Vinyl fencing is a good option in coastal climates.

If you’re in the market for a new fence, Coastal Home Pros can help you navigate the choices and design the fence that meets your needs and complements your property.

CHOOSING YOUR FENCING MATERIAL

Choosing a fencing material is an important first step when installing a fence. When choosing materials, we recommend considering the following:

Function

Why are you building a fence? The function of your fence will often dictate its form. If you need to contain animals, you’ll want to consider height, sturdiness, and the spacing of any pickets or slats. Searching for privacy or noise reduction? A lightweight aluminum fence won’t meet your needs – look for wood or vinyl options with wide and tall slats. If you need privacy, look for taller wooden or vinyl slats with very narrow gaps.

Many of our customers here in sunny Florida need fencing around a pool. Pool fences are often governed by municipal regulations and building codes – do a little research or ask us for help! Your Coastal Home Pros fencing contractor can help you think through your fencing options and choose the best material for your job.

Style

What do you want your fence to look like? Chain link is relatively inexpensive, but it’s utilitarian appearance may not blend with the aesthetics of your home and neighborhood. White picket fences evoke a certain old-fashioned charm that works well with traditional homes and cottages. Wrought iron conveys a sense of grandeur that’s perfect for larger homes. Other metal options – including aluminum and steel – have a sleek look that works well with modern homes. Treated-wood and vinyl fences have broad appeal and flexible design options.

At Coastal Home Pros, we can customize your fence to accommodate your personal style. Shadowboxing and scalloped profiles are some of our most popular choices. We can offer these styles in both wood and vinyl options.

Picket fences are a popular fence choice for many homeowners.
Scalloped picket fences are a popular choice for many of our customers.

Budget

Coastal Home Pros offers a wide range of fencing options at various price points. We encourage our customers to consider not just the up-front cost, but the ongoing maintenance costs as well. Our coastal Florida climate presents some unique challenges for fence maintenance. At Coastal Home Pros, we’ve had years of experience in this area. We can help you think through your options and make the right choice for your budget. 

FENCING MATERIALS COMPARISON

Treated Wood Fencing

Pressure- or chemically-treated wood fencing is very common across the United States. Treated wood resists damage from both insects and moisture, and it is usually an economical choice. Flexible configurations and design options make this a popular option. 

Things to consider: Treated wood fences often look best when painted or stained. This adds maintenance costs, but will help extend the life of your fence. Treated wood pickets and slats are prone to warping and twisting. Using a reliable fencing contractor with expert local knowledge can help mitigate this issue. At Coastal Home Pros, we select our wood carefully to avoid this issue. 

Wood fences need proper maintenance, including paint or stain that is re-applied annually or semi-annually.
Wood fences perform best when they are stained or painted, especially in our moist coastal climate.

Cedar

Cedar is known for it’s beauty and hardiness. It doesn’t warp or shrink, and it has a natural resistance to insects and decay. Left untreated, cedar will weather to a beautiful silvery gray, though the original reddish brown hue can be maintained by applying a penetrating sealer. 

Things to consider: Cedar can be more expensive than other options. And although it does have some natural resistance to decay, it often does not fare well when buried directly in the soil. Here at Coastal Home Pros, we recommend installing cedar posts into a concrete base. Alternatively, we can sink treated wood posts directly into the soil and attach cedar fencing to those posts. 

Vinyl

Vinyl fencing is virtually maintenance free. Immune to rot, insects, and decay, vinyl just needs a good scrubbing periodically to retain its good looks. With this type of resilience, vinyl is a great option here in coastal Florida. 

Things to consider: If you love the warmth of real wood, man-made vinyl products may not meet your aesthetic needs. In the past, vinyl fencing products got a bad reputation for yellowing and becoming brittle. Today’s vinyl fence manufacturers have addressed those issues, and as long as you buy a thicker gauge virgin vinyl product, you can expect decades of utility and beauty from your fence.

Composite

Composite fencing is a blend of wood fibers and plastic polymers. It offers many of the benefits of vinyl with the look of real wood. Like vinyl, it resists degradation from insects and moisture, and is virtually maintenance free once installed. 

