Friday, December 21, 2012

Signet Fence Holiday Schedule


Dear Customers: We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please note that any orders placed on signetfence.com between 12/21/2012 and 1/2/2013 will ship on, or after 1/2/2013. Also, our customer service office will be closed until 1/2/2013, so phone support will not be available. However, we will still respond to all email inquiries. To contact us during this time, please click here. Thank you, Signet Fence

Friday, December 7, 2012

What is a .... Bulldog Hinge


A Bulldog Hinge is an easy to install and operate gate hinge that is typically used for commercial and industrial chain link gate installations.  One end of a bulldog hinge is an adjustable pressed steel collar that fits around a 1 5/8 or 2" gate frame.  The other end is a U-Bolt that goes around the post.  The hinge must be installed so that one of the gate frame rails rests on the Bulldog Hinge collar so the the gate won't move vertically.

A Bulldog Hinges is 90 degree hinges in that it will only allow the gate to open 90 degrees in either direction.  However, it can be fitted with a hinge adapter which provides a full 180 degree range of motion for the gate.

Useful tip: To prevent the bulldog hinge from scratching or cutting into the underside of your gate frame (which can lead to rust) you can use a bearing washer on top of the hinge to spread the weight of the gate.


Friday, November 16, 2012

It Takes a Village to Raise a Fence

Or at least a few close neighbors....

Foxnews.com has an article on how to avoid conflict with your neighbors when designing and building a fence.  Despite the fact that they too quote Robert Frost in the very first line of the article (it must be obligatory to mention the Mending Wall poem every time a mainstream writer talks about fencing), some of the tips that they give are really useful. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Featured Projects: A Stair-Stepped Fence with Metal Posts and Oz-Brackets

Our featured customer project this month comes from Russ in North Carolina who used Large Oz-Brackets to build this beautiful wood fence on sloping ground.  You'll notice that Russ chose to stair-step the fence panels, meaning that each successive panel is a little higher than the next.  The result is that the fence follows the angle of the ground, but the top of each panel is perfectly level.

Looking at photo above would lead one to believe that the entire fence is constructed of wood, but that isn't true.  Russ actually used 2 3/8" metal posts to anchor the fence in the ground.  Metal posts have a much longer life in the ground than wood because their not susceptible to rot or insect damage.  To accomplish the natural look of all wood, Russ built a wood facade around the metal posts using OZ-Brackets and wood boards.  From the neighbor side of the fence, its nearly impossible to tell that he didn't use wood posts.


To the left is a closeup of one of the wood facade columns that Russ built around the metal post.  He used 5/4 x 8 boards to give the columns more depth.

You can also see the large OZ-Brackets on the top and bottom rails.  The large brackets have extra long tabs and enough wood screws to fasten the sides of the facade walls and also the horizontal rails.  When the fence is finished, the brackets are covered by the wood boards, so nobody knows they are there.


















Below is a picture of the fence halfway through construction.  You can clearly see that while the top of the fence is perfectly level, the bottom of the fence follows the slope of the terrain.  Building the fence this way ensures that there are no large gaps at the bottom of the fence that animals can crawl under.







Kudos to Russ for a job well done, and many thanks to him for sharing the photos with us and our readers.

If you are a customer of Signet Fence that has a great fence or railing project that you'd like to share on our blog, drop us a line at info (at) signetfence.com.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Building a Wood Fence with Metal Posts?

Do you know which part of your wood fence is most susceptible to rot and insect damage?  If you said the posts, congratulations, you're right.


Most wood posts rot from the ground surface down to the concrete plug, which makes perfect sense when you consider the fact that they sit in a dark, damp environment for years.  There are certain things you can do to extend the life of your wood posts like using loose gravel for drainage or putting some type of rubber sealant on; but, over time wood fence posts will rot. 

That's why one of the hot trends in fencing today is attaching steel posts to wood fencing instead of the traditional 4x4's or 6x6's.  2 3/8" galvanized steel posts are much stronger and more durable than treated wood.  Plus they won't rot, get insect damage or get damaged by the weed trimmer. 

