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Fencing The Market

By Bruce Fordyce

The UAS 101 spear-top ornamental aluminum fence with satin khaki finish. It features Elegant spears and a tighter picket spacing. It is available in Residential Series, Residential Series Premium, Commercial Series, and Commercial Series Premium. The Premium grades have a reinforced double-wall rail with hidden fasteners. This fence is made by Ultra Aluminum.

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Monarch Stone Int'l Came America

Demand for fencing in the US is forecast to expand 2.9 percent per year through 2014 to 935 million linear feet. A rebound in housing completions will spur demand for fencing, reversing the declines of the 2007-2009 period and marginally exceeding the level of demand 10 years earlier. Through 2014, the price of metals is forecast to fall slightly from 2009 levels. As a result, despite the resurgence in demand in terms of linear feet, the value of fencing demand is expected to rise only slightly faster than it did in the 2004-2009 period, reaching $10.3 billion in 2014.

As a landscape contractor what trends should you pay attention to? What product sector will increase your profit potential and bring in more jobs?

A 6-foot high tongue and groove white privacy panel (Illusions(R) V300-6), this fence comes via Illusions Vinyl Fence. The next best selling styles have a lattice top (Illusions V3215D-6) or with 1-1/2 x 1-1/2-inch Classic Victorian picket topper (Illusions V3700-6) on the solid panel fence sections.

This fence features a welded wire steel fence system is more rigid than other welded wire fence systems, due to the use of two parallel horizontal wires with the vertical wires sandwiched between them. Made by The Atlantis, TWINBAR fence is backed by a 20-Year Limited Warranty. This sophisticated security fence panel system had been proven in real world applications such as airport security fencing, at playgrounds, sport facilities and residential applications.

Plastic, Composite Fencing To Grow At Most Rapid Pace

Concrete and other fencing materials will also see above average demand gains through 2014. Advances will be derived from continued recognition of concrete's durability, which makes it ideal for buildings and sites requiring protection.

In 2009, metal fencing accounted for the largest share of the fencing market in both value and unit terms. Chain link fencing is often used to mark boundaries and secure properties, both residential and commercial, while ornamental varieties are used to enhance the aesthetic properties of homes and businesses.

Through 2014, demand for metal fencing in the US is expected to advance 2.0 percent annually. Growth will be derived from continued interest in metal fencing to mark boundaries and enhance physical security. However, below-average growth in the nonresidential market, where metal fencing dominates, will restrict gains. Metal fencing pricing is forecast to rise just over one percent per year through 2014 because of the projected decline in metal prices. Wood fencing demand will advance at the slowest pace through 2014 because of heavy competition from plastic and composite fencing.

Demand For Chain Link Fencing Will Beat Demand For Wood Fencing

Over the next four years, the demand for chain link fencing in the United States is expected to grow two percent each year, due mainly to the material's popularity as a boundary marker and its use in security systems. Demand for wood fencing, on the other hand, will advance at a relatively slow pace.

The Regal Designer Series estate gates by Specrail features arched top gates made of heavy-wall 6061-T5 alloy. They feature high solid acrylic coating for long life.

This industrial grade fence is constructed of 1-5/8 x 1-5/8-inch rails, 1 x 1-inch pickets, and uses 2-1/2 x 2-1/2, 3 x 3 or 4 x 4-inch post. Made by Elite, these industrial grade aluminum fences are available in six standard styles and colors. All gates include standard latch and hinges.

The Victoria Triad comes in 2 or 3 Channel and is available in all grades with Quad or Tri-Ad finials (the Gold Finials are shown here). This fence is offered by Alumi-Guard.

Residential Market Will Lead Gains

Residential buildings are the largest fencing market, so the recovery in residential construction will boost fencing demand over the forecast period. The residential market is predicted to account for about two-thirds of the approximately $1.5 billion advance in total fencing demand through 2014. The new housing segment is expected to post the most rapid advances in demand through 2014. Demand will also be supported by the large replacement segment, as improvement and repair spending rebounds from its current base.

Non-Residential Fencing Markets

Fencing demand in the nonresidential building construction, non-building construction and agricultural markets will advance 1.1 percent annually through 2014. Rebounding office and commercial construction, as well as transportation construction spending is expected to spur the growth in this sector. Accelerating institutional construction spending is also projected to support demand. However, growth will be checked by the fact that metal fencing constitutes the material most often used in these applications.

The UpGrade ornamental steel fence system is ideal for commercial and industrial applications, with panels that adjust to slopes up to 30 degrees, high-strength rails. An exclusive Architectural Grade Powder Coating provides superior protection and color retention. The UpGrade is made by Betafence.

This fence features a patented design of rotationally molded fencing that offers realistic stone appearance and superior performance. Made by SimTek, this fence's material is made from proprietary Linear Low Density Polyethylene Plastic (LLDPE) and is reinforced with galvanized steel.


According to Denise Esser of WamBam Fence Inc., ''The biggest challenge we see is cheap vinyl materials on the market. Initially the price is right, but the product doesn't last and looks poor in people's yards. As a result, it gives off an unfavorable impression. Vinyl is meant to last a lifetime, and a good vinyl fence will do just that. You get what you pay for.''

''The main issue hurting the market today is: Too many contractors focused on selling price alone instead of price with value. Price is obviously important, but most buyers are still primarily focused on the overall value provided,'' said Jim Paterson, SVP Sales & Marketing for D&D Technologies, USA.

