When you are checking out your options for purchasing or installing fence materials it pays to be wise. Whether you are a business owner or a homeowner, making the right choices prior to a fence installation will determine its long-lasting good looks and fence durability. Contacting a licensed fence company can give you access to their professional level of experience. This will without doubt, help you make an informed consumer decision. You can select and install your own fence and be proud of your do it yourself – DIY eagerness. And, it may even save you money. But if you are not sure of how to do a quality commercial or residential fence installation you could cause yourself more expense in the long run.
By choosing the right group of professionals you can get expert fence advice. When you contact companies you are expecting to offer you information or an estimate they should present themselves in a professional manner. This means they should be courteous, informative, and timely for your appointments. A vast amount of fence companies offer the option of contacting them via the Internet. Do your research! A really professional looking website provides some assurance that you are communicating with a qualified fence company. You can specifically ask questions to your local fence professionals. They are familiar with the precise weather and geological factors that will affect your local fence installation.
At no cost to you, a fence estimator can come to your property and advise you on the different options available to you. They will likely have small sized samples for you to look at and touch. A skilled estimator will be able to explain the differences between the various types of residential or commercial fencing options. They can give exact costs and selections based on your particular fence site factors. The estimator will also be able to answer any ‘why this fence material’ or ‘how fence is put in’ questions you may have. They are certain to tell you some things about your would be, typical fence installation, that you would never have discovered on your own.
Once you have done your research and made a fencing material decision, you will need to decide on who is actually going to install the fence. Will it be you or a professional? If you intend to complete it a few things to consider are: Do you have the necessary tools to install the fence? Do you really have the know-how to install a fence? Can you give up your time for a couple of weekends or more (depending on the size of your fence project) to complete the installation? You will also have to do all the legwork for obtaining all permits. Remember that you will be the one warranting the fence. This mean you will be the only ‘fix’ it party and all material warranties are voided when the fence is not professionally installed.
You may be wiser to choose a licensed and bonded fence company to complete what for them is a standard fence installation. This will increase your up front fence cost, but you will know that your fence project was done in a well-informed way. You can enjoy your duty free weekend while it is efficiently installed with a fence warranty that includes labor. The fence company will also obtain all the necessary permits and contact Ms. Utility before beginning the install. Good quality fence companies have these expected operative processes in place.
Whether you choose to install DYI fence or get a professional to install the fence for you is up to you. Just don’t sell yourself short by not making a well-informed decision.
Article contributed by Dawn Lowndes.
In a time when it is close to impossible to pass through any one day without hearing some kind of information about the environment, this question should be discussed. This particular topic really must be analyzed from several different angles to get a workable answer.
Lets start by deciding what a fence is? The dictionary defines a fence as a barrier intended to prevent escape or intrusion or to mark a boundary. This definition could take into account a vast amount of fence types. Our discussion will limit its focus to the most common types of fencing including silt fencing, as well as chain link, ornamental aluminum, wood and vinyl fence materials.
Silt fence is the easiest to discuss because its chief purpose is to help protect the environment. Silt fence is usually placed on the down hill side of job sites to keep debris and other runoff from entering the local waterways and killing of the aquatic life. It does this by allowing the water to pass through the fabric while filtering off the loose debris.
Chainlink fence is sometimes used as a trash collector in local spillways to keep large debris such as soda bottles and trash bags from passing while allowing the passing of water and smaller debris. In this way it is environmentally friendly like the silt fence previously mentioned. It is also made from a galvanized coated steel wire that is completely recyclable. This feature actually allows the fence material to be melted down and used again. Ornamental fence is also completely recyclable. It too is made from aluminum or steel, which can be melted down or used again. Recyclability makes chainlink and ornamental fence an environmentally reasonable fence material to choose.
Wood, which is commonly used for picket fences and privacy fences, is a bit more involved environmentally. It should be stated that wood fencing does not do any more harm to the environment than any other wood structure that is made from the same type of lumber. Lumber itself, then becomes the key point of this discussion. Wood fence made from non-treated wood is completely environmentally friendly because it will eventually rot away or decay. It will of course be made from trees and that is an obvious environmental factor. Treating wood to increase the fence’s life span can buffer the use of wood but it does have its own down side. The chemicals that were previously used to treat the wood were arsenate based. These had a negative effect on the environment due to the impact on local wild life. Because of this, different chemicals are now being used to pressure treat lumber. None of the current products are perfect, but all will have a more positive effect on the environment arsenate.
