10 Things to Consider Before Getting a Fence Part 2

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10 Things to Consider Before Getting a Fence Part 2

Moving forward with the conclusion of part one, here are five more great things to consider before building a fence.

  1.  What is the Best Material for My Style of Fence?

While the style of fence you do decide to go with will determine the type of material, there are pros and cons for each of those materials.  While most people think wood when they here the word fence, wood is not always the best option.  Many other factors go into selecting the right type of fencing material.  For example, the climate, the fence style and what it’s ultimate function is going to be.  My Fence Guys will go over every material option with you and decide which is the best route for you to go, together.


  1.  Permits and HOA Rules

Depending upon your city and neighborhood, there may be permits or HOA rules that need to be followed in order to get a new fence.  As a homeowner, you should be fully aware of any type of rules, regulations or permits that may be required before getting a new fence.  Plus, there may be regulations imposed by the city about the distance your fence must be from a sidewalk, property line or any number of other things.  Luckily, however, My Fence Guys will do all the dirty work for you!  We work with all HOAs, handle any applications for permits or anything else that may need to get an approval.  This is just one of the reasons that My Fence Guys are the premier fence company in Virginia.


  1.  Why Can’t I Install the Fence Myself?

While installing a new fence yourself is always an option, is it really the best option?  While it may seem simple, installing a fence is much harder than it sounds.  It is one of those jobs that if you do start it yourself, you will quickly wish that you hadn’t.  Why put yourself through the pain and misery of building a fence when you can hire My Fence Guys, Northern Virginia’s premier fence building specialists.  They will work with you every step of the way, handle any HOA or permit situations, and guarantee that you will love your new fence.


  1.  Do I Need to Change my Landscaping?

With every new fence, there is always an opportunity for you to change your landscaping.  With a new fence and some simple landscaping changes, you can easily transform your yard into something completely different.  At the same time, you can get a fence and have its base block a part of your lawn or some flowers that require sunlight.  If this is the case, it can easily be fixed with some stones or some other feature along the base of the fence.


  1.  Maintaining Your Fence

The maintenance of your fence is 100% dependent upon the type of material it is made out of.  Wood fences, in the long run, will require a little more maintenance than their aluminum and vinyl counterparts.  However, they may also be the perfect accent to your yard.  My Fence Guys will sit down with you and go over every single detail of the fence that will be perfect for your individual situation.  Either way, always be sure to clean your fence and they will not only look great but will last for many years to come!  

If you missed the first five things, you can find those here.

10 Things to Consider Before Getting a Fence Part 1

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There are many different reasons why you might decide to get a fence.  You might want some privacy for your yard, mark the boundary of your property, or even just have a safe, protected area for the kids and pets to play.  What’s more than that, a nice fence will also add a tremendous amount of aesthetic value to your house as well.

Here are the top 10 things to consider before you get a fence:


  1.  What is the Main Reason For the Fence?

While there are millions of houses that have fences, they have those fences for a particular reason.  Knowing what you would like a fence for, is also the most important part in helping you decide which type of fence will be right for your needs.

If you have any pets that you would like to have in your backyard, a picket or raw iron fence may not be the best choice for your needs.  If you want a fence to increase the amount of privacy in your yard, chances are you will want either a shadow box or privacy fence.  But what if you have a lake or view that you don’t want to block?  This means that you probably don’t want any type of solid fence, as it will disrupt that beautiful view.

Before you get any type of fence, these are some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself.  My Fence Guys are able to help you choose the best style of fence and the best fence materials to best for your situation.


  1.  What Style of Fence?

My Fence Guys are Northern Virginia’s premier fence manufacturers and will be able to assist you with all different types of fencing.  We will be able to help you figure out what the best style of fencing is for your individual property.  We work with you step-by-step and are only satisfied once you have a fence that not just increases your home’s functionality, but will also make sure it’s the best looking fence in the neighborhood.


