How to Avoid Getting Scammed

How to Avoid Getting Scammed

A guide to choosing a reputable fence contractor in the Central Florida market

Let's be honest.  Let's be real.  Most businesses in the Central Florida marketplace are flat-out disappointing.  We’re often forced to settle or accept substandard customer service, product, workmanship, and even scams.  Rarely are customers left satisfied.

As our owner always says, “Don’t trust all that you hear, but trust 100% of what you see”, which is especially true when it comes to the fencing industry. It’s impossible to drive through any given neighborhood and not find that 80% of the existing fences are falling, warping, wiggling, or discolored. Is this what fences are supposed to do? Should I need to replace my investment every 5 years? These issues bring up many questions, but there’s only one answer.

We noticed potential customers in the Central Florida Market place were starved for information. It did not matter if it was fencing or some other service. All the customer wanted was information. Information beyond what a company’s marketing materials could provide or what a likable salesperson could present. What they wanted was a real conversation with a real person who understood their industry, service, and products. Simply put, they wanted the ability to make a well-informed decision.

That is often difficult to come across in today's market, so we have made it our company’s goal to educate the consumer so that they do not make costly mistakes. This article will cover red flags in the industry that may lead to subpar products or loss of money entirely. Follow these crucial steps when choosing a contractor to help yourself make the best-informed decision possible.

  1. The first step that many people skip is checking the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, or other trusted sites. It is quite common for companies to use fake reviews on Google or Facebook to help boost their ratings, and the 5-star reviews may drown the 1-stars, but don’t let that blind you. Read those 1-star reviews and take them into consideration. Some sites, such as the BBB, allow the company or contractor to reply to their reviews. Do they own up to their mistakes and try to make it right, or do they argue with the customer? A company that argues with their customer is a red flag.
  2. Look for reviews from customer’s neighbors. It is common to see reviews from neighbors about messes left on lawns, or landscaping that was destroyed. If a company does not respect a neighboring yard, they won’t respect yours.
  3. Look for reviews of bad communications with the company. You may see some that say, “the salesman was responsive and attentive until we signed, and now we can’t reach anyone!” That is a surefire red flag. It is common for fence companies to ask for large “material deposits” (50-60% of total bill), and then disappear, leaving the homeowner out thousands of dollars.
  4. Ask questions about the materials being used. Many companies will advertise high-quality products and provide economy grade materials upon installation, leaving homeowners paying a huge markup for a fence that will need replacement in 3-5 years. A reputable company should be able to provide you with manufacturer and warranty information. Look online for reviews on the material quality before you sign a contract.
  5. Check that the company or contractor you want to work with is licensed. Go to Sunbiz, and search either the company name or contractor's name. If they are listed as “inactive”, they are not currently licensed. Additionally, ask for the company's or contractors' insurance information. If they are not insured and you allow them onto your property, that is a recipe for disaster. If possible, look for a company or contractor who is insured and bonded. The difference here is that the bond works as second insurance and protects the property owner.
  6. Sunbiz will show you how often a contractor has closed and re-opened as another company name every year or two. That is a sign of a scam company. It makes them more difficult to trace. Additionally, look for a contractor with a storefront or physical address.
  7. Lastly, watch out for bogus awards. “Best of Orlando Fences 2018” a company will boast online. It looks great, but is it real? If legitimate, the company should appear when searching for the award name online. Chances are, “Frank’s Fencing” is not the number one rated fence company in your city.

When in doubt, call Paramount Fencing. Our customer service and installation are superior and proven.  We are ranked number one on referral sites such as Angie's List, NextDoor, and the Better Business Bureau. Our number 1 goal is to educate the consumer regardless if they go with us or go with someone else.  That is what we do, and we will still be here for you regardless.

TO SCHEDULE A FREE ESTIMATE CALL!  (407) 341-2720 Family Owned & Operated Since 2003 Veteran Owned and Operated.

 

Hurricane Preparation 2020

Hurricane Preparation 2020

Hurricane Preparation 2020

Just as we think that 2020 cannot get any crazier, Florida enters Hurricane Season. This year is expected to have an active season, with an estimated 13-19 named tropical storms. NOAA has predicted that 6-10 will become a hurricane, while 3-6 will become major hurricanes (category 3 or above)

This year’s active season could be escalated due to weather conditions in the Pacific. We do not have an El Nino this year, which is warm sea surfaces in the Pacific that helps suppress tropical storms. There is also a possibility that a La Nina will form, causing the waters to cool and react more severely with the warm atmospheric air.