Using metal fence brackets, you can install your wood fence with galvanized steel posts to avoid rot and insect damage.


Put up a Facade to Achieve an "All Wood" Look


One of the only drawbacks to using steel posts is that it takes away from the natural look of an all wood fence.  But, that is easily remedied by building a wood "facade" around the steel post with 2x4's.  In fact, the large Oz Post Brackets are designed with extra long tabs which allow you to do exactly that.  And since none of your wood facade is below ground, the chances of it rotting are greatly diminished.

Build a wooden facade around metal posts to achieve an all wood look.

 If you want to build a wood fence that lasts, while minimizing your upkeep, consider using steel posts for installation.

Using the Oz-Puller to Remove Damaged Fence Posts

Over the past week we've received a number of calls from homeowner's whose wood fences were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.  Most of them want to know how replace their posts when there is a big 60-80lb concrete plug in the ground.  Luckily, we have a tool in our store called the Oz-Puller which is perfectly suited for this kind of work.



What is the Oz-Puller and How Does It Work 

 

The Oz-Puller is a 48" Farm Jack with a frame that is designed to provide maximum pulling power, up to 6600 lbs, with minimal effort.

The video below shows how easy it can be to remove a concrete plug from the ground using the Oz-Puller with the Plug Clamp.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Protect Your Fence from Storm and Wind Damage

Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the Northeast U.S. and, while it may be too late to protect your fence from her wake, it is a good opportunity to share some tips for avoiding future storm damage to your fence.

Here Are 5 Steps You Can Take To Protect Your Fence Against Storm and Wind Damage.


Trim Trees Near the Fence


Don't let your fence end up like the one on the left. The vast majority of storm fence damage we see comes from tree limbs falling on the fence and crushing one or more sections.  In most cases this is easily prevented by removing overhanging limbs.  If the fence is yours, but the tree is on a neighbors property, ask them if you can have the overhanging limbs removed.  In most cases they will agree.  And remember, it's not only hurricanes and/or high winds that can cause tree limbs to fall; many customers over the years have had limbs fall because of heavy snow storms.

Also remove any dead or dying trees near the fence as they are the most likely to uproot and fall during a storm.

Remove Temporary Yard Objects


A stiff wind can make that garden gnome fly as far as Travelocity.  Anything that can get picked up in high winds is a potential threat to your fence, your cars, and your home.  When you know a storm with high winds is coming put patio furniture, trash containers, grills, flowerpots, etc. in the garage or other enclosed area.

In a pinch, you can sink patio furniture to the bottom of a swimming pool, just be aware that it can damage the liner of your pool if done incorrectly.  

Repair Loose Posts and Sections if Necessary


 Loose or damaged fence posts and sections are the most susceptible to high winds since their stability is already comprimised.  Remove and rebury any posts that have started to lift out of the ground due to frost or prior wind damage.  Fix any loose or damaged boards on wood or vinyl fences as they can break off and create a ballistic hazard.

Wind can easily push over a fence when posts have started to heave out of the ground


Use Reinforcements for Vinyl, Composite, and Aluminum Fences


If you live in an area of frequent storms or high winds you should consider reinforcing your posts and rails with wood, metal, or concrete.  If your fence manufacturer offers steel or aluminum reinforcement channels for your posts, adding them at installation will up the cost of the fence, but will reduce the likelihood of wind damage in the future.

Lock Down or Remove Gates


If you don't have a good lock on your gate, use a padlock or chain to secure it.  The last thing you want in high winds is for your gate to start slamming against the fence, or worse, the side of your house.  If the gate is easy to take off the hinges, even better; take it off and store it in the garage until the storm passes.

