Answers to Most Common Fence Questions
The best way to achieve getting the fence you want is to explore your options, there are plenty of fencing options for Houston homeowners to choose from. With so many materials, styles, and colors to choose from choosing a fence may seem overwhelming for some. The best place to narrow down your options is to speak with your Homeowners Association (HOA) regarding any rules and regulations that may apply.
Here is a sample of the rules that as Katy residents we adhere to:
Perimeter Lot Fencing: Fencing standards must be adhered to as recorded in ….Design Guidelines.
a. Materials: Builder fence types shall be constructed of wood, metal, or masonry based on the original construction.
b. Wood Fences: All wood fences are to be constructed with #1 cedar 1x6 pickets and #2 treated (southern yellow pine or cedar) posts and three rails. Pickets are to be attached with screw or ring shanked shank nails, on a straight-line guide. Used material is not allowed. Pine or Right wood Pickets are not allowed. Wood fences on lot lines common with neighboring lot lines shall be installed with alternating eight-foot panels of solid pickets and exposed rails. Fences visible to public view shall be installed with the finished side out. All fencing visible shall have a continuous 2x6 cedar cap with an lx2 cedar trim.
c. Metal Fences: Metals fences are to be maintained based on the original construction. All metal fences shall be five (5') in height adjacent to amenity areas and be set three inches (3') from natural ground. The rear yard may transition to a side and front yard wood fence that encloses the remainder of the back yard. Gates in rear fences adjacent to greenbelts or lakes with walking trails will require DRC approval. Metal fences require continuously welded connections. Metal posts require concrete footings. AU metal fences shall be painted black
Why does HOA get a say so in the way my fence must be built in Houston?
One reason HOA is so actively involved in the process of what happens to the house you buy is for resale purposes. We work with dozens of realtors who say the best return of investment is a solid wood fence. Chain link is more affordable but does nothing in terms of your home’s resale value. A solid wood fence or a concrete fence can garner you as much as 50% of the labor and material cost when it comes time to sell. HOA may seem harsh but imagine living next door to a neighbor who allows your property value to drop because of their poor choices.
Still, Houston homeowners have plenty of choices to choose from, almost all HOA allot for wooden fences. The bulk of our customers choose to build wooden benefits, here is why:
What are the Benefits of a Wooden Fence
Keep Wildlife Out
The biggest benefit of having a solid wood fence is the element of privacy, whether you are a do it yourself or hire a fence contractor, a fence will allow you access to your personal and private space. Sure, you may have a solid relationship with your neighbors and enjoy the friendly wave “hello” you may even trade tools back and forth or take care of their pets when they travel out of town but a privacy fence isn’t to shut them out of your life, you’ve not constructed the wall of Jericho but instead, a wooden fence defines clear boundaries.
Having a privacy fence that helps you account for every square foot of property you own is always a wise idea especially when it comes time to sell. The more land you have, the higher the resale value. If your property lines are blurred you may want to contact a surveyor to come out either way do not extend your fence past those clear cut lines or the wave may appear more like a middle finger even after you tear down the fence and start over. If your planning to sell your home, a fence may be what closes the deal. We had an elderly couple contact us who had not sold their home in months, the realtor explained the downfall was they did not have a fence. The week after the fence was installed they received their first offer. This is the only time a bad fence is even better when there is no fence at all.
Another reason for having a privacy fence is to reduce the noise, especially if your house is near a busy street or highway. Nothing can kill a great afternoon in the hammock reading a book as the sound of incoming or outgoing traffic zooming by. A quality fence will dramatically absorb and reduce the noise by 6 to 10 decibels so you can enjoy your personal oasis. Baring in mind you have a 6 to 8-foot fence with no gaps between planks. Peace and quiet is a step towards being a happy homeowner. A good rule of thumb is to block the line of sight blocks out the noise.
