What type of wood do you use for your fences?
We use northern white cedar for most of our fences. It is a highly durable wood, which can be left untreated in many outdoor applications to weather naturally. If, for reasons of increased wood protection or aesthetics, a finish is desired, cedar’s freedom from pitch, resins, and its high degree of stability make it the best coniferous species for stains and oils. White cedar is also naturally splinter-free. It is the only wood that naturally weathers to a light silvery-gray color, while other woods turn a mottled dark gray or black.
One of cedar’s most valuable characteristics is its well-known high resistance to decay. This comes from the presence of naturally occurring fungicidal compounds in the wood called thujaplicins. This is what gives off its distinctive aroma and makes the wood highly unattractive to insects, moths, and other pests. Another extractive present in the wood, thujic acid, helps make cedar resistant to insect attacks.
Like all woods, cedar is hydroscopic and will absorb or discharge moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere. However, it has a very low shrinkage factor, and is superior to all other coniferous woods in dimensional stability and resistance to warping, twisting, and checking.
Evidence of cedar’s durability are the many cedar artifacts still in good condition today. Cedar is the preferred wood for nearly all purposes where attractive appearance or resistance to weather is important.
What is the difference between red cedar and white cedar?
Both are similar in their natural resistance to decay, but there are some significant differences between the two woods that make white cedar a better choice for Yutka Fence. Red cedar is grown and milled on the west coast of the United States and must be transported long distances on trucks, adding cost to the product and impact to the environment. Since red cedar is not indigenous to this region, it is less likely to be resistant to the insects and weather conditions of the Midwest. White cedar is grown and milled in Wisconsin and Michigan, so it is being used in the same type of climate where it originated, and the transportation costs and related impact to the environment are reduced because of its proximity to an end user like Yutka Fence.
Red cedar mills are less flexible on available dimensions for their lumber, and most times the actual dimensions of their red cedar posts and boards will be smaller than posts and boards made of white cedar. A fence company that is using red cedar may tell you they are using a 4” x 4” post, but the actual measurement of the post is usually 3 ½” x 3 ½”. Yutka Fence uses white cedar posts that actually measure 4” x 4” or 4” x 6”. A 1” red cedar board is usually 1/2″ to 5/8” thick, whereas a white cedar board will usually measure 3/4″ to 1” thick. A 4” board made of red cedar usually measures only 3 ½” wide, and a 6” board made of red cedar usually measures only 5 ½” wide. In comparison, Yutka Fence purchases white cedar boards that truly measure 4” and 6” wide. We suggest that you specifically ask a fence company that uses red cedar or white cedar what the actual dimensions of their posts and boards are so that you can determine if they are rounding up the dimensions when they give you specifications on their wood materials. The dimensions of the wood will make a difference in the strength of your fence. In addition, a fence constructed with larger posts and wider boards looks more impressive and more beautiful than a fence of the same style made with narrow boards and smaller posts.
Why use cedar instead of treated wood?
We recommend cedar, but we do offer a limited amount of economy grade treated products for those property owners who aren’t concerned with longevity. Treated wood comes with a one-year warranty. Treated wood is treated with a chemical to stabilize a species of wood that is not normally durable when exposed to weather. This chemical doesn’t uniformly or fully penetrate all the way through the wood. The penetrated and unpenetrated sections of the wood will react differently to the weather, causing warping, twisting, and cracking. Most treated wood is a species of fast-growing pine, usually containing 70% sapwood and only 30% heartwood. Sapwood is soft and susceptible to insect decay and rotting. Cedar, on the other hand, is closer to 75% heartwood and 25% sapwood.
Simply stated – treated wood doesn’t last as long as cedar, nor age as well as cedar.
Why choose professional installation?
Fences perform many important functions on your property. Many factors must be taken into consideration when choosing the right fence for your home, including privacy, security, and landscape enhancement. If you choose a fence that is built right, it will look great and add to your property value for years to come. If you don’t, your investment will soon be decreasing your home’s curb appeal and property value.
How does our business impact the environment?
Yutka Fence has taken steps to ensure our business practices and material selections for fences are as environmentally responsible as possible. Below you’ll find ways in which Yutka Fence and our suppliers are making beneficial decisions to help protect our environment:
|• Wood scraps and old wood fences we remove are dropped off at a local recycler that grinds up the wood and uses it for animal bedding.|
• Pallets that we receive material shipments on are returned to our supplier to be reused or ground up for pet bedding.
• Leftover chain link, steel, and aluminum material is recycled.
• Our steel supplier produces their fences from 100% domestic steel that contains up to 97% recycled content. One of the biggest advantages of recycling metal is that it can be recycled repeatedly without losing any of its properties.
