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  • Fence Material – Should You Buy Extra?

Purchasing a fence is expensive. It only makes sense to spend your money as efficiently as you can. So why would anyone want to buy extra fence material?

For most fence installations, extra fence material left over means someone calculated the material incorrectly. Even worse, it means extra money was spent on those incorrectly ordered materials.

However, there are times you may want to consider purchasing extra fence material for your project. The type of fence you decide to have installed influences this decision.

So let’s take a look at different types of fences. We’ll review the most popular styles and I’ll give you my opinion on whether you should buy extra fence material when having one installed.

The Type of Fence Matters

a pile of extra wood fence panels
Extra Sections of Wood Fence Panels

So if it makes sense to buy extra fence material for one type of fence, it should make sense for all types of fence. Correct? One would think so, but that isn’t the case.

The fact is, some materials are more readily available and easier to get than others. Important for fence repairs. Obtaining materials quicker speeds up the repair time.

On the flip side, custom fencing materials may take weeks or months to acquire. Factors like color, style and height come into play. As a result, the time frame for repairing the fence will take much longer.

So let’s take a look at the four most common types of fence material and if buying extra makes sense at the time of installation.

Wood Fence Material

Wood fence material is readily available and easy to get. Therefore, I would not worry too much about purchasing extra wood fence material to have unhand incase of a repair.

However, the type of wood your fence is constructed from may change the decision. Hard to get and exotic lumber types such as redwood and Ipe are not readily available.

You can’t just run down to you local lumber yard and purchase these types of lumber. So in this case, Having enough extra lumber on hand to fix or replace a section or two of fence may not be a bad idea.

Chain Link Material

Just like wood, most chain link fencing material is easy to get. In fact, most fence contractors probably stock it. I personally have a yard full of chain link fence material.

Posts, rails, wire fabric and all the fittings. I have it. Galvanized, black and green. So when a customer calls in a repair, I don’t need to order any material.

However, I do not stock brown, white or any custom colored chain link material. Furthermore, custom heights or mesh sizes are not stock materials.

So, when installing a chain link fence using materials I know a harder to get. Or may require extra setup fees. I always urge the customer to purchase extra. Furthermore, when they don’t, I make sure to explain that in the event they need more, expect extra lead times and costs.

Vinyl Fence Material

Vinyl fence is tricky. There are many styles that are very popular. As a result, your fence contractor will have material in stock. At the very least, they will be able to obtain it in a reasonable timeframe.

However, there are many options for vinyl fence. Any other color than white will take longer to get. The style of the fence also effects availability.

Standard privacy fences and picket fence styles are more popular. Once you start adding header accents, scallops and arches lead times get longer. Color options that aren’t as popular really extend lead times.

Aluminum Fence Material

Aluminum fence is really popular. However, there are also a lot of styles to choose from. Combine that with most manufactures offering at least 5 colors to choose from and it adds up to a lot of combinations. Different heights adds even another variable to the mix.

Most aluminum fence manufactures will have certain styles that are more popular than others. These styles often fall into a quick ship program because they are readilly available.

Manufactures know these styles are more in demand. As a result, they manufacturer more of the style, or manufacture it more often than other styles.

If the style of aluminum fence you choose to have installed falls into this category, then I would not recommend buying extra. For styles or colors that don’t get manufactured as often, I would consider it.

How Fence Location Influences Purchasing of Extra Fence Material

So we just got through discussing how the fence material and style of fence effects purchasing extra fence material. But what about the location of the fence? Does location have any bearing on it? I’m here to tell you it does.

Where your fence is located either increases or decreases its chances of a future fence repair. A wide open yard with no trees located near the fence has a much smaller chance of needing a fence repair.

On the contrary, a fence located in a yard with mature trees has a higher probability for a repair. Let’s take a closer look at how fence location may impact your decision to purchase extra fence material.

Wooded Lots

When a fence is located in a wooded location, the question of repair is when not if. Trees are the number one reason I get calls for fence repairs.

Heavy snow causes beaches to break. Ice storms cause branches to break. Wind storms cause trees to fall. Sometimes, it’s termites that eat away at trees making them weak. Other times it’s just rot.

Whatever the reason, if your fence is located in or around trees, at some point in time, one is going to fall on the fence. Therefore, having extra fence material on hand may be beneficial to homeowners in this scenario.

Snow Plowing

Here in the Mid-West, snow plows take out fences every winter. Sometimes it’s the actual plow truck hitting the fence. Other times, they run out of room to push the snow and have to push it up against the fence.

In either case, the fence requires repairing. Fences at the back of driveways are high risk. So are fence next to driveways. Especially when you have a plow service company.

Most of these guys are working in the middle of the night and not getting good sleep. Especially when a continuous snow storm persists. As a result, their focus isn’t the best and accidents happen.

Parking Lots

Let’s face it. People stink at driving. Whether it’s from inside the parking lot, or from traffic outside of the parking lot, the fences I install around parking lots are always getting hit.

Sometimes people pull too far forward into the parking spot and hit the fence. Trucks with longer beds and or trailer hitches always back into fences.

Sometimes its an accident on the street that bordered the parking lot that forces a car over the sidewalk and into the fence. Whatever the case, parking lot fences always get damaged.

Therefore, if you own a commercial parking lot, I would highly recommend purchasing extra fence material for any style of fence except wood and chain link fence. Having a fe extra panels and posts on hand will expedite the repair process when required.

Windy Areas

Believe it or not, wind causes a lot of fence repairs. But not how you think. You are probably envisioning a wood privacy fence that has blown over from high winds. And this does happen from time to time.

I’ve seen it with both good fence posts that have snapped off from the wind and rotted posts that break off easily by the wind. But what I see even more is when the wind blows items in the yard into the fence.

Trampolines are notorious for catching wind. Children’s playhouses do too. Patio furniture like tables and chairs will too. When the wind blows hard enough to get these things going, the only thing to stop them is the fence.

As a result, the fence get’s damaged. Therefore requiring a repair. So if you live in a windy area and have these items (or your neighbor does) in your yard, having extra fence material on hand is a good idea.

Conclusion

The decision to buy extra fence material when installing your fence is a personal choice. Some customers don’t mind waiting if a repair is required. Some customers want repairs completed immediately.

Especially when the fence is used to contain pets or for safety around a pool. However, as we just learned, there are many variables which help determine the likelihood your fence will need a repair.

For most customers, you may never require one. For others, I know the minute after the fence is installed, that it is just a matter of time.

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