There was a time when the most common fence material used here in Victoria was wood. In fact it is still very widely used, but today there are many other options that provide attractive style, privacy and security, along with greater durability and much lower maintenance.
Things to Consider
Before you get attached to one type of fence, take some time to consider these points. They may inform your decision regarding the style of fence you choose and the materials you use.
Here in Victoria, we have a wet climate which causes wood to deteriorate over time. Still, some love the look and style of cedar, so be prepared to invest much more time into maintenance and re-finishing. Temperature can also be an issue which may impact the construction of a fence. For example, if you experience very cold winters, your fence posts should have concrete anchors to withstand the effects of frost.
Do you need privacy? Do you want to keep your kids and pets safe? Do you want a bit more security for your property? Maybe you simply want to improve the curb appeal of your home. Consider the “why” of your fence. Likely you have a few reasons to install or upgrade your fence. These reasons will overlap and help you choose the best style and type of material to use.
A chain link fence will not be as sexy as a wood or vinyl fence but depending on the “why” it may be just what you need. Each fencing material has its own visual appeal which may or may not be what you like. Sometimes your dream fence might not be best suited for your climate or purpose, so flexibility with your vision may be required.
Before committing to a specific type of fence, check with your city to ensure that your proposed fence meets the code requirements of your neighbourhood. You will likely need a permit to erect a new fence on your property.
Here are some links to bylaw information in Greater Victoria:
City of Victoria – Saanich – Central Saanich – Sidney – Oak Bay – Esquimalt – Sooke
Types of Fencing Materials
Aluminum often represents a very economical and practical fencing solution. Aluminum fences have a clean look which can blend in to the environment while being extremely low maintenance and secure (especially with spear top fencing). They do not rust, are rakable (sloping ability) and recycled aluminum is an option for those who appreciate using environmentally friendlier products.
In fact, when people ask us what type of fence material we prefer, we almost always recommend aluminum.
If privacy is the primary factor, then wood fencing might be the best choice for you. Although wood will require regular refinishing and maintenance, especially in wet climates, it will add value and curb appeal when professionally designed and installed. Wood also has numerous styles, from picket fences to split rail, and wood and wire.
Did you realize that vinyl fencing has nearly 5x the strength of wood, is flexible to withstand wind and is ideally suited for locations by the sea, which may have salt water exposure? There is almost no maintenance plus your dog cannot chew it up. Vinyl fencing materials are also non-toxic and recyclable.
If you want high end decorative fencing which is also very durable and secure, wrought iron would be a good option. While it doesn’t provide privacy, it is very strong and remains impervious to insects. This is the most expensive option and also one of the most elegant and timeless.
A purely functional fence, for protecting children and pets, this is a simple and affordable option perhaps best suited for a back yard.
While not commonly used in the Victoria region, bamboo fences are the most environmentally sound, stronger than wood, pest resistant and less expensive than wood. It may or may not be your style but it is a strong alternative to wood for a privacy fence.
We recommend using a professional contractor to install your fence. Call a few…discuss city bylaws, permits, fence material and style with them before deciding on which option to proceed with. With all of these fencing choices (plus a few more we haven’t discussed) you’ll be able to balance form and function and budget.