Have any other useful tips for storm-proofing your fence?  Let us know in the comments section and we'll update this post with them.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Westbury Riviera C30R Aluminum Railing: Put a Ring on It


The decorative rings of the Westbury Riviera C30R Aluminum Railing add style and break up the clean straight lines of the standard 3-Rail Riviera.  Available in both 36" and 42" heights, multiple widths, and 10 stunning architectural grade powder coated colors.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

D&D LokkLatch Gate Latches - Choosing the Right Model For Your Gate

D&D LokkLatches are some of the most reliable, easy to install latches around.  Featuring a tough polymer construction and stainless steel internal components, these latches will last a lifetime (as guaranteed by the limited lifetime warranty).

With 4 innovative models, one of the questions that we get asked most often about the LokkLatch is which model to choose for which application.  That's why we've put together this short article on the different uses for each.
D&D LokkLatch Series 2

LokkLatch Series 2 

The LokkLatch Series 2 is a great all-purpose, lockable gate latch for residential use.  The easy installation and functionality make it ideal for privacy and ornamental fences around the home or garden.  The Series 2 can be used on left or right hinged gates and is vertically adjustable up to 1/2" both during and after installation.

D&D LokkLatch Round Post Model

LokkLatch Round Post Model

 The LokkLatch Round Post Model offers all of the same features as the Series 2, but is made to fit round posts with diameters from 1 7/8" x 2 7/8" and gate frameworks of 1 3/8" and 1 5/8" diameters.  A great self latching gate latch for residential chain link security and pool fences.

 

D&D LokkLatch PRO-SL

LokkLatch PRO-SL

The LokkLatch PRO-SL is D&D's high end security lock which combines all of the features of the LokkLatch Series 2 with automatic locking capability and dual re-keyable 6-pin locks.  The PRO-SL is perfect for both privacy and security gates, particularly at commercial properties like condos, apartments, and offices.  The LokkLatch Pro comes standard with external access and can be locked on either side of the gate.  It fits square gate posts up to 6" wide.

D&D LokkLatch DELUXE

LokkLatch DELUXE

The LokkLatch Deluxe is a slimmed down version of the LokkLatch PRO-SL which offers the same security features like dual 6-pin locks and 316-grade stainless steel components.  The main difference between the DELUXE and the PRO-SL is that it has a smaller profile and does not come standard with the external access kit.

About External Access Kits

LokkLatch External Access Kits enable you to open the gate from either side of the fence.  All of the LokkLatches, except for the Pro-SL, open only from the side of the lock (usually inside the fence) unless you purchase an external access kit.

Looking for the right D&D LokkLatch? You can buy any model of the D&D LockLatch plus many other types of latches in our online store.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Creative Fences: The Pumpkin Impaler

Check out this knarly halloween decorated fence in Brooklyn, NY  nicknamed the "Pumpkin Impaler".  The 14 year tradition was started by Jane Greengold, a lawyer and artist that devotes one day each week to public art projects.  Each year at Halloween she, along with family and friends, hand carve 274 pumpkins, place them on the spear point finials of this old iron fence, and then light them up at night.  Apparently it's a big hit with the over 800 local trick-or-treaters.

Photo from today.com article.

It's a neat Halloween Decorating idea, and the fence itself already looks pretty beat up, but please don't ever do this to you're powder coated aluminum or steel fence.  It's just inviting rust and corrosion, and think of the cleanup afterwords.

Read the full story at today.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Outdoor Stair Railing: How to Take the Right Measurements

Your deck is finally finished and it looks great, but you and the fam can't fully enjoy it safely until you get that railing up.  Almost all of the measurements are made, but those darn stairs are the tricky part.  You're not sure exactly what measurements you need to make or how to make them.  Sound familiar?  Don't worry, we hear this all the time; even from professionals.  Measuriing for outdoor stair railing can be tricky.  That's why we've put together the following guide below with step by step instructions to help you get it right.

 

Calculate The Stair Angle

  1. Measure the rise/run of your stairs. 

  • The rise is the vertical distance that your stairs cover.  You can measure 1 step from bottom to top (a) if your stairs are all a uniform height.  If not, measure the entire rise from the ground to the top of the top step (A). 
  • The run is the horizontal distance that your stairs span.  Again, you can measure 1 step tread from front to back (b) if your stairs are uniform.  If not, measure from the bottom edge of the first step to the point on the ground under the edge of the top step (B). 

