Horizontal Fences: What You Should Know Ahead of Time

Fences come in all shapes and sizes, from solid wood privacy fences to chain links and ornamental wrought iron. Each of these options helps property owners accomplish a disparate set of goals. These days, people are getting increasingly creative with incorporating fences into their landscapes. Horizontal fencing is one of the best examples.

Love it or hate it, it’s clear that the horizontal fencing trend has taken hold in the Knoxville area. That doesn’t mean you should immediately jump on board, though. Before calling our Knoxville Fence Company to schedule an appointment, read on to find out what you should know ahead of time about horizontal fencing.

What Is a Horizontal Fence?

Horizontal wood fences feature slats that run parallel to the ground attached to closely spaced posts. As with traditional, vertical wood fencing, the boards can be either close together or set farther apart depending on your needs and budget. You can choose from many types of wood for the slats and have them painted or stained to match the yard’s aesthetics and existing decor.

What’s Behind the Horizontal Fence Trend?

Until recently, you probably saw horizontal fence slats rarely. Vertical wood fencing was used for everything from decorative picket fences to large privacy panels, and everyone just accepted that as the norm. Homeowners with a more traditional bent still choose vertical fencing just about every time, but horizontal fences have developed a reputation for providing a sleek, modern look that appeals to contemporary sensibilities.

The fact that horizontal fences are in right now doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good choice for your property, even if you appreciate the modernist aesthetic. We’ll be happy to install whatever type of fencing you decide is the best fit for your needs, but first, consider both the pros and cons of this unique style.

The Pros of Horizontal Fencing

If you’ve already fallen in love with the aesthetics of horizontal fences, we don’t mean to dissuade you. There are plenty of reasons to love these unique, modern fences.

1. Eye-Catching Aesthetics

Horizontal fencing is a new architectural trend in Knoxville, so its unique, sleek look still gets plenty of attention. Choosing a more unique form for your fence can turn it into a conversation piece, which can be great for those who want to stay one step ahead of the current trends.

2. Perception of Luxury

Horizontal fences are currently associated with a luxurious lifestyle, and there’s a simple reason for the seemingly unusual connection people make in their minds. Horizontal fences are expensive. Installing one in the front yard lets all the neighbors know you have the money to invest in displaying an elevated sense of style.

3. Illusion of Space

Horizontal fences can create the illusion of extra space in smaller yards. This effect is best known in the context of fashion, although it turns out that it doesn’t apply to human forms. In the context of your yard, the horizontal slats will draw the viewer’s eyes around the perimeter, making the space seem larger.

The Cons of Horizontal Fencing

Not all trends are here to stay, and horizontal fences have only been popular for the last few years. As a result, most of the horizontal wood fences you’ve seen around town, if you’ve seen any, are very recently installed. To get an idea of the whole picture, it’s worth looking at some of the downsides, as well.

1. High Maintenance Costs

We’ve already mentioned that horizontal fences are more expensive by foot than their vertical counterparts, which helps explain why people view them as being somewhat luxurious as well as modern. You might be happy to make that initial investment in keeping up with the Joneses but consider also the fact that horizontal fencing is more expensive to maintain. You’ll be committing not just to a high initial expense but also to ongoing replacement of the slats, which tend to sag as the boards absorb moisture.

2. Prone to Warping

The wood slats on vertical fences absorb moisture, too. You might think that means they’ll be just as prone to damage, but that’s not true. On a vertical fence, condensation settles on the tops of the boards. On horizontal fences, it spreads down their length, causing them to warp. The result of this natural tendency is that you’ll be left with a fence that looks more like a flat waving in the wind after sometimes just a few seasons.

3. Shorter Expected Lifespan

Because it’s so prone to warping, horizontal fencing doesn’t last anywhere near as long as more traditional, vertically oriented boards. The average wood fence only needs to be replaced every 15-20 years. Even with proper maintenance, horizontal fences made with the same pressure-treated wood will only look their best for three to five.

4. Not Appropriate for Slopes

Horizontal fences aren’t a good option for sloped ground. While vertical fences can move up the slope one panel at a time, the horizontal slats would need to be set far above the ground at the lower end of each. This, in turn, would create an uneven, messy appearance and, even worse, create entry points for critters and potential intruders.

How to Choose the Right Type of Wood Fence

On land with any slope, the choice is obvious. You’ll need to install a vertical fence to avoid creating both aesthetic and practical problems. However, the situation isn’t always that clear. Larger yards are usually best fenced-in using traditional means, as well, since a vertical fence will be much less expensive to install and maintain.

There is still a place for horizontal fencing. Cost won’t be as much of an issue in smaller yards or patios, and the horizontal slats can make the space feel larger.

Need a Professional Opinion?

Here at Loudon County Fence, we install all types of wooden fencing. If you’re unsure which direction to take your new installation, call (865) 988-9935 to schedule a consultation with a dedicated fencing expert who can help.

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