Houston Security Fences
Your fence provides protection, your home is your refuge from the craziness of life and Houstonians, we all must be a little crazy to drive 45 during rush hour or deal with the heat, but home is where memories are made so it's important you feel as safe outdoors as you do indoors. When you build a fence or hire a fence contractor you want a fence where you can see who's on the other side, one way to do this is to top off your wooden fence with a trellis.
A trellis will not only add privacy but make your fence more difficult to jump over. Many HOA only allows a certain height offense but if you allowed, I suggest an eight-foot fence, the taller you make the fence the more security it provides. If you build a six-foot fence, consider having pickets that are pointed at the top to discourage burglars from climbing over. If a burglar can go around, under, or through your fence, it's not as secure as it should be. Regardless of the height always make sure your concrete in your fence post; concrete keeps your post strong and sturdy. They make uninvited guests unable to remove the post to crawl underneath the fence. Any fence you build should have an equally secured gate. The fence is only as strong as its weakest point.
You also want to consider those four-legged critters that you want in your yard and those you do not. Where we live, Katy has a plethora of bunnies. In other areas, there are raccoons, deer, and coyotes. Fencing is the only sure way to keep wild animals out of your yard and save from costly damages, not to mention the fear of finding a yard invader while walking outside on a Sunday morning. A fence will provide a visual block, so the animals do not know what there missing, like your prized garden. Electric fences are an even greater deterrent. A clever idea if you have an electric fence is to use peanut butter as bait, it only takes once, and wildlife will leave your fence alone.
Should you have deer your wanting to keep out but are restricted by height requirements build your fence at a 45-degree angle to stop them from jumping over and snug to the ground so they can not wiggle under. As far as Katy rabbits use a 2-foot-tall chicken wire fence with a 1-inch diameter hole to prevent them from digging under. You want to curve the bottom of the fence at 90 degrees to create an apron a foot or so wide, then bury it several inches deep. Raccoons and Opossums also are diggers, so you want a 4-foot fence with a top 18-inch hole unattached, so these crawling creatures fall backward. To prevent them from going under, curve the bottom just as you do for rabbits, and placing electric wire on top of the fence also works wonders. The more affordable solution is netting on the ground outside the fence and keep the grass mowed. They do not like material that clings to their feet. Coyotes can jump so you want to start with a perimeter electric fence, add a sheep fence with another electric fence wire strung 8” off the ground and a few inches in front of the sheep fence.
Other than chain link a wooden fence is your most economical choice, compared to vinyl and composition fences. However, it does depend on the type of wood and fence design you choose. Lumber prices do fluctuate, as I am writing this, we have seen a massive shortage of wood from our manufacturers. In large part, there is a shortage of everything post-COVID-19. Keep in mind wooden fences especially in the Houston climate require maintenance, if you build it and leave it your tossing money away. With the proper care and installation, a wooden fence can last 10 to 30 years.
Vinyl fences come with minimal maintenance, they can be cleaned very easily, so homeowners that want a beautiful fence without the hassle of wood this is the best option and vinyl is about five times stronger than wood, it does not decompose, rust, or get preyed upon by insects. Vinyl also absorbs moisture and never blisters, rots, or peels. Placing it around your pool or sprinkler system is no issue for a vinyl fence. Vinyl fences are also easier to installer so there a great option for DIY'ers there are plenty of kits from big box stores if you're wanting a simple weekend project. For these reasons, Vinyl is considered more affordable in the long run. Most HOA in Houston however does not allow this type of fence and good luck trying to convince your neighbor.
Should I have a Chain Link Fence?
Chain link fencing is mostly preferred for commercial businesses and those who are budget savvy mostly because chain link is reliable. If your goal is to have the longest-lasting fence, with little maintenance, affordable repairs, and quick installation then consider chain link. They also come in a variety of different styles than your grandparent chain link fences once did.
It's not uncommon to see this fence as secure and strong. Wrought Iron also provides a great appearance to any home or landscape you choose.
If your a do it yourself fence guy and want advice we would be happy to help just give us a call at 281-545-7740