Should my posts be set in concrete?

A question presented to us on a fairly regular basis!  Whether your fence, trellis, pergola or deck will be installed by a professional company, or it’s a DIY weekend project – the answer to this is a resounding yes.  Without a properly set concrete footer on every post the fence will eventually sag and fail structurally.  The only exception to this rule is if you’re installing a split rail fence or a pasture fence which is installed on t-posts.  If this is the case, you will need to tamp your posts into the ground.  In terms of setting a strong footer for your posts – it’s not as simple, though, as digging a hole and throwing in some concrete.  Adjustments and plans need to be made for the temperature outside, your location and sighting up your line.    If you’re only tackling a couple of posts – you can purchase a post hole digger for manual use.  If you are doing your entire backyard, it might be best to rent some equipment for the job.  You will also want to call the Ohio Utilities Protection Service to have your underground marked.  You need to provide them with 48 hours notice before you dig.

 

Our company is located in theCleveland,Ohioarea.  For the most part,Northern Ohioexperiences some pretty extreme weather conditions.  You will need to dig your hole so that it is below the freeze line.  InNorthern Ohiothat is 30” deep, however, depending on the city you live in they may require you to go 36” deep.  Certain cities also have footer inspections.  If you’re doing this yourself – you’ll need to arrange that footer inspection with your city.  If you have hired a contractor – you should expect your contractor to make those arrangements. 

 

Some common advice that seems to circulate the internet a lot is that it’s necessary to put gravel in the bottom of your hole.  We can not speak for every state, but we can tell you that inNorthern Ohiothat will successfully accomplish in heaving your post.  There’s not much point in going through the work of setting your own posts just to have to repair them in the next couple of years. If you’ve hired a contractor, and you observe this method being used when they are setting posts for you – this should raise red flags immediately.  It’s not unreasonable for you to request that a proper footer be set for every post.  You’ve paid for that service, and warranties are only good if the company actually shows up to honor them.  Something that seems to be more and more rare these days!  It’s worth the effort on your part to be sure that the company you’ve hired is doing the right thing!

 

There are a couple of special techniques that we recommend using when customers dig their own footers.  They are the same techniques our crews use when installing for our customers.  We’re happy to provide a tip sheet with drawings and suggestions to our material only customers.  This should make their DIY project easier, and ensure that they do not have problems with heaving posts later down the road.  It will also help the do it yourselfer set a solid footer that will keep their new fence in a nice straight line for years to come!

 

For additional information on products and services from Elyria Fence Inc. feel free to give us a call at 440-323-7581 or take a look at our site www.elyriafence.com.  We’re always happy to have visits to our showroom to kick off the planning of your fence, trellis, arbor or deck project! 

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Plan Ahead On A Future Fence or Deck

The summer months can lead to long and frustrating schedule dates.  Logically, it is the height of a fence company’s season.  A good quality company will have a waiting list.  If they do not ~ it’s smart to question why.  Good things come to those who wait is advice that has held true for years.  Avoid scheduling frustrations by planning ahead on your fence, pergola, arbor, trellis or deck! 

At Elyria Fence, a lengthy wait for an installation in the height of summer is not unusual.  There are only a select amount of individuals that are talented enough to install fences, decks and other garden structures for the Elyria Fence Company.  In line with the company’s philosophy, those individuals take pride in their work, and do not rush or cut corners.  This philosophy produces a beautiful fence; however, it also produces a long wait for installations. By planning ahead for summer cook-outs on your deck, you will avoid scheduling woes. 

If a pool is in your future, most city building codes require a fence around the pool.  The more notice you provide to your fence or deck contractor, the less painful the experience will be for you.  It is not unusual for Elyria Fence to take preliminary measurements of a yard that will host a pool in the future.  This way, site information and other details are on-hand ahead of time.  It is less frustrating for the customer if it is the fence company that awaits them.

If you are planning on buying or building a new home, it is also wise to plan well in advance on a fence, pergola, trellis, arbor or deck.  It is not a problem for an estimator from Elyria Fence to meet at the future site well before you are moved in.  This way, accommodating

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individual customers’ schedule requirements are simplified. 

Whatever your future plans include, do yourself a favor, and plan ahead on upcoming fence projects.  Schedule your estimate in advance, and ask to be placed on the waiting list.  It will help to progress your summer fence or deck plans at the pace that you want.  The Elyria Fence Company showroom displays over 90 panels of fence and other garden structures such as arbors, and it is located at 230 Oberlin Rdin Elyria.  An appointment with one of our designers at Elyria Fence to come to your home may be made by calling 440-323-7581.  If the Internet is more convenient, the Company’s Web Site showcases numerous photos of previous work; it can be found at www.elyriafence.com.

Sustainability and Environmentally Friendly Choices in Garden Fence

More and more families are turning to home gardens to feed their families. With the cost of organic produce, it’s certainly no surprise that there is a rise in popularity for the home garden. Growing your own organic and all natural vegetable and fruit garden can be a very economical and healthy way to reduce your weekly grocery bill. It seems that along with the increasing number of home gardens across the United States, the idea of going to a raised bed system is gaining popularity as well. It’s easier to maintain and grow a healthy crop of fruit and vegetables when they are grown in a raised bed system. Not to mention, the raised bed system can make for a more attractive and organized garden.