 

2) Plug the rise/run into an angle calculator.

 

stair railing angle calculator (external site)
Click the screenshot to go to the stair railing angle calculator
  • No need to be overly complicated here and work out the trigonometry ourselves.  There are plenty of free tools online to calculate angles.  Try this one, which can be accessed through the web, or downloaded as an app.  Make sure to hit the angle button before entering the rise & run, then hit calculate.

Calculate The Stair Railing Length 

 

 1) Let Pythagoras Be Your Friend

 

  • In the drawing above, the rise is the distance from the surface of your deck to the ground.  The run is roughly the distance from the spot on the ground where your railing post will be anchored to the spot on the ground under where your top railing post will be anchored.  That's a little different measurement then the rise & run in the angle calculation above.  The reason is that the length of the railing depends on where you set your posts.
  • Remember in high school when you slept through geometry on the premise that you would never use it?  Well, think again.  Calculating the length of your stair railing actually is actually based on a fundamental relationship in geometry called the Pythagorean Theorem, which basically states (in terms of railing) that the squared length of your stair railing is equal to the squared rise of your stairs + the squared run of your stairs, or A^2 + B^2 = C^2. 

    For example,  suppose your rise & run (A & B in the drawing above, respectively) are 40" & 60".

    Then:  40^2 + 60^2 = C^2

    working through this problem gives us the following steps:

    1)  1600 + 3600 = C^2
    2) 5200 = C^2
    3) C = the square root of 5200
    4) C = 72.11 inches

    So the length of stair railing that you need is 72.11 inches.  Which brings us to another important point.  Since most outdoor stair railings come in whole sizes like 3ft., 4ft., 5ft., etc. what do you do when your measurment is between 2 sizes?  The answer is that you probably need to round up to the next size.  In this case though, .11 inches isn't very much and we could probably move our posts closer together by that much and stick with the 72" or 6' railing.


So, that's it.  it might seem like a lot of complicated steps, but it's actually pretty easy once you get started.  Of course, if you need help, you can always email us and we'll be happy to help you.

Once you have all of your measurements in hand, you're ready to order your outdoor railing system.  Check out the fantastic Westbury Aluminum Railing System.  It comes in multiple styles, sizes, and colors and it's easy for do-it-yourself installers.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Creative Fences - The "Hang Ten" Fence

    None
    This fence in Maui is made from over 800 recycled surfboards. And, while we wouldn't really recommend putting this in your backyard in Ohio or Wisconsin, it is a pretty cool way to avoid the landfill.  If only there were a surfboard sized Oz-Post.

    To see more, check out the slideshow at USA Today.
     


    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Getting Lawn Equipment and Garden Tools Ready for Winter

    Waking up this morning and seeing the first frost on the ground was a great reminder that winter is just around the corner. And, while it isn't quite time to put everything away just yet, it is a good time to start winterizing some of the equipment that you aren't likely to use for the rest of the season.  That includes power equipment like lawn mowers and weed trimmers, as well as tools like shovels, hedge clippers, and post hole diggers.   Winterizing lawn and garden equipment doesn't take very long and is a great way to ensure that tools remain usable for years.

    Below are a few tips for winterizing your lawn & garden equipment
    Lawn mowers and other fuel powered equipment
    • Sharpen all blades
    • Dump or run out the old gas
    • Change the oil
    • Grease all fittings
    Shovels, rakes, cultivators, and other tools
    • Soak to soften caked on dirt then brush it off
    • Sand any rust spots & coat metal with cooking oil to prevent further rust
    • Drain and coil garden hoses
    • Store in a dry place like a shed or garage

    Plus: Here's a link to a 60 second radio spot with some more tips from Bob Vila on Fall Equipment Prep

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    A Great Chain Link Fence Guide at DoItYourself.com

    One of the subjects that we've been contemplating writing about is an introductory buying guide to chain link fence to help do-it-yourself installers.

