Getting fence estimate - what questions should I ask?

jb_njOctober 24, 2007

I need a fence built to contain my 2 year-old terror (my son) in the backyard. I have a fence contractor coming to give me an estimate on a 6' cedar privacy fence.

What are the important questions I should be asking of this guy?

Eg, materials, post settings, etc? Thanks.

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john_hyatt

Go for steel posts. J.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 7:55AM
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nicole__

Questions to ask: Are the support posts being set in concrete? Redwood fencing holds up better than cedar, in northern California cedar cost twice as much as redwood, how about in your area? Is the wood cured? If it shrinks will it be guarenteed? How wide are the gaps in the design they are building, private enough for you? Are they using nails or screws?(you want screws) Are they applying a first coat of stain in this price? How long is the quote good for? Do they have insurance or if someone gets hurt will your homeowners policy have to cover them?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2007 at 12:29PM
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skregg

- price, of course.
- payment plan, don't put half up front, or you may never see the guy again.
- contrary to popular belief, you don't need to use concrete around 4x4 posts. especially if you're in the clay areas of NJ. if the post is sunk in 2 feet and the dirt is properly packed in as its filled, it works as well as concrete. but I would never expect a contractor's laborers to put in the effort to do it the right way, its often way faster (cheaper) to pour a bag of concrete around the post. The problem with concreting in the post is if it needs to be replaced, (like when my neighbor's car snapped my post) you'll really enjoy digging out that concrete.
- nailed in fence sections will come off in high winds, use screws or at least twisted flooring nails.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 5:52AM
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davidandkasie

i have to disagree on the no concrete recommendation, at least for my area. our ground water table is so high at times that the clay soil is fully saturated for months on end. no matter what the post is made from it will rot out quicker without concrete around it. teh concrete will still allow moisture to get to the posts, but it slows it enough that they don't rot every couple years. after only 4 years, my parents replaced some posts on their fence that were not in concrete, they were rotted completely away below ground. the posts next to them, that HAD concrete were still as good as new. that was 10 years ago and all posts are in concrete and stillrock solid.

i would not waste teh money on staining a wood fence. the sun will cure it for you, and any stain would have to be redone every couple years anyway. unless you want to paint it, my choice is to leave it natural.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 12:52PM
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john_hyatt

Creet in steel posts and every other kind of fence posts, I always get 1/2 the cost up frount and have for the last 25 years or so.
Your Contractor must have workers comp/liabality insurance. When using mang fence pannels the weak point is in the stringers they are made up from a WhiteWood grade /anything cheep it really makes no differance what material the pickets are when the frame they are fastened to rots away.

It is possible to build a fence to last 25 years or so problem is no one wants to pay for it. John

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 5:43PM
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erighter

If you're using any wood, ask if it's treated or includes staining. Ask if they warranty their work, ask if a permit is needed. If you are including a gate, find out what kind of latch or hardware they'll use, since many youngsters can figure them out and let themselves right out of the yard.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 4:23PM
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