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, Taxes, 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 thank 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 s 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 zone. Protecting the 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 “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 US CONCRETE ON WOOD POST 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 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 not long 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 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.

Protect Your Florida Fence Against Post Rot With Postsaver Post Sleeves

Protect Your Florida Fence Against Post Rot With Postsaver Post Sleeves

Postsavers: Prevent Ground Rot

Postsaver post sleeves come with a 20-year warranty.

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and the Florida Forest Service, rot in hardwoods is extremely common and found in all hardwood types in Florida. Rot is caused by fungi, bacteria, or a combination of the two often found naturally occurring in Florida’s soil. This post rot is them amplified when paired with setting a post in concrete.

These microorganisms can move throughout whatever host they have chosen and can cause damage anywhere if given the chance to infect.

A tree infected with rot poses a liability for homeowners; if a limb were to rot off and cause any type of damage or harm, the homeowner would be liable for those damaged. Rotting limbs also pose a threat to a residential structure, can damage roofs and knock down fences. Rot is best protected against at the ground level using a Postsaver so that the microorganisms never have the chance to infect the host, to begin with.

Postsavers come in 4" x 4", 6" x 6", and 4" x 6" sizes to fit your posts needs.

Normal top soil conditions include microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria that eat away at wood, specifically rotting wood. These pests exist normally within the top 5 inches of soil, but not often deeper due to lack of sunlight/oxygen. When applied correctly, Postsavers protect wooden posts from these microorganisms, thus preventing rot and extending your posts height up to 20 years. Postsavers can be used in many construction applications, most notably fencing and decking posts. Postsavers may also be used for wooden telephone posts and even for trees to prevent rot.

 

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 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 made use of. Many of these utility poles can be seen downed 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.

Postsavers are a versatile product, able to be used in many different markets:

Forestry: Fencing off large sections of land can help prevent deer and other wildlife from damaging saplings and young trees. Using Postsavers on the fence posts will increase the lifespan of the fence installed. The remote locations of these forests can make re-fencing expensive and difficult.

 

Citrus Growers: Citrus trees are a huge industry in the state of Florida. Already, citrus plants have many obstacles to overcome before maturing to fruit-bearing age including freezes and citrus greening. When used, Postsavers can eliminate another danger and help citrus fruit growers ensure that their saplings are protected from trunk rot.

 

Landscaping: Many landscapers will also dabble in fence installation. Postsavers are an easy way for landscapers to ensure that their fence and plant installations hold up against the harsh Florida rains and do not become susceptible to rot.

 

Farmers: Fence failures can result in lost livestock. Rotting posts can easily be pushed over by livestock. Using Postsavers on farm fence installations can help save money on fence repairs.

 

Fence Companies: Rotting fence posts mean negative reviews and loss of customers at no fault of the contractor. Postsavers prevent against premature rot on fencing posts, resulting in stronger, longer-lasting installations.

Why Postsavers?

Would you like to not worry about rotting fence posts?  Postsavers come with a 20 year guarantee, ensuring that your fence posts will no experience premature post rot. In the event of post damage during the 20 year coverage window, Postsavers will cover the repair or replacement cost.

 

Do you like to save money?  Calling a fence contractor out to repair or replace a broken post can cost as much as $600.00 once the service fee/mobilization fee and materials are accounted for. Requesting the use of Postsavers on wooden fence posts protects posts against premature rot. Post damage is one of the most common failure points on wood fences. Posts needing replacement can cause entire fence sections, and sometimes full stretches, to be taken down and re-installed. Homeowners should expect to pay up to $25.00 a linear foot for these re-installations, as well as a trip ticket fee if the work requested does not meet the minimum footage standard.

 

Do you want your fence protected against inclement weather?   Florida’s storm and hurricane seasons often see many fence fatalities. Wood fences protected against rot with Postsavers are less likely to fall or experience damage due to high winds.

 

Are Postsavers expensive? No! Postsavers start at less than $10.00 per pole, making them a cost-effective alternative to future post replacements.

Interested in Trying Postsavers?

Head on over to The Shop. Paramount Fencing provides Postsavers for post sizes 4" x 4", 6" x 6", and 4" x 6"

Inclement Weather

Inclement Weather

Inclement Weather

Florida has two main weather seasons, a “dry” season and a “wet” season.

The wet season lasts about 5 months and stretches from late May to mid-October. During these months, it’s common to see a storm daily. 61% of Florida’s annual rainfall takes place during this period.

