If you’ve ever looked into fencing, your eyes have probably lingered a little while on aluminum. Maybe you’ve noticed them without even realizing the fences were aluminum. An aluminum fence is an attractive, beautiful fence, with great strength characteristics, but unlike other metal fences (like steel or iron) it’s also remarkably inexpensive and lightweight. You’ll find that there are a lot of benefits to aluminum fencing. Let’s dive into everything you need to know about aluminum fencing.
Why Choose An Aluminum Fence?
So why should you choose an aluminum fence? There are a lot of reasons. For starters, they’re great to look at. They add beauty and appeal to your home, pool, or business. They’re also strong–very strong–and can take a beating if they need to. Unlike other metals, and also wood, they don’t need any special paint or treatment to maintain. In fact, an aluminum fence is so good that adding one to your property will increase the property value. And you can’t beat the price.
The first thing you’ll notice about an aluminum fence is how attractive it is. Aluminum is straight and strong, with clean lines and a nice finish. One of the best parts of aluminum fencing is how many styles you can get. When aluminum is manufactured it’s a very malleable metal and can be made into any shape. This allows you to get all of the gorgeous details that are associated with wrought iron–all of the architectural details, the finials, the scrollwork and the ball caps–but without all of the drawbacks that come with iron (like high maintenance and high weight).
Some of the designs that you can get in your aluminum fencing styles start with the very basic, like the Floridian, with it’s long straight lines. The Sierra and Carolina styles step that up a bit with added rails and different spacing to give it a more intricate design, and you can even add to that design with the optional rings that come in Sierra fences. If you’re looking for a spiked fence–that classic, sophisticated look–then there are several varieties to choose from, including the Appalachian and the Manhattan, both with spear tops, the latter with alternating heights. The Outback style goes a slightly different direction giving us both spear tops and a top rail. Either way you go, you also have the option of exchanging the spear tops for sculpted finials: the Monarch, the Victorian, and the Imperial. These give interesting new looks to the already intriguing styles.
And if you really want to increase the wow factor there are the very ornamental styles like the Elegant Arch or the Cathedral. These sophisticated looks draw the eye and attract the attention of anyone passing by.
No matter what fence style you choose, you can get it in any of three finishes: black, white or bronze. All three have a semi-gloss powder coating that will never chip, peel, or flake. And there is the option for adding gold to your finials, for that extra flair.
Aluminum fences can really look like just about anything, but they’ll always have a uniform quality and attractiveness that will add appeal to your property.
Strength and Durability
Aluminum is a very strong and durable material, and is very resistant to damage from the weather or accidents.
Our aluminum fencing is made from 6000 series aluminum with properties that exceed that of other manufacturers. One thing we pride ourselves on is that, unlike other fencing companies, we do not import material from foreign markets, like China and Mexico, to get lower grade and cheaper material. All of our fencing is not only assembled in the United States, but the aluminum itself is manufactured right here in the Carolinas. We do this to ensure that we maintain the highest levels of quality.
All of our aluminum is coated with an environmentally-friendly electrostatic powder coating that makes them extremely durable and rugged. This prevents corrosion and fading. But another remarkable thing about the metal itself is that aluminum doesn’t rust. Unlike iron and steel, aluminum cannot rust because it contains little to no iron atoms, and rust is iron oxide (or, iron combined with oxygen). And the kicker is that while aluminum also oxidizes, the oxidation is a benefit: oxidized aluminum creates a powerful coating on the surface of the metal that prevents any damage to the core of the item itself.
An aluminum fence in a backyard or driveway can stand up to any amount of activity common to household life, including impacts from soccer balls, bumps from a lawnmower, even teenagers climbing over the top of them. And if you’re in a more active area, we have commercial and industrial grades of aluminum special for those types of places. Commercial grade aluminum is made for high-traffic areas that might get bumped with car bumpers or nicked by equipment or impacted by inventory. And industrial grade aluminum is made for the most rigorously-used applications, such as the gates at a shipping-and-receiving dock, or an auto lot. So really, there’s a grade of aluminum for anything you want, no matter how tough you need it. And it all still looks as good.
While we’re talking about strength and durability, we should also talk about pool fences. Pool fences are not only beautiful, and not only able to withstand the corrosion of chlorine and other pool chemicals, but they are also made to a higher standard of quality.
