Decoration or privacy? How to choose the right fencing for your yard

(ANGIE'S LIST) - The white picket fence has been bordering yards in America since Colonial days.

They are still very popular, but so are a lot of other styles. Today's consumer has more choices, when it comes to finding the right fencing. There is chain link, vinyl, wood and wrought-iron.

"You should really think about the purpose of the fence before you make your decision," Angie's List founder Angie Hicks says. "Are you looking for something decorative or are you looking for privacy?  That's going to determine what type of fence you should install."

Wood is most popular for privacy, but ornamental fencing adds the greatest value. If budget is driving your decision, chain-link and wood are the economical choices, at about $13 and $16 per square foot.

"You need to think about the initial investment as well as the maintenance of the fence throughout its life," Hicks says. "Wood fences are beautiful, but they need to be stained periodically.  If you want maintenance-free, consider aluminum or vinyl."

Vinyl will run you about $30 per square foot.  Aluminum will run about $10 dollars more.  And then steel will cost just a little more than that.

"Both products have the same aesthetic visual, says Rod Smith, who installs fencing professionally.  He adds, "your steel products are much more rigid. They're going to sustain more abuse by children, dogs, than say the aluminum. The aluminum doesn't corrode or rust, but most of the steel products on the market have extensive coating warranties provided by your manufacturers."

No matter which material you use, consider hiring a pro.  Proper installation is guaranteed and your fencing will be higher quality.

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