Fence Questions Answered

Plus glossary of terms

What should I do before installing a fence on my property?

There are more steps than most people realize when installing a fence.  Checking property lines, checking zoning and code restrictions for city or county, checking with neighbors and/or homeowners associations.  There is a lot to consider, but we can help with a lot of it.  We are happy to be the first step for your fencing project.

Do you use concrete when installing a fence?

Yes, we do. We use concrete in almost all fencing applications.  There are the occasional projects (most types of farm fencing) that don’t require the use of concrete, but as a general rule, we always use concrete for wood, vinyl, chainlink, and ornamental iron fences.

Do you use company installers or do you use subcontractors?

We use only our own Mike’s Fence Center installers, not subcontractors. We wouldn’t be able to trust anyone else to get it right! Our company installers are professionally trained in the installation of all types of fences. Because they are company employees, every foreman and assistant that works on your property is covered by our bond & insurance.

How long will it take to get my fence installed?

Lead-times to a project start date vary by season, but being the biggest and best has the advantage of faster service for our customers. Once the project gets started, the first step is digging/drilling & setting the posts in concrete. After the concrete has hardened, crews will come back and build the fence. In most cases, the fence is finished within a week to 10 days (including concrete curing time).

Are you fully insured?

Yes, at all times we have a current license, bond and are fully insured and can provide certificates of insurance if required.  (CCB # 58356)

Are estimates free?

Yes, estimates are always free!

Can I purchase materials only?

Of course! We have a huge inventory of fencing products and supplies competitively priced for your convenience.  Our retail store and showroom are located at 59 SW Hayes Ave, Bend, OR 97702.

What payment options do you accept?

We have many options for payment. Whatever is easiest for you works fine for us. We take major credit cards, personal checks, and cash.


Of Fence Terms

Alternating Board Good Neighbor – a more trimmed out, craftsman style of cedar privacy fencing with a top-cap and finish trim top & bottom, creating a shadowbox or “picture-frame” look”.

Aluminum Fence – These fences are similar in construction to iron fences, but are made of aluminum. Although they bend easier than iron, aluminum fences are rust-resistant.

Barbed Wire – Wire with barbs attached every few inches is used as a security measure on chain link fences to deter trespassers, or in agricultural fences to prevent livestock from escaping.

Batten Boards – As wood fences age, their boards will naturally dry out and shrink. Batten boards are added between the upright picket boards during installation to cover gaps that naturally occur over a fence’s lifetime, making sure you get maximum privacy.

Chain Link – Chain link is a durable, cost-effective metal material for fencing large areas. Our clients love using this for fences around warehouses, storage facilities, cell phone tower sites, baseball fields, schools, playgrounds, and even residential yards as it’s tough and lasts a long time.

Custom Ornamental Iron – Ornamental iron can be fabricated into any shape a client desires. Custom work is a more expensive option than standard ornamental iron designs. Popular custom applications include putting the name of a ranch or family name on a driveway gate or fence or doing decorative cutouts of deer, elk, or other scenery.

Decorative Rings – These are metal rings placed between the pickets and rails on the top portion of an iron or aluminum fence. They’re added purely for their decorative touch.

Extended Top – This is a fence design with raised pickets. On an extended top fence, the pickets rise over the rails, creating a top row of pickets between the posts.

Finials –Similar to post caps, finials are decorative additions for iron and aluminum fences. They’re designed to sit on the top of each picket. Designs vary but popular options include Triad, Quad Flare, and Fleur de lis.

Flat Top –Fence design where pickets do not rise above the top rail. Flat-top fences create a clean, uniform line at the top of the fence.

Galvanized Steel – This is a type of rust-resistant steel used for iron and chain link fence materials. Galvanized steel is steel treated with zinc to prevent rust. 

Guage – A measurement used to explain the thickness of metal. The lower a gauge is, the thicker the metal will be. For instance, most residential chain link is 11ga and commercial chain link fences are generally 9 gauge. If a chain link fence will have repeated physical contact, such as a baseball backstop fence, one might use a thicker 6 gauge to prevent damage and warping.

Good-Neighbor Fence – This type of fence alternates the lesser-attractive rail side and smoother picket side of the fence every 7 feet. Good-neighbor fences provide the same amount of rail and picket side for both you and your neighbor, helping to prevent disagreements about who gets which side of the fence.

