How to get HOA approval for the fence you want.

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Feb 12, 2015

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The rise of Homeowner Associations in recent years has seen exponential growth. Before you rush out to install the fence of your dreams, here are some tips of the trade from a Residential fence expert on the possible pitfalls of building that beautiful new fence installation.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners can make when installing a fence is not checking to see what the by-laws of their Homeowners Association (HOA) require.

You can't assume that what your neighbors have previously done with their fence and yard complies with your particular HOA regulations.

Even though a neighbor might have an admirable fence enclosure or gate doesn't mean doesn't mean that your HOA approved that particular fence installation.

We can recall a particular job where a customer scheduled an install for a chain link fence, and as it was in progress, the customer panicked as the HOA just informed her that absolutely no chain link was allowed in their community. Several adjacent yards that had previously used chain link enclosures prior to her request were ordered to remove them and seek other fence options. It turns out that residents were only approved to have vinyl and ornamental aluminum installed in that neighborhood. 

In another instance, a customer submitted her information to the HOA weeks in advance. Due to the fact that she had not heard from the HOA, she assumed that the fence was approved. So, she went forward with the installation. The HOA later stated that they never received her request. The customer then was ordered to redo her fence structure according to her neighborhood's HOA standards, and have the style she selected approved by them.

Typically, a HOA can take anywhere from one week to six weeks to approve your fence project. Generally speaking, you have to to get the HOA's approval whenever you do anything to the exterior of your residence. This can even include painting and landscaping.


Many HOA ordinances and rules prevent you from constructing chain link, split rail, or wire containment fences because they are not aesthetically appealing. If you install a fence without HOA approval, you can almost be sure you will have to tear it down or face serious fines, as well as aggravation and time consumption.



     Read the regulations provided by the HOA thoroughly. Make sure that you have the most updated version. Call the HOA president or another board member with all questions you have regarding the specific regulations. Document the date and time of call, the name of the person with whom you spoke with, as well as what was said during the conversation.

2.     Make notes on what you want to communicate in your letter to the HOA. In your correspondence try to anticipate any questions the HOA board may have about your project. Always include possible solutions to any problem you think the board may have with your planned project.

3.     Enclose blueprints, pictures and project drawings. Also, be sure to include the specific dimensions of your project and any other pertinent details in your letter. Include images or colors of the materials you will be using. Be clear and precise so your letter will be easily understood.

4.     Make copies of your letter to keep for your records. Mail your request to the homeowners association. Be sure you have included the best ways for members to contact you, such as giving them both a home and work telephone number.

5.     Follow up on your letter if you are not contacted within a week after mailing. Confirm your letter has been received and ask for a date by which the board will render a decision on the plans for your property.

6.     Appeal for a variance if your request is denied and you still want to pursue your plans. An appeal hearing may then be scheduled during which you can present your case to the entire board. You can enlist the support of your neighbors to help bolster your argument.

Be sure to get the approval of the HOA first. It is not up to the fence contractor to find out the rules and regulations or to get approval of the HOA for your project. That being said, a longstanding and professional fence company will gladly help advise you in this process and should go out of their way to help you with your installation concerns.  

They can also supply you with fence samples and pictures of existing installations to help you get the approval of the HOA before starting construction so you won't be on the fence with your Home Owners Association.




Topics: Specifications, Residential Fence Choices, Homeowners Association, HOA, Residential Fence, backyard Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Insurance, Richmond Fence, fence law, fence regulations, virginia fence code, Maintenance, fences richmond, first time home buyers, codes, hoa fence, fence insurance

Options for Commercial Access Gates and Fence Solutions

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Jul 03, 2014

A Professional Fence Company should have a variety options for Commercial Gate applications. The gate systems are designed to restrict unwanted entry and ensure the protection of assets and employees. Gate systems are designed to work efficiently with repeated mechanical use in any setting. Hurricane Fence Company offers the latest in Commercial Gate System trends and technology in a plethora of scales and styles. These maneuverable fence barriers can be engineered to meet the needs of everything from small Residential Secured Access to the most complex structural demands.

The following are a few examples of routinely offered Commercial Gate Systems.  

Swing Arm Gates

swing arm gate

Swing Arms are motorized barriers that raise a steel or aluminum arm from a horizontal position to a vertical position. They give you the ability to control pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic on roadways up to 38'. These gates can have an assortment of automatic controls, such as card readers, vehicle detectors/counters, reversing logic, which causes the arm to re-open should it strike an object, and anti tailgating devices, which keep multiple vehicles from pulling through on a single cycle. A switch in a security office can also be set up to control these gates.

Many Fence Contractors also offer High Speed Swing Arm Gates that will open in less than two seconds, using either 8 or 12' arms. Heavy duty gates, with arms up to 24', are also available if gate specifications require them.

Slide Gates   

sliding gate 

Sliding Gates are often the best solution for commercial premises with busy access points. You must have room set aside for the gate in the open position. Installers can customize slide gates to accommodate a wide range of commercial applications. Many different styles of slide gates are available of which the most common is a two-rail slide gate.

