Building the Perfect Fence for Your Pet and Your Home
From treats to clothes to expensive beds, pet owners have a habit of treating their four-legged friends like their children. In fact, a 2011 survey conducted by Kelton Research revealed that 81% of pet owners consider their pets to be equal members of the family.
And just as couples protect their children from danger by locking doors and creating an environment that is “kid-proof,” pet owners have the same responsibility.
For those with a yard, a fence is essential.
There are many considerations to make when purchasing and installing a fence, and these go beyond how much area needs to be fenced in, how high the fence should be and how deep it should go to prevent pets from escaping underneath it. Given that the construction and installment of a fence is an investment, it’s also important to select the material that meets your requirements for maintenance, durability, privacy, and aesthetics.
Mesh Fencing: It is no secret that dogs, and particularly puppies, have boundless energy. Additionally, they can be escape artists and will quickly gnash holes in even the strongest material. While a mesh fence may sound like a bad idea, it can actually work well as a temporary solution for containing your pets and even your children.
Strong poles allow the fence to stand unwavering, and fine woven material prevents teeth and paws from catching hold. Unfortunately, however, this fencing material may not do that much for privacy or decoration. It is easy to see through the fence into the inner sanctum of the yard, and it can detract from the overall look and feel of the exterior of your home.
Chain Link Fencing: Unlike mesh, chain link fencing is a more permanent and durable solution for keeping pets and children from wandering away. It is sturdy, weatherproof and low maintenance. Chain link fences are also cheaper than some of the alternatives and can be purchased anywhere from $1 to $4 per square foot if you install it on your own.
If you require professional installation, this can increase the cost per square foot to $10 or more. While a chain link fence is great for a pet, it may not be ideal for containing older children who can climb over them using the foot-sized holes or exit through the gate. Additionally, the aesthetics of a chain link fence are lacking, and there is very little privacy; neighbors and passers-by can see right into your yard.
Wood Fencing: Wood fencing is a classic that not only provides a preventative barrier for pets and children, but can be customized to truly compliment any home and yard. It is durable, and due to the many design options that are available, it can add style to your home while serving as a privacy barrier.
One important aspect of building this kind of fence is selecting the type of wood. Following are three popular options for wood fencing:
- Redwood: Redwood stands strong against insects and rot, and due to its makeup, holds many types of finishes. It can cost in the $20 range per linear foot, however.
- Cedar: Rot, insects and moisture don’t stand a chance with a fence made of cedar. This wood can also be stained or weathered naturally to a gray color.
- Pine: A neutral, soft wood, pine doesn’t resist termites or rot, but it can be treated for outdoor use and can be more affordable than other wood options.
Vinyl Fencing: Vinyl fencing forms the perfect option for the appearance-conscious homeowner who is looking for a tasteful, low-maintenance, durable solution for their yard. There are private, semi-private, picket and post, and rail styles, and this type of fence is sturdy and makes for a challenging climb for escape artists, whether human or animal. Vinyl fencing for an area that is 150 linear feet can run between $2,500 and $3,500, including installation.
Composite Fencing: Composite fencing may be the new material on the block, but its reputation for easy maintenance and natural appearance is growing quickly. Composites can include up to 100 percent recycled material and can compete with wooden fencing when it comes to privacy and design possibilities. But this green approach comes with a higher cost, which has made it controversial in the marketplace. Expect prices that can range from 25 to 40 percent more for composite fencing compared to its wood counterpart.
Homeowners looking to fence in their yard face a challenging investment. While the safety of children and pets is paramount, there are other factors that come into play when selecting a fencing material, including maintenance, privacy, and aesthetics.
When purchasing and installing a fence, make the most of your investment by carefully considering both your budget and your fencing needs.
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