Jimmy Fallon, a sales representative from Hawkeye Fence in Brockton, Mass., advises people to get several estimates and look at the material you are considering using before installing a fence.       

Good fences may make good neighbors, but finding a good fence takes more than just an adage. It requires legwork.   

“Get multiple estimates and go and take a look at the material you want to use before it's installed,'' said Jimmy Fallon, a sales representative from Hawkeye Fence in Brockton, Mass.    


There are many reasons for wanting a fence. A picket fence or trellises can complement a home's exterior and garden. Fences are also good for providing privacy and security, particularly if you have children or pets.    


Most fences are made out of vinyl, cedar or chain link. Chain link fences are the cheapest option, but many people don't find them suitable for suburban communities. They are ideal for cordoning off a pool or dog run. Cedar has a more traditional appeal, but it requires a great deal of upkeep. Cedar fences last 10 to 15 years, but they need a paint job every two to three years. Moreover, posts occasionally rot, pickets snap and need to be replaced, and wood fences can be a hotspot for termites.     


Vinyl fences come in traditional styles such as picket or ranch, and it can be difficult to tell that the material is not wood, Fallon said. Vinyl fencing typically is the most expensive.       


“They say they last forever, but they've only been on the market 10 years,” Fallon said.             


Fences range anywhere from $100 to $400 for an 8-foot panel. Installation costs vary according to the site, the number of rocks and roots that are present, and the difficulty of the digging. It's important to contact your local agency to find out if the fence will run along any gas lines or water mains. Installation can take place any time of year, barring heavy snowfall or frost.    


“Lots of customers worry that putting up a fence will detract, but it always enhances a property more than you expect,'' said Stephen Lennox, a sales representative for Armstrong Fence Company in Pembroke, Mass.                         


Brent Lang may be reached at blang@ledger.com.