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Fence: PVC or Wood

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Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Dumbo » Apr 03, 2012 6:34 am

So normally I would post this kind of question on a construction site, but figured I'd give this place a shot since I figure many of you working with gardens might have some input.

Short Story:

I have a fence to replace. 72 feet (+/-). I got the following prices (ballpark, my labour):

White PVC: ~1,800$
pressure Treated Pine: ~900$
Cedar: No price yet. Waiting for quote.

(note: any other colour of PVC doubles the price, so let's not go there. White it is for PVC, though I'm not crazy about white)

What would be the CONS of putting in PVC? Anything you can think of? Or maybe something you experienced or saw?

1. Does our climate affect this stuff? Thermal expansion (full sun all day), then -30 in winter. Will it be brittle after a few years? Easy to break? Will it discolour?

2. Does this stuff leech? What if I have a veggie garden near it?

Pro's that I can think of:
1. No need to stain it (saves about ~200$ every X-years).
2. Won't rot

Anything you can think of? Pro or Con? Wood or PVC (aside from look for us wood lovers).

Long Story making me look at PVC

My backyard neighbour has a garden pushed right up against the back of my fence. The entire length of it.

The entire bottom 6-8-inches of the entire length of the fence is now rotted. I spoke to him about this last year. He seemed to brush it off.

I have a pool so by law the fence has to be there. My responsibility I suppose, while this guy rots it out.

Now I looked into the municipal laws, and the surveyors records. So the fence is on the inside of my property line. Just figured I would make that clear as mud in case someone has a thought about anything.

So, per the by-laws, I have the right to perform maintenance on my fence with notice given to this guy (Mr. Fence Rotter).

Now, if I put in a grand or two grand to redo this fence and Mr. Fence Rotter decides to push his garden right up against my fence again, what would you do? What do I do?

Since it's my fence, my maintenance, my property, I am tempted to put up the new fence with roofing material on his side of it for the first bottom 1-foot so this jerk doesn't rot it out by pushing his dirt right up against it. I wonder if I would get away with that considering the circumstance and expense?

I'm going to see him sometime this week and spell it all out for him, since I will need access to his property to put up the new fence. I wanted to put it up last fall but he complained it would ruin the look of his fall garden... I have a short fuse. Wish me luck ;)

So PVC got me thinking this might be the way to avoid the whole issue. A garden pushed right up against it shouldn't rot this out or cause an issue. I'll toss this at him and let him know this option is on the table if he coughs up the additional expense (~900$) since he couldn't care less if he rots out the fence. Otherwise he will be seeing roofing material nailed to the bottom of the fence on his side to protect my investment.

Thoughts?

Anyone here a bad gardener like this guy?
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Countryboy » Apr 03, 2012 8:43 am

Either way is good. I'd take the least expensive route...

Pressure Treated Jack Pine used to be guaranteed for abt 20 years when they were using Chromated Copper Arsenate to repel critters. CCA is not allowed any more *depending on location* so the warranty may not be quite as long.

How long do u need this fence to last? *Rhetorical question.*

One trick that may deal with yr neighbour is to leave a 6" or 8" gap at the bottom. But since they will be paying half the cost they may not go along with that.

Roofing material fastened to the bottom on the neighbour's side will not help. The critters will find a home between the wood of the fence and the asphalt of the roofing, living quite happily, and eventually moving into the wood.
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Smitty » Apr 03, 2012 8:52 am

couldn't you line the bottom of the fence with landscaping ties??(I did around mine)..thereby keeping fence up out of the soil??


My vote for no other reason than my preference..is WOOD!! with a really good stain


my last summer project ..not quite done yet


beds back.JPG



BTW....original fence and landscaping ties...lasted 15 years
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Dumbo » Apr 03, 2012 9:25 am

Countryboy wrote:How long do u need this fence to last? *Rhetorical question.*

Forever. But I *think* they put the lifetime of the standard treated pine at 15-years now. Should be more with cedar, but not sure of the cost of the cedar yet.

I plan on putting it up and never taking it down in my lifetime (or seeing it rot).

Countryboy wrote:One trick that may deal with yr neighbour is to leave a 6" or 8" gap at the bottom. But since they will be paying half the cost they may not go along with that.


I doubt he will want to pay anything. Not sure if he has to since I require it by law due to the pool. Normally a fence cost is shared, but I think when it's a requirement he can shrug it off. I'm really not sure on the regulations about that. I will have to look into this.

Leaving it open 8" isn't an option for me. 8" is basically the clearance I would need to prevent water wicking into the wood from the ends. I have a 2-inch clearance all around the other 4 sides of the fence (5 sides total) which have zero rot and are in very good shape.