Mixed with COVID, this could make for a very interesting storm season. The CDC is recommending adding hand sanitizers, hand soaps, cleaning supplies, medicine, and face masks to normal hurricane supplies in case of emergencies. Floridians are urged to begin preparing for storms now.

While many of us have lived in Florida through many hurricane seasons, and know how to protect ourselves, how can we better protect our homes from inclement weather? Paramount Fencing recommends the following:

 

  1. Board up windows with plywood or use storm shutters. Entry points such as windows and doors are the weakest points of a home.
  2. Protect against flooding by using sand bags. If you cannot get sand bags, fill heavy-duty garbage bags 1/3 with water and place them side by side to create a makeshift wall to protect your home. Park vehicles on higher ground if possible.
  3. Secure loose objects outside of homes such as patio furniture, play grounds, etc. Remove anything attached to your fence, such as art, plants, or equipment.
  4. Buy surge protectors to protect home appliances against electrical surges.
  5. “Inventory” your home. This will help with insurance claims if needed. Take pictures of your ceilings, porches, fences, and the serial numbers of electronics.
  6. Trim your trees. Most fence and roof damage comes from falling branches.
  7. Remove gates from fences and place them in the garage. Understand the gate areas are the weakest part of any fence line. They can be easily removed by removing the hinges attached to the gate itself. Simply remove the screws. Do not remove the screws attached to the fence itself.

 

Hurricane season spans from June 1st – November 30th in Central Florida.  In the event you are impacted by a Hurricane or tropical storm and suffer any damage, let us know immediately. Understand, the previous customers will always have priority over new customers. If you are not a previous customer, make sure you take the opportunity reserve pre-Hurricane estimate. We promise we will work diligently to fix your fence once the hurricane passes.

Our team will be here to help in any way possible. Even if you need assistance in cutting downed trees and removing debris, we are here to help.  We have tractors and chainsaws.

Call us today to schedule a free estimate

407.341.2720

Understanding Pressure-Treated Lumber and Wood Fence

Understanding Pressure-Treated Lumber and Wood Fence

Pressure Treated Wood Fence

In 2004, the EPA banned the use of Chromate Copper Arsenate (CCA) as an outdoor lumber preservative for residential applications.  The Lumber preservative changed to Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ).  It failed miserably.  Then came Micronized Copper Azole (MCA) and EcoLife (E2) in late 2007. Followed by Copper Azole (CA), and Then Copper Azole Type C (CA-C) in 2009.   As of current, there are15 different chemicals endorsed by the American Wood Protection Association.   Each of those chemicals falls under 12 end-use categories.  The question is which pressure-treating chemical is right for your fence.

The problem is the home improvement stores and lumberyards sell all of them, but here in Central Florida, you're only interested in three.  Use lumber treated with the wrong chemical or inadequate building method and you're asking for trouble.  Simply put, trust those so one who does not know what they are doing, and your fence will be destroyed within three to five years.   It is your wallet.

As the owner of Paramount Fencing, I understand the importance of using the correct pressure-treating chemicals.

Let's start with the basics.  Pressure-treated lumber refers to the process of infusing a chemical-based solution deep into or completely through a piece of wood. Treatment is accomplished by placing wood in a large chamber, filling it with liquid solutions, and pressurizing the chamber once the lumber is saturated.  As a result, the chemicals will prevent or block the wood fibers from becoming a food source for termites and fungal decay:  It's that simple.

What is not simple is understanding how these chemicals base solutions protect the wood.  Let break it down.  A preventive based chemical treatment simply exists within the lumber and a blocker adheres to the wood fibers within the lumber.  Understand, a preventive base solution only works so long as it remains within the lumber.

The problem in Central Florida is pressure-treated wood fences are constantly assaulted by groundwater, rainfall, and irrigation systems.  Like a sponge, the wood absorbs the water and the lumber swells.  Unlike a sponge, that lumber cannot be rung out.  So the abundance of water slowly forces the very chemicals meant to protect it out: AKA Leaching.  A blocker based treatment, on the other hand, allows the compounds of the chemical to sticks to the wood fibers resulting in better retention.  Simply put, the treatment lasts longer.