    While doing research on the topic to come up with ideas, we came across this great chain link article from DoItYourself.com which discusses most of what we would have wanted to write about.  In particular, it covers all aspects of chain link, including: wire fabric, framework, posts, fittings, and gate hardware.  It also discusses benefits and drawbacks to various steel gauges and coatings (ie. galvanized, aluminized, and pvc).  All in all, it is a thorough introduction into the finer points of chain link fencing.  So, rather than re-invent the wheel, we'll provide some of the articles key points below and recommend that you read it in its entirety if you are thinking of building a chain link fence.

    Quick Takeaways from the DoItYourself.com article
    • Don't choose a wire guage that is too light because it won't hold up to wear and tear
    • Choose materials that, at the least, adhere to the minimum standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
    • If you want to dress up your fence with color, choose pvc coated wire
    • Match your gate framework and fabric to your fence.
    • Choose high quality fittings to ensure better performance from your fence and gate.

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Featured Projects: Delightful Gardens Delights Customers with Great Design and Westbury Aluminum Railing

    Our featured customer projects this month are from Delightful Gardens Landscape Company, a design and build firm that has served Williamsburgh, VA and surrounding areas for over 20 years.  Company Owner Don Newsom was kind enough to share some recent examples of their work with us. Check out the awesome pictures below.

    Project 1: A Low Maintenance Design

    Description: Composite decking materials, PVC trim, and Westbury Aluminum Railing were used to meet the customer's primary goal of reducing maintenance.  He considered PVC railing and composite railing, but eventually settled on the Westbury based on appearance and cost.

     Before:











    After:































    Project 2: A Well Connected Design
    Description: This project was designed by Delightful Gardens to provide a sense of connection between the elevated first floor of the house and the garden below.  Planters and Westbury Aluminum Railing were used to maintain the view of the lake from the deck and from inside the house.

    Before:


    After: 






    Project 3: Creating an Outdoor Room
    Description:  Don and his team used Westbury Railing to provide a sense of space and dimension on the deck without cutting off the view of the adjacent patio and landscape.


    Photos Compliments of:

    Delightful Gardens
    7242 Merrimac Trail
    Williamsburgh, VA 23185
    (757) 345-0123

    If you are a Do-It-Yourself or professional customer that would like to showcase your fence or railing project on our blog, send us an email with pictures and a description of the project to info (at) signetfence.com.

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Hiring a Fence Contractor. Tips to Protect Yourself from Scammers.

    It's inevitable.  Every time there's a slowdown in the economy, or a natural disaster, the number of people looking to take advantage of others seems to increase exponentially.  Lately, we've been reading a lot of stories about criminals posing as legitimate contractors, taking payment for fence installations, and then never showing up to do the work.  The vast majority of contractors are honest, hard working people just trying to make a living; but, just like in any industry, a few bad seeds make life harder for the rest.

    Photo from istockphoto.com.
    That's why its so important to know who you're hiring and to take steps, like the following, to minimize your risk. 
    1. Ask for proof of insurace - Liability and workers comp. insurance are required for any above-board contracting company.  If the contractor doesn't have workers comp insurance, you could be liable for any injuries that happen to them or their crew.
    2. Never pay in full up front.  In fact, if you're contractor suggests this...Run!  But, it is common for contractors to ask for half up front and the remainder on completion.  They do this because the materials are usually half the cost of installation and they figure that if you stiff them, at least they can cover that expense.  Depending on the contractor, you may be able to negotiate that down to 1/4 up front.  Remember, the less you pay at the begining, the less risk is involved for you.  However, don't pass on a well respected contractor just because they ask for half up front. 
    3. The best way to find a great fence installer, or any contractor for that matter, is to get a referral from friends and family, or find them through an online review site like angieslist.com or localpages.com.  Often the best contractors don't have big sales teams or spend thousands on flashy advertisements;  they know their work speaks for itself and a steady flow of referral traffic keeps them busy. 
    4. Buy your materials separately.  If your contractor is demanding half up front, order your materials online and have them delivered to your home, so that you are only handing over half of the labor costs.  But be careful, some contractors won't install materials that you haven't purchased directly from them.
    5. Don't automatically choose the least expensive estimate.  Grandma always said that "you get what you pay for".  Often, the contractors that give the lowest estimates are able to do so for a reason.  Either they are using inferior materials, cutting corners in the installation, or lack experience and are trying to build a reputation.  Every once in a while, you get lucky and find a great contractor at the best price.  Just make sure that you've done your homework first.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Our New Clearance Fence Section Is Live

