Fencing materials that will stand the test of timeOctober 7, 2018
What type of neighbourhood do you live in? Some parts of the world favour ‘estates’ with detached or semi-detached houses divided by stone perimeter fences. This is a largely British thing, so you’ll see it in a lot of former colonies. On the other hand, gated communities often have a high communal wall, with picket fences demarcating individual homes.
And in some places, there’s no fencing at all, just lawns bleeding into each other. The type of fencing you select will depend on what’s popular and available in your locality. Your budget will make a difference as well, and your styling preferences. You could start by weighing up the pros and cons of every material.
Beautiful and lightweight, this silvery-white metal is commonly used for pots, pans, and aeroplane parts. It’s not magnetic, and is pretty abundant. In the earth’s crust, it makes up 8%, which is the third position by volume after oxygen and silicon. Aluminium doesn’t rust. When exposed to oxygen and water, it forms an outer coating of aluminium oxide. This dull grey layer reduces the shine of the metal, but it also protects it from additional corrosion.
In fencing, aluminium can be used in the form of corrugated sheeting or powder-coated tubular balusters. The latter offers additional styling because the balusters can be round, curved, twisted, or square, topped with decorative caps. If you opt for Kelso fencing, you can buy raked balusters that dig into sloping ground, allowing you to build on land that slopes at angles less than 40°. It doesn’t need measuring of padding, and leaves no gaps underneath. You to cut construction costs, maintain building regulations, and acquire a sturdy DIY fence.
Until you see it in action, you’re likely to be sceptical about glass fencing. It just seems like such a delicate material. But is it really? Think about it. Safety glass lessens damage from shattered windscreens during car crashes, breaking into dulled edges and absorbing some of the impact. Glass is also used in French doors, skyscrapers, and that infamous glass bridge in China *shudder*. In your home, glass fences are more likely to be used on balconies or pools.
Safety glass can last forever. It can withstand wind, rust, rain, chlorine, salt, acid, and other forms of damage. It doesn’t rot and is easy to clean. For added privacy, you can have it tinted, coloured, frosted, mirrored, or smoked, giving it varying levels of opacity. Indoor glass fencing opens up your home, so it’s a good style option for small residences. It occupies minimal floor space and makes your house look a lot larger. Glass fences often incorporate rubber and steel in their support frames.
Wood was probably one of the earliest fencing materials ever used, and we’re still pretty attached to it. It can last decades if you maintain it properly. Emphasis on ‘maintain’ and ‘properly’. Wood fences – and/or the wood they’re constructed from – have to be treated with oils, resins, and varnishes. These materials help in making the fence rain-proof, pest-proof, mould-proof, and fungus-proof. You want it safe from worms, termites, and rot. You can use paint for decorative purposes, and the right paint covers those other functions too.
The challenge with wood fences is they’re generally made from thin wood panels that can easily be tipped over. Oil it once a year to keep it pretty, but remember there are portions of the fence that are constantly underground, exposed to moisture and pest activity. Concrete reinforcement for the underground portions could resolve that problem. You also need to be careful about the source of the wood. You want a sustainable lumberyard that routinely replants. We chop down trees for timber, paper, and other uses, not realising the effect we’re creating on our air, soil, health, ecosystems, or rainfall levels.
A hedge is probably the most long-lasting fencing option available, because its lifespan is infinite. As long as you water it, prune it, fertilise it, weed it, and protect or from pests and plant diseases, it will live forever. Its initial cost isn’t very high, but maintenance expenses pile up, and live fences take several years to grow thick enough. In the meantime, you can put up a wood or vinyl fence that you can pull down once your hedge has adequate girth.
Live fences require a lot of work, but they offer lots of advantages too. They can withstand heavy rain and strong winds, and they’re beautiful to look at. They attract butterflies and birds (bees too, though you probably don’t want those). Flowering fences enhance your yard’s aesthetic. They also dampen noise and enrich oxygen levels around your home.