  1.  Will the Weather Affect my Fence?

Virginia’s climate is rough on all different types of fences, especially when it’s wood.  It almost feels that Virginia was designed to beat up fences with its hot and humid weather.  This can lead to warping, rotting and destroys the toughest of paints and seals.  This is exactly why we design the best fences for your property, designed with Virginia’s weather in mind.


  1.  Will my Fence Last Long?

Depending upon the type of fence, this has a direct relationship to how long your new fence will last.  Wooden fences usually last for around 10 years or so.  A Vinyl fence can last anywhere from 20-30 years.  As for an aluminum fence, there is no real answer, as it will probably last until the end of time.  So it all really depends upon the type of fence, which My Fence Guys will be able to help you decide what that fence type is.


  1.  Will I Love My New Fence?

You are guaranteed to love your new fence from My Fence Guys!  We work with you 100% of the fence building process to make sure that you get the fence that you deserve.  We will make sure that you only get the best fence style, material, and color that is right for your individual needs.

Still, need to know the rest of things to think about when looking to build a nice looking fence based on your preferences? Will you make the attempt yourself or hire professional fence builders to get the job done right? See the rest of the list here.

Considerations When Setting Deck and Fence Posts

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Live load on deck post and footing.  Wind load on fence post.
Loads on Deck and Fence Posts

My Fence Guys and NOVA Build Pros are sister fence and deck companies in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.  We are your premier contractors for installing your new fence and deck.  However, we are always happy to lend a hand if you prefer to do it yourself.

One common question we get again and again is, “how do we set the posts?”  We’ve heard time and time again about deck failures resulting from sinking posts.  Before the International Building Code was as well known many deck posts were installed like fence posts.  The hole was dug, and post and concrete were installed at the same time.   This may prevent a post from toppling.  However, as you can see from the diagram, the main forces to account for in deck footers is that of the live and dead load.  For the most part, this force is normal (perpendicular) to level ground.  The force must support 40 pounds per square inches.  In general, that means if you divide the square footage of your deck by the number of supporting posts (not accounting for ledger boards) and multiply that number by 40, the result is the weight that the post must support.  Similarly, the footer must also support that weight.  The footer must have a larger bearing area than the bearing area between the post and the footer (i.e. 3.5″ x 3.5″) because the soil load bearing capacity is obviously less than the concrete load bearing capacity.  Concrete bearing capacity is between 3000 and 5000 pounds per square “inch” in general.  The soil bearing capacity is (again, in general) 1500, 2000, or 3000 pounds per square foot.  So… that entire force transmitted through the post (1,000’s of pounds) must be spread across undisturbed earth.  Additionally, the footer bottom should be below the frost level depth.  In our area, footers are typically (check w/ your locality) a minimum of 24″ deep, 18″ square and 8″ thick.  The post can be set in 8″ of concrete on top of that footer, or can be set on post anchors or by other means.  Don’t forget to get your permit(s) and schedule inspections “before” you place the concrete.

For fences, the force that must be resisted is usually due to wind loads (or, kids climbing the fence to retrieve their lacrosse balls).  There isn’t the same risk of the fence settling through the footer.  There is a risk, however, of the fence toppling over due to high winds (or kids, mowers, etc).  This isn’t so much of a problem for decks due to fact that the lateral bracing tends to keep the posts in place vertically.  Fences are essentially cantilever boards (i.e. supported only on one end) sticking out of the ground.  The earth is the only thing preventing them from toppling over in high winds.  So, the larger the cross section of the post (in general) the more the post will be able to resist that moment.  Thus, fence posts should be placed approximately 1/2 to 1/3 in the ground and should be surrounded by concrete as they are set.  Dry packing concrete is a manufacturer-recommended method that helps to speed along the installation.  In a matter of days, the concrete will solidify making removal of the post in tact very difficult.  We always recommend setting gate posts in wet concrete (we use fast setting concrete) so the footer will have a high early strength and be able to withstand the changing forces caused by a swinging gate (or a swinging gate banging against it).

If you need any more pointers or would like us to do it for you, give us a call!