Aluminum pool fences meet the BOCA code (Building Officials and Code Administrators). This means that the fence must not allow a 4” sphere to pass between the pickets, and there must be no less than 45” between the pool fence rails. The fence must be at least 48” tall, and the gate must be self-closing and self-latching. All of this is done to ensure that small children (and animals) can’t squeeze between the pickets and fall into the pool.
One of the main benefits of an aluminum fence is the fact that you’re going to need to do very little maintenance over the lifespan of the fence. In fact, other than the occasional hose-down to remove mud or lawn clippings, you won’t have to do any maintenance. The powder coating will last the life of the fence.
Now compare that to what you’d need to do with either a wrought iron or wooden fence, which will require paint at least every couple of years, as well as sanding and scraping. Even a steel fence will need some maintenance because it can rust and needs to be well studied to make sure that it gets no nicks or dings in its coating.
Increased Property Value
Now after all of these benefits, it’s probably no surprise to learn that adding a fine aluminum fence to your yard will increase your property value. There is nothing that has a more direct impact on the value of your home than curb appeal, and aluminum fences have curb appeal in spades. Once you install your aluminum fence, you’ll have instant equity–thousands of dollars of value added to your property overnight.
And that’s not to mention the fact that your fence will be a welcome addition to the entire neighborhood. By increasing the look and appeal of your home, you’ll be adding to the value of the whole street, and making your neighbors very happy. Pretty soon they’ll be looking into getting aluminum fences of their own.
But an aluminum fence doesn’t add property value just because it’s gorgeous, although it is, but because it is safe and secure. When you install a fence you’re installing a security system around your home and that security system will make you and your family safer, whether you’re worried about pets escaping, kids getting in the street, children falling in the pool, or burglars scaling the fence to get in your yard. It’s all going to be safer with an aluminum fence, and that safety means your house is more valuable.
With all of these benefits you might have come to the conclusion that an aluminum fence is quite expensive. After all, if it’s so good, it’s got to be pretty pricey. Well, not only is an aluminum fence cheaper than most of its counterparts, but at Aluminum Fences Direct we also make sure that the price stays low by acting as a wholesaler and cutting out the middleman. There’s no markup on our fences, so while the average price of an aluminum fence panel in America is $60 (for a 6’ x 4’ panel), at Aluminum Fences Direct you can get that same panel for as little as $42.
But the price difference doesn’t stop there, because the real place where aluminum fences can get expensive is in the installation. If you hired a company to install your fence, the installation costs alone would be, according to national estimates, between $15 and $40 per foot of fence! But at Aluminum Fences Direct we encourage our buyers to DIY the installation, so when you’re fencing a yard you’re saving anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000. And that money you’re saving is still going into the property value of your home–it’s sweat equity.
Don’t think that because it’s DIY installation it’s going to be hard and have a lot of hidden costs (and that you’ll end up hiring a general contractor to do it). We hold your hand through the whole installation process to make sure that you get the aluminum fence of your dreams at a price you can afford.
Should I Get An Aluminum Fence or A Steel Fence?
We’ve talked all about the great things about aluminum fencing, but you might still be wondering: if aluminum is so great, might steel be even better? And yes, steel is definitely a player in the fencing game. But we think that you’ll find that steel pales in comparison to aluminum when we’re putting them head-to-head.
Aluminum vs Steel: Beauty
Aluminum and steel fences look very similar, there’s no doubt about that. But what you may be surprised to learn is that steel can’t do all of the things that aluminum can do (or, at least, it can’t do them at a reasonable price). Therefore, many of the styles that are available in aluminum cannot be found in steel, primarily because aluminum is more malleable. Now, when we say malleable, don’t think of aluminum foil. But in the manufacturing process, there is a point at which aluminum is more easily shaped and molded into its stylistic forms than steel could be. This is especially true of the curves, circles, arches, and other ornamentation. Yes, if you wanted to pay a lot for highly ornamented steel you could, but you’d have to order it custom. They just don’t make it standard.
Aluminum vs Steel: Strength
When it comes to strength, all things being equal, we have to give the award to steel. Steel is a stronger metal in terms of impacts and the amount of weight it can bear. The question is: does the difference matter? Is the strength of aluminum so low that it will bend and dent easily? The answer is no. A residential aluminum fence is sufficiently strong for anything that a residential aluminum fence needs to withstand. And, if you’re talking about more rugged applications, that’s where the commercial and industrial grades of aluminum come in. There really is an aluminum solution for everything.