Vinyl fence products are completely recyclable. Finding a company that recycles may prove to be rather difficult. Vinyl actually needs recycling more than any of the other mentioned fence types because vinyl does not decay at a rate worth mentioning. This means that once vinyl is created it will be around forever. For this reason alone, you should be aware of the drawback of selecting the vinyl choice. The ironic positive factor of vinyl is its longevity. Fewer raw materials will be needed for frequent fence replacement. It would be in the environments best interest for the consumer to accept the task of researching a viable recycle option for their disposed vinyl fence materials.
This information in no way covers the vast amount of environmental considerations for a fence selection. The amount of resources used to produce and ship the fence is a hidden factor. Sometimes the obvious answers around environmental considerations are far too simplified, but being mindful of the affect of your decisions on our world is best.
Article contributed by fence professional Luke Drylie.
Automated gate operators require safety devices, known as Entrapment Protection, to prevent moving gates from striking individuals or vehicles. The standard set for Automated Gate Operation is the UL325 standard as set by The Underwriter’s Laboratory and it consists of four classes of gates. Class 1 is a gate operation that most likely to come in contact with the public such as a personal residence. Class 2 is intended for commercial locations or multi-family housing units, hotels or garages. Class 3 is intended for an industrial location, factory or an area not intended to serve the general public. Finally, Class 4 is placed in a location such as an airport, restricted areas or any area that is restricted to public access.
The lower the class of gate, such as Class 1, the more safety devices will be required. These devices can consist of vehicle detection safety loops, photo eye sensors, gates edges, adjustable clutches, continuous pressure opening or closing devices, strobe lights and audio alarms are probably the most used safety devices for gate systems. These devices are explained in more detail below. Class 1 and 2 gates will require a combination of several safety devices to meet a UL325 rating. Class 3 requires two devices and Class 4 only requires one.
Safety loops are wire sensors that are buried in the existing surface area of a gate. They are designed to sense the presence of metal (maybe a vehicle or lawn mower) and they will hold the gate open or actually reverse the gate when a metal presence is noted. Photo safety eyes project a photosensitive beam that, if broken, indicates an obstruction and reverses the gate away from that object. Gate Edges actually reverse a moving gate when pressure is applied to the edge itself. The gate edge strip is attached the leading edges of a gate and if pressure is applied to that edge an obstruction is noted and the gate will automatically reverse. Continuous pressure open or close buttons will stop a gate as soon as pressure is released from the button in use. Audible and visual alarms provide protection for those distracted by other events or who may be handicapped in some manner.
Automated gate installations are best served by a combination of photo both safety cells and safety loops. Vehicle and pedestrian safety are best addressed when this combination is used, and the UL325 standard can be maintained.
Barrier arms require the same devices as gates. The number of loops required will vary with each type of gate access control system. As a rule slide gates require two loops, barrier gates require two loops and swing gates require three. All other safety devices can be used as designed in any of these installations.
Gate automation must be a secure yet safe to operate. The previously mentioned steps should be taken to protect people and property from unintended injury or damage during the opening or closing of any automated gate. If you have a question as to what class of gate you have or what safety devices you need to reach a certain certification just ask you operator or access control provider to help design a system to meet your desired safety requirement.
Warranty on vinyl fence and aluminum ornamental fence are usually limited warranties that are stated in the manufactures warranty information provided by each individual company. Manufacture warranties may vary from company to company but mostly include the following:
Lifetime Limited Warranty on Vinyl Fence Products
Lifetime limited warranties are provided by most manufactures of PVC vinyl fence products. The warranties are to the original consumer purchaser. Most warranties state that its vinyl fence and railing products are free of defects in workmanship and materials in the course of normal and proper use of the warranted fence product. Most warranties will cover chipping, peeling, blistering, flaking and damage by pests or abnormal weathering discoloration. Gate workmanship, including welds, is typically warranted for a period of two years depending on the fence material manufacturer. Custom made gates do not carry a warranty. Most warranties extend only to the original consumer purchaser and are not transferable.
In order to claim a defect the owner must contact the dealer who sold or installed the vinyl fence or railing. Proof of purchase is required when requesting warranty service. The product must be purchased from the distributor or dealer and installed according to installation guidelines and in accordance with codes and regulations.
Aluminum Ornamental Decorative Fence and Gates
Warranty on most aluminum ornamental decorative fence and aluminum gates are good for a period of twenty years. The warranty usually covers defects in workmanship and states that the paint will not crack, chip, or peel for a period of twenty years. Most ornamental fence warranties extend only to the original consumer purchaser and are not transferrable. The warranty does not extend to damage caused by use other than that which the fence material has been designed for, to include, negligence, alteration, accident, improper installation, abuse, misuse, vandalism, acts of war or acts of god.