Things to consider: Composite fencing can be pricey, and quality can vary. Your Coastal Home Pros fencing contractor will help you choice a high quality product that will stand the test of time and our coastal climate. 

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron has been a popular fencing material for centuries, and for good reason. It’s classic good looks, custom design options, and durability make a great fencing option for those with the budget. 

Things to consider: Wrought iron will need periodic maintenance, especially in our coastal climate. Applying rust-inhibiting paint whenever signs of corrosion appear is key to maintaining the life of your wrought iron fence. 

Aluminum

Aluminum is a relatively budget-friendly and versatile fencing material. Like vinyl, it’s virtually maintenance free once installed. 

Things to consider: Aluminum is not the sturdiest fencing material. Strong winds, falling trees and limbs, and even boisterous pets can dent, damage, or bend aluminum fencing. 

Chain Link

Chain link fencing is inexpensive and easy to install. It offers quick and budget-conscious security for pets and children, and may be a good choice for when large tracts need to be fenced.

Things to consider: Chain link fencing doesn’t offer much in the way of aesthetic appeal. In fact, some neighborhoods have covenants that prevent homeowners from installing chain link fences. Maintenance can also be an issue, as chain link will corrode over time. 

Chainlink fencing is a budget-friendly way to keep children and pets safe.
Chainlink fencing is an economical way to keep kids safe and pets contained.

Coastal Home Pros is Here for All Your Fencing Needs

When choosing fencing materials, consider function, form, and budget. And don’t forget about long-term maintenance and replacement costs when assessing the relative costs. Finally, remember to consider local codes and/or neighborhood covenants that may restrict your choices when it comes to fencing materials. Coastal Home Pros is always ready to help you weigh the options and choose the right fence for your home. Contact us today to get started!

Building a deck in Florida's Panhandle and Emerald Coast

Coastal Home Pros is Your Local Expert for Decks and More

If you’ve landed here without reading Part One in our series on deck-building, be sure to check out our Materials Primer. Once you’ve got your material choices nailed down, it’s time to think about designing your perfect deck. Our local experts at Coastal Home Pros can help you maximize your space and your budget to create the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Design it Right

Your family’s favorite outdoor activities should help determine the size, shape, and features of your new deck.

A great deck has well-designed space, multiple seating options, and adequate lighting and electrical outlets.
Plan for cooking and prep areas, built-in seating, dining, privacy, and sufficient lighting and electrical outlets.

Family Meals 

Maybe you already have your deck furniture, or maybe you’re buying new pieces. Either way, you should make sure your table will fit comfortably in the space you’re designing. At Coastal Home Pros, we recommend the “4-foot rule” when it comes to dining tables. Keeping a 4 foot margin all the way around the table allows plenty of space for people to walk behind those who are seated. Ideally, you should avoid layouts that trap diners at the table once they are seated.

Your new deck should have plenty of room for your dining table.
Plan room for a nice-sized dining table with plenty of clearance room around it.

Fresh Air Cooking

If you’re an avid outdoor cook, think about your grilling space. Leave room for a prep station as well as the actual grill. When you’re hosting the neighborhood barbecue, you’ll want a place to set your tools, seasonings, and ingredients near the cooking surface. 

Decks offer a wonderful outdoor space for cookouts and outdoor dining.
Your new deck will be the site of many great cookouts.

Entertaining Outdoors

Are you the host with the most whose door is always open to friends and family? Be sure to create spaces for your guests to sit and stand comfortably. Adding built-in perimeter seating is a cost-effective way to seat larger groups. And a deck railing with a wide, flat cap can do double-duty as a cocktail ledge for drinks and snacks. If you budget allows, it’s nice to create a space for lounge chairs and low tables.

Consider the Elements

Our coastal Florida sunshine is glorious, but even the most die-hard sun bum needs shade now and then. Consider adding a pergola to your decking structure to provide both shade and visual interest. Another option is a retractable awning. Besides providing shade, awnings can also offer shelter during our frequent afternoon rainstorms. 

Despite the sun, the evenings can get chilly here, especially in winter months. Consider planning space for an outdoor heater or fire pit (check fire codes first) to make your deck a year round outdoor space. 

Pergolas are a nice structural element that add shelter and beauty to your deck.
Pergolas are a nice structural element that add shelter and beauty to your deck.

