Opaque fences block light from traveling through them to give maximum privacy. Most of the light is either reflected by the reflected or absorbed by the fence. Fences made from materials such as wood, stone, metals, vinyl (pvc), wood plastic composites, frosted glass are opaque to visible light.
When it comes to opaque fences, it’s all about privacy. So it doesn’t make much sense to have an opaque fence if it’s height is less than 4 foot. On the other hand, too much height can waste unnecessary materials and therefore be very costly, not to mention making you feel locked in.
So you need to strike a balance between the need for privacy and the need to for openness and an attractive view.
Vinyl (PVC) Fencing
Most of the time, vinyl fences are recommended for privacy fences since they are completely opaque and replace the wood materials of the past. Plastic is lightweight, strong, and impervious to sunlight. Additional advantages include an array of widths and heights to suit your needs.
A vinyl fence is ideal if you don’t want prying eyes to snoop around your property. One of the main disadvantages is that you may feel enclosed when using this type of fencing, as it is 100% opaque.
This problem can be alleviated by only fencing in areas that are most likely to be seen from external areas. This might only apply to the back of a property, while for some, it might just be the sides. You can also install lower versions of the fence in areas that are less privacy critical in order to let more light in and to prevent you from feeling hemmed in.
Some of the key advantages of Vinyl/PVC/WPC fencing are:
- It requires little maintenance. It is durable and can last for many years.
- PVC fencing comes in a variety of colors and styles with white being the most popular choice.
- Since the fence has to endure the wind, rain, and other weather elements, it will become dirty and dingy. Simply cleaning a vinyl fence can restore its original appearance.
- It’s not necessary to hire a professional cleaner to remove the scuff marks from the fencing, and no harsh chemicals will be needed.
- A vinyl fence does not need sanding or painting like wood fences.
- Because of its lightweight design, the material is easy and quick to install.
- This type of fence can withstand the impact of rain and moisture better than wood fences.
- It is easy to install for a DYI project, unlike most other fencing options.
- Good neighbor style fence panel looking the same on each side.
Modified Wrought Iron Fencing
Wrought iron fencing truly is beautiful, but by it’s very structure, it allows people to see through it. You can improve its privacy attributes by having posts much closer together. This increases the perceived opacity from a distance, so can work well if neighbors are viewing the fence from a greater distance.
Another option to increase privacy is to place plants, either in pots or planted in the ground, along the fence. The right choice of plants such as ivy or other climbing plants can assist this process by growing along the fencing itself, thereby creating a naturally greened fence in the process. Even in situations where the vegetation makes the fence completely opaque, for many, it tends to feel less restrictive when it is due to natural plants compared to solid fencing.
Modified Vinyl Fencing
Gapped Vinyl Fencing
Another option that still retains many of the advantages that come with vinyl/pvc/wpc fencing is to create a gapped vinyl fence in a 2:1 ratio. This ratio results in the gap between each section being half the width of each panel.
Vinyl fencing with gaps allows light through with a greater sense of openess, but unless passer bys are looking directly through the gaps from a very short distance, they cannot see clearly.
Split Vinyl Fencing
Another option for using vinyl fencing for privacy while still allowing a greater sense of openness, is to install a style with solid opaque panels for the lower 4/5ths of the fence height, but with a latticed top section for the final 1/5th. This acts as a compromise between privacy and a more open appearance.
What To Do Before Installing A Fence
If you have neighbors who have property that is right next to your fence line, you will want to speak with them to make sure your fence will not go through their property lines.
There may be easements in your deed which may limit the design and location of your fence. An easement is a right-of-way granted to another property owner or utility company.
Confirm the location of underground utilities with local providers before you dig any holes needed for your fence.
Consider the zoning laws in your area, which may govern fence size and placement. Check with your neighborhood association before proceeding with your plans if you live in an historic district or a subdivision.
Get the information you need for the depth, diameter and shape of your footings from your local building inspector. Some codes require that a footing’s bottom be wider than its top .
Get the proper building permit according to local code.