In order to claim a defect the owner must contact the fence dealer who sold or installed the ornamental fence and gates. Proof of purchase is required when requesting warranty service. The product must be purchased from the distributer or dealer and installed according to installation guidelines and in accordance with codes and regulations.
Warranty on vinyl products or aluminum ornamental decorative fence and gates are usually void if any of the following occurs to the product:
1. Improper installation
2. Lack of proper maintenance
3. Impact of foreign objects
4. Misuse, abuse, neglect, vandalism, accident, or alterations
5. Contact with solvents, epoxies, glues, paints, chemical or other substances
6. Damage from fires, violent storms, earthquakes, ground movement, tornado, hurricane, or other acts of god are not covered in the warranty.
Article contributed by fence professional Dennis Sulser.
Information Provided By: Atlantic Fence Manufactures Mid Atlantic Vinyl Products
Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) is generally defined as a federal security program formed to protect personnel, information, and critical resources from outside attacks. These attacks could be attempted by the use of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), truck bombs, or any means of weighted attack force. Areas of planned security could include law enforcement personnel, intelligence and training. For our purposes we will only discuss the physical security of a site.
The standards set by the federal government can be used to protect areas such as military vicinity, state and local courthouses, banking centers and certain corporate areas. Corporations can deal with very security sensitive matters like financial markets and Internet service providing computer farms.
ATFP secured structures can actually be made better able to prevent blasts from having a great effect. This can be done by ‘hardening’ the exterior of the structure by blast proofing the walls and glass. The can be achieved with the addition of concrete and steel wall supports. A “progressive collapse” structural design can be created to limit the likelihood of a complete building collapse in the event of an attack.
Perimeter security is typically created by the addition gates and entry areas and is most often delineated by a fence. ATFP fence can be a standard fence that is upgraded or one that is originally manufactured to ATFP fence specifications. ATFP perimeter security can be of a very different nature.
ATFP Entry Systems or Gates are created by using passive and/or non-passive barriers. These systems are specifically designed for the level of protection that the facility mandates.
Passive Barriers allow the passage of entering vehicles at all times. This can be achieved by placing jersey wall barriers in away that creates a maze for the vehicle to maneuver. This effectively forces the vehicle to slow down while permitting access. This is only one example of this type of passive barrier.
Non-Passive Barriers are actually permanent entry obstacles. These are things like bollards, wedge barricades, drop arms, slide gates and newly designed net systems. These Barricades can be used in conjunction with fence gates or can actually be mounted to fence gates. They are used more often than passive barriers because they can be moved in and out of their location with ease. This allows instant entry and immediately re-barricaded areas.
ATFP passive perimeter security can be accomplished with the use of steel cables or steel guardrails. This can also be setup by any combination of natural and manmade features when natural barriers are not sufficient or present. Distance can be a great ATFP device when used in combination with an uneven or bumpy surface. This can also be achieved with ditches and berms, or large bolder (3ft. x 5ft.) placement and forestation. This will slow down any moving vehicle or a truck bomb that is attempting to implode a building surface. Remember that AT/FP perimeters are specifically intended to stop only vehicle traffic. This perimeter prevents a bomb threat, not theft.
Bear in mind that it is much easier to implement the AT/FP standards when working on new construction rather than attempting to retrofit the system into an already existing environment. When retrofitting, much of the plan design work will be required to be done onsite and in an emergent way. This can lead to extreme design difficulties and can turn out to be very costly. Conceiving a building or site around AT/FP barrier implements is much easier than situating the AT/FP elements around already existing structures. Imagine attempting to widen the distance between a building and the adjacent road line. It would be much easier to initially plan this rather than propose it at a later point in time.
Some additional research should be done to understand ‘K ratings’ (K4|K8|K12). These ratings are somewhat complex and are standards set by the government to quantify and ensure the inflexibility of implemented AT/FP barrier devices. Read ‘K ratings’ (K4|K8|K12 Fence) Informational Blog
Article contributed by fence professional John Lowndes.
Many insurance companies have different requirements when it
comes to pool fence specifications. One thing is certain; all
insurance companies require a fence around pools to reduce liabilty.
What I mean by pool fence requirements is that the height, material, size and spacing specifications may vary with each insurance company. Most of the insurance conditions depend heavily on the locality in which the pool and fence is being installed.
