Fence Options for the Windy State of Oklahoma
Living in an area with high winds such as Oklahoma, you’ve probably experienced some epic clean-ups after storms, and even perhaps a few damaged fences. At Hawkeye Fence Co. as a fence contractor we have repaired and rebuilt plenty of wind-damaged houses and fences. The most common problems encountered include caused by fallen debris, and fences being pushed or bent inward, brought down by snapped or partially dislodged fence posts.
However, some fences are more prone to damage from high winds than other fences, due to a simple physics principle, well-known in the world of civil engineering. In a particularly windy area, such as our great state of Oklahoma, a traditional wooden security fence might not always be the best choice. If you are looking for the best fence for a windy area, we might just have a few helpful insights gleaned through experience. This doesn’t mean wood fencing isn’t an option, but we can combine it with steel posts for more durability.
Problems Wind Can Cause in Fencing
Wood fences are kept solid and in place by the weight of the earth and concrete surrounding their posts, as well as the connections that are made between the various parts of the fence.
Exposure to heavy winds often proves too much for the fence to resist without the help of any buttressing. This is most often true of security fences, which present the wind with a tall solid sheet, like a rigid, wooden sail in the wind. While ships are moved by the wind’s force, a wooden fence will bend where it is weak and break where it is especially weak.
Damage from Fallen Debris
About 50% of the fence damage Oklahoman’s experience doesn’t come from the wind itself, but comes from fallen debris, which has included patio umbrellas, sheets of plywood, and broken branches–lots of broken branches! Of all the fence types, steel fences seem the most capable of taking a battering and still retaining their structural integrity. But not all such fences are created equal. Fencing with weak welds will not survive a larger tree branch falling down, and some steel is stronger than other steel, so it’s important to invest in a fence made of the strongest possible materials.
Choosing the Best Fence
Even for the windy challenges of Oklahoma, there are multiple fence types up to the challenge of a very windy situation, and they all allow wind to pass through, alleviating stress on the structure, as well as providing a view. These fence types range from simple chain link fencing to wood-framed fencing with steel mesh, steel rail and picket fencing, and vinyl to name a few options.
Chain Link Fences
Chain link fencing is a solid option since it allows wind to pass through, avoiding excessive wind stress. The drawbacks of chain link fencing are that it’s not particularly attractive and most types are easily corroded over time.
Wood Framed Fence with Steel Mesh
These fences have become more popular in the last decade or so, as they are considered affordable and manage to look somewhat sophisticated. While they allow the wind to pass through, they generally aren’t built any taller than 4 or 5 ft., making them more suitable for purely decorative projects, and the wood framing is easily destroyed by flying or falling debris.
Steel Picket Fencing
Of all the wind-friendly fencing types, nothing competes with a strong steel picket and rail fence for a couple of main reasons. Steel is one of the most durable materials to build with, and in high wind areas, like Oklahoma, allowing the wind to pass through saves the already strong frame from stress. Just keep in mind that if you do choose a steel fence, then it’s best to pick one with a premium coating to prevent rust. There are some fences that are protected by galvanization, a zinc precoat, an e-coat (the water-resistant coating they use on the underside of cars to protect against rust and salt corrosion) and a powder coating. A fence with that kind of multi-layered protection will be able to withstand all the regular weathering nature brings, plus the damage caused by salt, sand, and other debris carried along by the wind.
Steel with Wood Infill
If the wind isn’t totally excessive, but it’s strong enough that you’d like a fence to serve as a windbreak, then another option is a steel picket fence designed to have wooden or composite infill board easily attached to create a privacy fence with a sturdy metal frame. In this way, the strength of a steel fence can be combined with the beauty of wood to make a fence that’s simultaneously versatile and easy to maintain. You can leave the steel frame open on one part of the fence to let through wind, and add the wood infill to other parts, to block wind and add privacy. If the high wind seems to be folding your fence into an accordion-like shape, then please consider installing a tough steel fence.
At Hawkeye Fence Company, we believe in affordability and quality. We proudly service the Norman, Moore, and surrounding Oklahoma City metro areas. Every customer situation can vary, so it is best to contact us directly so we can get all of the information and provide a free consultation and quote.
Call us today at (405) 500-1407
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