Protect Your Fence for Hurricane Season

Protect Your Fence for Hurricane Season

As you are aware, Hurricane season is here, and will affect Central Florida in some manner.   The question is how bad?  The NOAA is predicting at least 6-10 named tropical storms developing into hurricanes this year, and 3-6 of those hurricanes will be category 3 or higher.  We at Paramount Fencing are encouraging you to understand that old saying, “An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure.” So now is the time to protect your investment, your fence.

Your fence was built beautifully, strongly, and according to the ASTM standard. It is time to see how it will stand up to hurricane-force winds.  Regardless, you can still do a few things that will help protect your investment. They will be the difference between the insurance company picking up the tab or the cost for repairs coming directly out of your pocket.  They are listed below:

  1. Video or take pictures of your fence before the storm.  Make sure you document all stretches both inside and out.  You should do this with your home as well.
  2. If you have a wood fence, the gates can be secured by taking a foot-long piece of  2” x 4” and securing it to the gate and latch post on both the top and bottom.   Use screws.  If you can, fold the gate open and screw it against the fence with screws.
  3. If you have a vinyl fence, remove the ¾” bolt from the outer portion of the top and bottom hinges.  Slide the gate off and store those gates in the garage.  Check your post caps.  If they are loose, take them off and place them in the garage as well.
  4. If you have an aluminum fence, simply place a bungee cord around the gate.
  5. Make sure you check the fence where it meets the house.  Make sure the fence is attached to the house.   If it is not, go buy a hurricane strap or 90-degree angle bracket and connect the fence to the house.   It will be the difference between the Insurance company viewing the fence as an attached structure or a detached structure.
  6. If you have a stretch of fence line which is standalone or not attached to the fence line as a whole, brace it.  Bracing can be accomplished by taking a 2” x 4” about two feet long and placing it at a 45-degree angle, one end buried in the ground, one end attached to the post with a screw.
  7. If you have a pool, even if it has a screen enclosure, please purchase an orange plastic safety fence from the home improvement store.  It will be hard to find after the storm.

Other ways to protect your fence during a hurricane are simple.

First, be sure to trim any tree limbs that are hanging over your fence line (and especially over your roof!) This will help limit damage due to large, old limbs falling in high winds. If the limbs are coming from a neighbor’s tree, ask them if they wouldn’t mind you trimming their tree or even hiring a professional to clean it up. However, always ask permission before cutting a neighbor’s tree!

Next, pick up any large items that are in your yard, including porch decor, outside furniture, and even hanging decorations. Anything that can be picked up by the wind can be thrown into a fence or even a window and cause damage. If you can, put everything into a garage or shed, or stack everything close to the house. As a last resort, sink your large furniture in your pool.

Last, check your fence line’s integrity. If it is older and has any loose posts, fix these before a storm. Reinforce any areas that have loose boards or panels.

When in doubt, use the resources below to monitor the current weather conditions:

 

NOAA

Any notable tropical event can be found at the National Hurricane Center. Hover your mouse cursor over the event in question and it will give basic information such as Maximum Sustained Winds, Minimum Central Pressure, Location and Direction of movement.
Current Condition of the tropics

Current Weather Systems in the US

Understand, all tropical events are carried across the Atlantic Ocean by tradewinds- but they all will curve north in some manner as they approach North America. As they draw close, they are affected by frontal boundaries.
USA Frontal Boundaries

Water Temperatures and Interactive Maps

Remember, the temperature of the water determines if a Tropical Disturbance will develop or grow.  A hurricane needs 79.9-degree water to sustain itself.  It important to look at the water temperatures and the current location of a storm to determine where it travels and the projected path. This is an interactive map.
Current Water Temps

Wind Shear

There are two things that will kill a hurricane: Water Temperature and Wind Shear.  It important to monitor Wind Shear.  This website possesses current maps and covers favorable or unfavorable conditions. Use it to closely monitor a storm when it is 7-10 days out.