Light Up the Night

When the sun drops and the stars come out, your beautiful new deck will be a lovely space to relax and entertain. Don’t forget to think about lighting. Make sure you’ve got enough lights to illuminate the entire space, paying special attention to stairs and transition zones. If you’re bringing an electrician out to install new lights, consider adding extra exterior outlets to allow for string lights and lanterns.

Go Green

Decks are a great place to highlight your green thumb. Planters and pots full of bright annuals or subtle evergreens can bring life and interest to your exterior space. If you intend to use very large planters, you may need extra structural support. If this is an issue, talk to your Coastal Home Pros deck specialist about incorporating stronger beams. Our experts can also talk with you about adding built-in planters. 

Next Steps

If you’ve chosen your decking materials and thought about your unique entertainment and relaxation needs, you’re almost ready to get started. Our Coastal Home Pros decking experts can help you think through the final planning and design details. If you have special considerations such as large trees you want to build around, a sloped yard, or handicapped access needs, we are here to help. Put our years of expertise in the Florida Panhandle and the Emerald Coast to work for you. Contact us today to get started!

Coastal Home Pros are your local decking experts.

Let Coastal Home Pros help you build a deck that delivers on function and style

Here in coastal Florida, life belongs outdoors. Our balmy climate, coastal breezes, and abundant sunshine practically beg us to live our lives outside. One of the best ways to expand your living space and get that coastal indoor-outdoor flow is by adding a gorgeous new deck. Whether you’re replacing an aging deck or starting fresh, Coastal Home Pros has the expertise and local knowledge to delivery quality results on time and on-budget. Read on for the first part of our series on decks – Materials Matter.

Materials Matter

Florida’s enviable coastal climate draws people from all over the world. Whether they’re vacationing, retiring, or building lives here, everyone loves the Sunshine State. Here at Coastal Home Pros, we know you want a beautiful deck that lets you entertain and relax in the great outdoors. But we also know it’s important to consider the harsher side of our climate when it comes to our homes and exterior projects. 

Sun, Salt, Wind, and Water

Everybody loves the salty ocean breeze, but your new deck won’t necessarily feel the love for storms, bright sunshine, and moist, salty air. When building a deck, it’s important to choose your materials wisely. 

Pressure-Treated Wood

Pressure-treated wood is one of our most popular decking materials. It doesn’t require complex installation methods, it allows for great design flexibility, and it readily absorbs stain and waterproofing materials. A basic pressure-treated wood deck is also a great value. It will add function and beauty to your home without breaking the bank. 

Things to consider: Pressure-treated wood stand up better to the elements than untreated wood, but it you still have to be vigilant with maintenance. Boards, can crack, splinter, and warp, and they must be frequently cleaned and resealed or re-stained. In addition, unprotected metal fasteners and connectors may corrode in the elements.

A treated-wood deck is a flexible and economical option for expanding your outdoor living area in Florida.
Treated wood is easy to work with, flexible, and economical, but they require ongoing maintenance.

PVC

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. In the building industry, many people simply refer to it as vinyl. Vinyl is one of the easiest products to maintain – it exhibits superior resistance to moisture and will not swell or shrink. Rot and termites are not issues with vinyl decking, and it is relatively easy to clean.

Vinyl deck rails are easy to maintain and keep clean.
Vinyl deck rails are easy to keep clean, even when visitors come to call.

Things to consider: If you want a true wood look and feel, be aware. Vinyl can look artificial, and it feels quite different to the touch. Some grades of vinyl decking have issues with squeakiness, and they can become brittle with time and UV exposure. At Coastal Home Pros, we recommend using a premium vinyl product to avoid these issues. Vinyl is reasonably priced, though not as affordable as pressure-treated wood.

Cedar or Redwood

The natural oils in Cedar and Redwood provide better resistance to insects and rot.  These woods weather to a beautiful silvery gray shade. 

Things to consider: Despite their natural properties, cedar and redwood do require maintenance and waterproofing. They can also be quite expensive, and can really drive up the cost of a large project. 

Tropical Hardwood

Tropical hardwoods such as Ipe are long-lasting and beautiful choices. These woods stand up to weather elements like no other. They are also extremely hard and durable. 

