Building better walls

Home improvement projects spiked during the last year due to the pandemic.

Another direct result of the pandemic is the price of lumber and metal increased.

As the weather turns more pleasant, New Mexicans are heading outside and creating an oasis on their property.

One way to spruce it up is through fencing.

There are all types of fencing – ornamental, wood, coyote and latilla, chain link, PVC/vinyl and pipe – and each comes with a different cost. Each fence also offers a different level of privacy – a coyote fence provides more privacy compared to a chain link, which is less expensive but has no privacy.

ABQ Fence is one of the many places to turn to locally for these projects.

“The best thing you can do is do all the research you can on what kind of fencing you’d like,” says Vince Frenes, ABQ Fence manager. “Getting a new fence is like buying a car, but this will probably last longer. Your best bet is going to be iron fencing with wood.”

ABQ Fence does both residential and commercial properties around the city.

Frenes says the company uses a local fabrication shop to make the most polished look for its iron and metal work.

“These options are long-lasting investments,” Frenes says.

Maintenance-free

Tyler Chavez of Valley Fence Co. says wrought-iron fencing has been the standard for long-term durability. Though with today’s manufacturing techniques, it has opened the doors to aluminum fencing, which is a maintenance-free alternative.

“Aluminum is a lightweight, strong and long-lasting material that may just be the right choice as you consider fencing and gate options,” Chavez says.

Aluminum fencing and gates come in a variety of styles and designs, ranging from old world to traditional and contemporary.

“Lightweight yet surprisingly strong, aluminum is considered as secure as wrought iron for both residential and commercial applications. Plus, it’s usually less expensive and is less costly to install,” Chavez says. “And when it comes to durability, aluminum fencing and gates are rust resistant and require minimal to no maintenance. Many aluminum fencing and gate manufacturers provide a lifetime guarantee, underscoring the long-term value of choosing aluminum over wrought iron.”

These two options come with a higher price tag, Frenes adds a wood fence is somewhat less expensive.

“There is horizontal fencing and it’s a higher end wood fence and it can be attached to brick walls,” Frenes says. “It’s really modern looking.”

Then there’s the dog-eared picket fence in 8-foot panels, which is vertical fencing.

“One thing to note is that the cost of material has hit the industry very hard,” Frenes says. “There’s been an increase on wood, iron and steel for chain link.”

Resell value

Making a decision on a fence doesn’t come easy and it will make a difference if contemplating selling a home.

Accoring to Khoi Le, real estate broker at Hunter Chase Realty, fencing is not something typically found in a “cost vs. value” report or given too much thought on an appraisal. However, the white picket fence homeowners dream of is top of mind for many buyers.

“There are many reasons a buyer may value a fence, from peace of mind for families with small children and pets, to privacy from neighbors, and even artistic expression. Fences also reduce noise and act as boundary lines,” Le says. “I have observed through my years of being a Realtor that pet owners ask about fences more often than buyers who have families. This is especially true for homes situated near busy streets. A yard and fence for pets influenced 33% of millennials’ home-buying decisions. Millennials are now the largest home buying segment.”

Le says for a simple privacy fence, home-owners should go with wooden fences for a great look and moderate price.

“For the hands-off homeowner, vinyl is a great low-maintenance choice. These fences do not need to be treated and can last up to 30 years,” he says. “For a traditional New Mexican look, a coyote fence is a great, albeit expensive choice. Originating from the Southwest on ranches, it has become a rustic signature of Southwestern architecture and high-end landscape design. Different woods can be used to make the logs, or latillas, such as cedar, spruce and aspen. The wood is wrapped (with steel ties) and are tall enough to prevent coyotes from jumping over.”

Le says a great fence adds to the curb appeal and gives a sense of security and privacy.

“It does help sell a house faster! However, going all out to add a fence before listing a house is not always a good return on investment,” he says. “I will caveat that with the fact that each house is different and asking an expert Realtor their suggestions and getting few bids before making a decision is a wise choice.”

Le suggests that for those with existing fences, they should:

• For wood fences: add a fresh coat of paint, repair any rot or missing planks.

• For vinyl fences: power wash and straighten out the fence if it is leaning.

• Chainlink fences: repair or consider removing it.

• Coyote fences: make sure there are no missing logs and all ties are tightened.

“No fence is better than a fence that is dilapidated and sagging,” Le says.

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