By Keith Loria
If you are selling your home and you have an old, worn-down or fading fence on your property, chances are that it will leave a prospective buyer with an unfavorable impression.
One solution is to just remove it, but fences are often looked at as a good thing and so replacing or renovating the fence is a better solution. Many agents agree that something simple like fence updating can help set a house apart from others in the neighborhood.
“The feeling of security with a fence is about keeping something or someone in or out of a defined space,” says Gregory Knoop, of Hercules Fence Corporation in South Carolina. “Sometimes these goals overlap. Fencing can help delineate property lines, or mark off the area around a pool, or a homeowner might want to confine their dog, and keep other dogs out.”
While the standard silver-gray chain link fence remains the most economical model, there is a plethora of fence options to better match a home’s style and color scheme.
“People are going away from chain-link fencing, and going more to the PVC, vinyl or aluminum fencing,” says Tom McKenney, owner of Tom’s Fence Co. in St. Clair Shores, Mich. “It’s a better look, and a lot of people want more privacy.”
Cedar fencing is growing in popularity for aesthetic reasons, although beige boards will weather to a silver-gray color if not sealed or stained.
Another fast-growing segment of home fencing is polyvinyl. Extremely durable, vinyl withstands harsh elements and offers carefree maintenance.
“This plastic fencing can recreate the storied white picket fence of American lore, but with zero maintenance,” Knoop said. “It’s more expensive, but will last much longer than many of the other options.”
Wooden fences are charming until they weather, warp, and rot from the elements or lack of diligent annual maintenance. Wood also requires frequent sealing to keep it viable.
“When choosing a fence, know what your goal is,” Knoop says. “For safety, choose fencing with pickets close enough together so a child or dog can't stick their head through and become trapped or strangled. For privacy or noise reduction, choose a taller, solid fence.”
McKinney says that for yards with many ups and downs, you should use stair-stepped fencing, which ensures a level fence.
Another important thing to consider: When adding a fence to your property it’s vital that you check with your municipality about local zoning ordinances and building codes as some fencing projects require a permit.
Of course, you could always go the Tom Sawyer route and simply paint your old fence, but make sure that you replace all broken sections as well, experts note.