Buying A Fence – FAQ
Before Choosing a Fence Company to install your fence, consider these questions:
1. What are you buying and from whom are you buying it?
The contractor with the lowest price may not be the best bargain. Quality products that last longer with fewer needs for repairs over time often cost slightly more upfront but save on future maintenance expenses. Be sure to research not only the contractor you hire but also the products that company is selling. You should be able to locate the manufacturer and origin of the product. Be wary if you can’t.
Also, research your contractor. How long have they been in business? Are they members of the Better Business Bureau? Are they on Angies List? What is their reputation in the community? You want to be sure to work with a licensed and insured contractor as well as one that’s knowledgeable of your city’s codes and construction ordinances.
2. How do I know what type of fence is right for me?
What is the main reason you are purchasing a fence?
- Beautify the property
- Hide an ugly view
- Keep children and/or pets safely within your property
- Block traffic
- Privacy from neighbors
There are numerous styles and types of fences to address every budget and situation. Know your goals and express them to your contractor. He or she should know what options would work best for you.
3. What should I know about fence materials?
Not all materials are equal.
- Wood: There are different grades and species available
- Vinyl: There are different methods of producing the vinyl as well as different wall thicknesses, steel or aluminum reinforcement for rigidity, different methods of UV protection to prevent yellowing and different colors.
- Chain Link: There is galvanized, aluminized and vinyl coated as well as different thicknesses and strengths of posts and fabric.
- Ornamental: Ornamental fences are available in numerous material selections such as tubular steel, solid steel and aluminum in welded or bracketed panels. There are also a variety of coatings and finishes available.
4. Do not employ a contractor without a written and specific contract.
Your written contract should contain specifications of the materials your contractor intends to use. If wood is to be used, the contract should state the species, style and grade of wood. If you choose a metal fence, the gauge of chain link fabric, post sizes and/or picket sizes should be specified. The number of gates, post footing sizes and whether concrete is being used should be specified as well. Basically, all details discussed with your contractor should be in the contract and signed by both parties.
5. Ask for samples and/or brochures.
A reputable contractor is able to and more than happy to present product details, brochures and samples. If the contractor has a showroom, visit it and view what you are buying as well as all other choices available.
6. Ask for references.
A well established, reputable contractor should be able to provide you with addresses of where they’ve performed work. Visit the site, and check the material and installation quality. Viewing previous installs also helps with choosing material types and style.
7. What should I know about a contractor prior to hire?
How long has the contractor been in business?
Is the contractor licensed, bonded and insured?
Ask to see a certificate of insurance.
Make sure the contractor has provided you with a written contract with the terms and conditions.
Ask for references.
Know you rights and obligations as a consumer, as per the Consumer Rights Acknowledgement Form put together by Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan.