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When you decide to fence your yard, or replace an existing fence there are many considerations to be made. You have to go through the length of the fence around your yard, the material, style, and overall quality that will impact your home value and curb appeal.
And if you have a homeowners’ association there might be fence rules and regulations you will have to follow around the size, height, material, and style. We’re here to help you understand a popular fence material that is durable, and comes in different materials and layouts. That’s the metal fence for a front yard or back yard that is a classic choice of homeowners.
Types of Metal Fence Materials
The different materials of metal fences has a long history as an alternative to wood fences. The most popular metal fence materials are wrought iron fences, steel and aluminum.
Wrought Iron Fences
Wrought iron fences is a heavy-duty fence that also has a sense of elegant and decorative style that is long lasting. Strolling through many neighborhoods and areas of Atlanta will reveal wrought iron fences as the chosen material. Typically wrought iron fences have a powder coat to protect it from the elements and has a heat applied finish that makes it more durable than regular paint.
If the powder coating is scratched or marred in any way, however, the iron will begin to rust. This makes repainting the fence every year or two a good choice to maintain the integrity of your iron fence.
Pros of wrought iron are it’s strong and durable, has the ability to take on customizable designs and the classic appearance.
Cons of wrought iron are that they require regular maintenance to ward off rust. Iron is very heavy and is more difficult to work with.
Modern Metal Fencing
The majority of ornamental metal fences are made of tubular steel or tubular aluminum. These types of metal fences can be machined in a factory then installed at the home easily. The metal posts, rails and pickets are hollow so they are lighter and can be transported more easily. These drive the production and labor costs down so they can be sold at comparable prices
Steel tubular fence
Steel can be bent into hollow pickets, rails and posts, which are welded together and screwed into posts. Tubular fencing is the most common type of metal fence since it costs less to produce and is more light weight so it’s easier to work with.
Pros of steel are that it’s strong enough to have 8 foot long panels and fewer posts.
Cons are that steel is susceptible to scratching and rusting.
Aluminum fences are shaped similarly to steel fences and preassembled into panels or pieces so they’re easier to install. Though similar to steel they have many advantages. Aluminum won’t rust or corrode, so this is the best choice for homes in coastal areas or near bodies of water. However, aluminum isn’t as strong as iron.
Pros of aluminum fences are that it is less expensive, and can be sloped to accommodate uneven terrain.
Cons of aluminum are the lesser strength as compared to iron, and it can be easier to dent than an iron fence.
Chain link isn’t as popular as it used to be, but you’ll still see plenty of chain link fences around town. That’s because they are quite durable and long lasting. They’re made out of galvanized steel wire, which makes them more resistant to corrosion and rust. Chain-link fences are also cheaper than other fence types and are very easy to install.
However, they don’t provide as high level of security as other fences, and are pretty easy for animals and people to climb. If the look of a chain-link fence isn’t your style you can always have vinyl coated chain link which come in black and green.
Pros of chain link fences are they require very little maintenance
Cons of chain link fences are they don’t fit with many homes aesthetics and are not permitted by many homeowners’ associations.
Solid steel fence
Solid steel fences, as compared to tubular fences, are much heavier which also makes them stronger and more durable. That’s why when security is of the utmost importance solid steel is the choice of many commercial and residential property owners.
Pros of solid steel are the near impossible to damage properties, as well as the ability to accommodate sloping yards.
Cons are the heaviness which can require machinery to hoist into place, and it also requires consistent maintenance.
Metal Fence Maintenance Requirements
Part of owning a metal fence is maintaining it to last for years to come. Similarly to how different wood fences age uniquely, fence materials react differently to different climates.
Aluminum Fence Maintenance
For aluminum there really isn’t much maintenance required, but you should keep a keen eye for dulling or oxidizing. These look like white, powdery areas on the fence, and a finish that no longer shines. In this case you can wash the aluminum fence with soap and water, then coat it with automotive wax to create a barrier against the elements and restore the original luster.
Iron, Steel or Chain-link Fence Maintenance
Bare iron and steel corrode when they are exposed to air and water, and if salt is in the mix you will see rust appear even faster. However, newly installed fences are primed and painted to prevent this kind of damage. In order to maintain the integrity of a metal fence you should just wash the fence with soap and water twice a year, and oil any latches and springs with mineral oil. You can also use steel wool to buff scratches or signs of rust, and neutralize them with lemon juice and vinegar. After that you should touch up these areas afterwards with a matching rust resistant paint.
If you have a damaged metal fence or rusted metal fence you should remove or clean any overgrowth which can trap moisture. As long as the fence hasn’t been neglected for decades, and it’s simply a thin rust layer on the surface, you shouldn’t need any heavy duty equipment to remove the rust from your fence.
A wire brush can gently remove surface rust from flat areas, and on corners or decorative elements an abrasive material like black sandpaper can be used. To restore the fence it’s important to clean the metal, then prime the fence with an oil based primer formulate for metal. After the fence is primed using an oil based paint will help ward off future rust.
What is the best metal fencing?
The best metal fence is different for different houses or commercial properties, and the overall budget requirements. Tubular steel fences are a great option for most homes, but this might not be secure enough for others. If there is constant harsh weather with gusts of salty water then aluminum will be the best fence for its corrosion resistance. And if a wrought iron fence look is what is in style in your neighborhood this could be the best fence for you.
At the end of the day it comes down to personal taste, and requirements of the fence for your property. We can help guide and give advice on which fences work best since we have over 60 years experience installing fences in the Atlanta area.
Proper Installation for a Metal Fence
If you decide on steel, aluminum or wrought iron you’ll have to get the proper installation to make the fence last. If you have to install the fence on a sloped landscape it’s important to have an experienced fence installation professional line up the fence for a smooth appearance. If you need to get a quote on a metal fence you can contact Chamblee Fence at 770-648-2728 between 8 AM and 5 PM Monday through Friday. You can also use our instant quote tool and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.