Cyclones - Spaghetti Models

Spaghetti Models are just as they sound:  A bunch of lines. But what each line represents is what counts.  Each line is the project path of a tropical disturbance based on different scientific models and organizations.  They are taking into account factor such as existing weather patterns.  They are predictions, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Long Term Project Path of A Storm.

3-7 Day Frontal Forecast

NOAA essential 3-7 day tracking photos of USA Frontal Boundaries.  It will help you understand what can make a hurricane change direction or shift paths.
3-7 Day Frontal Boundary Forecast NOAA

Wind Patterns

Wind pattern can steer a hurricane.  It also lets us know if we are going receive moisture.
Wind Flow and Directions

Humidity Patterns

Hurricanes do not like dry air. They will try to avoid it. Darker black shades on the map indicate dryer air. Use this map to track humidity patterns over the oceans.
Water Vapors
Click Here:

Keep yourself and your home safe this hurricane season. This post has been brought to you by Paramount Fencing and Florida Living Outdoor.

Extend Your Fence Post’s Life Up To 20 Years With PostSavers!

Extend Your Fence Post’s Life Up To 20 Years With PostSavers!

Fence posts are the main source of strength for any fence structure. Most issues that arise with a fencing system will stem from a weakened or damaged fence post. Paramount Fencing understands the importance of protecting and caring for fence posts. Our best advice is to install the posts correctly the first time to help avoid having to go back and remove fence sections to replace a damaged post.

But how does a landowner protect their fence posts?

Beginning in the mid-1800s, fence posts, wood light posts, and railroad tracks were dipped into creosote tar and then installed in or near the ground. However, in recent years, the EPA has issued many warnings of creosote posing cancer, health, and environmental risks. Many states now have laws prohibiting burying posts or poles treated with creosote.

This shift away from creosote helped develop the current pressure treatments used on lumber today, but no pressure treatment is perfect.

A pressure-treated pine fence post installed directly into the ground has a 5-8 year lifespan before environmental conditions begin to take their toll.

Ground rot is the biggest risk to wooden posts. Moisture held in the soil, combined with decaying leaves, grass clippings, and shade creates the ideal biome for wood-destroying microorganisms. Because of the posts’ natural position in the ground, the rot will take the worst effect at the base of the fence, causing strength and structural issues. As more damage takes place, posts are at risk of rotting away or snapping off.

To prevent this, Paramount Fencing recommends using PostSavers.

PostSavers are heat-shrinkable sleeves lined with a meltable bituminous liner. The sleeves are heat-applied to wooden posts to create an airtight and watertight seal around the ground contact line of the post. The dual-layer barrier keeps the preservative in and the moisture and microorganisms out.

By preventing rot before it can start, properly installed PostSavers are guaranteed to extend your fence posts for up to 20 years.

 

PostSavers can be used in many applications:

Fence Posts: Postsavers can be used on residential and commercial fence installations, as well as agricultural. Postsavers can be used on farm fencing, field fencing, horse fencing, yard fencing, garden fencing, and any other wooden fence installation.

Gate Posts: Postsavers used on gate posts protect the largest posts from rot. Gate posts are a fundamental piece of any fencing project and provide strength and stability. A gate with a damaged or weak gate post is subject to damage itself or will not function properly.

Wooden Decking: Postsavers applied to wooden deck posts protect against rot and help deck posts remain strong and standing. Rotting posts can make decks non-secure and unsafe. Post replacements on decks are strenuous and expensive, as decks need to be unassembled to access and replace rotting posts.

Trees: Postsavers can be applied to saplings or young trees to protect against trunk rot. Many young trees are susceptible to truck damage caused by the naturally occurring bacteria and fungi in the soil. Postsavers protect trees from these microorganisms, minimizing the amount of trunk breakage. Postsavers protect in any weather conditions.

Utility Poles: Polesavers are also available to protect wooden utility poles from rot. In many areas, including Florida, wooden utility poles are still used. Many of these utility poles can be seen down after hurricanes or even Florida’s afternoon storms, causing damages to property and power outages. Utility poles equipped with Polesavers are protected from rot and are less likely to topple during inclement weather.

