Do you consider great fences make great neighbors? Or are you with Gene Autry, looking for large open country? If you reside in close quarters with your neighbors, you’re probably in the previous camp — whether or not it’s a fence to keep a dog at home, an aluminum wall around your pool for safety or a privacy fence to shield naked sunbathing, there are a lot of choices and local fence contractors to choose from. And just like light fixtures, backsplash tile and color schemes, fence is subject to trends.
Melissa and Jerry Haley founded their company, Backyard Fence, in 1997. Back then, wood ruled the day, both the spaced pickets that call Tom Sawyer to mind, and the panels that create both a wall and a privacy shield. Melissa Haley said she rarely quoted vinyl in those days because it was so expensive, contrasted to spruce and cedar choices. Now, the contrary is true. Vinyl has come down in price, Haley said, and the price of wood has skyrocketed because of supply issues when it comes to importing lumber. Wood and vinyl are frequently close in price, and clients often go with vinyl because it is low-maintenance and long-lasting, Haley said, and the material now comes in a variety of colors, not just white.
“There are places where only wood will do, because the property is greatly wooded and vinyl would look out of place,” Haley said.
Fencing falls into four categories — in order of cost, it’s chain link, aluminum, vinyl and wood. Installation labor costs depend on location, Haley said — the digging is easy in Rotterdam, where it’s sandy, but trickier in Altamont or Cohoes, where the soil is various.
Although chain link is cheapest, you can spend as much as a new car on elegant fence choices — vinyl with aluminum on top to create a decorative element or aluminum fence with decorative panel inserts. Haley said a combination of styles is popular — at her house, she has chain link around the backyard and decorative vinyl in the front facing the street.