Wood Fence Information
Choosing a wood fence may seem like an easy choice, but beware-there are many considerations, choices to be made and decisions on how to make your fence best work for your needs. A wood fence may not be the best choice for your needs, preferences or expectations.
Things to remember: Wood is a natural product. Wood will have blemishes and color variances. There will be knots. Checking and cracking are common and to be expected. Wood may warp or shrink as it dries and sometimes both. Usually these do not affect the integrity or the function of the fence and are not warranted items.
Choosing a wood fence may seem like an easy choice, but beware-there are many considerations. Some neighborhoods mandate the style and materials that can be used for your fence. You should ask for a copy of the regulations for your neighborhood or town before you close on your home. Your realtor should be able to provide you a copy even if you have already closed on your home. Another source for this information is your homeowners association. If you do not have a homeowners association or perhaps are in a rural area, you should contact your local communities building and zoning department.
Here are a few things to help explain fences and a few photos for examples.
First there is the frame work-The most common choice is treated pine. Treated lumber comes in many levels of treatment. The higher the treatment, the better the chance the lumber can withstand the elements, moisture and higher level of rot resistance. Frame work is usually turned to the interior of the property on the fronts of the house. Depending on the regulations of your area, you may have a choice to turn the frame work to the exterior on the remainder of the fence. The side of the fence with pickets attached is usually called the pretty side and the opposite side would be the frame side.
Occasionally, customers may choose to have metal posts with their wood fence. In our area, this is not necessary and would be considered a preference.
The next item used on the fence for the frame work is the stringer or the horizontal framework that the fence pickets are attached to. These also have different levels of treatment. We recommend a ground contact rating as the lowest stringer will be close to the ground and over time may have debris against it or may sit in an area that is slower to dry out after rain. To offer the best fence we can, we use the same ground contact rated stringers for all of our horizontal frame work.
For Privacy Fences: The fence pickets most commonly used to complete a privacy fence are cypress, cedar or treated pine. Cypress is our wood of choice. Cypress is a more stable product and grows in the swamps which helps it to be naturally bug resistant. Cedar is also an option. These are not as easily available and are usually more expensive due to shipping cost. Cypress is farmed locally from the swamps from the Carolina coasts through the Florida coast. Cedar is usually shipped in from Canada or the west coast. Beware there are also cedar look-a-likes. They may be called white cedar or cedar toned-this is another wood species that has had a cedar coloring added. Also there are imported cedars. In our diligence to provide the best products available for our customers, we have tried many products and have determined that although not perfect, the best option for a privacy fence is cypress.
For picket fences: Depending on the height and style, the fence pickets most commonly used to complete are cypress and treated pine.
For spindle fences: Usually the spindles are 2x2 treated pine, but could also use 2x4 treated pine.
For rail fences: There are several choices for the rails on a rail fence. The most commonly chosen is a treated rough sawn 1x6. Sometimes a thicker rail is wanted. The most common is a 3x6 rough sawn treated rail. Another common choice is creosote rails. This is a darker brown to a blackish colored lumber. This choice is only available under certain restrictions. A third choice is a standard treated 2x6. One other choice is a 5/4 deck board. We usually refrain from this option as our experiences shows this to be more prone to warping.