Deck and Patio Blog

Why Building a Fence is Not a DIY Project

January 14, 2015


Are you looking for a DIY project to keep you busy this spring? Think building a fence would be an easy and fun undertaking? It certainly could turn out that way, but in many cases building a fence is not as easy as it seems. As Maryland fence contractors, we know how much goes into design, procurement and construction of a basic fence. And chances are good you want something more than basic. Here are a few things you should consider before jumping head first into fence building.

It’s a One-Time Project

How many fences do you expect to build in your lifetime? Probably just this one, right? The reason we ask is because with every DIY project, one of your goals should be to expand your skill set and gain valuable experience in a new area. Since you are unlikely to be building any more fences, this experience is of limited value.

You Won’t Save Money

If you want to do a DIY fence installation just to save money, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to both save money and do a good job. Now, if you are an experienced DIY-er or have some knowledgeable contractor friends to help you out, this might not be the case. But for an average homeowner, a DIY project will be more expensive than hiring the pros. One of the key reasons is the price of tools and equipment, as well as the cost of materials. Contractors often have existing relationships with manufacturers that allow them to get a better deal on fencing materials. They also have all the equipment necessary to make the job faster and easier. Unless there is a circular saw in your workshop, be ready to pay a lot for tools you might only use once.

You Still Need Permits

Just because you are building it yourself, doesn’t mean you are exempt from local building codes. For example, in the Baltimore County fences over 42 inches in height require a permit to be pulled from your local municipality. In addition to that, you might have to obtain the survey of your property, as well as a map of all underground utilities. The last thing you want is to damage a sewer line or find out that your newly built fence is on your neighbor’s property. Fence building contractors will take care of all of the paperwork for you.

It’s a Physically Demanding Job

It might initially seem like you just need to nail some boards to some posts, but it’s a lot more than that. One of the most exhausting parts is digging the holes for the posts and mixing the concrete if you choose to reinforce your posts. And if you opt for a wooden fence, you will need to apply several layers of paint or stain, which also takes time, patience and strains your arms. As with most things in life, doing it the right way is never easy or fast.

How Well Can You Plan?

A fence is a simpler structure than a house, but it doesn’t mean you can just build it on a whim. There is a great deal of planning involved that affects the materials you will choose, the shape of your fence, the amount of reinforcement needed and many other factors. Some of the the things you should account for include:

  • Will kids be climbing on the fence or swinging on the gate?
  • Are there animals you want to keep in or out?
  • What kind of weather conditions does your fence have to tolerate?
  • How do you reduce contact with moisture and prevent rot?

As you can see, there are many things to think about before building your fence. Some of them might seem obvious, while others will come to mind too late. Even if you don’t mind all the physical work, you should be honest with yourself whether you have the knowledge to build a safe fence that lasts.

At North American Deck and Patio, we can help you with your Maryland fence project if you decide that DIY is not for you. Just give us a call at 866-535-1961 for your free consultation.

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