Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Today's Fences: More Choices, More Fun

Homeowners can consider a vast array of fencing products to add security, protection or beauty to their homes and yards. Innovations in the fence industry offer more material and style choices than ever before.

Many fence materials are maintenance-free, and some manufacturers offer 20-year to lifetime warranties. The most popular materials include wood, chain link, ornamental steel and aluminum, and vinyl.

Wood Fence

Historically, wood has been a fencing favorite. Its versatility is endless, from the rustic charm of a split rail to the Victorian elegance of white picket to the attractive shield of a privacy fence.

“Several varieties of wood make good fencing material, including Western Red Cedar, Eastern White Cedar and pressure-treated Southern Yellow Pine,” according to Carol Ann Berry of FLW Wood Products. Other types of wood used in fencing include spruce, hemlock, locust, cypress, poplar, oak and redwood. Wood fences come in a wide variety of styles and can be custom-built with decorative tops such as lattice, gothic, rail tops, balls or finials.

Chain Link

Chain link provides an effective safety barrier at low cost. Whether you want to fence in a swimming area, protect children and pets, or keep intruders at bay, chain link provides a long-lasting, no-nonsense fence.

“If you plant vines and bushes around it, the fence will disappear while still giving you security,” said Rick Hamilton, senior project manager, American Fence Company.

Chainlink fences are available in PVC-coated colors like black, green and brown, as well as rust-resistant materials such as galvanized steel, aluminum-coated steel and aluminum.

Ornamental Steel And Aluminum

Mostly used for their security and aesthetic qualities, ornamental steel picket fences require little upkeep, in addition to being strong and pleasing to the eye. Ornamental aluminum has the charm of steel but won't rust, making it a smart choice for pool areas or any perimeter.

“You never have to paint it, it comes with a lifetime guarantee and there are several color variety options,” said Scott Goodman, director of marketing at Specrail.


Maintenance-free vinyl fencing is available in many of the same styles as wood and ornamental picket. Although the initial cost is more than for a wood fence, the upkeep costs are minimal.

“Vinyl fencing allows homeowners to spend their time on leisure and their families since there is no time required to paint, repair or replace it,” said Ralph Palmieri of Bufftech.

Whether you want to enclose a swimming area, protect your children or delineate property lines, today's fence choices are virtually limitless. The American Fence Association can recommend a reputable fence contractor in your area. Visit their Web site at www. or call 1-800-822-4342 for a referral.

[North American Precis Syndicate]

What do you think of this story?
Click here to send a message to the editor. Click here to post an opinion on our Message Board, "The Citizen Forum"

Back to Dining Guide Home Page | Back to the top of the page