Friday, July 18, 2008

The fence "post" #1

So, we've been looking at replacing the old chain link fence that surrounds our entire city-corner lot for over a year. Why? Well, we quickly learned that houdini-puppy could make her way UNDER the fence. Then she grew big enough to jump OVER the fence. Then she found her voice and started barking at every dog (or moving biker, runner, skateboarder, etc) she could see THROUGH the fence. Then she got smart enough to use her nose to OPEN the fence. Then there's the fact that the old fence was just old and ugly.
So, in the name of puppy safety and owner sanity (and yard asthetics), the new fence moved up the priority list.

Turns out, putting up a new fence requires a lot of decision-making. Height of fence. Type of material. Design of fence. Special city codes that regulate fences on corner lots....
To do it ourselves or have it done for us?
To build our own panels or buy them pre-built?

I browsed real-live fences and pics online. Sean and I decided on a few options and then set about to get some estimate. Before shopping, we decided on a wood fence that was semi-private in the back. In the front, because of code regulations on the corner, we needed a fence that had 80% visibility. So, we were looking at aluminum fences that looked like wrought iron. I wasn't so picky about what the wood fence looked like on top-I actually preferred less diagonal lattice and more vertical decoration. But price would really help us make our decision. Because we had absolutely NO idea how much a fence could possible cost.

And it turns out, fences cost a lot. Of course, if you have ever put up a fence, you have also probably experienced the nearly heart-stopping gasp of disbelief when the friendly fence man handed over his estimate for said new fence, including gates, hardware, post-caps, fasteners, etc.
Usually I don't talk too much about prices in the blog, but I think this is important folks: Fences are expensive to have installed. If you do it yourself, you can save a bundle.
To install about 80 feet of the lattice-top wood fence from the fence company, it would have cost about $10,000. (Yes, that's $3,500 more than our ROOF cost.) Yipes.
In addition, to have the 80 ft. of aluminum fence done, it was going to be about $6,500.

After smiling and nodding while the friendly fence man explained all that was included in the costs (clean-up!), we thanked him, got into the truck, shook our heads and said, "Well, I guess we'll be doing that fence ourselves, huh?"

So we started pricing out materials and fence panels at the local do-it-yourself stores!

(To be continued...)

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