Preventive base treatment such as MCA and E2 were the treatment of choice for all outdoor lumber from 2007 to 2011.   It did not matter if the end-use was above or below ground.  In 2009, the makers of the chemical MCA started to realize lumber placed below or in contact with the ground was rotting.  E2, on the other hand, possessed wood polymers and stabilizers whose sole function was to delay water absorbing for 1-3 years.  In 2011, the pressure-treating industry realized there was a systemic problem.  Bottom line, both MCA and E2 treated lumbers was rotting when within 6" of the ground.

So began the race to find the cure for fungal decay and rotting at ground level.  The two major chemical producers of chemical-based treated solutions, Viance and Osmosis, created two different new treatment code Copper Azole Type C (CA-C) and MCA-C.   Then began the battle for control of the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) classification codes and standards.  Both companies slugged it out.  Both approaches were not created equal.  To avoid market confusion, the AWPA introduced three new end-use categories for pressure-treating lumber in their 2016 standards: UC4A, UC4B, and UC4C.

AWPA was based on the fact lumber is treated it is treated for a particular end-use application with different chemicals.  Now, depending on the end-use, the retention percentage of the chemical-based solution within the lumber determined how effective the chemical would be given in a certain condition.  Case in point, the category UC4a is meant for ground contact (general use), within an environment that promotes rapid watershed were as UC4B is meant for ground contact (heavy duty) within an environment that possesses slow watershed. Finally, UC4C is meant for ground contact (extreme duty) within an environment consisting of stagnating water.

As you can see, knowing is half the battle.  So the question is, how do you know you're purchasing the right pressure-treated lumber or is that fence company installing the correct stuff?  It simple, look no further than the tag stapled to the piece of lumber.  If you need further explanation or a better understanding of what category and chemical are right for each building situation, print off the AWPA's pamphlet.  or click on the link.  Then as the old saying goes, "Trust but Verify." Take it with you to the home improvement store or better yet take a tag off the lumber being used to install your fence.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and the manner in which your wood fence is constructed.   No none of our competitors will share this information with you, and some will say, "We are crazy."  But just look around your neighborhood and chances are you will see rotting pickets and posts hard at work.

What Is Right  Combination Pressure Treatment Lumber for Central Florida?

The key to understanding three basic components of a wood fence and what it's exposed to after installation: (1) Post, (2) Runners, and (3) Pickets.

(1) Posts:

Posts are the vertical supports and 1/3 of that post is generally buried in the ground.  As a result, all posts in the state of Florida should be treated with CA-C or CA and be classified in the UC4B category, ground contact, heavy-duty.  If your property possesses standing water for more then 1 week at a time or is gushy when walking on it, UC4C, ground contact, extreme duty, should be the desired choice.  The reason is simple.  The State of Florida receives on average 57" of annual precipitation during the rainy season alone.  The Orlando area 52".   Next, our water table is often less than 4-6 feet below your feet.  When the dry season arrives, the homeowner's irrigation system comes on.  Remember that wood acts like a sponge and absorbs water, and when it does, the treatment slow seep out.  Understand, should you use a post-treated with UC4A it must possess some type of Post Saver Technology protecting it at grade.  Otherwise, a post-treated with UC4A will rot off at grade within 8-11 years.

Now, chances are no home improvement store or lumber yard will readily stock UC4B or UC4C treated posts.  More likely than not these classification will need to be special ordered.  Most stock UC4A, but post saver technology must be accounted for.

(2) Runners:

Horizontal Runners are the backbone of a fence.   It all starts with the framework.   There are two simple rules of thumb.  First, it's important to ensure there are (3) horizontal runners on any six foot in height fence.  Each treated with treated with a minimum of UC3B chemical class; however, before ward this classification treated-lumber must be installed a minimum of six inches off the ground.   Two, when in doubt switch it out.  If you know that bottom runner of that new fence is going violate the 6" rule, switch it out ot a UC4A class.

(3)  Pickets: 

Pickets are the what provide privacy and security.   I one simple rule.  Regardless of the pressure-treated chemical  used, it must be rated in the UC4A class and tagged meant for ground contact.   Be forward, if you have a soggy yard, the classification should be rated for a UC4B class.

For more information feel free to visit Paramount Fencing, wood buying fence guide.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and how your new wood fence is going to be constructed.    None of our competitors will share this information with you, and some will say, "We are crazy."  But just look around your neighborhood and chances are you will see rotting pickets and post hard at work.