    Our new clearance fence section is now live and we're kicking it off with huge savings on an overstock 209 ft. commercial grade Regis 4233 fence system.  We'll continue to add deals every week, so keep your eyes peeled because we only have a limited number of most clearance items.

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    Signet Fence Store Has a New Look


    Signet Fence store: new look, same great products and service.

    In the last couple of months, we've moved our entire inventory of fencing materials to a new online store which allows us to provide you with better features and service than ever before, including: more products, weekly clearance fence deals, lower shipping prices, higher security, and an easier checkout process.

    Check it out and let us know what you think.  As always, we'll continue to grow our product offerings and make improvements based on your feedback.

    To contact us, you can email us at info@signetfence.com.

    Wednesday, July 4, 2012

    Arched Fences and Gates

    If you want to add a little flair to your fence design, get non-linear with arches.  Arched fence panels and gates can break up the continuity of your fence line and give it a more dynamic and customized look, particularly if there are an abundance of straight-rail fences in your neighborhood.

    Arches can be a fun and informal way to add a little personality to your fence.... 


    (Fences from left to right: Bufftech New Lexington w/ S-Curve Panel, Bufftech Danbury Concave, Regis 3230 w/ Arch Gate)

    Or They Can Be A GRAND Way To Enhance The Elegance Of Your Estate Gate. 



    (Above: Regis Designer Arch Gate w/ Puppy Pickets and Gold Quad Finials)

    We sell a wide variety of Arched Fence Panels and Estate Gates.  If you would like more information, email us and one of our fence pros will be happy to help you.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    What is a: Cane Bolt


    A Cane Bolt, also known as a drop rod, is a simple gate latch that consists of a long metal rod with a curved handle; it attaches to a gate by one or more fasteners.    

     

    Using a Cane Bolt to Secure Your Gate

    A cane bolt's operation is very elementary...it uses gravity.  When you want to secure your gate, in either the open or closed position, simply turn the cane bolt to clear the bracket holding it in place and slide it down into a hole (typically drilled) in the ground.  When you want your gate to swing freely, lift up the cane bolt and return it to its original position, resting on the bracket.  The following images illustrate this concept.  In the first image, the cane bolt is unsecured and the gate will swing freely.  In the second image, the cane bolt is dropped into the ground and the gate will not move.

     
    Above: Cane bolts in open (top) and closed (bottom) positions

    What are cane bolts / drop rods used for?

    Cane bolts are used to secure all manner of gates, from large ornamental estate gates to smaller wood walk gates.

    Buy Cane Bolts Online -  We offer 3 sizes (18", 24", and 48") of 1/2" diameter, black powder coated, bolts.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    Westbury Aluminum Railing Building Code Compliance Report

    One question that we are asked often is whether the Westbury Aluminum Railings that we sell comply with the IRC and IBC building codes.  They do, and a newly published Code Compliance Research Report written by Architectural Testing - Certification Services is available to customers who need to get approval from local building officials.

    The report includes drawings and specifications for the Westbury Tuscany (C10 & C101) Series, Westbury Riviera (C30R, C31, C32, C33, & C34) Series, and the Westbury Veranda (C70) Glass Railing System.


    Click the image to download the report

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    What is the ICC Pool Fence Code?

    As a homeowner / DIY'er, trying to figure out how to build your pool fence to code can be a frustrating game of alphabet soup.  Search for "pool fence code" and you'll likely come across such acronyms as BOCA, ICC, IBC, and IRC, and ... you get the picture.  It's enough to make you want to say "the heck with it, I'll fill the pool in and plant a garden." (we have fences for that too.)

