4 (or so) Things You Should Know Classical and Alternative Fence Installations Before you Install

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Fri, Jul 24, 2015

 

Fencing Needs and Restrictions

Before you set out in search of the perfect fence for you, decide what your goals are. Do you just want to keep your pets and loved ones inside your perimeter? Or, are you also looking for some privacy? With so many options out there, it is important to establish some objectives. Otherwise, the task of selecting a fence can be a tough one.

Before installing the fence, check to make sure your neighborhood doesn’t have any provisions against a particular type of fence. It's also important to consider how the fence you choose will contribute to or hinder the resale value of your home.

Each type of fence has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to cost, maintenance, and functionality. Although a wood fence may be beautiful now, without proper maintenance it will look worn in a few years. Consider all of your options. And, there are many...

Popularity: Tried & True & New
  • Ornamental AluminumAluminum is growing in popularity as an economical alternative to wrought iron. It can stand up to harsh weather and requires very little maintenance.
  • Wood: Wood fences can be expensive but are great for privacy. If your children play outside, you may want to consider this fence to keep them safe, but be careful if you have small pets, as they may be able to escape under the fence where it meets the ground. Wood requires routine maintenance but can endure harsh weather and last for many years.
  • Vinyl (PVC): Initially more expensive than wood, vinyl fences require very little maintenance and are not susceptible to termites and other pests. However, the color choices are somewhat limited and you'll need to inspect for mold over time.
  • Chain Link: Chain Link is an economical option, but some neighborhoods may have regulations against chain link fencing, so be sure to do your research before you make an expensive mistake. Once you choose chain link fencing, there are a myriad of options to consider, such as height, color, finish coating and the size of the holes.
  • Welded Wire: For a fraction of the money, you can achieve a cost effective and affordable enclosure for a range of applications. The wire can be attached to existing fencing (such as post and rail) or can be installed independently with knock in posts. Great to use for farms both rural and suburban.
  • Ornamental Welded Wire: Unique fence designs with ornamental panels and square open in post shapes that rival traditional ironm work and creare a unique, secure and beatutiful alternative for both Residential and Ciommercial use.
  • Simulated Stone: PVC and vinyl fencing have really branched out over the past couple of years. What once was a labor intensive and costly project can now emote the appeal of a stone wall or brick enclosure  in a light weight but weather resistant alternative application.
 
A custom alternating wood picket fence designed by the owner in Richmond, Virginia Designmaster Ornamental Steel Welded Wire fence applications Active Yards line of Aluminum fencing installed by Hurricane Fence Company yin Norfolk, VA Ecostone Simulated Wood Fence Installaion in Norfolk VA adds a brick feel to a vinyl fence.





Above are examples of unique fence designs and solutions installed by Hurricance Fence in Virginia

Know Your Boundaries

Good communication between neighbors is a must for fence etiquette. While it's not legally required, you should always alert or discuss any fence building plans with your neighbors before beginning to build. This is especially trure If your property lines are close together or if you want to use a custom design as a result of you and your fence contractor's collaboration. You may find that they will be insported to replicate your fence enclosure or go in on cost with you.

Busy Season

Fence installations can be completed year-round. In fact, fall and winter is a great time to schedule your fence installation because companies may not be as busy. Ask the company about their timeline. Depending on the time of year, it could take weeks before they get to you.

Maintain Your Frame

Ask the fence company if they provide painting services before your fence installation. Or, if you're doing the finish work, ask them if you can have the materials to do so before the job starts. The paint job will last a long time if you paint each piece of wood after they are cut to length but before they are installed. Painted fences may need to be touched up every year or two.Your fence will lose its appeal if you don’t maintain it.

Check your fence every few months for splintering, peeling, mold, breakage or insects. Be careful with the weed whacker near the fence. Over time, that causes splintering and scratches which breaks the seal and encourages damage.

When it comes to understanding the ins and outs of your desired fence enclsoure, remember that communication with your city or county, neighbors, HOA and professional fence contractor is key to a seemeless installation.

Think of your fence like a custom picture frame for the piece of art that is your home. Getting these elements in alignment the first time will save you cost, and time and ensure that your home or property maintains its value and lives up tp your expectations for years to come.

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Topics: Residential Fence Choices, Fence, virginia fence code, residential fences, aluminum fence cost

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.