Can Spending Time in My Yard Improve My Health?

                The sun is out, temperatures are rising, and Spring is right around the corner. What better time to prepare your yard for summertime? If the aesthetic of a new fence isn’t enough to push you to get outside, consider the health benefits that come along with spending more time in your own yard.

 

Improve Mood. Studies have shown that spending more time outside helps lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Spending time in the yard can help reduce symptoms of both depression and anxiety, leading to lower blood pressure as well.

Soak in the Vitamin D. A large percentage of adults in the United States have a vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to health issues down the line such as osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, and some cancers. Spending time in the sun (with ample sunscreen!) is an easy and free way to up your vitamin D levels.

Give Your Eyes a Break. With many Americans’ working remotely, we are finding ourselves spending much of our day in front of a screen. Spending time outside is a great way to give your eyes a much-needed break from strain and blue light. Reducing screen time can also improve sleep quality, helping you feel better overall. 

Choosing a Contractor During the Pandemic

Choosing a Contractor During the Pandemic

Choosing a Contractor During the Pandemic

Since the beginning of 2020, the construction industry has felt a pinch from all areas. Lack of laborers, price increases, and supply line issues have continued into 2022, and the fencing industry is no stranger to these tribulations. Paramount Fencing has heard increasing concerns from Central Florida consumers in the past 16 months, so we set out with a question: With the global economy seemingly opening back up, why are contractors spiking prices?

First, the lack of trained laborers in the current market is definitely causing issues. As with any crisis, many handy “men in a truck” pop up. This is commonly seen around natural disasters, and we have seen an increase in handymen throughout the pandemic. A truly licensed handyman is not to blame, but the unlicensed and uninsured handymen flooding the market now are causing issues for many homeowners across the country. Many of these individuals will continue to charge market-rate pricing for subpar work. Individuals without a legal company also may not have access to higher-quality building materials, resulting in homeowners paying a large premium on Home Depot grade material. The lack of liability insurance that comes along with hiring an unlicensed handyman is also dangerous for the homeowner. Many times, these home improvement projects are completed without proper permits being pulled, resulting in headaches and legal issues for a homeowner in the long run.

Material shortages are also causing issues. According to Insider, 90% of contractors have cited having issues securing necessary building materials to complete their contracts during 2021. The slow has caused a massive backlog of projects for many contractors, putting them into a financial pinch, which then funnels down to the consumer. The spike in building material prices has forced contractors to raise their prices, which trickles down as well. Comparing lumber prices to the beginning of the pandemic, prices were up an average of 377% according to Yahoo Business during the peak of summer 2021. Pressure-treated lumber is currently the most difficult building material to secure, with prices lower than they were 6 months ago, but slowly creeping back up. Trends show the summer months to have the highest prices.

Currently, both The US and Canada are facing a shortage of truckers, with truck drivers actively protesting in Canada. Unfortunately, a large amount of pressure-treated lumber available in the American market is supplied by Canada. 83% of softwood is supplied by Canada, with a total of 25% of total lumber being supplied by our Northern neighbor. November of 2021 also saw the duty on Canadian lumber increase to 17.9%, twice what it once was.
All of these issues seem to be the cause for a perfect storm, a storm that is currently wreaking havoc on all homeowners. But how can a consumer protect themselves?

First, custom or stick-built contractors are unable to complete a fence the week after a contract is signed. Companies who have such a quick turnaround are cutting a corner somewhere, regardless of if it’s on the administrative or installation side. Understand, in the state of Florida, if a post goes in the ground a permit will need to be pulled. If a property has a pool, a permit must be pulled, and that fence must be installed to be pool code compliant. Permit turn-around time varies by municipality, but from the time of application to approval, the average is about 10 days. Protect yourself and be sure that the company or handyman you hire has an approved permit prior to installation. NEVER START INSTALLATION WITHOUT A PERMIT.

A popular aluminum manufacturer, AlumiGuard, is reporting lead times of up to 23 weeks on production orders. If you are quoted with a shorter delivery date, ask who the manufacturer is. Never allow material to be installed without knowing the manufacturer’s name and if there is a warranty on the product. A reputable company using quality materials will have no problem providing this information.