It is very important to keep in mind that though the insurance provider or locality requires you to have a specific fence installed, you must also check with any Homeowner’s Association (HOA) and the Building Owners and Code Administrators (BOCA).
A growing number of people are aware of currecnt code which requires that a pool fences must be at least 48 inches tall. This is good, however some insurance companies recommend that you do at least a 6 foot high fence, if allowed by the HOA and your locality, in the hope of reducing any risks that may be associated with the insured’s pool. Additionally, many insurance companies require the homeowner to have a pool gate with a lock to keep unwelcome swimmers out. Gates of pools must also meet specific pool gate codes. Please note that if you have a fence that has been installed that does not meet BOCA, locality or HOA specifications your may required tearing it right back down.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Spacing for fence cross bars (laterals) is another key issue for insurance companies and BOCA. Be aware of the 45-inch rule! Because pool owners are told they need at least a 48 inch tall fence they are often left unaware of the 45-inch minimum space separation on the lateral bars to be in compliance. This is only applicable if the vertical pickets are more than 2 inches but less than 4 inches apart. This may sound very vague, but the goal of this spec is to prohibit fence climbers form gaining a foothold to leap across the fence. If you are installing a spear top fence (right) to adhere to the 45-inch vertical spacing rule, you must actually install a 60 inch high fence to meet code. You could choose to have a flush bottom rail or a modified bottom rail, but just remember the spacing between the bottom rail and the middle rail must be at least 45-inches.
As always, there are exceptions to the 45-inch rule. Generally you must check your local codes to verify that this does indeed apply to you; if the spacing between the upright pickets is less than 2 inches, the rule no longer applies.
Are you totally confused yet? The Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) outline strong safety measures for swimming pool safety fences. Many communities have adopted these standards as their own in a effort to reduce and eliminate the possibility of drowning of children.
The most important things to remember when installing a pool fence are:
- The fence must be at least 48” tall
- The mid-rail must be at least 45” above the bottom rail
- The spacing between pickets must be less than 4”
- The spacing between the bottom rail and the ground must be less than 4”
- The gates must be self-closing and self latching
- The gate needs to open out and away from the pool area
- The opening mechanism must be at least 54” above ground.
If you keep all of the above in mind you should have no problem installing your pool fence. Additionally, a professional pool or fence company in your community should be able to direct you in the proper fence installation. Make them do their job to protect your pocket, your family, and the neighborhood children by meeting the sometimes stringent local and insurance pool fence codes.
Article contributed by fence professional Tina Parrish.
Amazingly, pool fence codes are similar in VA, MD and NC.
Three basic things to remember about meeting pool fence codes.
- 4 ft. in height
- Gates must be self-closing and self-latching
- Fence can be no higher than 2” off the ground i.e. very small bottom gap
There are three common styles of fencing for pools.
Wood –Pool Code states that the fence verticals must have gap spacing of no more than 1¼ inch apart when the space between the back/horizontal support rails is less than 45 inches. This restriction is meant to keep someone from gaining a foothold, and then climbing the fence. The self-closing and self-latching gates along with the 2 inches off the ground spacing conditions will apply.
Vinyl –A good choice for moisture related applications due to its maintenance free quality and lifetime warranty.
The three basic vinyl styles that meet pool code are:
- Privacy, providing you complete seclusion, ranging in heights from 4 to 6 feet high
- Semi-privacy, giving you 80% privacy, ranging in heights from 4 to 6 feet high
- Picket fence would be chosen for its great look with heights that can vary depending on back rail spacing (45 inches) and specific picket style. Heights are commonly 4 to 5 feet high
Note: All styles come in white or tan. And, the self-closing and self-latching gates along with the 2 inches off the ground spacing conditions will apply.
Aluminum Fence – A popular choice for sharply-dressed pool enclosure. It too, is maintenance free with a lifetime warranty. With a wide-ranging of styles and heights to meet pool code. Like the wood and vinyl selections, the fence verticals must have gap spacing of no more than 1¼ inch apart when the space between the back/horizontal support rails is less than 45 inches. Aluminum specifically must have a closed top and bottom rail with no pickets protruding through the rails. This will prevent anyone climbing over or crawling under the fence from getting impaled.
Note: Aluminum styles come in plenty of colors for you to choose from. The self-closing and self-latching gates along with the 2 inches off the ground spacing conditions will apply.
Chain Link Fence –chain link fence is requires that the fabric must to be 1¼ inch diameter diamonds. This will also prevent a foothold for climbing. All heights, self-closing, self-latching gates and 2” spacing off the grounds restrictions will apply.