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Demand for Fencing Skyrockets as Owners Seek Privacy

If fences make good neighbors, there are a lot more good neighbors out there. Lumber costs have gone up, but many buyers want “toppers” to make an existing one higher.

LOS ANGELES – While homeowners may feel more neighborly during the pandemic, they’re also seeking greater privacy and security – and that sparked increased demand for residential fences.

The rising requests for fences from homeowners, combined with a shortage of lumber and other materials, have led to higher prices and longer waits for installation, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Harwell Fencing in Los Angeles reports a 60% spike in inquiries for fences since the COVID-19 outbreak. Owner Arian Harwell says most homeowners request “wall toppers,” a wood fence installed atop a masonry wall to add height and enclose their property.

Wood is the most commonly used fence material for home residences, according to Home Innovation Research Labs’ 2019 report. However, the price of pressure-treated wood is about triple what it was at the beginning of 2020, and homeowners must also pay higher prices for fencing. Plus, wood is the least durable fencing material, so it requires upkeep and repair.

As a result, PVC and other plastic fence materials are growing more popular. Metal fences (such as wrought iron, ornamental steel and aluminum) are too, though metal still only comprises about 2% of market share. Chain-link fencing is on the decline, according to the report.

Homeowners considering a fence should follow approval protocols before installation, and many Floridians living with a homeowners’ association (HOA) need approval from that HOA before starting construction.

Homeowners also should complete a survey to avoid future boundary disputes with neighbors, and they likely need a permit from their municipality.

Source: “Demand for New Fences Meets a Nationwide Lumber Shortage,” The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 17, 2020)

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