So don't be the homeowner that gets mesmerized by the likable salesperson or discount fence company.  If you do and use the wrong fasteners and pressure treating code, the pickets will separate from the runners within 12 months, the framework will separate from the posts within 36 months, and that beautiful fence will warp itself apart and those pickets will rot within 5-8 years.  Simply put, that new wood fence will become nothing more than a Popsicle stick experiment.

 

These are real problems that can occur with a pressure-treated wood fence but do not get discouraged.  These problems are preventable.

We cannot stress this enough:  It is now more important than ever to understand the intricacies of pressure-treated lumber and how your wood fence is going to be constructed wood fence is constructed.  We highly recommend that the homeowner read our comprehensive guide to purchasing wood fences before scheduling a single estimate.

These issues are correctable if the fence is built properly. The good news is we conduct testing every year and our building methods have been designed to counter these distinct problems and ensure that wood is still a viable option that can last 18 - 20 years.

So take the time to educate yourself, and don't become the victim.  Remember, as the old saying goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Paramount Fencing is currently customizing wood fences in the following Orange & Seminole County Cities: Waterford, Windermere, Oviedo, Orlando, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Sanford, Winter Garden, Ocoee, St. Cloud, Winter Park, Casselberry, College Park, Clermont, Maitland, Longwood.  

 

Tracking Tropical Storm Isaias

Tracking Tropical Storm Isaias

Well Central Florida, it’s that time of year again. The National Hurricane Center (NOAA) is currently tracking the Atlantic’s ninth named storm of 2020, Tropical Storm Isaias. Isaias became a tropical storm on July 30th, and has set a record of being the earliest “I” named storm in history. The title has been held by Isaac prior, a hurricane that touched down in Florida in 2005. Now is the time to stop what you are doing and prepare.  If you have never been through a hurricane, we recommend you review the hurricane preparation guide on NOAA’s website for more information.

We encourage you to prepare, stay safe, and do not forget about your fence. Here are five things that will possibly save that fence, money, and your life as a storm approaches. They are listed below:

1. If you have a pool, purchase an orange safety barrier fence from the home improvement store prior to the storm. It is impossible to find after a storm. You need to be able to secure your liabilities.

2. If you have a wood gate, take a small piece of 2″ x 4″ and screw it with 3″ screws to both the gate and hinges post, at the top, at the bottom. If possible, open the gate fully and screw it to the fence structure itself.

3. If you have an Aluminum gate, just bungee cord it.

4. If you have a vinyl gate, take it off at the hinges and put it in your garage. Check all post caps. If they’re not glued down remove them and store indoors.

5. Regardless of what type of fence you have, go to the home improvement store and buy several ninety-degree angle brackets. Secure the last component of the fence, runner or post, to the house. It could be the difference between your insurance company viewing that fence as an attached structure  or a detached structure.

Now is the time to think about the aftermath.   Isaias has a strong possibility of hitting the the Central Florida area as at least a tropical storm with winds up to 60 MPH (as of 7/30/2020 10:00 AM). It does not matter if you live in Orlando or Oviedo,  Winter Springs or Winter Park, or Orange County or Seminole County,  fences are going to come down.  Fence professionals will be in high demand.  Now is the time to get on a pre-hurricane list.  Otherwise, you will experience longer than normal wait times and have to settle for two guys in a truck.

Below is Paramount Fencing’s Pre-Hurricane Estimate Request.

    How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

    How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

    How To Pick A Fence Company After A Hurricane

    If you find yourself requiring a fence after a hurricane, make sure you don’t fall victim to the scams.  The market will be flooded with fly by night companies and individuals looking to make a quick buck.  Do your homework. Below is a checklist which will assist you in making a well-informed decision.

    1. Never call a fence company that placed a door hanger on your door unless they have a website associated with the company, a  Facebook, or a Google plus.
    2. Call at least three fence companies and request an in-person estimate. Phone quotes will only set you up for failure.
    3. When selecting the final bid, do your homework and check that company out. Below are few resources:
    4. See if the company has any complaint listed with the BBB.
    5. Join AngiesList.com and read the companies reviews. Try to avoid payment by click websites which claim to be a home advisor who sells your lead to as many fence companies as possible.
    6. Verify that the company is registered and licensed to do business in the State of Florida. Visit Sunbiz.org and do a corporate Search.
    7. Never give a fence company a material deposit in the form of cash or check.  Always, use a credit card.
    8. Do your research on the building method and materials being used.  There is a great resource guide at Paramount Fencing’s Buyer’s Guide