Planning your New Fence

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Paddock or Horse Fence
New Painted Paddock Fence with wire Mesh
Horse Fence
Paddock Fence with Wire Mesh


There’s much more to planning and installing a new fence than simply “planting” a couple posts from your local hardware store and nailing boards to them.  To avoid making a costly (or life-threatening) mistake, you should always take the following steps:

  1. Check with your local city planning office to find out what type of fence you are allowed to install.  Most localities publish their fence restrictions online. In general, restrictions are for public safety and usually deal with height and distance from public right of ways.  For example, as shown in the link above, you wouldn’t want your visibility restricted by a fence when approaching an intersection, so some localities don’t allow you to build right up to the corner of your lot even though it is your property.  Violators of these restrictions will be made to move or lower their fence to comply or be faced with a recurring monetary penalty until such a time when the fence is brought into compliance.
  2. Call Miss Utility before you dig.  It’s not just a catchy jingle, it could save your life!  Power and gas lines running to your house are supposed to be 30″ – 36″ deep, which shouldn’t interfere with most fences, but this is not something to bet your life on.  For a number of reasons (e.g. final grading, landscaping, error during installation) these utility lines could be shallower.  You can call 811 to request utility marking on your property.  You can also go online to make a request.  Miss utility will locate and mark all public utilities on your property, usually within 48 hours.  They mark each utility (gas, water, electric, cable) with different color paint.  If you must dig near a marked utility, you should take extra caution and never use a piercing tool like a breaker bar or post hole diggers.  Keep in mind, these markings are only valid for a certain amount of time, usually about 25 days.  If the marks fade, or you suspect your utilities were not marked correctly or at all, you can often request a 3-hour locate from Miss Utility.
  3. Some localities require your new fence to be marked on your plat. Your plat, if you have one, can often be found with all the other real estate documents that you received when you purchased your home.  If you do not have a plat, or can’t find it, a property survey is recommended, especially if you want to build along your property line.  You can either pay the surveyor to construct a new plat from scratch, or, to save money, you can simply ask them to locate your property lines in the vicinity of where your fence will be installed.  A plat (or survey) is need during installation so that your fence ends up in the right place.  The last thing you (or your neighbor) wants is to have to move your fence because it was on your neighbor’s side of the property line.

Find answers to other common questions about fences here.

My Fence Guys is a licensed contractor in the state of Virginia.

How is a Privacy Fence Built?

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Privacy Fence with Lattice
Cedar Fence with Diagonal Lattice on Left. Pressure Treated Pine Fence with Square Lattice on Right.
How to build Privacy Fence with Lattice
Privacy Fence with Lattice

Need a privacy fence with lattice?  Want to know how to build that fence, or any fence?  Take the guesswork out of it!  We have shop drawings for all of our custom fences so you know what you’re getting and how it’s being built.  We find this to be an effective communication tool that reduces confusion and facilitates fence selection.  From the size and length of nail, to the placement of concrete around the post, to the type of cap, width and length of each board and description of options – it’s in there!


How to Build a Paddock Fence

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Paddock 4 board, horse fence
Paddock or Horse Fence

Four board, Paddock, Horse Fences are often terms used to describe the fence pictured above.  This fence, particularly when painted, provides a classic look that suits a wide array of properties, ranging from pastures with rolling hills to multi-million dollar homes. A typical paddock fence has three or four horizontal rails made from oak and pressure treated pine posts. These fences can have metal mesh (coated with black pvc) to prevent pets or some critters from getting out/in. Typical mesh has 2″ x 4″ openings. You can replace that mesh with 1″x 2″ mesh that will meet pool code requirements.  Paddock fences are sometimes constructed with 4×4 posts and pressure treated pine rails.  My Fence Guys uses 40 lbs of concrete around each post.  Each post is set 24-30″ deep.  We typically build paddock fence gates from all cedar (2×4 and 1×4).  The cedar is lightweight, strong and doesn’t warp or twist as easily as some other materials.