Cedar Fence FAQ - Things you need to know

What's the main advantage of choosing a cedar fence?

  • In a word: Familiarity. We've all grown up in a world of wood decks, fences, picnic tables, and furniture, and there's a comfort level in sticking with what we know.

What makes Premium wood fences different?

  • Being BC’s leading fence Installation Company, Premium Fence offers the largest selection of wood fence styles and systems available anywhere, matching different lumbers to different budgets.
  • We design every wood fence we sell so that they will present perfectly balanced at the right sizes and proportions for their surroundings. Ask us about our Unique Cambridge Flow-Thru fence system!
  • We also have a wide variety of choices for gate hardware and fence accessories.

What type of wood is best for my fence?

  • Western Red Cedar has always been our Wood of Choice for fences. With its natural oils it will hold up the longest in our BC climate, and you can’t beat its unique character and beauty.
  • In our wet BC climate, it is best to use Pressure treated hemlock or Fir materials for posts and bottom rails, as Cedar will rot if it is in contact with the ground. A well-built wood fence will last 25-30 years.

Is it best to stain my cedar fence?

  • YES. Although Western Red Cedar will weather over time to a silver gray color that might be appealing for some, we believe that applying some kind of protective oil-based finish provides the best long-term results both from an aesthetic and performance point of view.
  • For Pressure Treated Lumber effective water repellants will retard the impact of moisture in the wood and, thereby, help reduce splitting, cracking and twisting that is common with these types of wood.
  • Premium Fence Company does offer pre-staining options for most of our wood products, ask a Project Consultant for details.

Is staining my fence the only maintenance required?

  • NO. Pollen and pollution are the most common causes of discoloration, even if the wood has been properly stained, and should be removed/cleaned every spring and fall.

How long does a wood fence last?

  • A pre-fabricated panel fence will typically last about 10-15 years, whereas a premium hand-built cedar fence will last 25-30 years. Check out our Cambridge flow thru, ROT FREE fence system.

How often should I stain my cedar fence?

  • If a good quality oil-based stain is used and applied properly, under typical conditions, a cedar fence will need a re-coat every five years. It will fade a little after about 2-3 years, but the stain will still be repelling water - reducing rot.

Do wood fences harm the environment?

  • Wood is the only renewable building material on earth, it's a completely natural building material that's 100% biodegradable, and harvesting wood has been shown to be much less intrusive than the mining of raw materials for steel and concrete such as iron ore, coal and limestone.

Can you tell me more about the new type of Pressure Treating?

  • Alkaline Copper Quaternary Ammonium (ACQ) is a wood preservative - containing copper and quaternary ammonium compound (quat) as active ingredients - that protects against rot, decay and termite attack. It is the most common replacement to the old CCA method. Quat is a product commonly used in commercial disinfectants and cleaners. It acts as a co-biocide. Some copper does leach from ACQ-treated lumber, making it unsafe for garden or marine use.

Can I use non-treated lumbers, other than Cedar for my wood fence?

  • We believe Cedar gives the optimal combination of price and value. We are always happy to explore//experiment with more expensive alternatives, for customers who really have their heart set on a particular dream look, but we do not offer lower costing wood types that are not really meant to be used outdoors.

Does it matter if a wood fence touches the ground?

  • Wood fences are best installed at least 2" above ground level. Wood that is touching the ground will rot at an accelerated rate and may cause the entire fence to heave with frost or tree roots. We recommend Pressure treated posts and bottom rails which greatly reduces rot.

Do wood fence posts have to be set in concrete?

  • Although there are times when an alternative might work better, the most cost effective and sturdiest method of installing wood fences is to set them in concrete.

Can I let vines grow on my new wood fence?

  • Sure, but never use Pressure Treated Lumber around edible products.

Do post caps help to deter rot in wood fence posts?

  • The choice of cap and the height to cut off posts is purely an aesthetic choice. Posts will rot at ground level much faster than way up at the top.

Why do knots sometimes fall out of the fence boards?

  • Knots and the surrounding wood have different densities. Since knots are more dense, they expand and contract less than the surrounding wood, loosening the bond. For customers concerned about this, we recommend our #1 Western Red Cedar, or Select Grade Cedar. The knots will be smaller and tighter. The cost is slightly more, but your fence will have a longer serviceable life.

What causes black marks around the nails in a wood fence?

  • Black stains are caused by natural wood extracts interacting with the metal. Moist wood increases the likelihood of this interaction. To help avoid this, Premium Fence uses only hot-dipped galvanized ring shank nails and stainless steel fasteners.

What do you recommend for helping the wood posts last longer?