The by-law is 6-feet high max. Not sure I would get away with almost 7-feet. Don't know if they check that really. Or I would have to cut 8 inches or so off the bottom to stay in code.

In Smitty's example, her fence doesn't even look to be 4 feet high. So she has the room to play and still be in code.

I haven't thought about using a tie (an 8x8 or 6x6). If I went that route I would need a 5-foot fence, raise it about a foot off the ground (to 6-foot code) and put a sacrificial 8x8 tie under it to keep his mountain of dirt contained in his yard and not fall into mine (or my pool). So what will happen is that after X-years the tie will rot, but not the fence. Which is what Smitty is saying, I think, hmm.

I think a fence almost a foot of the ground would look stupid and ugly. Trying to visualize this. But it would work. uhg. That doesn't sound to eye-appealing to be honest. But something to think about...
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby kelly_m » Apr 03, 2012 10:01 am

my 2cents...not that that's worth much. i have a few friends in the construction biz and they swear by pvc and that recycled stuff....as decking.

Not sure what their thoughts on it as a fence would be.

Would is definitely nicer....I'd be afraid of the glare off the white pvc in the middle of summer. As a gardener I'd also be concerned of the reflection of the sun off thewhite...possibly adding to the heat in your gardens. Although, OTOH it could create a micro climate....

bottom line is it is up to you. you may not be staining it every few years but you definitely would be washing it EVERY year!
Kelly
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Eeyore » Apr 03, 2012 10:20 am

Kelly makes a very good point about the glare off the white. Our neighbour painted his fence white and deck all around white. It lasted one season and he redid it with a brown stain. If you could get the coloured PVC I'd say go for it but since cost is an issue we won't go there. Personally, I'd ask the neighbour to foot 1/2 the bill and if that's not possible, and he has reasonalble grounds to refuse since the fence was originally put on your property it sounds as though their may have been issues before. I'd go with the cedar. It will likely be about 1.5 times the cost of the pine but has 2 advantages.1 - it doesn't have preservatives added to the wood, and 2 - it takes a LONG time to rot out and can be left unstained if you like the aged cedar look. You also shouldn't have to stain it every year. Smitty's idea of raising it is a good idea too, or put in a horizontal footing all along the bottom of the fence. You could always say the fence is only 6 feet high..... on his side. :lol:

P.S. I'd go with G1S (Good one side) cedar and put all the rough sides on his side. 8) Cedar won't rot if it isn't stained and if he DOES decide it needs staining on his side it'll suck up twice as much stain as the good side. :wink:
Lyn
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Scrapinthehat » Apr 03, 2012 10:50 am

I have a 6' white PVC fence which was installed about 5 years ago. The house has white trim so looks good with it however, I never thought I'd ever have a white fence. To make a long story short, my husband has a very bad back, I already do 90% of the outdoor maintenance and am not interested in more, and I always dread the expense and hassle of hiring someone, and I wanted as much privacy as possible as we are very close to neighbors...so pvc was our solution.

First thing you should know is that there are different grades of pvc fencing and some will yellow over time...ours doesn't. Googling this or visiting construction sites should help clarify the issue as I'm not sure if and how things have changed over the last five years. Our temps vary between -40 and +40 and the fence looks great...just the odd scuff on it from wheelbarrels, etc, but these come off easily. We have gardens planted around almost all of the fencing so glare is not an issue, but if you had sun and pool water reflecting off of the fence, it very well might be. PVC seems to remain cool to the touch no matter the temp so don't worry about frying plants. Most PVC fence companies require a cement grade beam as a base to prevent any shifting and to set their posts. This added a few inches to our total fence height which was great, but does add to cost. I'm not sure about leeching...never had the soil tested.
Our gates have locks that can be locked from the inside and outside...just a thought given you have a pool.

Bottom line. It was worth every penny, but I would have preferred something more natural looking, especially stone....maybe for the next house. We had stained cedar at the last house and hated even the occasional maintenance and the spaces between the boards. I'll see if I can find a pic of the pvc fence when I'm on the other computer.
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Scrapinthehat » Apr 03, 2012 11:30 am

Here a pic. Also, last year we got two PVC arbors as the wood ones were litterally falling apart. We hope to attach net lighting to them for plant support. We also put in a matching PVC pergola and have composite decking...trying to have a very low maintenance hardscaping....I'd rather spend my time with the plants.

Any way, good luck with your decision.
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby kelly_m » Apr 03, 2012 12:53 pm

Aaaargh! Composite! That's the word I was looking for! :oops:

Now that is a nicefence! Changes perspective when you visulaize it!
Kelly
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Re: Fence: PVC or Wood

Postby Rupietoot » Apr 03, 2012 1:46 pm

Your fence looks lovely Scrap. The garden shows up really well.

Susan
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