The Pros and Cons of DIY Fencing

Should you choose a professional for your fencing project?

Fencing is a common DIY project performed by homeowners around the world. However, for every successful endeavor there are tragic DIY-fails that result in shoddy work needing to be replaced or redone by professionals. Hint: the latter ends up being more expensive than doing it professionally in the first place.

This isn’t to say all DIY fencing projects are futile but consider these important factors before you head to the hardware store and dive in head-first.

Common DIY Fencing Mistakes

  1. Poor Planning

DIY projects are only successful when properly planned well before the installation begins. You must know how to correctly measure your space and determine the necessary materials. Simple mistakes can lead to costly repairs or additional trips to the hardware store.

  1. Lacking the right tools

There is much more to a fence than securing it to the ground. Most fencing is secured up to a few feet into the earth with posts that provide stability to the fencing. Digging these is intensive labor that should not be performed by those with physical limitations. Additionally, depending on the material, you may need special tools to secure the fencing. Renting or buying these materials can add up beyond what a professional job would cost. Professionals will already have the necessary tools and understand how to use them.

  1. Underestimating budget

Whatever you think you’ll spend—add 20% more. At least. However handy you may consider yourself, there’s no avoiding last-minute costs and materials. Factor in time spent dropping everything for a last-minute run to the hardware store and, and the surprise cost of extra materials (you’re not going to price-compare when your tools are outside!). Price fluctuations and retail costs also add to the project. Maybe you’ll be lucky and score a deal on materials or tools, but professional fencers often have access to bulk, wholesale pricing that the average DIY-er doesn’t have access to.

  1. Lack of help

We love our family and friends—but are they the best help for your DIY projects? Maybe — depends on who owes you a favor. Choosing the wrong people to help with your project could cause costly mistakes that are 100% outside of your control. Not to mention the possibility of those who promise to help flaking on you. When their incentive isn’t getting paid but the promise of pizza and a six-pack, their motivation might not be as strong. Or maybe you’re considering hiring help—if so, how much money are you really saving at that point?

And if you’re thinking of going it alone—don’t. Fencing is not a one-person job.

  1. Underestimating time

If you’re thinking this will be an easy Sunday afternoon project, think again. Any substantial fencing project will take at least a few days for professional laborers to do a quality job. Just as with cost, you’re going to want to assume this project will take at least 20% longer than you’re estimating if not longer.

  1. Overestimating your skills

We all like to think of ourselves as handy but watching HGTV or YouTube tutorials does not make you a professional. Many professionals go to months if not years of vocational schooling or bring thousands of hours of on-the-job experience to every contract.  While online tutorials may make it seem easy to install professional-grade fencing, this is one time you are going to want to second-guess your skills. No one wants to be halfway into a project and realize they’re in way over their heads. At that point, you’re only wasting time and money.

  1. Cutting corners – leads to repairs down the road

You may think you can sneak around professional standards to get a good-enough result for your fencing. You’re wrong. Cutting these corners will almost certainly lead to costly repairs or replacements down the road, even possibly damaging your property value. Professionals know what’s necessary and what isn’t. Not to mention code-mandated standards. Let your fencing contractor know your budget and they can work out what’s right for you.

  1. Always choosing the cheaper option

Cheaper usually doesn’t mean better. You may find a too-good-to-be-true deal and jump at the opportunity. However, your layman’s knowledge may not be able to determine whether the price you’ve found is a true quality deal, or if the manufacturer cut corners to dupe  you into purchasing a subpar product. Keep in mind, just like any other renovation or project, a fence is a permanent investment into your home and property. Choosing the cheaper option likely will mean costly expenses later.

  1. Focusing on aesthetics over function

Fencing can add a lovely, decorative finish to your yard, but keep in mind the function you want it to serve. If you’re looking to contain children or animals safely in your yard with minimal supervision, you’ll want to make sure your fencing is safe for little hands and paws while also being break-out proof. If you’re looking for protection for your home or property, sturdy metal fencing likely will be your best option. Strong materials that stand the test of time and serve their purpose are a far better investment than a trendy design.

  1. Ignoring aesthetics

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the aesthetics of your fencing solution. Especially for residential or commercial projects, fencing should serve its function while also communicating the proper message. A tall steel fence with protective spikes adorning the top sends a message: KEEP OUT. Maybe that’s the message you want to send, but maybe it’s not. A 3- or 4-foot fence may be all you need for function while also aesthetically complimenting your home.

  1. Not checking local regulations/HOA

Everyone’s favorite—local regulations. They exist for a reason, even if that reason isn’t always clear. Homeowner’s and Community Associations exist to preserve the overall style and aesthetic of a neighborhood and local regulations assure new construction meets safety standards. Underground wiring and piping could be easily disturbed while installing a fence, potentially leading to fines from the city or even serious injury or death. If there’s even a remote chance of live underground wires or other utility lines, the job should be handled by professionals who know what they’re doing.

  1. Not getting a quote from the professionals

You should at least know what prices you’re competing against. Getting free quotes from local contractors costs you nothing and can only benefit you with free advice.

Benefits of Fencing Professionals

  1. Experience

Professional fencing experts know the ins and outs of installation and will get the job done no matter what. The team will cut down on the time the fencing takes to install and only improve the quality of the work done.

  1. Access to wholesale materials

Fencing companies often have access to inside deals that are not available to the average consumer. This relationship with suppliers and the benefits of bulk buying can cut material costs below what a DIYer would pay. This discount can add up both cost- and quality-wise for your fencing project.3. Labor

A fencing company comes with the labor force built in. There’s no need to worry about hiring reliable help or hoping your volunteer help shows on the day-off. Having reliable team with expert industry experience can make a world of difference in your fencing project.

  1. Craftsmanship

A lot more is on the line for a fencing company when they complete a project than yourself. When you hire a company or contractor to do a job, they not only have the financial obligation to complete the project with the utmost quality, their reputation is on the line for each project they complete. A mistake could mean additional costs incurred or even lawsuits and civil claims. If you mess up a project, it is entirely upon you to fix it.

  1. Better safe than sorry

Peace of mind is priceless. Leaving your fencing project in the hands of professionals will save you the worry and anxiety that comes with going it alone for DIY projects. Hire a licensed, bonded contractor to ensure that the company carries accident insurance that will cover any mistakes they may make. For DIYers, these costs would be your financial responsibility.

Not to mention, safety and security. Fencing serves a function just as much as decoration. You wouldn’t want to sacrifice safety when installing pool fencing only to regret it in the event of an accident. Additionally, a sturdy fence is only as protective as its installation. It doesn’t matter how durable and strong your fencing is if it can be knocked over because it isn’t properly secured into the ground. A professional will know how to install these properly so your fence serves is proper function.

  1. More expensive in the end if DIY goes wrong

In the end, installing a fence is a permanent financial investment you are making to your property. Like any investment consider all your options before investing. A shoddy DIY job will lead to additional costs that may end up requiring you to call a contractor anyway. Consider how you value your peace of mind, labor, and time. When the numbers all add up, the cost of professional fence installation is a price worth paying.

Start your search for the perfect solution and check out our full selection of fences.

If you are considering fencing for your property or would like to consult with one of our fencing experts at any time, please do not hesitate to contact us. We love hearing from our customers!

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