The Ultimate Guide to Getting a New Fence
1) Why do I need a new fence?
Why would you need a new fence? Maybe you want to keep your kids and dogs in the yard and out of the street. Maybe you want to deter solicitors or burglars. Maybe you’re trying to increase your curb appeal and property value. Maybe you’re just tired of watching your neighbors play beer pong every weekend. All great reasons.
Understanding why you need a new fence is a great place to start your new fence journey. Your needs will be what dictates the material, height, style, and overall design of your fence. For example, if you’re just looking to add some curb appeal to your masterpiece of a modern home, you might be interested in a 6’ horizontal cedar fence with metal posts. On the other hand, if you own a commercial property and are concerned about security, you may be more interested in a commercial chainlink fence with barbed wire. Knowing your goals upfront is a great way to speed up the process and ensure that you get exactly what you need.
Once you know what you want, we will come out to your home or business, measure out your fence site, and talk through your goals, style, and deadline. Together, we’ll design a custom fence that addresses all of your concerns.
2.) What Material Should You Choose for Your New Fence?
Now, you know that you need a fence…but what kind? While there are many material options on the market when it comes to new fences, the most common dilemma is whether to install a wood fence or a metal fence. Wood fencing can add rustic charm and a more natural look, whereas a metal fence can add a more elegant and modern aesthetic (not to mention it’s a lower maintenance option). Whether you’re looking for a split rail wood fence for your rustic cabin, or a metal fence for your classic brick home, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s talk about the pros and cons of wood vs. metal fencing.
Provides a more natural look and rustic charm.
It’s visually softer and has a warm, welcoming look.
Wood fences are easy to stain to match your home or HOA requirements.
Can provide more privacy with full coverage pickets.
Straight forward installation.
While our wood fences are built to last decades, the natural structure of wood is at risk of being damaged by the elements over time.
Over the years, a wood fence will require some maintenance — if stained, the fence will need to be sanded, primed, and refinished every few years to maintain its original appearance.
To see a few of our recent wood fences, click here.
-Adds a more modern look to your home.
-Easy to customize with decorative accessories such as finials, ball caps, scrolls, rings and other adornments.
-Metal is extremely strong and won't ever rot, warp, or crack due to the elements.
Some small dogs can fit through standard ornamental fence posts (although you can install puppy posts to solve that problem)
Less privacy than a wood privacy fence.
To see a few of our recent metal fences, click here.
Of course, there is also a third option—vinyl.
While vinyl fences are not as popular as their wood and metal counterparts, people like vinyl for a reason:vinyl fences add tons of curb appeal, are extremely durable, can last 20-30 years, are virtually maintenance free, and can be very affordable. One of the best things about vinyl is the level of customization that you can achieve. We have a full catalog of different style, color, and design options — everything from the posts, to the pickets, to the gates, to the top caps is customizable.
All in all, wood, metal, and vinyl fences are all fantastic options for your residential or commercial property when installed correctly. Here at First Rate Fence, we are experts when it comes to helping choose the fence material that will work for all of your needs—from budget, to privacy level, to making sure your pups stay in your yard.
3.) How Does a Fence Protect Your Property?
A well built fence is a necessity for homeowners and business who place a high value on privacy and security. Whether you realize it or not, your fence is working 24/7 to protect you from a variety of threats that you may not have even considered. Let’s talk about all the ways your fence is keeping you and your property safe.
A fence is a physical barrier between your property and the outside world. If a burglar walks by two neighboring homes and one has a fence but they can walk straight up to the windows on the other, it seems like an obvious choice. Not only is it physically harder to get in and out of the property (especially with a locked gate), they also can’t see into windows or doors to scope out your property.
One thing that no one likes to think about is someone being harmed on their property. However, if a neighbor kid wants to meet your dog they may wander right into your open yard. At that point, anything could happen. Your dog may be in a bad mood and snap at the “intruder”, they could twist their ankle, or even step on a nail leaving them in pain and you open to being sued. Be proactive and protect your yard before there’s even a chance of anything happening!
Having a clearly (and correctly) marked property line can save you a ton of hassle in the long run. With a fence, your neighbors will clearly see where their property ends and yours begins. Avoid having their landscaping creep onto your property, their pets using your yard as a restroom, and any other unintended encroachment.
While we all love animals, we don’t necessarily want them on our property if they don’t belong to us. This is especially true in Colorado if you live in or near the mountains. Mountain lions, bears, deer, and raccoons can wreak havoc on your yard and put your family and pets in serious danger. A fence is an easy, cost effective way to avoid the problem.