HOW TO AVOID COSTLY HOA FENCE INSTALL MISTAKES

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.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE SUGGESTIONS TO ENSURE HOA APPROVAL ON YOUR FENCE PROJECT


1.
     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.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE AMERICAN HOME OWNERS ASSOCIATION FOR RESOURCES ON REGIONAL AND LOCAL REGULATIONS FOR YOUR UPCOMING FENCE PROJECT

CLICK FOR AN AWESOME INFOGRAPHIC ABOUT THE RISE OF THE HOA IN THE UA!S

 

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

Va. Fence Law: Who's Actually Responsible for the Cost of My Fence?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Fri, May 09, 2014

As the weather warms, Virginian's are beginning to make their outdoor wishlists. If you're thinking of installing an above or in-ground swimming pool or trying your hand at urban or rural farming, the majority of the information in this article will greatly help you in understanding the ordinances, cost and responsibilities surrounding your 2014 outdoor projects. And—you might have to spend less than you think.

The info in this article is coming straight from the Virginia Legislative Branch's website http://leg1.state.va.us/. Most of what is covered is state level laws but each locality has its own set of governing laws that tend to vary greatly—and lean specific to that geographic location and the prevailing uses for fence installation in that area.

Like most laws, fence regulations can be somewhat convoluted. That's why it's of the utmost importance to pick a fence contractor that understands Virginia's fence laws at the state level. Laws are set by each locality. Most statutes that accompany Virginia fence installation are in reference to livestock(1); fence and its use for pools(2) and railroads(3) are also mentioned in some codes.

Swimming Pool Laws

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For example, if you live in an area that has ordinances that excersizes the maximum punitive actions allowed by § 15.2-921 and you violate said ordinances by not having a fence around a pool, or the fence takes more than 24 days to complete, a person could face as much as $7200 in fines plus court costs or 2 years in jail. The last part of § 15.2-921 simply states "Any such ordinance may be made applicable to swimming pools constructed before, as well as those constructed after, the adoption thereof. No such ordinance shall take effect less than ninety days from the adoption thereof, nor shall any such ordinance apply to any swimming pool operated by or in conjunction with any hotel located on a government reservation." In short ordincances are not required to include a grandfather clause, take atleast 90 day before becoming active and do not apply to swimming pools operated by or in conjunction with any hotel on a government reservation.

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Since the Virginia legal guideline for pool fences is the most strait forward we can cover that first. 

Virginia code § 15.2-921 defines the word "fence" as a close type vertical barrier not less than four feet in height above ground surface.

woven steel wire, chain link, picket or solid board type fence, or a fence of similar construction which will prevent the smallest of children from getting through.(2) Keep in mind, that this definition is only in reference to residential property."Ordinances may require professional fence construction for new or existing swimming pools." This means that if a fence is less that 4 feet doesnt count for the perpose of fencing a pool.A pool or more specifically a swimming pool is defined as "any outdoor man-made structure constructed from material other than natural earth or soil designed or used to hold water for the purpose of providing a swimming or bathing place for any person or any such structure for the purpose of impounding water therein to a depth of more than two feet."(2) this definition is prefeced with the word "includes" in § 15.2-921 meaning that broader definitions may also apply.The code of virginia § 15.2-921 grants any locality the ability to "adopt ordinances making it unlawful for any person to construct, maintain, use, possess or control any pool on any property in such locality, without having a fence completely around such swimming pool. Such ordinances also may provide that every gate in such fence shall be capable of being securely fastened at a height of not less than four feet above ground level; that it shall be unlawful for any such pool gate to be allowed to remain unfastened while the pool is not in use; and that such fence shall be constructed so as to come within two inches of the ground at the bottom and shall be at least five feet from the edge of the pool at any point." the code the restricts the the punative actions of a loacality tofine of not more than $300 or confinement in jail for not more than thirty days, either or both. Each day's violation may be construed as a separate offense." but with each day being a seperate offince it can add up.


A
gricultural Fence

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Virginia law as it pertains to fence in agricultrial applications is somewhat contradictory. When it comes to fencing used for livestock, there are two main schools of thought.

"Fence In" where the live stock are to be contrained on a given property via  dating back to 17th century english common law.(1) The other common philosophy is referred to as "Fence Out" in which it is the responsibility of a land owner who whishes to keep livestock off their property had to build their own fence. The type of fence law that applies changes from county to county. Here are a list of Virginia Counties who participate.

