You’ve heard that wood fencing is great for looks and vinyl picket fencing is great for maintenance. They are both similar on your wallet, with vinyl coming in a bit lower than inexpensive wood. So, how do you choose?
Wood fencing, no matter how well treated, will tend to deteriorate. If it is left in its natural state it will need cleaning and if it’s painted it will need touch ups every few years. If you don’t have a Tom Sawyer gang to whitewash you’ll need to take this into account for the total cost of ownership. Vinyl fencing has a longer maintenance free life. This is especially nice if you’re installing a vinyl picket fence. Pickets make a fence challenging to paint or clean! You have multiple colors to choose from in vinyl. Vinyl fencing can typically be power washed and doesn’t succumb to the elements and insects. There aren’t any termites that have developed a taste for vinyl!
Vinyl fencing installation is also a bit easier than wood fencing installation. Both wood and vinyl fencing can be do it yourself or installed by a contractor. Vinyl fencing is lighter and also smoother. It is straight by design so getting a level installation is easier than when dealing with the natural variations found in wood.
Before installing any fencing make sure you check your local building code. Do you need a permit? Are there any special requirements for fence placement? Are there any underground utilities you need to avoid? Do you want to set the posts is concrete? Once those questions are answered you can proceed to the installation checklist. Do you have the right tool to dig the holes? Do you have a plumb line to ensure a straight fence and a level to ensure that the height is consistent?
Once you start with your vinyl fencing, have a timeline for completion. Good fences make good neighbors and no one likes to live with or next to a constant construction zone. Unless you live in the south, you’ll be installing during the spring to fall time frame (ground is not frozen) so you’ll have longer daylight hours for your work. Try to pick a few days when the weather is pleasant. Digging holes in the pouring rain is difficult and getting a straight / level fence is nearly impossible. Mark your fence outline and the postholes first. Next, dig the postholes and test a few sections for alignment. You’ll want to do this especially if you plan on setting the posts with concrete!
Take pictures along the way. They are a good way to document that you complied with local ordinances and also an easy way to share your home improvement with friends and family out of town. Your new vinyl fencing is an investment, but it will pay off in curb appeal and functionality. You’ll be able to enjoy a fenced yard for yourselves, children and pets and it will be a lovely addition to the neighborhood.