    But, don't give up yet.  In this article, we are going to save you the pain of searching and tell you exactly where to find the list of pool fence codes, but first, here's a little background that might clear up some of the confusion 

    Note: If you really don't care about any of this and you just want to find a code compliant pool fence, click here.

    What's this BOCA code I keep hearing about?

    If you've been planning a pool fence for a while, then you've probably heard about something called the BOCA Pool Fence Code.  BOCA (which stands for Building Officials and Code Administrators) Code was a regional building association that published standards for the construction industry from around 1950 to 1994.  In 1994, BOCA was rolled into an organization called the International Code Council (ICC).  The pool barrier code is still widely referred to as BOCA Code, even though, technically, thats no longer its name.

    The ICC and the IBC

    The ICC (International Code Council) is a non-profit organization that started in 1994 through the joining of three regional building associations: BOCA, SBCCI, and ICBO. The ICC arose from the need for a nationally uniform set of building standards; and so in 2000, the council published the International Building Code, or IBC, which is a comprehensive set of codes, standards, and guidelines that cover everything from plumbing to fire safety.

    If the ICC is a non-profit organization, and not a state or federal government entity, why should we care what their codes say?  After all, anybody can publish a set of codes or standards, but they don't mean anything unless they are enforced. 
    The ICC is important because their codes (the IBC) are widely adopted by both state and local jurisdictions (and they do have the ability to enforce it).  In fact, there's a good chance that your local building codes come directly from the IBC; maybe with a few additional rules thrown in for good measure.
    More information about the ICC can be found at http://www.icc.org

    The IBC as it Relates to Pool Fences

    The part of the IBC that we care about for the purpose of this article is small, only a few paragraphs related to outdoor residential pool barriers in Appendix G of the International Residential Code: SECTION AG105 BARRIER REQUIREMENTS.

    The codes, which encompass both fences and other barriers like stone/masonry walls, define the minimum safety requirements for a barrier around a swimming pool, spa, or hot tub.  The intent the codes is to reduce the likelihood of drowning and injury by effectively restricting access; particularly unsupervised access by children. 
    Below is a short summary of the most relevant codes.  The entire pool barrier section can be found at the link above.
    • Installed pool fences should be at least 48” high from finished ground level, as measured along the outside of the fence and should have no more than a 2” gap from the bottom of the fence to the ground .
    • The fence should block anything more than 4” in diameter from passing through one of its openings.
    • The fence or barrier must not be climbable. If made of stone or brick (ie. a brick wall), it should not have protrusions or indentations other than normal construction tolerances and tooled masonry joints. It must also be positioned far enough away from permanent structures so that they do not provide climbing assistance.
    • Pedestrian Pool fence gates must be self closing, must open outwards from the pool, and must have a self latching/locking device. Gates that are not meant for pedestrian use must have a self latching device.
    The following code applies to chain link pool fences.
    • Chain link fences should have a mesh no larger than 2 1/4 inches unless the fence is provided with privacy slats fastened at the top or bottom which reduce the opening to 1 3/4" or less.
    The following code applies to fences with diagonal members such as lattice pool fences
    • Lattice type fences should have no opening more than 1 3/4 inches between diagonals.

    An Important Note Regarding Pool Safety:

    A pool fence is an important line of defense against accidental drownings, but it is not the only step that can/should be taken.  Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission for some excellent resources regarding swimming pool safety.

    ICC Code Compliant Pool Fences
    *Make sure that any fence also meets your local codes by calling or visiting your local building department.

    The Good news is that most fence manufacturers have pre-fabricated fence panel styles that meet ICC Codes (and often, but not always, local codes).  All you have to do is install the fence according to the manufacturers instructions and choose code compliant hinges and latches for your gates. 

    Thursday, March 1, 2012

    Vinyl Fencing by Bufftech Now Available Online

    We are happy to announce that Signet Fence now sells Bufftech Vinyl Fencing online.  Check out some of our most popular styles.