These heavy rainfalls can often delay fence projects- much to the customer and company’s dismay. These delays are caused mainly by 2 circumstances- heavy rainfall and lightning.
During the wet season, it is not uncommon for yards to flood. If the ground conditions are too wet to dig, installations may be delayed.

Lightning is a pretty common cause of fence damage- and damage to the home as well. A lightning strike to a fence can travel to the house. In some cases, homeowner's insurance will pay to cover the damage of a fence. This is why it's important to be sure that your fence is attached to your home. if it's not, pick up an L-bracket from your local hardware store and affix it. Homeowner's insurance will not cover a detached structure.

Florida is the number 1 lightning capital of the United States, accounting for 16% of annual lightning fatalities. Thunderstorms always include lightning, so any time you hear thunder, the installers cannot be working.

While a person outside during a thunderstorm may not be directly struck with lightning, there are many ways they can be struck:
1. Side Flash: Lightning strikes a taller item near the victim and a portion of the strike jumps to the victim
2. Ground Current: Lightning strike travels from the object originally struck through the ground. This method often kills livestock.
3. Conduction: Metal does not necessarily “attract” lighting, but it does provide it a path to follow. Lighting can travel extremely far after a strike. During a thunderstorm, do not touch anything metal, including metal wiring. The CDC has also confirmed that lightning can travel through plumbing, so do not shower, wash your hands, or do dishes during a thunderstorm.

Employees work to OSHA standards, which state that if there is any lighting present, employees need to take shelter. In our case, our installers will get in their cars and wait until 30 minutes past the last clap of thunder heard. Our installers will contact the office in the event of a storm for further instruction. Depending on the radar, they may be instructed to leave for the day.

We at Paramount Fencing understand the frustration of having a fence project delayed- we don’t like it either. But the bottom line is our employee’s safety. No Paramount Fencing employee will be put in a dangerous working condition just to meet a deadline- that is not the type of company we are.

So, we will apologize in advance for any delays as we move forward. Just know that we will work diligently to install your project promptly. We appreciate your patience in this matter.

Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

Paramount Fencing’s Comprehensive Guide to Hurricanes

How Are Hurricanes Formed?

If you are reading this, something is brewing in the tropics. It does not matter if it is a tropical storm, depression, or a hurricane. They are all disruptive and destructive when they arrive. They damper new business and create long-term stress on time, money, and resources. We have a responsibility to ensure that correct and ethical decisions are made along the way for past, present, and future customers. This may seem like a monumental task; however, with understanding and preparation, the right decision always reveals itself. The key to success is preparation and implementing standard protocols and procedures based on the existing level of threat.

All tropical cyclones begin as a tropical depression, which have the potential to grow into a tropical storm and then into a hurricane. For Florida, all potential tropical weather disturbances originate near the equator just off the shores of Africa, and eventually drift west with the Trade Winds toward North and South America. These disturbances occur because of heated ocean water evaporating, causing it to naturally rise upward, creating low air pressure near the surface of the ocean. In the absences of pressure, cool air is pulled inward and forced upward. If the conditions are right, the air continues to rise higher, and begins to twist in the atmosphere. The twisting creates winds, which begin to circle counterclockwise. Once the wind speed reaches 74 mph, this tropical storm becomes a hurricane. What happens to the hurricane and where it goes is dependent on environmental conditions a tropical storm encounters.

Simply put, a hurricane needs to feed. The main food sources water temperature. For a hurricane to sustain or flourish, the water temperature must be 79F or greater. If the water surface temperature less 79F, the winds will gradually slow until they are no longer of hurricane force. Therefore, it is important when analyzing a hurricane to not become mesmerized with the strength or location of the hurricane in the Atlantic Oceans. It is more important to focus on the projected path and conditions a hurricane will travel through. This path will determine the result.

When a hurricane forms, scientists constantly monitor them with both satellites and airplane surveillance. All data is balanced off weather conditions such as frontal boundaries, low-pressure systems, wind directions, and other tropical events. Current weather conditions are the factors that determine a projected path. What lays in front simply determines the strength and speed.

Hurricane Watch: During a hurricane watch, the tropical storm(s) being monitored have a possibility to develop hurricane force winds in a stated area. Experts usually issue a hurricane watch about 48 hours before they expect the winds to begin.

Hurricane Warning: A hurricane warning is issued when hurricane force winds are expected in a stated area. Experts issue a hurricane warning about 36 hours before the winds are expected to give preparation time.