Homeowners purchasing wood fences are urged to check lumber prices before committing to a contract. Many handymen and new companies are popping up charging top-dollar for sub-par pre-fabricated panels. Always ask the installation method being used to avoid being overcharged on your new installation. Understand the wood fence building methods before installing a fence that will only last you a few years.

Paramount Fencing understands that contractors have been hard to come by all throughout COVID thanks to the severe labor shortages and material delays, but we don’t want to see Central Florida consumers get burned by a company.
For a free estimate or even just updated information on the fencing industry, give us a call. 407-341-2720

The Fencing Industry – Material and Labor Shortages

The Fencing Industry – Material and Labor Shortages

Material and Labor Shortages in the Fencing Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to put stress on the construction industry, and the fencing industry is no exception. Soaring lumber, vinyl, and aluminum prices have held many off on projects for the past year, but homeowners are finding themselves now needing these projects completed.

Waiting periods for completion are growing longer and longer due to both material and labor shortages. Vinyl and aluminum manufacturers are finding the demand hard to keep up with many plants still closed, short-staffed, or working on limited capacity.

At Paramount, it’s important to us that our customers, and any other Central Florida consumer, are educated and understand the current situation facing the construction industry.

With many homeowner’s trying to complete jobs quickly, there has become an influx of new fence companies advertising high prices with quicker installs. Remember, a higher cost does not equal higher quality. Many of these installers are using materials purchased from common home improvement stores. Pre-fabricated panels are being marketed and sold at a high mark-up and advertised to customers as higher-quality than they really are. Not everything is as it looks.

Paramount Fencing uses high-quality fencing materials, coming from Homeland Vinyl and AlumiGuard. Both of these US manufactured companies are experiencing 12+ week lead times, but are worth the cost advertised. Be sure to do your research on the materials being installed in your yard before committing to a fence company. Ask, and if you don’t get a straight answer, ask again. It is a red flag if your new material does not come with a manufacturer name or a manufacturer’s warranty.

Understand the labor shortages right now are also a big strain on the industry. Fencing projects are taking longer to complete- it is hard to find skilled laborers. Don’t pay the price of a custom contractor when who has been hired is a handyman.

Paramount Fencing uses skilled contractors who have been trained to build your fence systems piece-by-piece, not just putting panels in the ground. Do your research when it comes to labor costs before committing to a fence company.

We understand that these are unprecedented times and that the material cost increases may keep going. We are unsure of what the future holds, but we at Paramount stand behind what we do. Our number one goal is to educate the consumer and keep them in the know about what’s going on in our industry. We strive to bring excellence in all areas of our work, from the administrative back-end processes to installation.

Paramount Fencing is here as a resource for all Central Florida fence customers. Give us a call and see what all the talk is about.

For a free estimate, call 407-341-2720

CertainTeed Fence Products

CertainTeed Fence Products

With the prices of lumber and vinyl sky-rocketing thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many homeowners find themselves placing their fencing projects on hold. Contractors are feeling the pinch as well as material prices and lead times increase with each day. The wood fence is the most popular fence type in the United States. Wood fencing is a classic, timeless fence type, as well as being the most affordable. But in todays climate, many homeowners find themselves looking into alternate fencing materials.
Vinyl has been another very popular fencing choice in the more recent years, but many find the limited colors and textures available to be lackluster. That’s where CertainTeed comes in.

CertainTeed Fence Products

CertainTeed is an innovative vinyl fence system, available in many colors as well as textures. The Sherwood blend looks and feels like wood fence while coming with the added protection of being a vinyl polymer. CertainTeed fencing products are virtually maintenance-free; they never require staining, sealing, or painting. They are created to Miami-Dade specifications for hurricane-force winds up to 115mph, won’t warp or rot in temperatures from -40-140 degrees Fahrenheit, and is ASTM certified.

CertainTeed vinyl is a high-quality product and a wonderful investment for homeowners. A high-quality fence can add to the value of a home, as well as protect loved ones such as children and pets.