  • Many homeowners try to plan ahead and ask if we have a solution for posts that will last longer. Stone dust, Steel Posts, Sono Tubes, & doming the concrete pier are all options that have been greatly explored but none really make a difference. The reason your old fence posts rotted out quickly is likely due to using untreated wood. A pressure treated Hemlock or Fir fence post will last 25-30 years regardless of how it is mounted or set in the ground.

Why do wood fences rot?

  • Cellulose and lignin, the main components of wood, ensure the rigidity of the cells which make up the trunk of a tree. Certain types of fungi are very fond of cellulose and lignin. With the help of enzymes, these fungi dissolve the cellular walls of the wood and consume the dissolved materials as food. Thus the wood weakens and rots.
  • Some species of wood are more resistant to decay than others. Cedar, for instance, gives fungi a tough time. A cedar fence can last over 25 years without any special treatment while a maple or spruce fence will last only 5 years without preservatives. Cedar's ability to resist decay is a result of the resin and chemicals it produces naturally: they keep insects away and inhibit fungi growth.
  • It takes favourable conditions for fungi to grow: water and air are needed and the temperature must be neither too cold nor too hot. (BC weather is perfect for this) Dry wood will keep well for many years, as will the furniture and staircase inside your home. Wood submerged under water won't rot either because the decaying process needs air. Wood exposed to both air and humidity, like a picnic table or a fence post, is much more vulnerable. A fence post will rot faster at ground level than underground because air is present to speed up the decaying process. 

What can you do about big changes of grade?

  • Extra posts at the top and bottom of any hills and/or custom cutting the boards are the most common ways to handle slopes and other changes in the grade of the land. Fillers can be added under the fence, or the panels can be sloped as well – it really comes down to your personal preference.

Do you offer larger diameter posts and/or options to make the fence stronger?

  • YES. We offer options for all our Fence Systems to make them stronger than typical for particular applications (e.g. grade differences or high winds). These include such things as larger posts, tighter post spacing, and extra rails.

Do you sell to homeowners?

  • YES. Give us a call (604-576-9910) or come on down to our showroom.

Vinyl Fence FAQ - Things you need to know

Why choose a PVC/Vinyl fence?

  • Vinyl/PVC is warranted for life and does not require any paints, stains, maintenance or replacement.

What are the most popular PVC/Vinyl fence styles?

  • PVC/Vinyl is made in all of the most popular lumber dimensions. This allows us to recreate the look of wood but leave the maintenance, and eventual replacement, behind.

What makes Premium Fence Co’s PVC/Vinyl different?

  • Premium Fence only uses PVC/Vinyl products that are manufactured by the oldest, most established vinyl fence companies in the world.
  • We use oversize rails and posts which make for a much stiffer and more desirable fence.
  • We only use PVC/Vinyl made from Virgin Vinyl materials. Many manufacturers use reground vinyl, which is cheaper and far less resilient.

How long does a PVC/Vinyl fence last?

  •  In a typical back yard application, any of these styles can look great for more than 25 or 30 years with very minor maintenance (washing once or twice per year).

What is PVC/Vinyl made from?

  • Crude Oil, Natural Gas and Salt are the main raw materials used in the production of Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC/Vinyl).

How is PVC/Vinyl made?

  • PVC/Vinyl powder (Resin) is blended, with all the required ingredients, into a formulation that is called compound.
  • Compound is fed into an extruder, with the proper amount of heat, pressure and mixing via screws in the extruder, and the compound becomes malleable vinyl.
  • Malleable vinyl is then fed through a die in the shape of the finished profile and water is used to cool the vinyl into it's final rigid state.

How is the PVC/Vinyl made into fences and railings?

  • PFC cuts the profiles into their proper lengths for each design of fence or railing.
  • Holes are routed into the posts and rails, so that pickets can be inserted into them, without any requirement for external (visible) brackets or hardware.
  • These "fabricated" pieces can then be assembled into completed fence sections or railings.

What holds a PVC/Vinyl fence together?

  • Depending upon the styles of fence, different fasteners can be used. We ensure that there are no visible fasteners, using our “rail-lock” system.

Can Vinyl fences be made stiffer and stronger?

  • Galvanized steel or aluminum channel inserts can be used inside the bottom rail for many of our fence styles and/or some of our railing designs. This will keep the fence stiff and prevent sagging.
  • Oversize rails and thicker posts are always an option- we don’t like the flex that a lot of vinyl fence systems have, so we sourced out the best manufacturers who offered this upgrade.

Will a PVC/Vinyl fence get mold or mildew on it?

  • Mildew feeds off of organic materials. Vinyl (PVC/Vinyl) is non-organic and therefore does not support mildew.
  • Mildew that grows on Vinyl is actually feeding off of the organic materials (dirt) that have become embedded in or stuck to the vinyl.
  • Non-chalking Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), which is included in the PVC/Vinyl compound, also helps to prevent most mildew growth.
  • Only under very consistently damp conditions will the possibility of mildew occur and a mild solution of bleach and water will easily remove it.

