Installing Your Fence: What You Need to Know

picket fence

If you’re installing a fence on your property, it’s most likely that you’re hiring a contractor like Garrido Fences to do most of the work. Hiring a contractor is a smart choice: when you work with an experienced professional, you’ll get a beautiful, property-enhancing fence at a reasonable price, and you won’t have to undertake the arduous process of buying materials and installing the fence yourself.

While your contractor does most of the work, you do have a few responsibilities as a homeowner, however. By following a few guidelines, you’ll ensure that the installation of your fence goes smoothly.

Budget Beforehand

Budgeting is one of the most important steps in any home improvement project. Before hiring a contractor, be realistic about how much you can spend on the installation of your fence. Inform your contractor up-front about your budget. A good contractor will offer a free, no-obligation estimate so that you know how much you’ll spend before committing to a fence. Reputable contractors will also understand your limitations and offer flexible options for materials so that you can get the style that you want without going over budget. They will also stock cost-effective materials that don’t sacrifice quality.

Get a Permit

Many towns require that you obtain a fencing permit before installing a fence, and your township or homeowner’s association might have in place certain restrictions on height, material and style. Make a checklist of all the documentation that you need so that your fence installation isn’t interrupted by angry neighbors or officials.

Your township might also require documentation from your fencing contractor, including but not limited to certificates of liability, workers’ comp insurance, license numbers and registration numbers. Before hiring your contractor, make sure that they have these documents and are willing to provide them to your township.

Determine Property Lines

You need to determine your property lines before installing your fence. There are a few ways to do this: some properties have pins that demarcate the limits of your property. If you can’t find them, you can ask your township for a property plan that provides the measurements of your property and includes any landmarks that might aid you in determining your property lines. Just to be safe, make sure that you talk to your neighbors about where you plan to install your fence to prevent future disputes.

If you have pre-existing fencing on your property, it will help your contractor if you clear fence lines beforehand and mark the limits of your property.

Mark Public and Private Utility Lines

Hitting a utility line on your property could cause catastrophes of varying degrees. For your contractor to dig safely, you’ll have to determine and mark all utility lines on your property. In the case of public utilities, the process is simple. Contractors, like us, can call your state’s 811 call center to notify utility companies and allow them to mark the lines on your property.

However, in the case of private utility lines, like pool lines and propane lines, it is your responsibility for marking them and informing your contractor of their presence. Marking utility lines is essential to keeping yourself safe and preventing costly damage, so be extra attentive during this step.

Check Contractor’s Credentials

Do your homework on your contractor so that you know you’re getting what you pay for. A reliable contractor will be licensed and insured, and will be willing to provide proof. They should also be willing to provide documentation like liability certificates to both you and your township. Other marks of a good contractor are: offering free estimates, placing products under warranty and using in-house employees as opposed to subcontractors.