Ben Jodoin, VP Sales & Marketing of Ultra Aluminum Manufacturing concurs, adding: (The biggest challenge facing the fencing industry today is) The profusion of low-end imports has caused many to look at ornamental fence as a commodity with less emphasis on quality and service. That perception must be changed.''

Benjamin Shirley, Ameristar Fence Products says: ''The biggest challenge facing the fence industry are low quality import products. Typically these products are shipped in with marketing strategies that offer unrealistic warranties and products that don't meet their own published specifications.''

According to Matthew Murray of Fence Fabric: ''The biggest challenge facing the industry is contractors bidding against one another for price. In a down economy, an industry fighting itself threatens to create a destructive situation, as happened in the 1980's.''

William Batts III, President of SPECRAIL notes that: ''Grading is the biggest challenge for us as a manufacturer.''

Doug Bracken, President of Wiemann Metalcraft, adds: ''Gates are complex installations requiring multiple trades like a footing contractor, landscape contractor, electrician and/or automated gate equipment installer, a gate fabricator and installer, and an alarm specialist.''
Linda Zielinski, Atlantis Products Inc. added: ''Getting a fence installed straight and level, adjust it for smooth operation. Get qualified local subcontractor for electronics, should either have a talented mechanical crewmember or crew member with experience in metalworking.''

Shown here is a screwless aluminum commercial-grade fence. Its square pickets use a patent pending design that eliminates assembly screws. Made by Delgard Premier Aluminum Fencing, the system requires no fasteners or plastic clips. This design allows the fence to 'Rack' up & down hills up to 20 degrees. It is available in 72 or 96-inch wide sections. Two mounting styles are available: Bracketed Post or Snap-in Punched Post. Matching gates are available from 36 to 96-inch widths.

Bamboo offers an alternative material for fencing. Bamboo's rapid growth cycle makes it a sustainable resource and an eco-friendly building product. Bamboo is lightweight and has a high tensional strength, making it an ideal material for construction.

Today And Tomorrow In The Fencing Marketplace

''Overall, fencing is down about 25 percent from the previous year,'' asserts Batts III. Bracken adds: ''It's a difficult business climate (because the) market is completely price-driven at the moment.''

But there are bright spots, as Linda Zielinski, Atlantis Products Inc. notes: ''(Our business is doing) very well, especially thanks to the heightened need for security, which does not just apply to high security aspects, but also heightened security needs for residential type projects.''

Murray concurs: ''In the next couple years, we anticipate that security and privacy will be increasingly important in industrial, commercial, residential, and government projects.''

According to Lee Crumbaugh, the American Fence Association Executive Director, the fencing industry will see: ''More activity in security fencing due to those projects being supported by government programs and funding.''

''We see fencing moving more towards natural-looking barriers, said Lindsey Manthei O'Connor of Redi-Scapes: ''Stone textures allow fencing and barriers to blend in with the indigenous landscaping and match up with local color schemes.''

Manthei O'Connor added, ''There's been a surge in wet-cast concrete fencing and barriers in 2010, especially for products that are versatile to offer many different design options.''

''In light of the current economy,'' notes Denise Esser of WamBam Fence Inc., ''we see people looking for more affordable ways to install fences. One trend we have seen is that many contractors have started installing vinyl fence the digless way. Not only is it a much quicker and cleaner way to install a fence, but they don't need to invest in (or rent) expensive machinery. We have talked to many contractors who maintain that they can install a vinyl fence the digless way in half the time it takes to install a vinyl fence traditionally.''

This ornamental iron fencing is a steel product that can be customized to match rail spacing of any existing wrought iron fence. Produced by Ameristar, the Aegis Plus offer a unique component design light commercial fence that allows the fence to be manufactured to any specified height or custom color for commercial projects.

This architectural handrail and fencing system, called STRONGRAIL, is designed for use in architectural applications that require high-strength, low-maintenance and long-term aesthetic appeal. The standard systems are fabricated from pultruded fiberglass components produced by Strongwell.

When asked what trends they see over the next couple of years, Manthei O'Connor reported, ''We see fencing moving more towards natural-looking barriers. Stone texture allows fencing and barriers to blend in with the indigenous landscaping and match up with local color schemes.''

Benjamin Shirley, Ameristar Fence Products says: ''Ameristar anticipates a greater demand for security products along with a strong desire to understand product life. When discussing fencing with architects and owners we hear multiple stories of how less expensive products were used on projects, only to find out months after project completion the product is failing.''

''The fence industry for the last 10 years has seen a greater demand for ornamental fencing, gate automation, and access control. As more sites demand perimeter security the need to balance security with aesthetics is a necessity.''

Chris Baio, production coordinator for Becker Marketing Group predicts that trends to watch over the next couple of years include: ''A greater emphasis on 'Green' products.''

According to Alumi-Guard's Nick Woodward, ''Although the construction industry in general has taken a hit during recent years, many of the fence installation companies we work with have said that in spite of the tough economic conditions, they have an optimistic sales forecast for 2011. Despite residential being the primary business for most of the fence industry, Alumi-Guard has seen quite an increase in the commercial and industrial fence projects over the past several months. While all new business is welcome - the commercial and industrial lines present a different set of challenges; most notably is the lag time between when a job is quoted and when it is ordered. A year or more may pass by the time the job is ordered and during that period, the pricing of the raw material may have fluctuated so much that the quote isn't necessarily valid anymore.''

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October 13, 2019, 6:54 pm PDT

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