    Bufftech New Lexington

    The Bufftech New Lexington is an economy vinyl privacy fence that has been redesigned with many of the premium features that you would expect in a high end model, including: tongue and groove pickets, curve deco rails, and a steel reinforced bottom raill to prevent sagging; all for less than $16 per ft..  Available in both white and tan, the New Lexington looks great standing alone or when accented with vibrant colored landscaping as in the picture below.



    *Buy your New Lexington Vinyl Privacy Fence online*

    Bufftech Chesterfield with Certagrain Texture

    The Bufftech Chesterfield with CertaGrain is a top of the line vinyl privacy fence with authentic looking wood grain textures.  It is available in 7 beautiful colors that blend with the natural elements of your yard, rather than overpowering them.  Chesterfield with CertaGrain also features Bufftech's exclusive ColorLast Dark Color Protectant which reduces fading and maintains the natural appeal throughout the life of your fence.

    Chesterfield meets ICC residential pool barrier codes (talk to your local zoning office to make sure that it meets local codes).  It is a popular vinyl fence option for both large residential developments and DIY projects.



    *Buy your Chesterfield Privacy Fence w/ Certagrain Texture online*


    Bufftech Baron

    Bufftech Baron is a contemporary pool fence with a clean, modern looking design.  A beautiful looking fence around the pool or the front yard, the Baron has vinyl picket spacing that meets the standards of the residential pool code, without impeding the view.  A great, low maintenance alternative to the classic wrought iron pool fence.  The smooth finish Baron is available in both White and Tan colors.









    *Buy your Baron Pool Fence online*


    Bufftech Danbury

    A classic 4' picket fence that you never have to paint; the Bufftech Danbury will enhance the look of your home for a lifetime with a minimal amount of work.  Plus, with its good Neighbor design, the Danbury looks great on both sides of the fence unlike wood picket fences that require nails and/or brackets.  Dress it up with solar post caps and create a perfect contrast of classic and modern styles.   Available in White and Almond.



    *Buy your Danbury Vinyl Picket Fence online*

    About Bufftech Vinyl Fences

    Bufftech, which is manufactured by Certainteed, sets the bar in quality, affordable vinyl fencing. A pioneer in the industry, Certainteed has manufactured building materials in the United States for over 100 years, and they have a history of innovation and technical excellence that few, if any, other vinyl fence manufacturers can offer.

    Part what sets Bufftech Vinyl Fences apart from other brands is Certainteed's attention to the details; like offering a wide range of color and texture options instead of just white, precision routing all posts to eliminate the use of installation hardware and adhesives, and reinforcing the bottom rail of all fence panels with steel to prevent sagging and ensure that the fence maintains its aesthetic clean lines. 

    Bufftech Vinyl Fences also offer these benefits:
    • They are extremely user friendly due to their ease of installation, low maintenance, and industry leading lifetime warranty. 
    • They are cost effective.  True, vinyl fences have a higher up front cost; but, over the life of the fence, they can cost up to 75% less than natural wood fences when you factor in maintenance and replacement costs.
    • They are safer for children and pets - Bufftech Vinyl fences have smooth surfaces with no nails, splinters, or sharp edges upon which children or pets could cut themselves.  This also means that they are extremely difficult to climb over.
    • They are building code compliant.
    • They come with an industry leading, lifetime limited warranty.

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    What is a Fence Panel?

    A Fence Panel, or section, is the part of the fence that sits between two posts (or walls).  Panels are composed of one or more horizontal rails that secure a number of vertical pickets, spindles, or balusters. 

    Fence Panels can be pre-fabricated, as in the case of vinyl and ornamental aluminum, or can be made from boards and rails like the picket fence below.  Most panels are either 6 ft. or 8 ft. long depending on the material. Longer than 8 ft. and the panel will sag under its own weight. Any shorter and it would require additional posts and hardware, which would add to the expense.














    Most Fences have 2 or more panels anchored and connected by posts.