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Fence Etiquette Prevents Disputes Among Neighbors People fortunate enough to own their

Area News Group


Community Patriot

April 20, 2012 Page 8

own plots of land often choose to fence in their pieces of paradise. Fences serve many purposes: to designate property boundaries, keep pets or children contained in a safe environment, corral livestock, offer privacy or add aesthetic appeal. Although installing a fence may seem like the right idea for you, going about it the wrong way may lead to problems among neighbors, particularly if you live where the houses are relatively close to one another. Some homeowners find fences become the final point of contention among disagree- able neighbors or create tension with a neighbor with whom you previously had a good relationship. Being courteous with fence plans is the way to avoid any animos- ity along the way. There are certain things you must do and should do if you plan to erect a fence. Most people find neighbors appreciate being in- formed of any decisions you are thinking of making to the property that can affect their views or their adjoining property. Before drawing up fence plans with a contrac- tor, talk to the neighbors on either side of your home and gauge their receptiveness to a fence. At this point, you may want to consider offering to make the fencing proj- ect a joint deal to save money should the neighbors decide to install a fence as well. Contractors will often discount if they have several customers doing an installation at the same time. Property owners can save by splitting the costs of the shared walls of the


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therefore a primer should be applied to help block and lock-in the stain. When a room had previously been painted in a very dark color, like red or purple, a primer can help cover the color quickly without the need for multiple applications of regular paint. There also are spe- cialized primers that can be used in rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms that often contain a lot of moisture. These primers inhibit the growth of mold and mildew on painted surfaces. Primers also may be used on materials, such as metal or plastic, to help the colored paint stick to the surface of the item. If a room is only to be painted white or tinted slightly with color, then a primer alone can be used. Certain primers seal porous wall surfaces so they do not absorb paint, requiring more coats for coverage. Rooms that are being painted that are already

white and free of stains or other surface abnor- malities may be painted sufficiently with just a coat of regular paint. If skipping primer, look for a high-quality, thick paint that boasts good coverage in one or two coats. There are new products today that offer prim- er and paint all in one combination. The jury is still out on the efficacy of these new items, but homeowners can experiment with these paints to see if they work for them. Keep in mind that the cost of a combination product may be more than traditional paint and primer. FH119241

Painting is a job that requires prepara- tion and the right equipment. Oftentimes homeowners are unsure about whether they need to use primer before painting or if just paint will do the trick. Although there are no firm rules, there are certain

be installed a few inches inward. There also may be rules about how high fences can be in the front of the home, sides and back. Corner lot properties may have added regu- lations depending on whether the fence could prove a visual obstruction to drivers. If you live in a planned community, or one with a homeowners’ association, it is your job to find out the guidelines for any home improvements. The HOA may dictate the style, size and maintenance of the fence or may not allow a fence at all. Once all the details are checked, you

fence where their property lines meet. Explain your case for the fence. Most neighbors are receptive to the idea if they know the reasoning -- especially if the de- sire for a fence is not to keep them at bay. It’s hard to protest a fence that is a safety precaution for children. If your neighbor already has a fence, you must ask whether you can connect your fence panels into the support post on your shared side. Once you notify your neighbors as a courtesy, there are certain steps to take that will prevent any legal disputes down the

road. Even the most easy-going neighbor could grow aggravated if the fence is put up carelessly or ends up partially on his prop- erty. The best way to prevent this is to apply for a new, professional property survey and have property lines indicated with paint or wood markers. Each town or city has different regula- tions with regard to fencing, so it is impor- tant to learn the ropes or hire a contractor who is familiar with the rules. It might be illegal to install fences directly on the prop- erty line. The law might require the fence

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cases where one or the other will be adequate.

Consider a room where the walls have been heavily stained, either by moisture infiltration, rust or another factor. Deep-set stains may bleed through regular paint,

may have to apply for a fence permit. This way the construction of the fence and finished product will meet safety standards, and the area in which you live can provide consistent quality control. If the fence is installed by code, there is little chance it will have to be torn down or changed in the near future. Also, doing it by the book means that a neighbor can be unhappy about a fence but not have legal recourse to ask you to remove it.

As an added form of courtesy, it is proper fence etiquette to put the “good” side of the fence facing the neighbors’ yards. That means the side of the fence that doesn’t show the support panels and posts. Remem- ber, it is your fence so you are also respon- sible for all maintenance of the fence -- on all sides. Just because your neighbor also will be benefitting from your fence, doesn’t mean he will have to care for it. SH122784

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