Adding a fence around your property can provide you with instant privacy and a sense of security for children and pets. Fences can also add beauty, character and certainly value to your home.

But before making an investment in a fence it is important to consider several factors and to take a look at all the available options.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing a Fence

What purpose will the fence serve?

For most homeowners, there is usually a specific reason driving their decision to install a new fence. Some of these are:

    • Privacy Fencing: Depending on how much privacy you want a fence can provide either a complete or partial shield from the outside world.
    • Security Fencing: Children and pets can be kept safely contained in an enclosed yard and to a certain extent “strangers” can be kept out.
  • Appearance Fencing: The right fence properly installed can dramatically alter the appearance of the your property as well as add substantial value and improve “curb appeal”.

What is your personal taste?

There are so many choices in materials and styles of fences one of the first things you should do is take a look around your neighborhood and surrounding areas and begin to take notes of the style and appearance of fences that appeal to your own personal taste. Considering the basic architectural style of your home and landscaping will also help you make the right choice.

What is your budget?

The cheapest fence to install is not always the most economical in the long run. Considering factors such as maintenance and installation costs will help determine the total cost of a fence over its lifetime.

White picket fence around cottage.

Basic Choices in Fence Materials

No matter what your tastes are, your reasons for installing a fence, or the style you would like; there are three basic materials used to build fences: wood, metal, and PVC or vinyl. Each has different advantages, comes in a wide variety of styles and provides a distinctive look.

Below is an overview of each of these fence materials, their advantages and some examples to check out.

Wood Fences

For the homeowner who prefers a more natural look, wood provides the opportunity to quickly and easily install a fence the look of which can be changed from time to time by simply changing the paint or stain color.

Wood privacy fenceAdvantages:

  • Beautiful, natural look
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install

Types of Wood Fences:

  • Stockade
  • Shadowbox
  • Solid Board
  • Picket
  • Split Rail

Metal Fences

Chain Link Fencing: Chain link fence is usually thought of for commercial properties, however, this is a very affordable product that is a very popular choice with homeowners who want to keep pets safe and secure. There are several varieties of chain link fence available; from the plain galvanized type, to a vinyl-coated type that comes in several colors.

Also available are vinyl slats that are inserted into the body of the fence, providing additional privacy. Without the vinyl privacy slats, a chain link fence is a wonderful way to achieve a fenced in yard and yet still keep an open airy feeling around your property.


  • Economical
  • Maintenance-Free
  • Pet Control
  • Graffiti Resistant

Ornamental Aluminum Fencing: Ornamental Aluminum fences are an affordable alternative to traditional wrought iron fences and provide homeowners with a unique, upscale look without the high maintenance costs for yearly scraping, sanding and painting of ornamental iron.

PVC or Vinyl Fences

As you may have already noticed, vinyl fences are springing up all over the country. This is the fastest growing and one of the most popular choices in fence materials by homeowners all across the United States.

While not the least expensive alternative, Vinyl fences offer homeowners a virtually maintenance free product with lengthy guarantees. The product is also very beautiful and has the effect of creating a more expansive feel to a property line.

Vinyl fenceAdvantages:

  • Virtually maintenance free.
  • Never needs painting.
  • Color goes all the way through.
  • Does not rot or rust.
  • Strong and flexible.

Types of Vinyl Fences:

  • Privacy
  • Semi-private
  • Picket
  • Pool fences
Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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