• Our aluminum fence supplier uses recycled aluminum in their products, and their fence coating process is environmentally friendly and virtually pollution-free.
Why shouldn’t I save money by using a friend or handyman to install my fence?
You can research the many cases of uninsured contractors or people installing fences for a side job who have gotten injured or have had an uninsured helper get injured while doing projects on homes like yours. If they get hurt, they may sue you. Before you agree to someone working on your property, ask for proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. If you don’t verify someone’s insurance coverage, you’re leaving yourself at risk of liability for damages to your property and injuries that occur during the job. You’re also liable for damage to public utilities if the person you hire doesn’t have the proper insurance. Each time someone drills a hole in your yard, there is a possibility of hitting a gas line, fiber optic cable, water line, cable line, or phone line, which start at $1,200 to repair.
People who install fences as a favor to a friend or to earn extra money on the side won’t provide a warranty for their work after you pay them. We’ve removed many fences for customers who trusted a friend or handyman to install a fence that didn’t look or perform as expected, and there’s no warranty to cover the cost to repair their work or replace the fence they installed incorrectly. We urge people to avoid casual agreements for their fence installation by thinking through the worst-case scenarios.
Am I liable for injuries on my property?
If the installer does not have general liability insurance AND workers’ compensation insurance, then you may be held liable for any injuries or accidents that occur during the installation of your fence. Yutka Fence has general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. We recommend you ask any contractor working on your home to provide you with a copy of both policies.
How deep should the posts go?
We install our posts a minimum of 36” in the ground and only choose products with posts long enough to go that deep. Most of the strength of a fence comes from the posts. Many fence companies sacrifice strength in order to offer a lower price, and a common way to do that is by using a shorter post to save on material and labor prices.
Are electric dog fences a good alternative to an actual fence?
Electric dog fences will keep your dog in your yard, but they are prone to problems such as dead batteries, collars that loosen over time, improperly installed or broken perimeter wires, and aggressive dogs unaffected by the collar. They will not prevent another dog or person from entering your yard, and they don’t offer a visual barrier for your dog that can reduce barking.
Can I get the same fence materials at a home improvement center for less?
Home improvement centers sell fence materials designed for the do-it-yourselfer who doesn’t have the required tools and experience to install a professional grade fence system.
Home improvement center vinyl fences use brackets that are made of plastic or thin metal to attach pre-assembled sections to the posts. These brackets will not withstand movement of the posts or natural expansion and contraction from temperature changes and frost and thaw cycles, and often break within a few years. Pre-assembled vinyl sections also have many quality issues such as glued assembly that is prone to failure, low wind resistance, and thin material that doesn’t contain the proper amount of titanium dioxide. The stores only offer 6’ wide sections, which require more posts and more labor to dig the holes. The sections will not rack to follow the slope of your property, so they must be stepped to compensate, leaving unattractive gaps underneath the fence and a distracting appearance to the top of the fence.
Home improvement center composite fences use the same bracketed system as vinyl fences and are prone to failure for the same reason. Often, these materials are identical to deck material and not designed as a fence system. Many aren’t textured, and none are textured on all sides of the post, rails, and pickets, leaving you with a look that doesn’t resemble the characteristics of real wood.
Home improvement center wood materials are usually chemically treated and very thin. Many panels are assembled with staples instead of nails. If they are assembled with nails, they use low quality nails that will rust and stain your fence. Horizontal fence rails can be as small as 3/4” thick and are 2” x 3” at best. Pickets can be as thin as 7/16” and not usually thicker than 5/8”. Posts measure 3 ½” x 3 ½”, though they are referred to as 4” x 4”.
Should there be wood posts inside the vinyl posts on my fence?
No. When a wood post inside a vinyl post shifts, heaves, shrinks, or expands, it will break or crack the vinyl post attached to it, especially if the fence uses a bracketed system to attach the panels to the posts.
How do I pick the right fence to meet my needs?
Our experienced sales staff will help identify your needs and can recommend products that will fulfill them. The more you tell us about what you hope to achieve with your fence and the ideal way in which you hope to use your yard once your fence is installed, the better we can do at making your vision for your yard a reality.
What type of warranty will I get?
Yutka Fence’s superior materials and installation techniques give us confidence in offering the best guarantees in the industry. Your salesperson will discuss the guarantee options available at Yutka Fence so you can select the fence and guarantee package that best meets your needs. Please read our Guide to Comparing Fence Warranties (hyperlink) to understand the differences between our guarantees and others you’ll find in the industry.
Are all product warranties the same?
No. A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. The fence industry has seen manufacturers and fence contractors enter the market and later go out of business, leaving homeowners with a worthless piece of paper as a product warranty. It’s important to check the reputation of the company installing your fence and the reputation of the manufacturer from whom the contractor is buying their materials. If you aren’t impressed and confident in what you find, it’s likely a warranty from that company will not provide you with the peace of mind and protection its meant to provide.
