Fence Height, How much is too much?

For many people who are seeking to erect a new fence or replace their existing fence, the question of fence height often comes to mind.
"How high can I go?"

To modern families and households, security and privacy is a major concern. If possible, many people will choose to go as high as they can when it comes to fencing.

Well, to determine a proper fence height, there are few factors to take into considerations:

1. Local Fencing Bylaw

Most cities have fencing bylaws that dictates the maximum height for a fence on the property.Here are the general rules of thumb for residential housing:
Max Height on back side of property: 1.8 – 2.0 metre (6 – 6.5 ft)
Max Height on the interior lot line (the two sides up to front of house): 1.8 – 2.0 metre (6 – 6.5 ft)*Up to front of house, not property
Max Height on the exterior lot line (the two sides up from front of house to front of property): 1.0 – 1.3 metre (3 – 4 ft)
Max Height on front of property: 1.0 – 1.3 metre (3 – 4 ft)

Each City may have slight variation in terms of height and location restrictions, it is always a good idea to visit the local government website and check out the fence height restrictions under By-Law.

2. House Location

Depending on the location of your house, there may be additional considerations required in terms of fence height.

Corner House: If your house is at the corner of a street, there are additional requirements for the fence in the corner. Usually, cities would require you to keep maximum height of the fence to less than 1 metre (3 ft) for a distance (measured from the corner) up to 6 metre (18 ft) on either side. This is to minimize view obstruction for vehicles. Also, some cities may require the fence flanking the street (besides the street) to have a max height of only 1.3 metre (4 ft).

House besides Highway/Major Roads:If your house is beside a highway or a major roadway, you may be able to go higher on your fence height restrictions. This would be area specific and you would need to find out more information from your local municipality.

House besides commercial/industrial zones:Houses besides commercial/industrial zones may be able to increase its maximum fence height depending on the type of operation in nearby zones. Please check with local government for such eligibility.

3. Costs and Availability

One thing to consider when wanting to go for a higher fence is cost. Since 4, 5 and 6 ft high fence is the market standard height. The material pricing of these fences is usually very competitive and economical. You can likely find many fencing suppliers and contractors who have inventory stocked. Typically, going higher than 6’, the material price of the fence escalates drastically as they become non standard and may require customization. So keep in mind that you may require a much bigger budget for a fence going over 6 ft.

So what if you are determined to have a fence beyond the height restrictions? Typically, cities allow you to apply for a variance permit that allows for a higher fence on your property. In the application, you much state clearly the reasons you require a higher fence. Once approved, than you can hire contractors to build the fence. Since a new fence is not a small purchase, many fence suppliers and contractors may offer flexible payment options; this is especially beneficial for those opting for a higher fence.

Can I have a Fence Installed in Winter?

YES, PERIOD.
A lot of people tend to think that a fence installation should wait until Spring or Summer when the weather tends to be good. Little do people know that a fence can be installed year round. And it may actually be beneficial to install during the winter. Many fencing contractors operate year round and business often slows down during colder months as weather sours. As a way to keep their workers working and paid, many contractors actually charge bargain prices (sometimes at cost!) just to make up for slow business.

It is true that winter weather can hinder a fence installation. This is due to two main reasons:

1. Rainy weather or wet conditions that causes soil to be wet. The ground in this case will not have a chance to dry out. The ground condition will be muddy and the holes will likely be filled with water. This is not a condition to pour concrete footing for the posts. A weak post foundation could mean problems down the road. And yes, problems usually means more money out of your pocket.
2. The ground is frozen. Try digging a hole when the ground is frozen. This is back-breaking stuff. Not fun at all.

The first problem is unavoidable. So be it.
However, the second problem is usually more of an issue to people installing their own fences than to contractors. Digging through frozen ground with a shovel can be brutal. However, many contractors have machine powered augers or other tools to help them dig. How many residential owners can say they have an auger in the shed?
Keep in mind that installing your own fence in Winter condition can be hazardous as the ground are wet and slippery. Leave it to the professionals who has been doing this for a living!

Got Green On Your Mind?

NO, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT MONEY! WHEN WE SPEAK 'GREEN', WE ARE TALKING ABOUT BEING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY!

Ever wonder about the environmental impact building a fence could have? Sure it could vary from companies manufacturing them and from material they are made out of. However, lets have a general overlook based on how the materials used are manufactured and maintained.

Wooden Fence may have the perception of environmentally friendly material, but if you take a closer look, you will see why this is not the case. From the harvest of trees, to the production of cut up wood pieces, and finally, the manufacturing of wooden fences, chemicals are treated on almost every chain of the process to shape and preserve the product. It does not stop there. Once the wooden fences are set up in your backyard, the process of maintaining the fence through repainting, sealing and termite repellents to keep the fencing looking new requires ever more chemical products. Not all chemical products harm the environment. It is important to take some time doing your research to find out whether the chemicals applied to your fence will do any residual damage to the environment.

Concrete Fence is generally considered to be environmentally friendly. Although few chemicals are added into the production of precast fences to help cement, water, and aggregate mix well, concrete fence productions generally have minimal chemical usage. As for maintenance, no chemicals are needed to treat rust, pest, and splinter or warp problems that other types of fences may have.

Vinyl Fence uses PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) plastic. Depending on where you stand, you could argue whether it is good or bad for the environment. PVC is the by products of oil and chlorine, which gives vinyl fence their attribute of environmental durability. Vinyl fence requires minimal maintenance, as it does not rot, rust, split or warp, hence little chemical required. However, according to Green Living Tips (linked below), PVC is difficult to recycle, and is considered a contaminant in other recycling streams. Currently, less than 1% of all PVC in the world is recycled.

http://www.greenlivingtips.com/articles/pvc-and-the-environment.html

Steel Fence, like concrete fence, is generally considered to be environmentally friendly. Typically no chemicals are not added during production or used for maintenance. Steel fence are manufactured through bending and welding of steels. As a result, chemicals are not required in most practices. Most steel fences are temporary set ups and they are easily recyclable.

There you have it, next time when you are building that fence of yours, think about its environmental impact!