There are three rail slide gates that will allow the use of almost any material you wish to face the gate. For this the commonly used materials are plastic, wood, or metal. A well set up fence supplier can also custom fabricate a slide gate to match a wide range of already existing gate styles. 

Cantilever Gates

cantaliever gate cantaliever gate

Automation of a cantilever slide gate involves the addition of a slide gate operator that can be pad or post mounted. This provides a means to open or close the gate and the addition of safety devices such as safety loops, gate edges or photo eyes. Gate operators can be added to existing gates as well as new ones and integrated into any existing access control system.

The gate itself does not touch the ground and is supported by rollers, which are attached to two large side posts.

The gate will have a tail that is used to support itself when it is in the open position. One thing to keep in mind when considering the installation of a cantilever gate is that you must have adequate overhead clearance to ensure that the gate can open fully.

Cantilever Gate Systems can be constructed with nearly any fencing material, but the distance of the opening will play an important role in determining which type of materials you can use when constructing your Commercial Gate. Lighter fabrication materials should be considered when spanning wide opening, which will make the overall weight of the gate lighter.   

See Commercial Gate Fabrication in action on Hurricane Fence Company's Youtube channel.Commercial Gates, Commercial Gates Richmond, Gate Fabrication Richmond, gates richmond, gates norfolk, gates williamsburg, gates va beach, gate making richmond

Topics: Military Fence Installations, Military Fence, Government Fence, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Gates, Specifications, High Security Fence, Ornamental Aluminum, Commercial Fence, Steel Slide Gates, Historical Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Maximum Security Fence, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence regulations, Maintenance, Aluminum Fence, Comparison, codes, Military Fence Virginia

Cedar or Pressure Treated Wood. Which will work best for my fence project?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Wood fences are beautiful, no doubt, and (PVC) vinyl fences even come with simulated options making man-made materials look and feel nature based. 

But in Virginia, cedar wood and pressure-treated pine are two of our top-selling residential fence types.

Eighty percent of all wood fencing is composed of either pine or cedar wood.

Below are various residential fence solutions available throughout the United States.

6' Privacy Cedar with Clear Posts

6' Shadowbox Convex cedar

Two Cedar privacy fence options - Left: 6 ft. cedar privacy fence with clear posts / Right: 6 ft. cedar Shadowbox privacy fence


Red cedar trees are indigenous to the American Northwest and Canada. The red cedar wood's straight, tight grain and lack of knots make for optimal fence material. It is naturally highly resistant to decomposition, displays a beautiful red hue, and is well-known for its' aromatic woodsy smell.

Cedar does not warp or shrink and is a naturally stable material perfect for picket and privacy fences. Cedar wood fences stand the test of time, and look great decades after installation.

For fence posts, cedar can go several years without rotting; however, they tend to be less durable against soil erosion than pressure treated pine posts.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to use pressure treated pine for the posts and cedar for the rest of the fence. 

Or, the cedar fence posts can be set in concrete to prevent soil-related rotting.

Pressure treated wood (PTP) is the most popular residential fence choice in outdoor structures (decks, porches, and all types of residential fences, for example).

PTP can warp, shrink, and crack. The sun makes any outdoor damage worse especially if you don't stain it.

To avoid this, pressure treated pine (PTP) is chemically-treated in order to prevent against decay, termites, weathering, and other pine-related troubles. All PTP fences come with a warranty to protect against termites and rotting.

PTP fences need to be consistently and regularly maintained. It is recommended that all pressure treated pine fencing should be stained and sealed about 6 weeks after installation to improve and maintain a handsome appearance and prevent rot.

Pressure treated: 6 ft. concave board picket fence


Keeping your pressure treated fence wet when it is hot or exposed to the sun can also be done to maintain your pine fence and keep the fence from cracking. Staining, sealing, moistening, stripping, and cleaning are all maintenance techniques that are commonly used and recommended for pressure treated pine fences.

Cedar is increasingly rare and thus more expensive than pine. However, cedar stands up to the test of time and it's aroma and handsome appearance coupled with the comparatively low required maintenance make it a smart investment. These incentives outweigh the cons for most people who are strongly considering cedar as a fence material. 

Knowing the pros and cons of each type of wood type will help to make an informed decision when choosing the fence and fence company that fits your needs. 