Before a Hurricane:

- Cover windows with plywood or storm shutters
- Move outdoor items to the garage if possible, or secure them
- Listen to the local news for the most updated information
- Create an emergency kit, include items such as non-perishable foods, water (3-day supply for each person minimum), batteries, first aid kit, medications, pet food (3-day supply minimum), a battery or crank powered radio, extra face masks, hand sanitizers, and extra hand soap
- Fill gas tanks in cars and be sure cars have an emergency kit in them in case of emergency evacuation
- Keep your emergency kit packed together in case of emergency evacuation
- Know how to turn off gas/water/electrical on house in case of evacuation

Houses line a flooded street after the effects of Hurricane Dorian arrived in Nassau, Bahamas, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/John Marc Nutt MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

After a Hurricane:

- Stay out of floodwater if it is avoidable
- Don’t drive in flooded areas
- If you have to be in floodwater, wear a lifejacket
- Wash your hands with soap and water if you have been in contact with floodwater
- Never use a wet electrical device
- If the power is out, use flashlights instead of candles to avoid accidental fires
- Stay away from downed power lines
- Listen to local authorities for advice on water precautions

Cleaning Up After The Storm:

- Prioritize what cleanup is most important and start there. Stop and take breaks when you are tired
- Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects
- Try to cleanup with other people
- If using a chainsaw, be sure to follow manufacturer instructions and wear protective hear
- Inside, clean up and dry your home as soon as possible, ideally 24-48 hours after the storm or flooding ends
- Air out the house by opening doors and windows. If you have power, put fans on wet areas
- To avoid mold, throw away what can’t be cleaned/dried quickly (rugs, carpeting, mattresses, furniture, etc.)
- Remove any drywall or insulation that has been contaminated with floodwater or has gotten wet
- Fix any leaks as quickly as you can
- Clean up any mold you see with a mixture of bleach and water (1 cup of bleach:1 gallon of water) Be sure to have windows and doors open, never use bleach in an enclosed area

Protecting Your Fence Through a Hurricane:

Your fence was built beautiful and strong, and according to the ASTM standards. It is time to see how it will stand up to hurricane-force winds. Regardless, I need you to do a few things that will help protect your investment. This 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:

- Take a pictures and videos of your fence. Make sure you document all stretches both inside and out. You should do this with your home as well.

- If you have a wood fence, the gates can be secured by taking a foot-long piece of wood 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.

- 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.

- If you have an aluminum fence, simply place a bungee cord around the gate.

- 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 detached structure.

- If you have a stretch of fence line which is standalone or not attached to the fence line, 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.

- 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.

Pool Code – What’s Required of My Fence?

Pool Code – What’s Required of My Fence?

Paramount Fencing has received many requests to convert a customer's fence to be pool code compliant this summer, and unfortunately have had to deliver some hard news. Many four foot aluminum fences we have seen have had to be removed and re-installed to meet pool barrier requirements. This is because many aluminum fences are ornamental, and their rails fall below the minimum height requirement. At Paramount Fencing, our #1 goal is to EDUCATE the consumer, and we recommend having a fence installed to be pool code compliant, even if you do not have a pool. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and having a pool-safe fence could save a life in the future.

What is Pool Code?
According to the CDC, from 2005 to 2014 there have been an average of 3,536 accidental drowning deaths annually in the United States. This averages out to about 10 deaths per day. Of those deaths, about 390 are children aged 0-14, and about 250 are children under the age of 5.
On October 1, 2000, Florida Senate Bill 86 went into effect, which outlined new building code requirements for commercial and residential pools. The Bill covers any structure with water deeper than 24” that is intended for swimming, recreational bathing, or wading.
This lead to the Florida Statutes 515, which now required all new water structures to have at least one pool safety feature.

What does that mean for my fence?
Well, that depends. Do you currently have a pool, or are you planning to get one? If you have a pool, chances are, your current fence is compliant, but there are some steps you can take to check. First, what material is your fence? There are some general requirements for each type:

Aluminum:
48” minimum 2-Rail with flush top and bottom
54” minimum 3-Rail with flush top and bottom

Wood:
48” minimum for privacy style, horizontal runners facing inside, pickets away from pool, pickets maximum of 1 ¾ inch apart
54” minimum for picket style, horizontal runners must be 45” apart, runners facing inside, pickets maximum of 4’ apart

Vinyl:
48” minimum for privacy style
54” minimum for picket style, horizontal runners must be 45” apart, pickets maximum of 4’ apart

NOTE: All 48” ornamental fences, no matter the building material, are not approved. Circles, scrolls, crossbars, decorative runners, and cutouts make these fences possible to climb.