Vinyl manufacturers are feeling the pinch from COVID as well, price increases and long lead times have plagued the industry this year. 2020 is nearing its end, but its effects will be felt long into 2021. The manufacturing industries will take a while to bounce back. Homeowners who are in need of home improvement projects are urged to complete the projects before prices raise higher.

Call today for a free consultation.

Unique Fences

Unique Fences

The façade of social media can be seen in all aspects of our lives. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter only show the good parts of life, but never the issues.

Think of the family vacation photos your friends share online- Mom, Dad, and the kids smiling at the beach. Like.

“What a nice vacation…” you think. But what are you not seeing behind the scenes? Kids fighting in the car, asking when they will arrive at the beach, and the all-too-familiar “don’t make me turn this car around” from Dad.

Instagram is full of pictures that will make you say “Wow, I wish I looked like that…”

But you aren’t seeing the hours of work that celebrities and influencers spend on posing for and editing their photos to make them look that perfect. The use of lighting, angles, filters, and FaceTune can make any person, landscape, setting, even house look too good to be true.

Pinterest

This is where Pinterest comes in. Pinterest is an online website as well as a mobile phone app that allows users to find and share ideas like recipes, crafts, home décor, and even home improvement ideas.

While Pinterest is a fun way for many people to ideas, it can be dangerous for homeowners to follow some of the home improvement ideas shown on the side.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, many potential customers reached out looking for quotes for fences they had seen on Pinterest. It quickly became clear that many of the fences shared on Pinterest are just like any of the other photos shared across social media platforms- too good to be true.

There are many reasons why these alternative fence styles won’t work in practical application, but the main points we focus on will be the regions the fences are being built in, the ability to permit the fence styles, and the craftsmanship of these fences.

First, the region in which a fence is installed will directly impact the success of the fence. Many wood fences on Pinterest show the use of red cedar, which is a bit of an unrealistic building material in Florida. Pressure-treated pine lumber is suggested in place of any other woods in Florida as is has been treated to withstand ground contact in a very wet state. What does this mean for the fence? Not much besides a different colored wood. To achieve the desired red color, it is advised to stain the fence once the wood has dried with an oil-based stain. Another popular fence floating around on Pinterest is the corrugated metal fence built on metal frames.

That corrugated metal fence brings up 3 large issues. First, the cost to customize such a fence is much higher than choosing another fence type. Remember what we said about the importance of your region? Metals that haven’t been powder-coated will rust fairly quickly in the Florida rains. That new custom fence you just had installed will look old and raggedy within a year. Lastly, pressure-treated wood often reacts negatively with other metals, resulting in more rust and the nails or screws backing out from the posts, requiring a lot more upkeep and costs than originally anticipated.

A corrugated metal fence built on wood frames.
The same corrugated fence, now rusted out.

The second issue that arises is the ability to permit some of these more unique fences. Every municipality has its own guidelines for what is allowed in regard to fencing. These building guidelines can be especially strict in Florida, where it is common for homes to have pools or be located on a body of water. Some cities may have a historic district, which will dictate what fence styles are and are not allowed. Some municipalities may require the runners of the fence to face a certain direction, which may not work with the fence design selected. Remember, your fence is a protective barrier for your property, so you do not want to pick a style with a high price tag for it to not do its job. Additionally, an unpermitted fence may be subject to high fines or your permitting municipality requiring it to be taken down.

Lastly, craftsmanship is often an issue with the Pinterest inspired fences. During the massive layoff wave that COVID created, many people began searching for any means of work, and many new fence companies and handymen entered the fencing scene. While they may be able to install pre-fabricated panels from the Home Depot, they are not fencing professionals and should not be trusted with installing a complex, and expensive, custom fence. Remember to be careful when choosing a fencing contractor. Any trustworthy fence professional should be able to speak with you about the concerns around these custom fence designs and should be able to suggest an equivalent alternative.

The posts on these panels are far too small to withstand an afternoon storm.

