Mar 262013
 

Iron FenceBuying and installing an iron fence is a major property improvement project that a homeowner or business owner will consider with great care.  Many property owners are not aware that standard iron fence will rust within just one or two years, while galvanized steel fence will often remain rust free for 20 years.  But, once the investment has been made, you definitely want that iron fence to last as long as possible.  Even if it’s a big pain.  In time, one of the biggest fears of iron fence owners is rust, that corrosive element which can damage and destroy your investment.  Rusting is a two-part problem.  First, homeowners need to know how to deal with rust that has already begun to form on their fence.  Second, they need to know what to do to prevent rust from returning.

  • Removing Rust—There are a lot of products on the market right now which claim (with varying degrees of success) that they can remove rust.  Checking out online reviews for these individual products can be helpful, or you can go with an old-fashioned cleaner—white vinegar.  Just apply a little to a paper towel and the dab it on the rusted spots and let it stand for about half an hour before scouring off the rust with a Brillo pad or other piece of steel wool.  When scrubbing the rust, be sure to do so gently.  You don’t want to scratch the iron-work underneath and permanently nick it.  That is why the vinegar is so important since it will loosen the rust and make it easier to remove with the steel wool.
  • If the rust that has formed on your fence is particularly heavy, you may have to use a disc-sander with sandpaper, but again this is an extremely last resort as you want to be careful not to scratch or nick the paint and iron under the rust.
  • As for preventing further problems with rust there are a couple of options:
    • The first of these is to apply liquid wax to the fence.  This serves to coat the fence and create a protective layer that will prevent further rusting.  This can be done pretty simply with a paper towel.
    • Another option is to apply a rust converter.  This will take some extra work as it will need a roller and brush to apply and you will need to apply paint primer when you are finished as well to seal it.

Taking care with your fence and doing regular maintenance will keep your home’s investment looking fresh and strong for years.  Just make sure to walk the fence line regularly and inspect it for rust accumulation and take these steps when necessary to prevent any corrosion from creeping in.

Mar 202013
 

Montage FenceInstalling a fence, perhaps around your property, can be a daunting thought. There’s a lot to plan and think through before proceeding. Where is the best place to buy fence materials? What will the installation cost be? Can I do it myself, or do I need to hire a fencing contractor?

You should treat a fencing project just like anything you might build. You will probably need to get local planning permission before proceeding, which in turn will mean that you will need properly prepared plans of the project beforehand.

 

Consider you neighbors

Do you know exactly where your property boundary is? Most people have a good idea where it is, but encroach on your neighbor’s land, even by an inch or so, and you may find your friendly neighbor is not quite so friendly any more. Always be certain that you have the legal right to do it, before you do it. Your iron fencing project will go much smoother as a result.

It’s probably a good idea to drop along each neighbor who borders your property and discuss your plans with them. They might be concerned about your plans as it may obstruct their view in some way, or impinge on them in some other way.

There are many types of ornamental fence, and the one you plan to erect may not be the right style of fence, or the most suitable wrought iron fence for the neighborhood, or indeed, for you. A quick friendly chat with your neighbors will do wonders for your local public relations. You might even pick up some useful tips too.

Licensed, Insured and Bonded?

You will most likely employ a fencing contractor to do the job for you, unless of course you have prior fencing experience. Assuming that you get a fencing contractor, you will need to ensure that he is properly licensed, insured and bonded.

Your fence, unless it is something like a very short 6-foot run of fence, will most likely cost you more than $500, so it is in your best interests to make sure a bond is in place. This will protect you if your fencing contractor fails to meet the terms of the contract, for any reason. If such a situation arises, having a bond in place will save you a lot of money.

The need for liability insurance should be obvious. This will cover any work related damages that might happen. Workmen’s compensation insurance is also important. While you may think that part of it is really none of your business, you really don’t want injuries or health risks that are not fully covered happening on your property.

A proper fencing contractor is one who has paid all the necessary local fees, and one you can probably trust. If your contractor seems a bit cagey about the subject of codes and permits, ask yourself what he has to hide. Contact your local licensing authority if you need to find out.

Avoid sub-contractors, if possible

The best situation concerning fence installers and contractors is where all the workmen are employed by the contractor. This ensures a certain continuity and control. If a contractor sub-contracts all or part of the work to another company, he loses a degree of control, and you lose even more control.

Your iron fence installation will go much more smoothly if the workmen are fully accountable to the fence installation contractor you hired in the first place. The hierarchy will be properly defined, and you will sleep much better at night too.

Choosing a good, reputable fencing contractor from the start is one of the best tips you can have when you install your own iron fence. You won’t have to worry about fence materials, getting a suitable post hole digger, making sure posts are pre-routed, and that’s always assuming you get the right size of posts in the first place. Getting a good contractor will leave you with nothing to worry about apart from how your fence will look when it’s finished.