Noise and Light Pollution
Every city dweller (especially in Denver) knows how annoying it is to be woken up at 3am by headlights and the sound of rushing cars. In this situation, we often recommend a Board on Board Cedar Privacy Fence. Think of it as a privacy fence on steroids. The boards are strategically spaced and placed on top of one another so that the fence doesn’t allow any light through the pickets. The Board on Board fence also acts as a barrier to much of the sound from the street that is directed right at your home.
4.) 6 Common Questions to ask BEFORE your site check
When you decide you’re ready for a brand new fence, being prepared can help your site check go much more smoothly and speed up the entire process. Here are 6 questions you should consider before (or during) your site check:
1) What are your HOA’s fence requirements?
If you live a neighborhood governed by an HOA, it’s very likely that there are specific requirements for your fence. Knowing these requirements before your site check saves time and unexpected changes later on in the fence planning process. If you’re having trouble finding your HOA’s guidelines, you can provide us with the phone number and name of your HOA. We will do the leg work for you.
2) What exactly do you want?
With so many wood, metal, and vinyl options (check out some of our most popular wood fence designs here, look at our gallery here), simply saying you want a fence doesn’t quite give us everything we need to be as efficient and effective as possible during your site check. If you don’t know what your best option is, we are more than happy to advise you on the kind of fence that will fit your needs. However, if you do know what you want, now is is the time to let us know. As we walk your fence line we take different aspects into account for different types of fencing. Knowing whether we’re building a privacy fence, split rail fence, horizontal fence, chainlink fence, ornamental metal fence, or whatever fence you may be dreaming of as we’re discussing your project is extremely helpful for giving you a realistic timeline, cost estimate, and general scope of work.
3) Did you research the fence company?
Knowledge is power. While we know we’re great at what do, are priced fairly, and are generally great contractors, you don’t know that yet. We understand that many customers opt to get quotes from multiple companies. It’s important to do your due diligence to make sure you get an amazing product and work with people you trust. First of all, make sure the company is licensed and insured. Choosing a licensed and insured company will allow you to rest easy knowing that they know what they’re doing, can cover the cost if any unfortunate incidents occur, and are responsible business owners. Next, ALWAYS check reviews! Google and HomeAdvisor are reputable companies when it comes to reviews. In fact, reviewers on HomeAdvisor are even verified as past customers so you know that no fake reviews have made their way in. Check out our reviews on Google.
4) Have you spoken with your neighbors?
Communication with neighbors who share your fence line is good fence etiquette. It’s sometimes necessary for us to enter a neighbor’s yard to get to the tricky sides of your fence and going into someone’s yard unannounced is never a great idea. Having a conversation with your neighbor beforehand can avoid possible property line, design, or landscaping disputes. Furthermore, if your neighbor also needs a fence they will often split the cost of the shared side and doing both of your fences at once can help reduce material and labor pricing.
5) Where are your property lines, sprinkler lines, and utility lines?
Knowing the location of these three items is extremely important when it comes to installing a new fence. If you aren’t sure where your property lines are, it is not a bad idea to have a surveyor locate them for you. Knowing this before we get there will save time and potential property line disputes in the future. If you locate and show us sprinkler lines during the site check, we can find a way to work around them or at least be more aware of them to avoid accidentally cutting a line. While most cut sprinkler lines are an easy fix, we know that every dollar adds up and would love to avoid them from the beginning. For gas and electric lines, a general idea of where they are will help us plan your fence with you but we will still have them located by the city before we start your project to ensure a safe fence installation.
6) Can you make it to the site check?
While your fence project may seem straight forward, there are often little things like landscaping, design issues, or a number of other issues that can pop up. Being present for the site check ensures that we know exactly what you want and will prevent any confusion in the estimating process. The process is typically only 30 minutes or so and having you there makes it a better process for everyone involved.
Being prepared with this basic information is the the best way to ensure a smooth site check and fence installation.
5.) 5 Uncommon Questions to ask BEFORE your site check
When you decide it’s time for a new fence, there are many common sense considerations:
Where will I have it installed?
What material will my fence be made from?
What am I trying to keep in or out?
However, there are also quite a few things you should consider that may not be quite so “common sense”. Answering these questions before having your fence installed can help avoid disputes with neighbors, avoid problems with the city, and keep your property more secure for a longer time. Check out our “Un-common Sense Fence Questions” below to make sure you cover all your bases for your brand new fence.
1. Can I even have a fence?
In Denver, contrary to what some contractors may tell you, if you want a fence at all you will need to obtain (or have your contractor, First Rate Fence & Supply, obtain) a zoning permit. To do this, you or your contractor must prepare a detailed site plan and fill out a zoning permit application. Without this permit, you may find out that your fence doesn’t meet zoning code requirements. This could result in the city forcing you to remove or move the fence you just spent good money on.
