As a mill direct fence company, we are proud to supply different types of fencing grades for our homeowners and contractors. While it is helpful to have the option of buying different grades of fencing, it is also imperative that you understand the differences in fence grades so you are purchasing the type of material that you need for your fence project. Knowing the variances between rustic, standard and premium material will help ensure that there are no surprises when you have your fence installed.
Why do Fencing Grades Matter?
Not every person has the same end goal in mind. Some people may want the cheapest material possible, because they are just trying to get a fence up to get their pets in. They also may be flipping or selling a house and don’t put too much thought into the longevity of the fence. Others may want a fence that will look good and last a fair amount of time, while not spending a fortune. Standard fencing materials would work best for them. On the opposite end are people that live in a high end neighborhood, where their HOA requires a certain type of fence or people who do not have any budget restraints.
Fencing Grades: Ranch | Rustic Grade
This grade of fencing is the lowest grade we offer. This is great for the penny pincher and is commonly used for ranch and farm properties. This grade typically contains check marks, knot holes, and pecking (dry rot). While having some visual imperfections, this is great for properties who just need to get a fence up. There are no returns on this fence grade and you can usually expect to see 20-30% waste, so ordering more than you need it recommended.
Fencing Grades: Quality | Standard Grade
This grade of fencing is the standard and better grade that your average box store or lumberyard carries. This will work for the majority of projects and looks great. While being the standard construction grade, you will still find a few visual flaws with this grade. You can expect to encounter 10-15% waste with this grade, so ordering more than you need is recommended. There are also no returns on this product.
Fencing Grades: Premium Grade
This is the highest grade we offer and what we recommend to most of our customers. It is usually a little bit thicker, with little to no visual imperfections. The main areas we see customers using premium material is with commercial applications and horizontal fences, although many homeowners choose to use them in their residential homes. The typical waste on this product is under 10% and there are returns or exchanges as long as the material has not been altered in any way (no cuts, nails or screws).
How does your fence company ensure that grade is upheld?
Before the materials even arrive at our stores, the mill where the fencing is made goes through every piece of material to ensure it meets the standard of each grade. The grade of a material is determined by multiple factors, such as: knot structure, appearance, waning, pecking, checking, or lack of those factors (for premium). When it is verified that it meets grade, it is then shipped to us where we also visually inspect the materials to make sure they are acceptable.
How do you decide what is right for you?
Given all these different grades, you must decide what is important to you. Is appearance, cost or longevity the most important aspect? It could be a combination of all three factors. Seeing the material in person would help you to visually see the differences in each grade and make a decision for your fencing material. Many of our customers ask if they are able to pick through the material before they purchase, but we do not allow hand picking for several reasons. Big box stores that allow hand picking often result in a poor customer experience, because all that is left when a lumber pack has been picked through is the undesirable material. By not allowing hand-picking, we ensure a fair customer experience to all of our customers, instead of just a few. Given that fencing is a natural material, imperfections can never be completely avoided but we aim to create a uniform experience across the board.
Hopefully this guide to our fencing grades have been helping in understanding how a fence company determines the different types of grades they offer. If you have any questions or want to see the different grades in person, don’t hesitate to reach out!