Four Ways Fence Contractors May Be Cutting Costs at YOUR Expense!

Four Questions You Should Ask Before Purchasing a Fence

Contractors are notorious for finding ways to cut corners and cut costs. Reputable contractors will sometimes offer some suggestions of ways to save you money on a project. They will also clearly explain the pros and cons for each option so that you can make an informed decision. Other contractors might charge full price and still cut corners, thus sacrificing quality to increase their own profit. As the customer, it is important for you to make sure that your salesman is not giving you a low quality product and charging you for premium. Some things you will want to ask: (and get in writing)

1. What type of concrete will you be using? 

The concrete is the foundation for your fence. Concrete for fence posts should be 100% bagged concrete from a premium brand, such as Maximizer. This will ensure that the concrete is consistent throughout, and there are no weak or inferior spots. Some contractors will try to cut costs (up to $3-$4 per post!) by mixing gravel with the bags of concrete, or skip the bagged concrete altogether and using their own homemade blend. On the day that your fence is being installed, if you don’t see bags of concrete being unloaded, you should start to wonder what other shortcuts will be taken as your fence is being installed.

2. What Type Of Pickets will be Used?

Many customers are already aware that cedar is the best type of wood to be used for outdoor structures in DFW. However, the term cedar is a broadly used term to describe very different qualities of wood. The following are some types of wood that fall under the category of cedar, but are not recommended for fencing:

Chinese cedar- Used by many fences companies because of its low cost. The name itself is misleading, as Chinese cedar is actually a fir. Chinese cedar has only recently been imported by China into the U.S. The Chinese attempted to import this product into New Zealand and Australia in the last 20 years, and both times, this product failed the test of time.

Eastern Red Cedar – Another type of wood with a misleading name since it is actually a juniper. It does not have the stability and resistance to decay necessary to be used in a quality fence.

Northern White Cedar- While genetically very similar to western red cedar, the white cedar tree is much smaller and so the lumber contains many knots, compared to the clearer lumber of red cedar. The wood is a lighter weight, and considerably weaker than western red cedar.

As you can see, the term cedar can mean many different qualities of wood and can be very misleading. The only type of cedar used by Lifetime Fence & Roofing Company is Western Red Cedar. You can read more about why this is the highest recommended wood for outdoor structures hereDon’t let your contractor save hundreds at your expense by not specifying what type of cedar will be used. Consider it a big red flag if you receive a fence estimate that is significantly lower than the other estimates.

3. What Type of Nails will You Use?

The hardware used on your fence may seem like a small detail, but it is what holds the entire fence together. The type of nail used to build your wood fence will have a large impact on its longevity. Hardware stores offer thousands of different types of nails, and each nail has a specific purpose. Using the wrong nail would compromise the structural integrity of the fence, or actually cause damage to the would. Lifetime Fence & Roofing Company uses only stainless steel ring shank nails. While not the cheapest nail available, years of experience and research has taught us that stainless steel ring shank nails are the best option for our wood fences.  (Why not galvanized nails or screws? find out here..) 

4. Is Your Company a Member of the BBB and the AFA?

Not only do Associations such as the Better Business Bureau and the AFA hold their contractors to high standards, it costs money every year to be a part of these associations. If your contractor is willing to invest the money, time, and training, and customer care in order to maintain their status with these associations, it is a good sign that you are dealing with a legitimate business that plans to be around for a long time. If a company is not willing to invest in themselves, you should not be willing to invest in them either!

1 Comment
  1. thanks for sharing

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