While social media sites like Pinterest are fun to use to gather ideas for food, fashion, and home projects, it's important to remember one thing- if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. When it comes to using sites like Pinterest to collect ideas, remember to use it only as a guide, not the gospel.

Homeowner’s Insurance and Fencing

Homeowner’s insurance (depending on your policy limits) will cover damage to a fence caused by a hurricane/earthquake/storms/etc. Many times, this is only applicable if the fence is an attached structure, meaning that the fence is attached to the home itself. Fencing falls under “other structures” covered on a policy.

Situations

Your neighbor’s tree falls on your fence: This will depend on state-specific laws, your insurer may go to your neighbor for payment if the tree was deemed to have fallen due to lack of maintenance/negligence on the neighbor’s part. However, if the tree is located on a boundary line and is in both lots, insurance may hold both you and your neighbor responsible for half of the deductible each.

Your tree falls on your fence: If a healthy tree falls on a fence, the homeowner’s insurance will cover it (depending on your specific policy) However, if the tree was sick and deemed to be weakened through lack of maintenance/negligence, it will not be covered. Remember, insurance covers accidents only.

The fence is damaged from mold/fungus/termites: The fence would not be covered. Homeowner’s insurance covers accidents only. If you are worried about termite damage to a wood fence, consider getting a termite bond with a reputable fence company, but be sure that your wood fence is included in the initial inspection and is not excluded from the coverage of the bond. Wood fences require maintenance to prevent wood rot and fungus, see our tips on how to extend your fences life.

A storm blows down your fence: Homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage up to the coverage limits.

A car crashes through your fence: Homeowner’s insurance would cover the damage up to the coverage limits, however, you could likely file a claim against the driver’s car insurance if they have property damage liability coverage.

Before submitting a claim for your fence damage, take pictures of the damage and try not to move any damaged sections unless necessary. Call around and have some contractors give quotes for the repair. Decide if the cost of the repair is too high, or if it’s worth paying for the repair out of pocket to avoid filing a claim (a deductible is out of pocket anyway) An insurance company may pay to replace your fence, but they will only cover the “actual cash value”, so if you’ve let your wood fence rot and deteriorate, you probably won’t be getting much for a replacement.

DIY Fence Installation Mistakes

DIY Fence Installation Mistakes

A new fence -  it doesn't seem like it will be too difficult to complete on your own. You drive to the hardware store and get your materials - posts, pickets, rails, nails, but what now?

The installation itself can be intimidating if you are not experienced with this type of work. Questions swirl around in your head, and you begin to doubt yourself...

But the doubt can stop now! At Paramount Fencing, our #1 goal is to EDUCATE the customer. We have buyer's guides for any fencing material. We have advice, Q&A's, and of course- our support.

 

Take a look at some of the most common DIY Fence Installation Mistakes, and if you still have questions or need help, give Paramount Fencing a call. We are here for you.

1. Not Knowing Local Building Requirements

Know your municipalities building code prior to beginning an install. Research setbacks, easements, and fence requirements. Check if you have an HOA- many times they only allow certain styles of fence to be installed. All of these factors will need to be taken into consideration when applying for a permit. Building a fence that is not permitted and does not meet building requirements can result in fines, or need for a full replacement.

2. Ignoring The Style Of Your Home

Homes are built in different styles- Victorian, Ranch, Colonial, etc. Know your home's style before committing to a fence style. Take a look at your yard, do you have landscaping and lawn ornaments? Will those match the new fence? You don’t want to install a fence that will clash with the current style of your home.

3. Blocking Views

Many people want privacy fences, but end up disappointed when they can no longer see the lake or wildlands they just blocked. Be sure that you want to block those views before installing a fence. Blocking a neighbors view can also cause issues if you live within an HOA.

4. Incorrect Installation

Remember, not every fence is built the same. Fencing techniques used in the Midwest are very different than the techniques we use in Florida. Be sure to know your land when installing. Installation techniques differ based on geographical locations as well as fence materials. Learn how to set your posts, the posts are where most of the strength for your fence comes from. Check out our Buyers Guides for more information on fence materials.