Aren’t all fence companies the same?
There are many factors to consider when choosing a fence company. We believe our dedication to professional excellence sets us apart from other companies. We feature an outdoor display to show many styles, colors, and materials to help you envision your project. We staff a full-time office that you can visit or call for questions regarding your project. We are a family owned and operated business for over 50 years. Our A+ Better Business Bureau Rating and customer testimonials show what type of experience you can expect when working with us. We are committed to continuing education and have two American Fence Association Field Training School graduates and a Certified Fence Professional on our team.
Can I purchase materials at a home improvement center and have you install them?
We don’t offer labor only installation packages. We don’t recommend purchasing home improvement store materials to construct your fence unless you are aware of the differences in quality and appearance and are satisfied with them for your home. Lower grade products with enticing prices could end up costing you much more than a professionally installed fence built with more durable materials would have cost you. Because home improvement store materials are designed for the do-it-yourselfer, they incorporate installation methods that sacrifice quality for ease of installation.
Do you pre-mix your concrete?
We mix the cement with water prior to pouring it in the fence post holes. However, many people, including other fence companies, do not. They often pour a dry cement mix in the holes, which will absorb moisture from the surrounding ground and cure unevenly. The problem with using the mix without water is that the concrete closest to the post may not ever get wet from the ground moisture. Those dry spots and air pockets inside the mix may not cure properly, causing premature footer failure. Another method other contractors use for concreting posts is to pour water in the hole before and after the dry mix, which still has its issues because the water will not be evenly distributed throughout the concrete mix. The only way to guarantee the concrete is mixed thoroughly is to mix it with water before pouring it into the hole.
Will the crew trim tree limbs or bushes in the way of the fence?
We ask you to handle this prior to the fence installation. Although our crews are experts in fence installation, our knowledge of proper trimming and pruning practices is limited. Excessive trimming performed by Yutka Fence will be subject to an additional charge. We would appreciate you clearing shrubs near or along the fence line before our crew arrives, as we do not want to damage your manicured yard. Oftentimes, a portion of a tree or bush extends into your neighbor’s yard and must be trimmed in order to install the fence. Please complete that trimming prior to our arrival, as decisions about how to handle those situations are best made between you and your neighbor.
Is there anything Yutka Fence can do to stop our dog from digging beneath the fence?
We cannot keep your dog from digging, but we can offer solutions to help prevent your pet from getting out. Our standard installation practice is to leave the pickets 2-3 inches above the ground, which may not contain a small pet. We do not recommend installing fence pickets on or in the dirt because this makes rot and insect infestation more likely. We can install kick-boards on the fence to act as a barrier to digging that can easily be replaced if damaged, but these may cause frost issues. In extreme cases we can design-build solutions for your situation.
Should I notify the neighbors that the fence is being replaced?
Communicating with your neighbors can prevent any issues from becoming time and money consuming problems on and after the day of install. Your neighbors may need to make arrangements concerning their pets, plants, or children. They may also want to secure their backyard or remove items from their side of the fence before our crew arrives. A simple courtesy can go a long way, even in the most strained of situations.
Should I put my new fence on the property line?
We recommend that you set your fence approximately 3-6 inches in from your property line so all of the post footings are on your property.
Do I have to face the “good side” of my fence towards my neighbor?
Yes, normally the framework of the fence must be on the inside, or in other words, on your side of the fenced area. In most building codes and homeowner associations, this is not optional. You must face the finished side of a fence towards the road and your neighbor.
Why does my existing fence have stains by the nails?
Your fence was installed by a company or person who did not use the right nails for your fence. The stains you see are from corroding or rusting nails and fasteners. Yutka Fence uses stainless steel nails that are designed for wood fences and resist rusting. Cedar mills recommend the use of aluminum, stainless steel, aluminum-coated, or polymer-coated fasteners. When lower quality galvanized nails or fasteners are used in cedar, the acids in the wood react with the zinc and cause the corrosion streaks you see on your fence. At first, the only sign of fastener deterioration may be the streaks, but eventually the fastener will decay enough to lose its friction hold in the wood. There is no method to remove these stains, and the fence will begin to fall apart.
The Yutka Fence warranty mentions the term "checking" as a warranty exclusion. What does that mean and should I be concerned if I see it happen to my cedar fence?
Cracks will often develop in wood posts and stringers as the cedar dries, which is referred to as checking. This is a normal and unpreventable characteristic of cedar, and doesn’t impact the integrity of the fence. Most checking will occur within the first few months after installation. Once the wood has finally adjusted to the environment, the checking will stop, so there are no worries of it getting worse or the check continuing to grow over the life of the fence.