2. Should I install my fence on my property line?
While it seems like a no-brainer to have your fence installed right on your property line, you may want to reconsider. One of the best ways to avoid fence disputes with your neighbors is to make sure your fence is 100% on your property. In order to be 100% on your property, you need to make sure that applies to what you place under the ground as well as above it. Securing your fence posts requires a concrete footer to be poured around your post base underground. Depending on the size of your posts, this footer could extend past your property line and into your neighbors property! While it may not seem like a big deal to have a little concrete underground a little bit past your property line, if your neighbor decides to start a garden, put in sprinkler lines, or do literally anything on the edge of their property line, your neighbor can do anything to the concrete on their side. Like break it out. To be on the safe side, install your fence about 8” inside your property line.
It is also important to consider any city rules and regulations before installing a fence on your property line. Many cities have a required set back — for example, if you’re installing a fence in Lakewood you may have to set your fence back 2 feet from the sidewalk. And, yes, the city can make you move it no matter how many fences on your street don't meet this requirement.
3. Should my fence rails be on the inside or outside of my fence?
When it comes to fences, rails are usually on the inside (the side you see from your yard) while the “good side” faces out to the world and your neighbors. Not only is this good “fence etiquette”, it’s more secure for you. While you may be tempted to keep the good-side view to yourself (you paid for it after all), putting the rails on the outside basically acts as a ladder for anyone who wants access to your yard. This is something to consider for sections of fence that may have unknown guests walking by (i.e. alleys and streets).
4. How deep should my fences post holes be?
You may not put much thought into the depth of your post holes if you’re installing the fence yourself, but you really should. In order to stand up to strong Colorado winds and nudges from pets, post holes need to be 1/3 the length of the entire post. That means that if you want a 6’ privacy fence, you need to buy 8’ posts and dig 24-30 inch post holes.
5. How tall can my fence be?
While you may want to turn your house into a fortress with a 20’ tall privacy fence (and who would blame you?), your city may have other ideas. In most cities the primary face of your residential fence can not exceed 4’ and anything behind it still can’t exceed 6’ without a review or "variance". Businesses are not exempt from the rules of the city! If you are installing an industrial fence, the max height within your setback can not exceed 7’ and anything outside the setback still can not exceed 10’. It’s important to understand the rules and regulations of your city before you install your new fence. In many cases the city will not work with you even if you’ve already paid for and installed your fence—you will be required to move it or remove it.
6.) What is a Site Check and How Do I Get One?
A site check is a great opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better! We pride ourselves on building great, lasting relationships with our customers and we would love to add you to that group.
1) We will start by talking through what you want out of your new fence.
2) Once we have an understanding of your needs we will walk the line where your brand new fence will be installed and get the measurements down perfectly.
3) After that, we’ll get out of your hair and back to the office to build your estimate.
Site checks are a quick and easy way to make sure we can build you an accurate estimate and avoid any surprises down the road.
7.) What Comes After the Site Check?
First, we build your FREE estimate.
To build your estimate, we reach out to our suppliers and check updated prices for every piece of material needed to build your dream fence. Be cautious of anyone who offers you an estimate on the spot—prices fluctuate (now more than ever) and if you’re not careful you could see that estimate increase AFTER you’ve already hired them to do the job. We put time and effort into our estimates so we can stand by them and not give you any unpleasant price increase notices down the road. This is also why all of our estimates have an expiration date listed on them. Once we have the material priced, we add labor costs and any disposal costs to the estimate so you know exactly what you're paying for. A core value of First Rate Fence is being fair and transparent with our pricing.
Next, you respond to our estimate.
Once you’ve accepted our estimate (and why wouldn’t you? We’re fairly and competitively priced and we’re all around nice people!) we’ll send you a contract to sign digitally. We will then collect your deposit (which will cover the price of materials and disposal OR 50%, whichever is greater), agree on a start date, and put you on our schedule.
Then, we get to work!
We will be on site on our agreed upon start date bright and early! For now, you can just sit back and relax knowing that your fence is in good hands.
Lastly, we do a final walk through.
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a beautiful new fence! Don’t worry, we won’t just leave your property and send a bill. Once we have completed your project we will ask you to do a “walk through” with us. We will walk along your fence and make sure you are 100% satisfied with the result. Assuming everything looks good (which it will- we’re professionals!), you will sign off on the project, we will collect your remaining balance, and we’ll part as friends!
*Bonus, You show off your new fence and leave us a review.
This part is important! If you’re happy with your new fence (which you will be, of course) please feel free to refer us to your friends and neighbors and leave us a 5 star review on Google. In our business, reviews are of paramount importance and we sincerely appreciate every single one!
If you're ready to get the ball rolling on your new fence, contact us today!