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.

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

Firework Safety & The 4th

Firework Safety & The 4th

Firework Safety & The 4th

In the blink of an eye, July is upon us, and The 4th is right around the corner. Millions of Americans are looking forward to a day filled with fun- but sometimes fun can be dangerous. Keep reading for some 4th of July facts:

Fun Facts
1. Americans will enjoy 150 million hotdogs on the 4th!
2. Fireworks are an American tradition, dating all the way back to 1777.
3. Americans spend more than $1 billion on fireworks each year. Of that $1 billion, only 10% are set off professionally.

Not-So-Fun Facts
1. 2017 reported 8 direct firework-related deaths
2. There are an estimated 12,900 firework-related ER visits each year.
3. Fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year.
4. Fireworks are common causes of roof and fence fires. A fence fire can spread quickly to a house.
5. Every year, thousands of homeowners have to call fence companies to repair or replace vinyl fences that have melted/wood fences that have caught fire due to firework damage.

How can homeowners enjoy fireworks, but protect themselves and their property?
1. Check that fireworks are legal in your area before purchasing.
2. Never hold fireworks in your hands when igniting. Always shoot fireworks off from a flat, cleared off, non-flammable surface.
3. Light fireworks one at a time, away from people, homes, fence lines, trees, vehicles, or any other flammable structure.
4. Keep a fire extinguisher and a bucket of water close by in case of emergencies. Dunk used fireworks into water before throwing away.
5. Children should NEVER handle fireworks- this includes sparklers. Sparklers are the leading cause of firework-related injuries in children under the age of 5.
6. Only purchase fireworks from reliable and licensed sources.
7. Never use your fence to shoot fireworks. Fences are often made of flammable material (wood) or are susceptible to damage due to high amounts of heat (vinyl)

The Paramount Team would like to wish everyone a fun, safe 4th of July! If your fence experiences any damage this holiday weekend, give us a call. We look forward if given the opportunity, to making you another happy fence customer.
407.341.2720