We've done our own brain picking and discovered what to tell the neighbours about your plans, how to follow municipal building rules and even how to choose the best screws when building your own fence.
"This height seems reasonable; it's not going to have a huge impact on your neighbours," says Ed Thornhill, manager of permits and inspections for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
In Edmonton, fences can reach a maximum height of 1.86 metres in the backyard and one metre in the front yard. According to the city, no permits are granted for fences taller than that. The City of Vancouver also does not require a permit for a fence shorter than two metres. Should a homeowner want to go above that, he must apply to the city for a permit -- a lengthy process that requires a land survey.
So, before you build your fence, check out your area's municipal regulations to see if you need a permit.
If you're building a new fence, start by having a surveyor mark your property line. Ideally, the fence should be about a foot into your own property -- that way, if you want to paint or maintain the opposite side of your fence (the side your neighbours see), you don't have to trespass to do so.
Likewise, if you guess at the property line and inadvertently infringe upon the neighbour's lawn, technically the fence is no longer your property and your neighbour now owns your fence, so it pays to choose your location carefully.
About two-metre intervals, he dug a hole more than a metre deep for the support beams, which were large four-by-fours. He then poured concrete around the beams in the holes, to anchor them, and used cross bars to keep the beams level. "Nothing looks worse than a fence that is crooked," says Cotton.
When the cement was dry, he screwed in two two-by-fours horizontally. Then, he screwed in flat balusters running vertically -- about 15 across in all -- for privacy. He says screws are sturdier than nails, and the galvanized or steel variety won't rust. But not every material is equal, he says.
If you're all thumbs when it comes to construction, a pre-made wood fence is another option. Sections come in cuts two-metres wide. For a fancy lattice top section that's two metres high by two and half metres wide, expect to pay about $100; if you skip the lattice, the price drops to about $80. But beware: The joints are often fastened with cheap staples. It may be convenient in the short run, but it may require some repairs later on.
Vinyl is another easy option: "Itís precut and it snaps together, which makes it easy to install," says Ryan Vickery, a deck design associate for Home Depot in London. For a section that is two and a half metres long by one and half metres high, expect to pay about $100. To increase the privacy of a vinyl fence, as well as its overall appeal, you can buy metal slates for the open sections or let a climbing plant grow on the fence.
PVC is a fire-proof and waterproof material that looks like wood but is a hard, durable plastic. It requires little maintenance and can stand up well to fading and deterioration, lasting just as long as wood. The support beams are installed similar to a wood fence, but the pre-cut sections snap together easily. Its price is cheaper than most materials: $50 for a section that is one and a half metres long and two metres high.
Whichever materials you choose, Cotton suggests you take your time building your fence. Considering a fence can last as many as 20 years, thatís a long time to live with a crooked eyesore.
Melanie Chambers is a freelance writer in London, Ontario.
|-- Posted: July 19, 2006
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