Will a PVC/Vinyl fence chalk?

  • Using a durable grade non-chalking TiO2 in the vinyl (PVC/Vinyl) formulation ensures that there will be very minimal chalking.
  • Most vinyl fencing will chalk sooner or later, but with the superior protection capabilities of TiO2 this will be kept to a bare minimum.
  • Chalking is the deterioration of the vinyl surface which exposes the TiO2 particles to the surface.
  • The white powder can be wiped off from the surface for exceptional beauty over a full lifetime.

Can you paint a PVC/Vinyl fence?

  • All of our vinyl products are engineered to retain their beauty and good looks throughout their lifetime. The only reason to use paints on our vinyl products would be to change the color of the product. While we do not recommend painting, there are paints that are available for PVC/Vinyl.
  • Painting or treating the product does void the lifetime warrantee.

What is the cost difference between wood and vinyl fences?

  • The initial cost of a PVC/Vinyl fences is slightly higher than the initial cost of a stained cedar fence. However, when all the varied cost factors are taken into account over the life of your fence, vinyl (PVC/Vinyl) becomes the true money saver.

Will the vinyl turn yellow?

  • As long as your fence is kept clean, with a periodic wash from a garden hose, it will not turn yellow.

What effects do PVC/Vinyl have on the environment?

  • PVC/Vinyl products are safe and non-toxic. They will not breakdown and release harmful chemicals into the ground and do not require toxic chemicals (stains, waterproofing, paint, paint thinner) for regular upkeep like treated lumber can. No trees are used in the manufacture of PVC/Vinyl.
  • Because of the exceptional long life of PVC/Vinyl, several times the amount of wood that is needed to manufacture the same fence in wood can be saved over the lifetime of the fence. If the vinyl ever needs to be taken down it can be recycled into other products, such as hoses and watering cans.

What is virgin vinyl?

  • This is the term used for vinyl products that do not contain recycled products. Recycled products that may be imported into an extrusion plant may contain impurities or lower grade vinyl which can seriously affect the finished product's resilience, impact resistance and UV inhibition.
  • PFC uses only PVC/Vinyl products extruded with virgin ingredients.

Can PVC/Vinyl fences break?

  • Any product will break when enough force is applied. However, every one of our PVC/Vinyl profiles are formulated using only the highest quality impact modifiers in precisely engineered amounts to ensure the greatest impact resistance available.

Do all PVC/Vinyl fence products contain impact modifiers?

  • NO. Impact modifiers, although essential for long time performance of the product, cost money. One easy way for smaller "PVC/Vinyl manufacturers" to compete is to cut back on the amount of "expensive" impact modifier included within the product.

Do all PVC/Vinyl fence products contain UV stabilizers?

  • NO. UV Stabilizer, although essential for long time performance of the product, cost money. One easy way for smaller "PVC/Vinyl manufacturers" to compete is to cut back on the amount of "expensive" UV Stabilizer included within the product.

Do all PVC/Vinyl fence products contain TiO2?

  • NO. Titanium Dioxide, although essential for long time performance of the product, cost money. One easy way for smaller "PVC/Vinyl manufacturers" to compete is to cut back on the amount of "expensive" Titanium Dioxide included within the product.

What are some examples of PVC/Vinyl that do not contain impact modifiers, UV Stabilizers or Ti02?

  • A dark green lawn chair which turns very faded light green, goes soft and droopy, and is thrown out after a year or two is a very good example of a PVC/Vinyl product which is made "more affordable".

What is the risk of choosing to go with a PVC/Vinyl fence that is less costly?

  • Imagine those faded lawn chairs, that have all gone soft, cemented 3 feet into the ground, all around your backyard after only 5 years.

Does buying from a larger vinyl fence manufacturer really matter?

  • Due to the costs involved in setting up to manufacture quality PVC/Vinyl, purchasing PVC/Vinyl resin at a reasonable price (a world oil commodity),and the costs associated with constantly measuring manufacturing tolerances, the manufacturing of PVC/Vinyl is best left to large manufacturers.
  • One of the advantages of the larger manufacturers is that they will be running many extruders at the same time. This allows them the opportunity to have a quality assurance department. One person is constantly taking samples of the product and measuring over 100 different variables.
  • It further allows more opportunity for in-house testing equipment and facilities.

Is this better quality PVC/Vinyl only used in fences and railings?

  • No. High quality PVC/Vinyl has been used for more than sixty years in the making of windows, siding, decking, and a very long list of other products.

What is the advantages of PVC/Vinyl fences over wood fences?