Garden’s, while practical and useful, can be a slight eyesore in your backyard. In addition to their awkward appearance, they tend to fall victim to the bunny. An animal that is adorably cute and fuzzy until you watch it tear through your garden! An attractive garden fence is an excellent solution. It keeps a variety of pests away from your prized lettuces; additionally separating the area from your yard – giving it a more attractive and organized look.

Many Americans are turning to organic and natural pesticides and fungicides to battle the bugs. Prefering to stay away from the harmful chemicals. If this is a priority, continue the thought all the way through including the construction of your raised beds and fences. If your plan is to use a treated material for your raised beds then consider using Osmose MicroPro. MicroPro is a revolutionary way to pressure treat wood for decks, fence posts and other products for general construction use. It is the first wood to receive EPP Status (Environmentally Preferable Product) certified by the Scientific Certification Systems. The Osmose MicroPro preservative system reduces total energy use by approximately 80 percent and greatly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The copper in wood products treated with the Osmose MicroPro preservative system bonds readily to organic matter in the soil. The result is that the copper becomes biologically inactive, thus causing no eco-toxic or other environmental impacts. Wood products treated with the Osmose MicroPro preservative system result in the release of 90 percent to 99 percent less copper into aquatic and terrestrial environments when compared to standard treated wood products.

When considering which wood to use for a garden fence, northern white cedar is an excellent choice. A garden fence may not be high on your list for things that need to be stained. So it’s important to use a wood that performs well if left unstained. Northern white cedar, if left natural, will change to a light silvery gray. It is an attractive and rustic look that blends well with gardens and other cottage or garden type of applications. Other than fading to a silver gray, it will not shrink, twist or warp like treated boards will do. It will not crack or lose its knots like red cedar does. It will stand steady and strong to protect your garden for 20-30 years. We have a million reasons for loving the white cedar that we use for our wood fence, arbors, trellises and pergolas, however, one of the best parts about the white cedar that is supplied to us (and only us) is how it is forested. The White Cedar that is carried by Elyria Fence is originally grown in the National Forest in the UP of Michigan. Permission is granted by the Forest Industry to cut the trees, however, the boughs & limbs are left behind for the deer to feed on throughout the winter. The UP receives so much snow throughout the winter months that the deer population struggles against the constant threat of starvation. The program of leaving the boughs and limbs behind has saved countless lives from the inevitable fate of starvation. Once the trunk of the tree is harvested, the bark is scraped off and used for mulch. The remaining portion of the tree is then cut for boards. It of course goes without saying that the Biodegradability of wood make it the most environmentally friendly product out there for fences, arbors, trellises or pergolas.

Another helpful feature to go along with a beautiful white cedar garden fence, is a diagonal or square lattice trellis to coordinate and match the fence. Trellises make it considerably easier to grow tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and any other vine vegetable. They will also leave more space in your bed for other vegetables to grow along side of the vines.

For more information on Osmose MicroPro, take a look at their website:
http://www.osmosewood.com/micropro/micropro.html

Northern White Cedar – Great Choice For a Long Lasting Fence, Garden Arch, Trellis or Pergola

There are a lot of species of wood used for fence. Some commonly found options on the market are red cedar and also treated pine. Both are easy to come by, sold by an abundance of mills, and cheap. While a popular choice for fence boards – not always are they the best choice. Treated boards are typically the least expensive option on the market. It’s true – they will not rot. It is also true that they will twist and warp their way right off of their frame. Treated boards will also shrink – often so dramatically that a privacy fence is quickly transformed into a spaced fence. Red cedar, an easy material to come by, also has its share of warranty complications. It certainly boasts a much longer life than a treated board, and is a mid-priced option. It also boasts a high rate for cracking and losing its knots. The red cedar tree is a much larger tree than it’s competitor, the Northern White Cedar tree. The limbs are considerably larger on the red cedar, obviously leading to a larger knot. The loose grain, which is so characteristic of the red cedar tree, not only loses the knot (leaving behind a large hole), but it also cracks easily. Consumers are plagued with a fence in need of constant repair.
Northern White Cedar – not just used in fencing, but also a very popular choice for shingles on homes, is a strong and successful player in the fence market. It does not twist, shrink or warp like a treated board will do. The Northern White Cedar board stands strong, year after year, guaranteeing that a privacy fence will remain a privacy fence. It is also a board which is low on the consumer headache list! Customers are not constantly fighting natural occurrences such as lots knots or cracked boards. The Northern White Cedar board has a very tight grain, and is a much smaller tree than the red cedar tree. Therefore, the limbs are smaller – creating a much smaller knot. The tight grain, so characteristic of the Northern White Cedar tree retains those knots year after year. The Northern White Cedar Tree is a tree that grows in the swamps of the UP in upper Michigan. Nature has evolved it into a species that has developed its own resistance to rot and decay, so that it can survive such damp extremes. If left alone, unstained and unmaintained the northern white cedar fence boards should see a lifespan of  20 years. If well maintained, stained and cared for – a consumer could easily extend the life the fence to 30 years.
When planning for your next fence, trellis, garden arch or pergola be sure to consider all the choices for materials. While some options may cost less in the beginning – there is little value if they need replaced or repaired in one to two years.
Take a look at the following link for additional information on common materials used in the fence industry: http://www.elyriafence.com/Materials.html
Here are some great photographs on Flikr of various northern white cedar fences: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elyria_fence/

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