Then, check the space under your fence. Fences should have no more than a 2-inches between its bottom and the ground. Check your gates, pool code compliant gates swing out/away from the yard and have automatic close hinges with an automatic closing latch. The latch should be installed no lower than 54” on the gate.

If your fence meets these requirements, great! You are pool code compliant. Just be sure to Walk that fence line or pool screen and make sure you do not have any damaged planks or pickets. Look for gaps more significant than two inches below the fence, or a space wider than four inches, the minimum amount of space a small child needs to squeeze through.

My fence doesn't meet these requirements, what now?

If your fence does not meet these requirements, it is very possible that it will need replacement. Failure to erect a safety barrier or enact other approved safety devices is a second-degree misdemeanor under Florida law. However, if the property owner attends a drowning prevention program and complies with the act's requirements within 45 days, the state drops charges.

So how can the homeowner protect themselves in this situation?

First, if you’re having a pool installed, your pool company should be able to provide all the information needed. If they do not mention barriers, or don’t know the barrier requirements, that is a red flag. A freshly installed pool will not pass inspection without a proper to-code pool barrier. Any fence company you speak with should know the current building code for your municipality.

Ask yourself, what do you see for the future? Do you really need a 48-inch fence, or can you add the extra six inches to hit the height requirement? Do you ever have plans to install a pool or a hot tub? Even an above ground pool is subject to these barrier requirements.

Are you looking to purchase a new home? This is something to look for when shopping around. The average homeowner will pay about $35,000.00 for an in-ground pool installation. Replacing a fence can add another $4-8,000 to your project depending on footage and building material. Or, if you don’t want to replace the fence, you could always spend $20,000.00 on a screen enclosure, or ruin the aesthetic of your new pool with a screen barrier.

If you find yourself stuck in this situation, give Paramount a call. We will work with you to find a fence that fits your unique needs as well as pool barrier requirements.
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Living in Harmony with Black Bears in Central Florida

Living in Harmony with Black Bears in Central Florida

Black Bears and Fencing

Central Florida is no stranger to black bears, especially if you live in the Longwood, Wekiva Springs, or any Seminole County area. It is not uncommon for a homeowner to see a bear sitting in the backyard next to the pool or a few cubs resting high in a tree. Regardless of where we see those bears, it can create awkward hello when we let the dog out into that backyard.

For those of us living in these areas, it is important to know that black bears are protected by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Homeowners can live in harmony with black bears by following some guidelines from the FWC:

 

  1. Do not feed black bears. Bears that are fed by humans can become habituated and begin moving into residential areas. Bears in neighborhoods can become a public safety threat, resulting in relocation or even death of bears. The best thing to remember is “A fed bear is a dead bear”

 

  1. Eliminate food sources accessible to bears such as garbage cans, compost bins, ripe fruit or vegetables on plants, or pet and livestock foods. Bears will not stay in areas with no easily accessible food sources and will move elsewhere to find food. Protect beehives, gardens, and livestock with electric fencing. Homeowners can find wildlife-resistant garbage cans (like a bear-resistant container or caddy ) to help keep bears away from their homes. Put garbage out in the morning rather than the night before.

 

  1. If a bear is causing issues on your property, use a bear spray to repel or scare the bear away. Black bears are protected in the State of Florida, and it is illegal to shoot one without a FWC permit, unless you are protecting a human life.

 

  1. If you encounter a black bear on your property or in any residential area, it’s best to slowly back away and enter a safe location such as a house, business, or vehicle. Do not run, as this could trigger the nears natural instincts, and black bears can run up to 35 miles per hour.

 

  1. And remember, black bears are very non-confrontational and will most likely not attach. Most black bear attacks result from a bear protecting itself, its young, or its food.

 

So, before you install a new fence, or repair a fence, we at Custom Fence Orlando encourage you to remember two simple concepts:

  • First, most homeowners who live in bear territory simply do not think about bears when they are looking for a fence.
  • Second, most fence companies in Central Florida aren’t thinking about bears either.  They just focus on the exchange.

Ask that fence company how the proposed fence can assist in avoiding those awkward bear meetings. Understand, vinyl fences are flexible. They are not bear resistant. A bear can take one paw, apply pressure, and that vinyl picket will pop right out. To a bear, that cheap prefabricated wood fence is like a thin piece of balsa-wood in a human's hands. A fence is only a deterrent when it comes to bears. Some work better than others.

So, when it comes to bears and fences, remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  Bears, more often than not, are attracted to something in the backyard. Follow the FWC guidelines to living with bears to protect your home, family, and fence from black bears, and to help protect bears as well.