  • No splinters, no tree sap, no inconsistencies, no knot holes, no slivers or nails.

Do you install wood posts and then slide PVC/Vinyl over them?

  • No. Wood posts covered with PVC/Vinyl will only last as long as wood posts. PVC/Vinyl posts set in concrete will last a lifetime.
  • When a wood post warps or cracks it will crack the vinyl post sleeved over it.

Are vinyl fences better than composite fences?

  • PVC/Vinyl is guaranteed to holds it's colour, while composite products fade.
  • Composite products are also very heavy, while PVC/Vinyl is very light in weight, which is a big advantage regarding long term stress on the posts.

Does it matter if a PVC/Vinyl fence touches the ground?

  • Fences that touch the ground are more likely to heave with frost or tree roots.
  • Fences are best installed with the bottom rail at least 2" above ground level.

Do the fence posts have to be set in concrete?

  • Although there are times when an alternative might work better, the most cost effective method of installing fences tends to be to set them in concrete.

Does Premium Fence offer a choice of vinyl post caps?

  • Yes. We have many different caps to help compliment different homes and different fence styles.

What do you recommend for helping the posts last longer?

  • Nothing. One of the beauties of PVC/Vinyl is that it does not rot.

Do you offer anything special for fences around swimming pools?

  • Yes. Since PVC/Vinyl fences are popular for around swimming pools, almost all of our PVC/Vinyl fence styles are made "pool legal".
  • We also offer removable vinyl fence panels and sliding vinyl gates, popular choices for those who entertain, as well as alternate choices for gate hardware.

How to Clean Your Vinyl Fence

Vinyl Fences have become very popular as a low maintenance, decorative fencing solution. It tends to last longer than wood and is relatively low in maintenance in comparison to other fence products. The actual vinyl material lacks a porous make-up which keeps it cleaner longer and makes maintenance easy.

After time, though, your vinyl fence may begin to build up dirt, algae and grime on it taking away from that nice and clean look it came with. Lucky for you, it is very easy to clean and if you choose to maintain your vinyl fence it will last for decades.

Cleaning a Vinyl Fence is straightforward. You should start by washing off loose debris with a garden hose and a brush. This will reveal your problem areas that you may need to give more attention to clean. A household solution like Simple Green will work fine with a brush. Apply the cleaning solution and let it sit in for a couple of minutes. Scrub with a soft brush as needed and wipe clean with a cloth.

For more difficult stains, you can use a small amount of bleach water and a brush. When using bleach remember that it is a good idea to test it on a portion of your fence that is not visible to make sure it will not remove the natural fence color. It is also a good idea to make sure you are not harming any vegetation beneath the fence.

Finally, for those really tough spots like tar or paint you can remove them by chipping at it with a plastic tool. With vinyl it is a good idea to keep hard metal away from the fence as it can cause damage and instead use soft scraper that will not mar the material or leave marks.

To keep your fence in top notch condition try to clean it at least once a year, preferably in the spring. This will extend the life of it as well as help keep that nice and clean look you want. Always test your cleaning solution on a part of the fence that is not clearly visible to make sure it will not damage the material and if you are unsure about something be sure to consult a professional.

Don't just take our word for it....

"Thanks for the excellent workmanship your company provided! The fence looks great!.“
-Ian
"Wow awesome, very impressive. Much appreciated by the speedy response. Once again, thank you.“
-Ella Sharp
"The strata council is very impressed with the quality of these fences your company is building.“
-David Stolk, Associate Broker, RCM
"I am happy with the job of the installation crew, they looked after a couple of my minor concerns quickly and pleasantly.“
-Gordon
"I wanted to thank the Premium Fence team for a great job in replacing our fence from quotation to completion.“
-Rick and Lisa

Service Areas in British Columbia

Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, East Vancouver, Kerrisdale, Dunbar, Kitsilano, Oakridge, Shaughnessy, UBC, West End, Downtown, East Vancouver, Point Grey, Southlands, Steveston, Terra Nova, Lynn Valley, Deep Cove, Capilano, Dundarave, British Properties, Horseshoe Bay, Lions Bay, Burnaby, Richmond, Delta, Ladner, Tsawwassen, Anmore, Belcarra, New Westminster, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Newton, Cloverdale, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, Mission, Hope, Fraser Valley, Chilliwack, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Saanich, Sidney, Parksville, Campbell River, Comox Valley, Courtenay, Penticton, Vernon, Westbank, Kamloops, Kelowna, Squamish, Whistler, Gibsons, Sechelt, Lake Country, Okanagan

If you don't see your city in our service area, Contact Us for more information.

Premium Fence Company

Business Hours

Give us a call anytime or visit our showroom! We would be happy to talk with you.

Monday-Friday:
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