House & Home

Choosing the Right Fence

Posted May 13, 2008
Updated May 22, 2008

Adding a fence around your property can provide you with instant privacy and a sense of security for children and pets. Fences can also add beauty, character and certainly value to your home. But before making an investment in a fence it is important to consider several factors and to take a look at all the available options.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a New Fence

What purpose will your new fence serve?

For most homeowners, there is usually a specific reason driving their decision to install a new fence. Some of these are:

  • Privacy Fencing: Depending on how much privacy you want a fence can provide either a complete or partial shield from the outside world.
  • Safety & Security Fencing: Children and pets can be kept safely contained in an enclosed yard and to a certain extent "strangers" can be kept out.
  • Property Values & Appearance

The right fence properly installed can dramatically alter the appearance of the your property as well as add substantial value and improve "curb appeal".

What is your personal taste?

There are so many choices in materials and styles of fences one of the first things you should do is take a look around your neighborhood and surrounding areas and begin to take notes of the style and appearance of fences that appeal to your own personal taste. Considering the basic architectural style of your home and landscaping will also help you make the right choice.

What is your budget?

The cheapest fence to install is not always the most economical in the long run. Considering factors such as maintenance and installation costs will help determine the total cost of a fence over its lifetime.

Still can't decide?

Once you have considered all the factors above and you are still having a hard time choosing the right fence, try using Fence Center's Online Fence Selection Wizard to help you make your final decision.

Basic Choices in Fence Materials

No matter what your tastes are, your reasons for installing a fence or the style you would like, there are three basic materials used to build fences—wood, metal and PVC or vinyl. Each has different advantages, comes in a wide variety of styles and provides a distinctive look. Below is an overview of each of these fence materials, their advantages and some examples to check out.

Wood Fences

For the homeowner who prefers a more natural look, wood provides the opportunity to quickly and easily install a fence the look of which can be changed from time to time by simply changing the paint or stain color.


  • Beautiful, natural look
  • Affordable
  • Easily & quickly installed

Types of Wood Fences:

  • Stockade
  • Shadowbox
  • Solid Board
  • Picket
  • Split Rail

Metal Fences

Chain Link Fencing

Chain link fence is usually thought of for commercial properties, however, this is a very affordable product that is a very popular choice with homeowners who want to keep pets safe and secure. There are several varieties of chain link fence available; from the plain galvanized type, to a vinyl-coated type that comes in several colors. Also available are vinyl slats that are inserted into the body of the fence, providing additional privacy. Without the vinyl privacy slats, a chain link fence is a wonderful way to achieve a fenced in yard and yet still keep an open airy feeling around your property.


  • Economical
  • Maintenance-Free
  • Pet Control
  • Graffiti Resistant

Ornamental Aluminum Fencing

Ornamental Aluminum fences are an affordable alternative to traditional wrought iron fences and provide homeowners with a unique, upscale look without the high maintenance costs for yearly scraping, sanding and painting of ornamental iron.

PVC or Vinyl Fences

As you may have already noticed, white vinyl fences are springing up all over the country. This is the fastest growing and one of the most popular choices in fence materials by homeowners all across the United States. While not the least expensive alternative, Vinyl fences offer homeowners a virtually maintenance free product with lengthy guarantees. The product is also very beautiful and has the effect of creating a more expansive feel to a property line.


  • Virtually maintenance Free
  • U.V. Protected - never needs painted
  • Color goes all the way through - scratches or gouges almost invisible
  • Does not rot or rust
  • Strong & Flexible

Types of Vinyl Fences:

  • Privacy
  • Semi-private
  • Picket
  • Pool fences

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