Things to consider: All that durability and beauty comes at a price. Ipe and other tropical hardwoods are one of the most expensive decking options. The materials costs are high, but labor costs are also higher. This dense, heavy, and hard wood dulls cutting blades quickly and requires more labor to install. 

Composite Boards

Composite products come in a range of colors and textures. They solve many of the maintenance issues related to real wood – they won’t crack, splinter, or rot.

Things to consider: If you love the warmth and organic texture of real wood, composite boards may not meet your aesthetic needs. Some products do look more wood-like than others, but the cost for this material can climb quickly. Composite boards can also scuff, scratch, and stain easily, and sanding and retaining are not options with this product.

You’ve Chosen the Best Decking Material – Now What?

At Coastal Home Pros, our decking experts will work with you to choose a material that meets your needs and budget. Our local experience allows us to give you the best advice on dealing with the Florida elements – from building to maintenance and beyond.

Once you’ve chosen a material, it’s time to think about design. Read on here – Building a Deck in the Panhandle & the Emerald Coast (Part Two) – Design it Right.

Paint Cans

Pro Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Exterior Paint Job

We know we’re lucky to live here in the Florida Panhandle. If you have a home here, you know how wonderful coastal life can be. Yet the very things that make life here so lovely – sun, salt, and that warm ocean breeze – can wreak havoc on your home. Here at Coastal Home Pros, we know that as your home’s first line of defense, exterior paint is particularly vulnerable to the ravages of the coastal climate. When it’s time to repaint your home, it’s worth seeking out a local painting contractor. Our expert knowledge of the unique challenges and conditions in our area can save you time, money, and heartache down the road

REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Even the best painting contractor can’t work miracles. If you’re lucky enough to live in our coastal area, you probably already know that the exterior of your home will need more frequent maintenance. Our expert planning, preparation, quality materials, and solid workmanship can help, but nothing can permanently delay the effects of sun, salt, moisture, and wind. 

SOLAR EFFECTS

Homeowners in coastal Florida are used to the sun’s strong rays, and most of us know how to take cover. Shade, protective clothing or hats, and sunscreen protect us when we’re outside in the summer. Just like human skin that burns with too much direct exposure, the paint on our homes also suffers from too much direct sunlight. Sun-related issues fall into a few categories: 

Bleaching  – Ultraviolet rays in sunlight break down the chemical compounds in paint, causing fading and paint failure. Dark colors are more likely to fade, but the UV rays can also turn crisp whites yellow. 

Bubbling or Blistering – Like skin that blisters with a bad sunburn, your exterior paint can actually bubble or blister. The paint becomes so hot that it begins to boil. When the bubbles pop, the surface beneath the paint becomes exposed to the elements. When this happens, you should take steps to repair it immediately. South-facing doors in coastal Florida are particularly vulnerable to this problem. They will often require extra prep work when it’s time to repaint.

Chalking – The dehydrating effect of the sun can cause chemicals to rise to the surface, leaving a powdery white film on top of the paint. Using high quality primer and paint can delay this chalking effect somewhat.

WIND, MOISTURE, SAND, & SALT 

That wonderful breeze blowing in from the ocean brings moisture, sand, and salt to your exterior surfaces. Exterior paint can fade, peel and chip as a result of constant exposure to salt water. #Saltlife may be a popular hashtag for aspiring beach bums all over the country, but your house doesn’t appreciate the barrage of sodium. Salt crystals build up on the surface of the paint, and sand particles carried on the wind can add insult to injury. And it’s not just minerals that attack your home’s exterior surfaces. The humidity that’s pervasive to the Emerald Coast causes its own set of problems. Moisture build-up causes mold and mildew to grow rapidly, and increases the likelihood of rot and decay.  

Stay vigilant

Homes located right on the ocean should realistically expect annual or biennial maintenance to painted surfaces. The most important thing to do is to make sure that your paint job is done right the first time. Hiring an expert local painting contractor like Coastal Home Pros is your best first step. Once the job is done, monitor your house vigilantly, and catch any damage early. Careful and frequent inspections of coastal home exteriors can help prevent costly repairs. Contact us today to get started. We can make your house dreams a reality!