5. Lack Of Planning

Know where the fence is going before you begin your installation. By this time, your permit should have already been submitted and approved. Be sure to follow the plans you drew up for the permit. Call 811 to have the utility lines in your yard marked.

6. Using Budget Materials

Using cheaper materials may initially save you a few bucks, but will cost you more in the long-run. Cheaper building materials are often lesser-quality or are not pressure treated. A budget fence may last a few years, but a fence built right using quality materials can last up to 20. You get what you pay for.

Should I Set My Wooden Fence Posts With Concrete?

QUESTION: I’ve heard both sides of the story for using cement on fence posts. How do I know which is correct? Cement with an upward slope to hold the post or no cement due to the rotting of the post?

ANSWER: Concrete or no Concrete is a hot topic. It doesn’t matter if the fence is in California, North Dakota, Texss, or New York, their answers revolved around three different factors: (1) Geographical Location, (2) Environmental Conditions, and (3) Leverage Ratios versus External Force.
Based on these three factors, the answer should be simple; but it is not. It is as complicated as the Shakespeare quote: “To be or not to be…” That answer is complex and possesses endless meanings, just like the use of concrete.

For example, let us examine the reference in the question, “Cement with an upward slope to hold the post.” On the surface, it seems like the company’s response makes sense. One would think, It could prevent the post from being pushed up or down or left or right. The realistic side is the upward sloping (Doming) of the concrete is a common practice in cold weather climates that experience sustained hard freezes. It is this practice of upward sloping or doming of concrete that prevents the permafrost from pushing the post upwards, ultimately disturbing the registry of the fence.
But permafrost does not exist in Florida. The upward sloping of concrete on a post is nothing more than a marketing ploy or way to get a customer to spend more. We have seen this time and time again, and believe me, Florida fence companies can get creative. My personal favorite was the $5.00 cement collar which is very similar to upward sloping. It is less than one pound of wet mix concrete spread in a circular manner around the base of a post. It’s a big moneymaker if you understand (1) 60 lbs bag of concrete only costs $3.45 from Lowe’s.

Now let us address the second part of your question: Concrete and posts rotting. At the AFA National Convention, I heard a lot of theories as to why posts with concrete rot, but only one made the most sense. “In my state, the problem is farmers think they are fencers and fencers think they are farmers,” said the owner of a third-generation fence company from Upstate New York. It sounded silly as I listened, but then he got technical. I soon realized he had a point, a similar point that Custom Fence Orlando and Paramount Fencing have expressed for 14 years. Everyone in Florida knows how to install a fence, they just don’t understand what they are installing. Moreover, it is not the concrete that rots the post, it is the fence company’s lack of knowledge. So let’s get technical.

WHY DO WE RECOMMEND NO CONCRETE?

This is Florida. We’re in the swampy South- not the Midwest, not the Pacific Coast, not New England. We receive about 53.19 inches of annual precipitation a year. The majority of that precipitation occurs in a six-month span, so the question becomes where does all that rain go? The answer is it seeps downward towards the water table, which creates a normal groundwater level, just below the land surface. Depending on the geological composition of an individual’s property such as sugar sand, Florida Pan Dirt, clay, or limestone–the normal underground water level can be found within 12 inches of the surface during the rainy season and 6 feet in the dry season.

Understand, wood is no different than a sponge. If one end of a sponge is placed in water, it will eventually suck up the water saturating it whole. Unlike the sponge, water cannot be easily removed by simply squeezing or ringing the lumber out. In order to dry, wood needs 30 days of complete and aired-like conditions. Neither occurs when a post is buried in the ground and surrounded by concrete. Dirt is a natural absorbent and will become the posts best hope. All concrete does is trap the residual moisture that was soaked up and creates a breeding ground for fungal decay which creates living organisms called rot.

Rot is a hungry/hangry living organism. It exists and feasts on a wood posts in a zone approximately 4-5″ above ground level and 7- 8 inches just below ground level. Pressure-treated or not; fungal decay will eventually win because all it needs is a food source, moisture, oxygen, and the perfect temperature.

