Things to Know About Building a Fence in Calgary
Building a fence can add a lot of value to your house including providing you and your family security and protection, increasing your privacy and improving your home’s curb appeal.
There is also a lot to consider before starting your fencing project.
Without the proper knowledge, it can cost you a lot of money and headaches on future repairs.
Some thoughts before going into a fencing project should include:
- What will be the main purpose of the fence?
- What materials and costs will go into a new fence?
- How the neighbours should be involved in the project?
- What regulations are involved in building a new fence?
- How to build a fence?
In this guide, we will go over these questions to help you understand all the important components in building a fence.
Why Should You Build a Fence?
A new fence can make a property far more secure and appealing on the housing market.
After all, fences serve a variety of benefits such as:
The best way to start planning a new fence is by asking a simple question: why do I want a new fence?
By asking yourself this question, you will also be able to determine the size, material, style and colour of the fence.
If you are looking for a fence to help block traffic noise, you might want to consider a high, solid wood fence.
However, if it’s for keeping your dog in the yard or wildlife from entering, a simple chain link fence might do the trick.
Having a goal for your project will provide you with a clear vision for the project, as well as a timeline and budget.
Common Challenges to Building a New Fence
Predicting challenges ahead of time and planning out how to overcome them is the key to success with any building task.
Here are some of the most common challenges you might face when dealing with a fencing project.
Knowing the size of the project will help you determine what kind of material and how much of the material you will require.
The larger a fence is, the more time and materials it will take to complete.
For example, a small garden fence will take less time and money than a decorative metal fence.
It is also important to check with your neighbourhood’s rules to make sure you are up to date with the regulations.
You should also keep your neighbour’s in mind when erecting a new fence.
Consult with your neighbours to make sure you won’t block their views or pose any potential hazards to their property.
Choosing which materials to build a fence is one of the most important steps.
With Alberta’s dry and cold climate, there are certain characteristics to consider when choosing a fence.
Wood is undoubtedly a popular material, and it fares well in Calgary winter weather.
This is due to the fact that although temperatures drop, humidity remains relatively constant.
With proper waterproof sealant and pressure treated lumber, a wood fence can last a long time in Calgary.
Vinyl does not rot, fade, or warp over time.
However, it is not as receptive to paint as wood, and it can be more brittle than wood in fencing applications.
Vinyl fencing only comes in a variety of styles so it offers limited design choices.
Chain link has been a staple in Calgary for years.
It is an affordable and durable option that is easy to install.
The only drawback is it does not offer a high level of privacy so it can only serve specific purposes.
It makes a great dog run or pen in your backyard.
Every material will have its own unique benefits and drawbacks and are worth researching before starting a fence.
Material is not the only thing that requires climate consideration.
The ground conditions, soil conditions and climate have a great influence on how you can set your posts.
Professional fence builder has a formula on how to calculate the depth of post holes that include the style of the fence, terrain, wind load, and digging conditions.
In general, the height of the fence determines how deep the post holes must be: one-third below, and two-thirds above for wood fencing, but can differ between materials and styles of fencing.
Price can be difficult to calculate.
Several factors affect the cost of a new fence, including the materials will be used, the style of the fence and the size of the fence.
For example, the cost of a wood fence may vary with different wood material, style and type. The cost for cedar will differ from the cost of pressure treated lumber.
It is best to get an estimate from a local fencing company like First Class Fencing so you can get an idea of how much the whole project can cost.
City of Calgary Bylaws
If you are building a fence within the City of Calgary’s limits, your fence will need to be built to code unless you manage to receive a special permit. Keep in mind:
- The fence cannot be higher than 2m (6’-6″) in the backyard
- It cannot exceed higher than 1.2m (4’-0″) in the front yard
- Inside a corner visibility triangle, the fence cannot be higher than 0.75m (2’-6″)
- The gate cannot be higher than 2.5m (8’-2″).
There are plenty of other regulations around fencing, which if ignored could result in fines or being forced to rebuild a fence.
Giving the Calgary city office a call, or checking their website, will give the best information around planning a fence.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning and Building Your Fence
We want to provide you with the best information on how to build a new fence.
This is why we have consulted with our experts to show you what to do in this step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Draw Down Your Idea
Grab a pencil and paper and draw where you would like the fence will be on your property.
Ask yourself what your reason is for building this fence.
Do you have a style in mind?
Do you want a fence for a practical or decorative reason?
Perhaps you have always wanted that picket white fence with beds of flower on your front yard?
Or maybe because you just got a new puppy and you need to create a secure home for him?
Don’t worry about costs, materials or precision yet in this step.
Let your creativity run wild and try to come up with a rough sketch of what you are looking to achieve.
Step 2: Plan it Out
Start by thinking about the reason why you are building the fence.
A fence can have many different functions, however deciding on your main goal will help you find one that works best for you.
This will help you determine the style, material and size the fence will be.
Once you have an idea of what your end goal would be, start measuring out the dimensions of your fence (length, width, and height) and adding them to a written plan.
Rules and Regulations
Take note of what issues may come up, including your neighbours, neighbourhood association and city bylaws.
As mentioned above, you need to be aware of the height restrictions for fence built within the City of Calgary, as well as any other building permit that might be required.
Do thorough research on what material would be the best fit for the purpose of your fence.
Some fences require less maintenance and upkeep than others.
During your research, be sure to look into the material’s durability to see how it will work with the climate in Calgary and how much upkeep it will require.
Set out a budget during this step.
The cost may vary depending on the size and height of the fence, however with an overall budget set out, deciding on the material will be easier for you.
Here are some common factors to consider when budgeting for a fence:
- Yard size
- Design complexity
- Quality of material
- Post size and spacing
- Board spacing (for wood fences)
- Number of gates
- Ground conditions: if there are obstacles underground (concrete slabs, thick tree roots, or clay deposits), additional tools or professional help might be required.
Think of everything you’d need before getting started on the building process.
The more time you spend planning now, the less time you’ll need to spend fixing mistakes later.
Step 3: Build it Up
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start building.
As mentioned before, fences come in many different variations but almost always involve the following steps:
- Marking out the property line or the lines in which you would like the fence to go
- Call AB One Call to locate utilities before digging.
- Dig a hole for a fence post.
- Place fence post level and plum within ⅛” of the proposed fence line. Set in concrete and backfill.
- Once the fence post is secure, attach fence panels between 2 posts.
- Stain/paint the fence after installation (if it’s a wood fence).
Not all fences are built the same way, and extensive research should be done before building anything.
If it’s your first time building a fence, plan on making a few mistakes.
Getting professional help could save time and effort, as well as money on future repairs.
Getting Professional Help When Building a Fence in Calgary
If you want to install a fence properly, quickly, and also learn how the process is done along the way, contracting professional fence builders is always an option.
Our team at First Class Fencing is always available for help with fencing, whether it’s an estimate, information, or assisting with the heavy lifting.
At First Class Fencing, we’re happy to answer your questions and we look forward to hearing from you.