“Fence In” Counties: Albemarle, Arlington, Augusta, Bedford, Botetourt, Buckingham, Campbell, Charles City, Chesterfield, Clarke, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dickenson, Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Gloucester, Goochland, Greene, Halifax, Hanover, Isle of Wight, King George, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, New Kent, Orange, Page, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Smyth, Sussex, Washington, Wise, Wythe, York.

“Fence Out” Counties are Accomack, Alleghany, Amelia, Amherst, Appomattox, Bath, Bland, Brunswick, Buchanan, Caroline, Carroll, Charlotte, Chesapeake, Craig, Dinwiddie, Essex, Fairfax, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Grayson, Greensville, Hampton, Henrico, Henry, Highland, James City, King & Queen, King William, Lancaster, Lee, Lunenburg, Mathews, Mecklenburg, Middlesex, Montgomery, Nelson, Newport News, Northumberland, Northampton, Nottoway, Orange, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince George, Prince William, Richmond, Rockbridge, Shenandoah, Stafford, Suffolk, Surry, Tazewell, Virginia Beach, Warren, Westmoreland.

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The information above came frome https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/news/fbmu/2009/12/article_4.html

While wordy, provided below is the exact wording of "§ 55-299. Definition of lawful fence." taken from https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+55-299.

§ 55-299. Definition of lawful fence.

Every fence shall be deemed a lawful fence as to any livestock named in § 55-306, which could not creep through the same, if

(1) Five feet high, including, if the fence be on a mound, the mound to the bottom of the ditch,

(2) Of barbed wire, 42 inches high, consisting of at least four strands of barbed wire, firmly fixed to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground, spaced no farther than 12 feet apart unless a substantial stay or brace is installed halfway between such posts, trees or other supports to which such wires shall be also fixed,

(3) Of boards, planks, or rails, 42 inches high, consisting of at least three boards firmly attached to posts, trees, or other supports substantially set in the ground,

(4) Three feet high within the limits of any incorporated town whose charter does not prescribe, nor give to the council thereof power of prescribing, what shall constitute a lawful fence within such corporate limits, or

(5) Any fence of any kind whatsoever, except as described in this section, and except in the case of incorporated towns as set forth in subdivision (4), which shall be:

a. At least 42 inches high,

b. Constructed from materials sold for fencing or consisting of systems or devices based on technology generally accepted as appropriate for the confinement or restriction of livestock named in § 55-306, and

c. Installed pursuant to generally acceptable standards so that applicable livestock named in § 55-306 cannot creep through the same.

A cattle guard reasonably sufficient to turn all kinds of livestock shall also be deemed a lawful fence as to any livestock mentioned in § 55-306.

Nothing contained in this section shall affect the right of any such town to regulate or forbid the running at large of cattle and other domestic animals within its corporate limits.

The Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services may adopt rules and regulations regarding lawful fencing consistent with this section to provide greater specificity as to the requirements of lawful fencing. The absence of any such rule or regulation shall not affect the validity or applicability of this section as it relates to what constitutes lawful fencing.

(Code 1950, § 8-869; 1977, c. 624; 2007, c. 574.)

There are other statues that allow for some bodies of water in certain circumstances to also be considered "Lawful Fences"  to include 55-300, 55-302, and 55-303. more information can be found at https://leg1.state.va.us/

Reguardless of whether a property is in a "Fence In" or Fence Out" county there are Virginia statutes that provide a means by which one land owner may compel a neighbor to aide in the construction or maintenance of a given boundry fence. The law also makes a dinstinction between existing and none existng boundry fence.

"Virginia fence law refers only to landowners.  The Code does not mention ‘tenants’ or ‘owners of livestock.’  This has very real implications for landowners who lease land to farmers with an understanding that the farmer-tenant maintains all fences. Landowners should be aware of their potential obligations and liability related to maintaining boundary fences."(1)

In summary the law surrounding fence is convoluted and often contradictory thus it is a good idea to get legal advice on these matters. Keep in mind that if the situation arises that a fence is to be mandated, there may be legal recourse for the construction and, or financing of a mandated fence when it lies between two properties.

Read Virginia Legislative Fence Ordinances in their etirity at the folllowing websites:

1.(https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/news/fbmu/2009/12/article_4.html)

2.(http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+15.2-921)

3.(http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+56-429)

4.(https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+55-299)

Topics: Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Specifications, High Security Fence, Pool Gate Hardware, Regulation, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence law, fence regulations, swimming pool regulations, agricultural fence, virginia fence code

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