PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Are you considering adding a fence to your home this year?

Fences have both practical and aesthetic value, but a badly conceived fence can be an eyesore and a source of conflict with neighbors.

With pets in the family, a fence for Kim and Mark Ruskowsky’s home was a must-have.

“We installed the fence because we wanted more privacy in our backyard and we have two dogs that like to run around and it’s nice to have them not tied down,” homeowner Kim Ruskowsky said.

Some common fence materials today include vinyl, wrought iron, aluminum and wood.

“I believe today, most of our consumers, are very interested in a maintenance free fence that lasts without maintenance and also adds value to their property for an extended period of time versus some of the other products or older products, a wood products that do require maintenance and do tend to break down and detract from the look of the property over the course of time,” fencing contractor Rod Smith said.

“Fences can make the best neighbors unless it’s put on the wrong side of the property line,” Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks said. “The first thing you want to do is have a survey of your property and check with your neighbors. It’s not required to do that, but it’s a nice courtesy. And don’t forget to check out your homeowner’s association by-laws because they might have regulations about the type of fence.”

Angie’s List recommends doing your research before you let a company dig into your yard. Are they full-service company? Do they also offer repairs and adjustments?

“A fencing project should stand the test of time so be sure that you’re checking everything out on the company you’re hiring,” Hicks said. “Interesting enough a recent Angie’s List poll found 46 percent of the respondents said they don’t always ask for references and 43 percent said even if they do ask for references, they don’t check them. Doing your homework is key — especially on an investment of this magnitude.”

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