The purpose of pressure treating is to make the lumber rot-resistant, not water-resistant. As a result, pressure-treated lumber will still absorb and shed moisture which leads to expanding and contracting of the post. In a nutshell, the lumber will twist, crack, bend, cup, and ultimately destroy itself. It not a question of if, it’s a question of when.

So how do you limit fungal decay and living rot? It’s simple science that has been studied by major universities such University of Florida IFAS and organizations such as the American Society For Microbiology. Fungal decay is not a new topic. Science can now map the DNA of different species of fungal rot. As earlier discussed, rot is a living breathing organism that needs three key ingredients: moisture, oxygen, and the perfect temperature. So if you want to minimize the rotting of wood posts in the State of Florida, the answer is simple. Protect the post 4 inches above the grade and 10 inches below the grade: A.K.A “the hot zone”. Protecting the hot zone will assist in eliminating one or two of these key factors. Remember, fungal rots needs all three to thrive.

SO HOW DOES CONCRETE HELP ELIMINATE THESE THREE KEY FACTORS?

It does not. Overall, concrete does eliminate direct contact with the soil underground; however, the pressure-treated lumber expands and contracts with moisture. When it does, a 16th-inch gap usually develops between the wood post and the concrete. It sounds like a small and irrelevant gap, but so is dirt and microbes which are the building blocks of fungal rot.

Each week landscapers and weedeaters blow around small particles of dirt and organic matter. Fiber eating fungus develops and eats the decaying matter. Then comes the rain, or the irrigation system. That water finds the gap. The bad stuff seeps downward right into the “Hot Zone”. Mix in some oxygen, the moisture from below, the fact that concrete holds a constant temperature and moisture, and those wood posts are going to prematurely rot. No exceptions. Concrete simply does not protect the “Zone.” The only exception would be to use a post that is pressure treated with UC4B which is meant for use in stagnate water but the pressure-treating only works as long as the chemicals remain. Chances are you would not find UC4B treated post on the shelf at the local lumber yard or home improvement store. All they normally stock is UC4A which is meant for a rapid watershed. UC4A is just cheaper to bring to the market.

SO WHY DO FENCE COMPANIES USE CONCRETE ON WOOD POSTS IN FLORIDA?

It’s not to prevent rot. Most use concrete to create leverage. The main reason is the post length of choice for fence companies is often a 4″ x 4″ x 8′. As a result, the fence post is only two feet in the ground on a six-foot in height wood fence. Hence the use of concrete. What they do not realize is if it is the leverage that they desire, then all they need to do is purchase a longer post. After all, a 4″ x 4″ x 10′ is the same cost as 4″ x 4″ x 8′ and a bag of concrete combined.

SO WHAT DOES CUSTOM FENCE ORLANDO RECOMMEND?

We suggest two approaches. The first approach is simple: do nothing. Let dirt, when it is dry, do what it does best–absorb the moisture from the post. Then let the soil’s thermal property go to work as it absorbs the sun’s heat during the dry season. It will assist in creating irregular temperature within the zone. The only that remains is oxygen exposure. Keep in mind, this approach is still vulnerable should we have a wet and muggy year; but overall the post should last 12-14 years. It is the most cost-effective way for Central Florida homeowners.

The second approach protects the Hot Zone. There are several products on the market that can completely protect this “Zone” against the three key factors which contribute to fungal decay. Simply put, the wood post will no longer be a food source. These products are commonly known as “PostSavers.” They come in all different variations and sizes, but they can get expensive. Our weapon of choice is a post sever sleeve produced by Postsaver Europe Ltd out of England. It is a unique and cost-effective way to accomplish the mission.
Best of all, PostSavers are cost-effective. Overall, the average cost per foot only increases by approximately .43 cents. Considering the PostSaver will extend the life of the post for up to 25 years, that is a small price.

Remember, in the State of Florida we often replace Wood fences every 10-12 years. It’s not because of the runners and pickets. It because the post rots at grade or in the zone. For more details on how Postsavers work visit or Postsaver page or use the link: PostSavers.