After 11 years of expensive ongoing maintenance to their original cedar privacy fence, the homeowners of Manors at Fieldwood, a community of 71 townhomes in Princeton, N.J., decided to try something different. Although the homeowners preferred the classic look of traditional stained wood fence, they chose to replace the fence with a more durable, sustainable and low-maintenance material.
“The original fence required substantial maintenance over the years, as it wouldn’t stay straight — it was warping and slats were falling out,” says Ira Polly, president of the Manors at Fieldwood Homeowners Association (HOA). “The annual cost of fence maintenance made it undesirable for us to continue pouring money into it.”
After researching various wood alternative fence products, the HOA selected Bufftech® Chesterfield with CertaGrain vinyl privacy fence in Sierra Blend. The Sierra Blend color option combines proprietary CertaGrain woodgrain texture with a natural, blended look of stained wood — all in an easy-care vinyl design that never requires staining or painting.
“One of the key drivers in our decision was the authentic woodgrain texture and natural color of the product, which was close to the look of our original fence,” Polly says. “That and the low-maintenance feature made this the best wood alternative for our community.”
Thanks to recent advances in technology, vinyl can accurately emulate the look of wood, but offer superior performance and lower maintenance — making it a more sustainable choice for the long term. For example, chemicals in sealants periodically applied to wood fence lumber to protect it from rot and decay can be hazardous to the environment. The Manors at Fieldwood HOA hired contractor Master Wire Manufacturing and Fence Company, of Folsom, N.J., to install the new fence, and the materials were supplied by lumber distributor L.R. McCoy in Worcester, Mass. The crew set new posts in the original postholes 3 feet below ground level, cementing them in place and then installing the fence panels and gates around the 18 buildings of the community. Each building housed three or four units. It was at this point that they ran into one of the biggest challenges of the project. Since the new fence panels were 96 inches in length and the old ones had been 102 inches, some modifications were needed, as the new fence got in the way of some landscaping improvements made since the installation of the original fence.
“We’re very happy with the product and the installation as well,” Polly says. “When you stand back and look at it, the new fence looks very much like a real wood fence, but without all the maintenance.” “We were spending almost $15,000 a year for repairs to the previous wood fences, which outweighed the cost of a new vinyl fence. So, it’s going to significantly reduce future maintenance costs.”
— Ira Polly, president of the Manors at Fieldwood Homeowners Association