Proper Fence Etiquette

Most of you share fences with your neighbors.  If you have never had a fence issue, then you may not know that there is fence etiquette, along with laws that may affect you when a fence issue arises.  We thought it might be helpful to address proper fence etiquette so that you know what to do when the situation presents itself.

Who Pays for a Downed Fence?

With a hurricane season that lasts six months of the year, downed fences are not uncommon occurrences here in Florida.  What happens when your fence goes toppling over?  Who pays for the new fence?  Many of you might be thinking, “Wouldn’t we just split the cost with the neighbor on the other side of the fence?”  While this does seem fair and IS often the solution, it doesn’t always work out that way.

Let’s listen to a story from a couple who lost a side fence during Hurricane Matthew and a back fence during Hurricane Irma:

“When our side fence went down, we asked the homeowner next door if he wanted to split the cost of replacing the fence.  He flatly refused.  He stated that we are the ones with a pool, so we are the ones required to have a fence.  He had an old, short chainlink fence on his side that would keep our dogs out of his yard, and he seemed content to not replace the nice tall wooden fence which gave both houses privacy.  So, we paid to have the fence replaced.

When our back fence went down, the neighbor behind us asked if we wanted to split the cost, and he even knew someone who could do the work.  We agreed and all went smoothly.  It was a very different experience than what happened with our other neighbor!”

According to Florida law, a residential pool must have a barrier that is at least four feet high.  Their side neighbor was correct.  He just wasn’t being a very nice neighbor.  If you both benefit from the privacy of the fence, it makes sense to share the cost, but it is not required.

What Is a Good Neighbor Fence?

You have probably heard the term “good neighbor fence,” but you may not know what it actually means.  A good neighbor fence is basically a fence shared by neighbors like described in the above scenario.  With a traditional wooden fence, one neighbor gets the “ugly side” with the crossbeams and the other neighbor gets the “pretty side” with all the smooth vertical boards.  There are a couple of variations that may make both neighbors happy when splitting the cost.  You can alternate planks, essentially giving the fence the same look on both sides.  You can also make both sides look smooth, but that takes twice the amount of lumber, substantially increasing the cost.

What Is Good Fence Etiquette?

To maintain good relations with your neighbors, we recommend good fence etiquette.  This can primarily be executed with good fence maintenance.

Fence Maintenance

  • If there is a loose board and it can be fixed from your side of the fence, do it! If it must be fixed from the neighbor’s side of the fence, offer to do it for them.  They may have been unaware of it and be willing to fix it themselves, but you have made a good effort toward being a good neighbor.
  • If there is a rotten board, you can simply replace it if it can be done from your side. If not, ask your neighbor for permission to replace it from their side.  If you want to split the cost, (lumber is expensive right now!), nicely ask your neighbor if they are willing to do. If not, you either live with a rotten board or pay for it yourself.
  • If the fence is stained, painted, or weather-treated, re-do it as needed. You will likely do this to your own side of the fence.  However, if your neighbor wants to do the same thing to their side of the fence, you may be able to go in on the materials together and save a little money.
  • Don’t grow vines on the fence! While climbing vines, such as morning glories or bougainvilleas are beautiful, they can wreak havoc on a fence.  They can cause the fence to remain moist leading to rotten boards.  They can also get quite heavy causing the fence to lean or eventually fall.

Tripod Aluminum – Your Fencing Experts

Tripod Aluminum, located in Melbourne, FL is here to meet your fencing needs – beautiful aluminum fences and Baby Guard fences are two of our specialties.  If you are unfamiliar with aluminum fences, we encourage you to stop by our showroom and check out the beautiful products we offer. The great thing about aluminum fences is that they are beautiful from every angle, so neither neighbor is getting the “ugly side” of the fence! If you want to additionally safeguard your pool area, then Baby Guard fences are the way to go!  Our knowledgeable staff is ready to answer your questions and help you make the right fencing choices for your yard.  We believe you AND your neighbors will be pleased with the results, so give us a call today!

Skip to content