Horizontal Picket Fence – In this wood fence design, horizontal picket fences have the same post configuration as a standard wood fence, but the wooden pickets run horizontally and attach to the posts instead of to the rails. Vertical rails are used to add extra stability to the horizontal pickets.

Lattice – This design feature is normally placed at the top or bottom of wood  or vinyl fences. Lattice is formed by crisscrossing planks to create an open grid pattern offering a view of a fence’s surroundings.

Pickets – These structural elements of wood, iron and aluminum fences are the dominant visual element of most fences. They generally run vertically and are situated on the fence rails that run between fence posts. Pickets can also be fastened horizontally, which is a popular trend in some areas for wood fences.

Posts – These are the load bearers of a fence and keep the fence upright. The bottom of the posts are buried in the ground and generally are anchored by concrete to keep the straight and strong. Rails are attached to the posts so that the pickets can be placed between the posts to complete the fence. There are 3 types of posts used on fences. Terminal posts are at the start and end point of a fence, corner posts are placed at every bend of a fence line, and line posts are any post in between terminal and corner posts.

Post Caps – The caps close the top of round and square post tubing to prevent water from collecting, and rust from occurring from the inside out. In addition to their functionality, post caps can be decorative as well!

Prefabricated iron panels – Prefabricated panels are iron or aluminum fence panels made in a factory with galvanized material and typically powder-coated. The advantage of prefabricated panels is that the welding is done in a controlled environment and thus the coat creates a much longer lifespan than traditional iron fences welded in the field and then painted.

Press Point –  A fence design with spear-like tops on the pickets.

Privacy Slats – These are colored plastic pieces that slide into for chain link fences and are used to decrease visibility and sometimes for decorative purposes. Privacy slats primarily come in green, brown, tan, or black, but custom colors and options are available.

Rails – In fences, it’s the rails that run between fence posts and secure pickets to the fence. Rails run horizontally across the top and bottom of fences and are generally kept to one side of the fence unless certain designs, such as a good-neighbor fence require a different configuration.

Ranch-Style Fence – This wooden fence design is used primarily for rural and agricultural fences. Ranch-style fences have open spaces between the posts and pickets. They don’t provide privacy but are a cost-effective solution for fencing large areas.

Razor Ribbon – Similar in function to barbed wire, razor ribbon is a flattened piece of steel with sharp sections that have a razor-blade look and feel. Razor ribbon is primarily for security on fences to deter trespassers from climbing over or crawling under a fence.

Rot Boards – Typically used on wood fences, rot boards are specially-treated boards used at the bottom of the fence near the ground to funnel moisture away from the cedar pickets so as to extend the pickets’ lifespan.

Scalloped – A fence design where pickets are cut to create a curved contour at the top of the fence. The pickets are cut to different lengths to create a scalloped look.

Stain – This is a protective and and sometimes decorative finish for wood fences. Stains give color to wood fences while allowing the wood’s natural grain to show through. Most stains come in neutral, wood-tone colors like grey, brown, and rustic red, but custom colors can be applied. A well-stained wood fence has an increased lifespan vs that of a non-stained fence.

Treated Pine – This is pine lumber that has been treated with a fungicide and insecticide. Treated pine is primarily used for fence posts since it can withstand the fluctuating moisture content of the soil without rotting.

Underpinning – These are the treated lumber planks used to close off the area between fence pickets and the ground. Underpinning is primarily used when a fence is built on uneven ground and is used to close gaps that pets or small children can’t easily escape.

Vinyl-Coated – This describes chain link fences that have a special vinyl coating applied. The coating provides a softer surface than bare chain link and is ideal for chain link fences in areas with lots of children, such as playgrounds or residential backyards. The vinyl coating reduces abrasions and scrapes from contact with the chain link metal and it also limits exposure of the metal to the elements.

Wind Screen – This fence add-on is used to deflect wind and/or to increase privacy. Windscreens come in different transparency levels and can be used to reduce visibility or prevent passersby from seeing behind your fence. Windscreens are typically used around construction sites.

Wood Grade – This is a number system for grading the quality of wood pickets. Higher grades come from the center of the tree, while lower grades are found near the outside edge of the tree.

#2 Grade – The industry standard for fence boards both cedar and treated pine. This grade does have knots and imperfections. Typically has holes and knots.

#1 Grade – This is the second-highest fence grade. #1-grade pickets have some knots, but fewer than that of grade #2.

Clear Grade – The highest wood grade and has no knots or holes. Generally the most expensive option.