Iron Fence: Replace or Repair?

A metal fence is a durable, secure option. While it doesn’t provide privacy, it can physically keep out intruders and protect your family, and it can keep children and pets from wandering off. However, metal fences are subject to damage and need repairing over time. A wrought iron fence can rust easily, while an aluminum fence won’t. Nevertheless, an aluminum fence is not as strong as a wrought iron fence.

No matter what kind of fence you have it has to withstand pressure, the elements, and the wear of time. If, for whatever reason, your fence becomes damaged, it’s important to contact a professional fence contractor and take care of it as soon as possible. A broken or rusted fence is both an eyesore to your home as well as an invitation to burglars. What’s more, pets or children can run away if your fence is damaged.

Dealing with Rust

If your fence is in need of repair, the question of whether or not to replace it depends on a few factors. First of all, how bad is the damage? Secondly, what type of damage is it? Thirdly, what is your budget? If the only problem with your fence is the way it looks, this can be easily solved with paint.

The painting procedure for a rusted, iron fence, is an involved process, so be sure to hire someone with experience. The fence needs to be either rubbed with a stainless steel wire brush, power washed or sandblasted in order to remove the rust and dirt. Then the fence should be washed with a non-ionic detergent. After it dries, a rust converter that’s either phosphoric acid- or tannic acid-based should be applied, followed by an oil-based primer. Now the fence can be painted with an oil-based paint approved for use on metal and the paint shouldn’t crack or chip off.
A Broken Fence

If a section of the fence is warped, broken or missing, it’s possible to fix just that portion without replacing the entire fence. For iron fences, a section can be sawed off and a new replacement section can be welded on in its place. Railings can sometimes become detached from use, and fence posts can fall out as a result of rust and wear. These can be repaired with welding the parts back together. If much of the fence is warped or if it’s rusted to a dangerous degree, it may be best to completely replace the fence.

Broken aluminum fences are easier to repair than iron ones. Because the parts are usually screwed together and not welded, if a crossbar or fence post needs to be replaced it’s a relatively simple procedure. The damaged part is unscrewed and the replacement part is inserted.

For any repairs it’s best to contact an experienced fence contractor. He can tell you the cost of the repair and you can decide whether it’s worth it to you to replace the entire fence or not.

Source: Networx

Vinyl vs. Wood

When it comes time to replace your old fence or put one up for the first time, you may wonder whether to go with a wood fence or a vinyl one. Both materials have their pros and cons. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.

Advantages of Wood Fences

Wooden fences are traditional and will always provide a classic look to your landscape designs. They’re also affordable to install and cost significantly less up front than vinyl fences do.

This material gives you a wider selection of color choices since you can paint or stain wood in any shade you choose. Cedar is the most common lumber type used for wood fences. This means it’s an organic, all-natural choice of fencing material and will likely appeal to anyone concerned about the environment. They also blend well with flowers and foliage for a natural look.

It’s easy to personalize the look of wood fences with planters and other decorations such as stenciling patterns on the boards. Erecting a wood fence can be a great family project since it requires teamwork and a little creativity to get it done. Repairs are simple and inexpensive because all you need is a hammer, nails, and a piece of wood to fix any damaged or loose boards.

Disadvantages of Wood Fences

The heavy maintenance needs of wood are its biggest drawback. Yearly maintenance is required to keep a wood fence in good shape. Regularly reapplying paint or finish reduces the chances your fence will fall victim to fungus or rotting wood.

Wood fences are vulnerable to termites and in attracting the pests,which can potentially put your home at risk to termite exposure.

The fence boards can also warp, especially if they haven’t been properly treated to resist moisture or changes in temperature.

Without improper installation, the posts for wood fences tend to sink below ground level which can warp the fence.

Advantages of Vinyl Fencing

Those who want a different look than standard wood will appreciate the options available with vinyl fences. While you can get ones that look just like wood, they’re also available in a variety of colors such as white, gray, and tan. They don’t require painting or staining and can be purchased as ready-to-install strips.

One of the biggest distinctions is how low maintenance this material can be. Dirt is easily sprayed off of vinyl fences due to their glossy, non-porous surfaces. These same qualities make it easy to remove graffiti. Vinyl fences won’t split or crack. They don’t get termite damage, fungus, or dry rot. They’re also fire resistant.

Installation of a vinyl fence is simple since all you need to do is slide the rails into the posts and secure the posts into the ground.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Fencing

Cost is the biggest disadvantage of vinyl fencing. They tend to cost more upfront than wood fences, which means that if you’re looking to fence in a large area, your initial investment could be high.

Extreme temperatures can make the vinyl expand or bend, and high winds can cause the sections to twist since the lengths on vinyl fences aren’t connected together as firmly or securely as the boards of wood fences.

A few types of vinyl fences can have mildew problems, especially if they’re located near yard sprinklers. Since the surface of the fence is non-porous, the mildew can easily be removed. However, it needs to be removed before it causes stains.

One huge downside to choosing a vinyl fence is the repair. The process typically gets more complicated than just replacing a board or two as with wood, and you could easily find yourself replacing an entire section to pull off a proper fix.

Keep in mind that wood and vinyl are discussed at length here because they’re so comparable, but there are a multitude of other fencing materials and options.

Source: DoItYourself