Aluminum vs Steel: Corrosion
When it comes to corrosion, there’s no contest: aluminum just doesn’t corrode. Steel rusts, plain and simple. Yes, steel is going to probably be powder coated to prevent rust, but then you always have to be wary of tiny nicks and flakes in the coating, because the smallest rust spot can corrode out the core.
Aluminum vs Steel: Weight
Steel weighs more, but if you’re leaning toward steel you may ask why the weight of steel even matters. After all, it’s just going to be standing in place and no one will ever need to lift it. Why should the weight of the material make a difference. It’s because there will be times when you need to lift it: during shipping and installation. And steel is not only heavier, it’s 2.5 times as heavy as aluminum. So if you’re shipping a few hundred feet of fence panels and posts, and calculating the shipping costs, just imagine the price difference for something weighing two and a half times the other. And all of that shipping cost comes out of your pocket. (It also makes installation harder, because it weighs so much, so whether you’re doing a steel installation DIY or paying a contractor, it’s going to be a lot worse of a job.)
Aluminum vs Steel: Price
We’ve already talked about the extra cost of shipping steel (which is very substantial) but steel just costs more per foot. The difference is about 1.25 to 1.5 times as expensive for steel as it is for aluminum–but that’s just looking at national averages. When you consider Aluminum Fences Direct’s wholesale structure, it can be significantly cheaper. And then add into it that you’re going to be doing the installation yourself and, well, you’re probably more than convinced by now.
How Do I Install An Aluminum Fence?
The great thing about Aluminum Fences Direct’s DIY approach to aluminum fencing is that it saves you so much money. And it’s really not that hard. If you’re at all handy around the house or yard, you’ll be able to figure out the right fencing for your needs. And we have a comprehensive installation DIY guide to help get you there.
What do you need to actually install your aluminum fence? It’s a lot less than you probably think. All you’ll need is: string line; wooden stakes for each corner, end and gate post location; a post hole digger; concrete; a Phillips screwdriver. That’s it. That doesn’t sound too complicated. You can get all of that at your local hardware store for under fifty dollars.
Creating a Materials List
In the DIY Installation Guide, there is an example of a layout plan to show you how to measure your yard and determine what materials you’ll need to order. Basically all you need to do is get some graph paper, a tape measure and a pencil, and draw a map of your yard. From there it’s a simple matter of breaking up the spans into the requisite number of panels and posts and corner posts. Count them up, and add in the gates, and you’ve got yourself a materials list.
Racking vs. Stepping
Do you have a slope in your yard? If you do you’ll want to either rack it (install the fence sloping up) or step it (install one panel on the level, then build up a step and install the next panel on the level).
In racking, the spacing on the rail next to the pickets allows for racking to occur. That is, it allows for the pickets to remain perfectly vertical at 90 degrees, while the top and bottom rails are sloped. The typical maximum slope that you can make with your fence is 19” rise over 6’ of run. In extremely sloped situations we can do a custom “double punch” which will allow for a rise of 36” over a 6’ run. There is no additional charge for this.
Some styles, particularly the more ornamental styles like the Elegant Arch and the Cathedral, can only be stepped. This is done by ordering end posts and attaching brackets on the opposite blank side from the punched out holes at the appropriate height that your slope demands. Steep slopes might cause a need for a custom extra long end post.
We’ll explain more if needed. Another reason why we walk every order through to completion as opposed to ordering from an online shopping cart.
The fence panels come straight, so if your fence line has a curve, you will need to break it up into shorter panels with more posts between them. The panels themselves cannot be curved or bent as it would ruin their structural integrity. Each post however can angle 10 degrees or if you turn the post 10 degrees, you can get a 20 degree turn per post… more with adjustable wall/post mounts added in.
Is It Really True That Anyone Can Install Their Own Fence?
Possibly. Here’s a test: can you dig post holes that are two feet deep and six inches in diameter, spaced 72.5” on-center? If you can do that, then this should be no problem. That’s the hardest thing there is to do. If that is outside your skill set, you can still order the fencing panels and posts from us at the great price, and then hire a contractor to install them for you.
So are you ready to get an aluminum fence for your property?