Topics: Fence Design, Specifications, Specialty Fence, Homeowners Association, backyard Fence, Fence Maintenance, cedar fence, codes, wooden fence, wood privacy fence, pressure treated fence, wood fence, cedar privacy fence, cedar wood fence, Pressure Treated Wood Fence, Reasons for Privacy Fence


Posted by Kristen Fugere on Mon, Mar 05, 2012

Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina all have relatively similar pool fence codes and adhere to three basic guidelines regarding proper installation and layout of pool fences:

Pool Safety1) All pool fences are to be at least 4’ in height
2) Fence gates must be self-closing and self-latching   
3) Pool fences can be no higher than 2” from off the ground, making for a minimal gap between the bottom of the gate and the ground


Selecting the right pool fence material is important, and no matter which material is selected, the three aforementioned regulations must be met. The following section will delve into the four different types of pool fence materials that are commonly used, and some of their nuanced requirements to meet state pool fence codes:

1) Wood Fence: Pool code states that the fence verticals must have gaps spacing no farther than 1 ¼” apart when the space between the horizontal support rails is less than 45”. This restriction is meant to keep someone from gaining foothold and scaling the fence.

2) Vinyl Fence: A popular choice due to its maintenance free quality, moisture resistant properties, and lifetime warranty. Vinyl fences come in white or tan and in three styles that meet pool code:

  • Privacy: Provides complete seclusion, ranging in heights from 4’ to 6’
  • Semi-privacy: Provides 80 % privacy, also ranging in heights from 4’ to 6’
  • Picket fence: Typically chose for its aesthetic appeal. Picket pool fences can vary in height depending on the back rail spacing (45”) and specific picket style. Heights are commonly 4’ to 5’

3) Aluminum Fence: A popular choice for sharply-dressedAluminum Pool Fence pool enclosures, aluminum pool fences are also maintenance free with a lifetime warranty and come in a wide range of styles and heights to meet both customer needs and pool code. Like wood and vinyl fences, aluminum verticals must have gap spacing no farther than 1 ¼” apart when the space between the horizontal support rails is less than 45”. Furthermore, aluminum fences must have a closed top and bottom rail with no protruding pickets. This is to avoid the likelihood of someone climbing over or crawling under the fence from getting impaled.

4) Chain Link Fence: These fences require the fabric to be in 1 ¼” diameter diamonds to prevent foothold for climbing.

As mentioned earlier, regardless of fence material, all pool fences must adhere to the three basic guidelines: at least 4’ tall; must have self-latching gates; bottom must be no higher than 2” from off the ground. Picking out what’s right for you may seem like a daunting task, so feel free to contact Hurricane Fence for any of your pool fence-related questions.


Article contributed by Michael Fugere.

Topics: Residential Fence, Pool Fence, Pool Gates, codes

What Are The Latest Fence Codes For 2011?

Posted by Dawn Lowndes on Thu, Aug 18, 2011

fence codeFence codes vary depending on the city and state where one a fence is to be erected. It is important to understand the specific fence building requirements for a localized area. The local building ordinances can range from very strict to rather loose depending on the area authority. They can cover specific aspects of fence plan including height, style, color and location.  Again, these codes can vary from city to city as well as neighborhood to neighborhood. Therefore, before proceeding with any plans for a new fence it is very important to fence codecheck with the areas Homeowners Association (HOA), as well as the city and state governments.  The city or county building code office is where you would actually begin. YES, erecting a fence does require a building permit.

Taking a good look at fence building codes topic requires breaking it into individual categories.


This is the first area that needs to be discussed is pool fence codes. This is because it has the most stringent code restrictions. The typical pool fence code requires that a fence be at least 48 inches tall with no more than a two-inch gap beneath the fence. This prohibits children and small pets crawling underneath the fence. The gates MUST be self-closing and self-latching to prevent the gate from being left open or easily pushed open by a small child. There are also varying restrictions based upon the particular style that one chooses, for example: chain link, wood, vinyl PVC, and ornamental.


Residential fence regulations can vary greatly depending on the specific city and HOA Guidelines for fence codes. These restrictions usually speak to the fence style, color, height and location. Sometimes you are restricted to one particular style of fence. An example of this would be an entire housing development that requires 6 ft high white vinyl privacy fence. It could also be a situation where you are not so limited to style, but the code may not allow for a chain link fence to be installed. The location restriction is seen in areas that do not allow you to put a fence up in your front yard, or could just restrict the type of fence to be used in the front yard.


This particular situation affects mainly businesses that require a large dumpster toDumpster fence code hide their disposed trash until pickup. In many areas it is required by codes that an enclosure be built around the dumpster. This is mainly due to the eyesore that most dumpsters create. The style and height of the enclosure will generally vary based on the height of the dumpster itself, and the buyer's particular wants, needs and budget. Dumpster enclosures should generally be designed in a way that limits visibility of the dumpster. Examples of this would be a wood shadow box type enclosure or a chain link enclosure with privacy slats.

The categories previously discussed are not the only areas that are affected by fence codes, but they are a certainly few of the important ones. It is always important to check with your local city and Homeowners Association for their specific code before constructing any type of fence. You do not want to have to tear down and replace a brand new fence. The frustration would only be outweighed by the unwarranted cost. A professional fence company that is operating in your locality will be familiar with the system and process of the locality. You may want to consult them for information.

Article contributed by fence professional Luke Drylie

Topics: Residential Fence, Dumpster Enclosure, Code, Pool Fence, codes

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