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The term “American Made” seems to be everywhere!  Especially with the down economy, and Americans making a larger effort to purchase goods labeled “American Made”.  Every effort helps in putting our men and women back to work.  Unfortunately, savvy advertisers know this, and use the term “American Made” in every possible way to lure potential customers in.

For example in the past, there has been a serious problem with steel, aluminum and vinyl products that were being imported fromChina.  Poor quality Chinese imports were and in some cases still are hitting our shores in mass quantities, and at seriously low prices.  These efforts from importers caused a lot of job loss for our Americans as they struggled to compete with low priced and poor quality products showing up on shores.  To complicate matters even more, many American manufacturers were actually importing Chinese products, assembling that material in the states and slapping an “American Made” sticker on it.

At the end of December, American workers in the aluminum industry received a gift so to speak from the Department of Commerce.  The Department of Commerce finally ruled that all aluminum posts, fence panels, and gates imported fromChinasince August of 2010 are subject to the antidumping and countervailing duties that were imposed on aluminum extrusions imported from the People’s Republic ofChina.

So what does this mean for importers of Chinese aluminum extrusions and fence? Many of these suppliers will be faced with bankruptcy as the government collects the duties on imports going back to August of 2010. The total duty comes to about 380 percent of the cost of the material, so a $50,000 container of Chinese aluminum will have a $190,000 duty placed on it.  That is a lot of cash to come up with! No doubt there will be importers that will reopen under another name, and use other countries likeVietnam,MexicoorIndiato produce their low quality fence or other extrusions. One can only hope that some of these manufacturers will do the right thing, and return to producing their products domestically.

Will this raise prices?  So far we have not seen a price increase in our aluminum fences, gates or railings.  However, we have always used domestically manufactured products.  What we have noticed from our manufacturers is an increase in their staff to handle the higher demand for their American Made aluminum products.  What a great response!  On the opposite note, companies that dealt in imported aluminum have had to increase the price in their products – of course.  Additionally, those manufacturers that still choose to produce products outside of theUSare currently incurring additional expenses in starting up a production facility in a new country. Not to mention the inevitable problems they are experiencing with quality and service, which was never a strongpoint of the importers to begin with.

What does all of this mean for American consumers? It makes your decision much easier! The odds of you being conned into a thin aluminum fence or rail that will fail you in a short period of time will become less and less as this year continues on!  As always, you are your best advocate – always make sure that you’ve confirmed that your contractor is selling you an American Made aluminum, steel or vinyl product.  Don’t just take their word for it.  They should be able to prove that it’s assembled inAmericafrom an American manufactured product.  Not only are you protecting yourself from purchasing a poorly made product that will certainly fail you – you are contributing to rebuilding the American economy.

Want to know more about the American Manufacturers that are sold and installed by Elyria Fence?  Take a look at our site at www.elyriafence.com or stop by our showroom, and see them in person!  For the past 80 years we’ve been proud to install American products, and be a direct contributor to keeping Americans working!



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/