A new aluminum fence for your home can make a beautiful landscape addition while adding security for your property, pets and children. In addition, a properly planned aluminum fence installation will bring a nice return on your investment.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FENCING CONTRACTOR/COMPANY
Choosing the right fencing contractor/company to work with may be the single most important factor in the process for installing a new aluminum fence. Do your homework and research your local contractors. Do not rely on any one source; read as many reviews as you can. Check out your fence contractor/company warranty. A one year installation warranty is just not enough. I recommend finding a fence contractor with a minimum of a five year warranty on the workmanship. We are going to talk about aluminum fence material quality, cost, warranty and more, but the bottom line is, if you have selected the correct fence contractor/company, all of these factors will have been considered when they selected their
vendors. As a fencing contractor myself, I make sure that I have weighed and evaluated all of those factors when selecting a fencing product. I have multiple vendors for the same product line such, as aluminum fencing. Paramount Fencing Inc, in Collegeville PA, supplies and installs aluminum fencing from three different aluminum fence manufacturers. Why? Because not one supplier meets the needs of every customer. We supply and install the most common styles and heights from Eastern Ornamental Fencing. Eastern, along with my other suppliers all offer a comparable product when it comes to the construction of their aluminum fencing (wall thickness of the fence components and gate construction) as well as warranty. So how did I choose Eastern? There are a few factors. Eastern aluminum fence warranty goes one step above and beyond the rest with their warranty against discoloration over time and their Dupont finish. The Dupont name speaks for itself as it has been a standard for quality in the powder coating industry from the automotive sector all the way to, well, the fencing industry. Paramount Fencing, Inc. also sells a SPECRAIL aluminum fence when a special need exists for small dogs. In addition to two fence designs with a 1.5” spacing between the pickets, SPECRAIL offers a fantastic option with their patented puppy picket option.
The puppy picket option provides the elegance of your aluminum fence without the worry of your small dog walking through the pickets. This option can be added to any fence style in the SPECRAIL collection. Paramount Fencing Inc. offers aluminum ornamental fence from Jerith as well. While Jerith is not our top choice of manufacturer, it is one of the best. We offer Jerith’s line to further expand our style selection. Jerith offers a few styles not seen in other catalogues. The Concord fence style by Jerith is one of my favorites.
CHOOSING AN ALUMINUM FENCE FOR YOUR HOME
There are many construction factors to look at when comparing aluminum fence products. The simplest being wall thickness of the aluminum. Obviously, the thicker the aluminum the more stability and endurance it will have. Compare the wall thicknesses of each of your aluminum fence choices. Any variation in wall thickness of .01 or more could indicate that you are looking at two different grades of fencing. At a minimum, the fence with the thicker wall thickness is superior in construction and is the right choice for you. These specifications can be found easily online or in the brochure provided by your contractor.
The next factor is to be sure of when you are purchasing a fence is you want a fence with some sort of either screwless or hidden screw system. Aluminum fencing has come a long way over the years and there should be no reason to see a screw at every picket on your fence. It is not just aesthetics. Although this is enough for most people, there is significant construction value in these newer systems. In the past, these screws would eventually make their way out leaving an open screw hole in the fence. The picket once supported by the screw is now loose and rattles every time the gate shuts or even a good gust of wind sweeps through the yard. The open hole is now a vacancy for bees and other bugs to nest in. The paint on exposed assembly screws can easily crack or peel leaving unsightly silver screw heads all over the fence section as well. This usually happens on day one of the installation.
This brings us to the next logical question. Hidden screw design or screwless? For the time being, I am going to say a hidden screw system is my choice. There are a few reasons why. The first being that I am a little bit old school and I am not sure about installing fences with new a new technology that could fail in 10 or 15 years. Could you imagine replacing a few hundred thousand feet of aluminum fence that was installed over ten years due to a manufacturer’s defect. I am going to say, “Let’s let it withstand the test of time before we jump right in.” Once again, I am old school and believe that screws provide the strongest, rattle-free connection between pickets and fence rails. Eastern Ornamental Aluminum® fences utilize a unique “Aluminum Feature Strip” that covers the assembly screws and locks them in place. With Eastern Ornamental’s Hidden Screw Technology, all assembly screws will be forever “out of sight-out of mind!”
Another very important piece of the puzzle is the gate. If properly installed, it is very unlikely that you will have problems with your aluminum fence. There are really no moving parts to an aluminum fence until you get to the gate. The gate is the one place that will almost always give you a headache. That said, you want to be sure that the gate has been constructed with the future in mind. The gate should always be an all-welded construction. This should not be an issue as all of the decent manufacturers weld their gates but there are those lower end manufacturers that will provide an assembled gate. The gate posts are a huge factor in the gate stability. Aluminum gate posts should be a minimum of 2”x2” with a .125 wall thickness. I prefer something just slightly larger. We use a 2.5”x2.5” heavy wall post when setting gates, whenever possible. I say “whenever possible” because a slightly larger post on a straight run of aluminum fence with a flat top gate tends to accent the gate rather than allow it to blend in. These are usually service gates that you would not want to be seen from across the yard.
I very briefly mentioned the manufacturer warranty and the powder coating finish in the beginning of this blog post. These are items that you want to pay attention to. Almost the entire warranty on an aluminum fence will be associated with the powder coated finish. Aluminum fencing by nature does not rust. Aluminum fencing is not warranted against all of the things that actually affect it, like riding mowers, careless landscapers and large tree branches. So, all that is left is the actual finish. All manufacturers warrant against rusting, peeling, blistering and flaking. What you want to look for is abnormal weathering and discoloration. Should you ever need to replace a section of fence, you want to be sure that it matches the rest of the fence and does not stick out like a sore thumb.