour shield or an e-coating.
Make sure to ask your sales representative about that if you decide to go for a higher end product.
Once you’ve decided on the materials you want to use and the brand now you can move onto sizing.
Everything from PVC to wood comes in different sizes. The size of the material you choose to use will extend the life of the product. For example, if you buy a thicker post, you will most likely see a longer life out of it.
Although 4×4 posts are standard for wood fencing but 6×6 posts are even better. You will find less twisting, warping, and cracking. If you use a 6×6 post they will last twice as long and the rot will not penetrate the base of the post as quickly as a 4×4.
If you go with a 6×6 post you can be confident that your gate/fence is going to last longer with less sagging.
Also, if you go with a PVC product that is reinforced with steel, with a beefier post, rail, and plastic you will get a better product at the end of the day and will last longer.
Finally, regardless of which material, brand, and size of the product you choose the install is very important.
The one thing that you do not see when someone is building a fence for you is what they are doing below grade. When you are digging a fence hole, you most definitely need a good depth. That depth in Ottawa should anywhere from 3 ½ – 4 ½ feet. The frost line in Ottawa between 3 – 3 ½ feet so you want to get past that.
If you cannot get past that there are ways to make it a little bit more stable, which is belling the bottom of the hole or bolting onto the rock because there is a lot of Canadian shield in Ottawa.
There are many different ways to make sure that the footing is frost susceptible.
If you are looking at getting into depth, you could use jackhammers to get through the rock or even a hand dig. When we go out to dig we do whatever is necessary to get to that proposed depth.
If you are looking at a product and would like to put extra money into that product you definitely would want to make sure that the installation is done properly the first time.
Let us know if you learned anything from this blog post!