How to Replace a Shared Fence

Posted on 21 July, 2023

I recently had a customer that was approached by their neighbor to help split the cost of a shared fence. The contractor offered to update their fence for a discounted rate. I want to share with you some things to think about and to watch out for when dealing with this type of situation. Nobody wants to fight with their neighbor and a little preparation and planned can make the project a win for all 3 parties. After all, neighborly fence line discussions are more fun when done over a shiny new fence that didn’t cost an arm and a leg!

First things first, do your research and find a good contractor. See what fences cost in your area before searching for a quality contractor. The national average is $30 per liner foot for a standard privacy fence. You can always identify the nice looking fence, but don’t be afraid to give it a little shake. Get up close and look for imperfections. Undoubtedly someone in your neighborhood has a new fence, ask them who they used, how the process went and how happy they were with the results. Nextdoor can provide you with recommendations from people in your neighborhood. Once someone gives you a referral, send them a private message to obtain more details. You can also use “for profit” referral services like Home Advisor or Angie’s List or search to find highly rated contractors. However, be aware, these are premium referral services where contractors pay for your information. Make sure that your contractor clearly defines the scope of work relative to each of your properties.

Once you find a contractor, be straightforward with them. The old bait swap trick is exactly that, old. Any contractor that's been around will see it coming. Time is money in the contractor business, and this tactic is wasting both of your time. Explain what you want up front on the phone and be prepared to do a walk through with both your neighbor and the contractor. Have your fence design picked out. Ask the contractor if they will be performing the work or if they sub it out. Always obtain more than one estimate and remember the big 3 of construction. Speed, Quality and Price, you can only have 2.

Be sure your fence is on the lot line. A new fence line, even a simple privacy fence is no small expense. If the fence is not on a lot line and either of the homes sell, the new owner is within their rights to force the fence to be moved. Make sure your installer uses pressure treated wood for all pieces of the frame. Redwood, cedar or pressure treated pine are typical fence materials. Screws should be exterior grade, or nails should be galvanized. Gate latches and hinges should be exterior quality.

Gates are by far the most contentious part of any fence. The following items will ensure you have a long-lasting gate.

- A gate should never hang perpendicular to a long fence. (See images)

- A gate should never be directly against a build when space is available. A framed section of fence should connect to the building and the gate hinges should attach to this section to prevent sagging. (See images)

- Gate design should incorporate diagonal cross braces that always start at the bottom hinge and extend to the top outside corner of the gate.
- A minimum of 1/2” gap should be between each post and the gate. If you do not want gaps, you can add blocking around the posts similar to a door jamb.

Thinking about replacing a fence at your Colorado home? Request your no-obligation quote today to get a sense of what the project will cost. Have questions? Always feel free to reach out! We'd be happy to schedule a time to sit down with you and your neighbor to create a new fence line plan.

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