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Top 7 Mistakes Fence Owners Make

ornamental fence between neighborsMany Salem homeowners will end up building a fence on their property at some point. Building a fence seems like it should be straightforward and easy, but it can turn into a headache if you don’t do your research and plan carefully. Before picking up any fence materials, Salem homeowners should take pains to avoid these common fence building and maintenance mistakes:

1. Not checking for legal restrictions.

Before finalizing a fence design, before shopping for fence materials, Salem homeowners should first make sure their plans conform to any applicable laws or regulations. The last thing you need is to build a beautiful new fence and then have to tear down your cedar fence materials because you accidentally violated a zoning code.

Always double check your property line before building a fence. Check local zoning codes for fence height limits and other restrictions, and find out whether any permits are required for your project. You should also make sure you are not violating the terms or conditions set by your Homeowners Association. Fill out any required paperwork and get any necessary approvals before you even dig that first hole.

2. Not talking to the neighbors.

They say good fences make good neighbors, but a poorly planned fence can quickly become a bone of contention. A new fence changes the scene for parties on both sides of the fence and may cause friction between you and your neighbor if things aren’t discussed beforehand. You may not need their permission, or their input on whether to choose cedar fence materials or vinyl fencing, but giving them a heads-up before you start digging can help you avoid dealing with a disgruntled neighbor. Who knows? They may even offer to help.

3. Not putting plans on paper.

Many homeowners make the mistake of building a fence without drawing up the design ahead of time. Before ordering any fence materials, Salem homeowners should carefully measure the yard and map out on paper where the fence will go. Mark the location of any end posts, corner posts and gates. This will tell you exactly how much cedar or vinyl fencing to order.

4. Not locating utilities.

Never dig into your yard unless you’ve had your utilities marked, or you could end up thrusting your posthole digger right into a major gas, electric, or other dangerous utility line. Before you commit to your final fence plan, call 811 to have someone come out and locate your underground utilities for you.

5. Not measuring carefully.

From the depth of your postholes to the distance between posts, every aspect of your fence must be carefully measured. Botched measurements or incorrect elevation levels can lead to an imbalanced and awkward looking fence. Throughout the process of installing your vinyl fencing or cedar fence materials, your tape measure and level should be your constant companions.

6. Not staining regularly – or at all.

Cedar fence materials require maintenance. At minimum, you need to apply a fence stain every few years to prevent sun and moisture from causing the wood to crack and rot. You may not care if your cedar fence materials fade to gray, but unless you protect them with a semi-transparent stain, fading will be the least of your problems. If you don’t want to deal with this type of maintenance, consider vinyl fencing instead.

7. Careless power washing.

Over time, dirt, moss and other debris can build up on your fence materials. Salem homeowners often turn to power washing as a fast, easy way to clean their cedar fence materials. Unfortunately, pressure washing can strip off the top layer of wood, causing your fence to deteriorate more quickly. Plus, overzealous pressure washing can leave permanent gouges or streaks on your fence. If you do decide to power wash, use the lowest pressure setting and take it slow.

By spending more time carefully planning and maintaining your fence, you can avoid these common pitfalls and receive years of enjoyment from your fence once it is complete.

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