Keywords: perimeter walls, fences, gates, greenbelt, ornamental wrought iron, masonry wall, synthetic stucco,
We recently finished a community center project for a lovely neighborhood in North Phoenix. As I drove through the property, I recalled that about a dozen years ago, MTS Painting had painted all the perimeter stucco fences and view fences facing the greenbelts. The paint had held up well, but it was clear to see that aesthetic improvements are going to be needed for the community soon. Hopefully the reserves are funded, after 12 years I’m sure the reserve’s duration has been met.
Phoenix Area Fencing Definitions
The most common fence building materials are CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit) and/or metal because they hold up to the Arizona environment well. We paint a lot of CMU walls, CMU with stucco, poured-in-place concrete walls, ornamental wrought iron, ornamental steel, and ornamental aluminum, and know the best practices to offer the community
Property managers will find the following definition of fencing terms helpful. Most HOA communities and large commercial centers have CMU walls and/or metal fencing forming a perimeter around the property to create privacy and to control access. Painting perimeter walls is one of our specialties. We’ve painted miles and miles of them
Generally speaking, a 5.5’ height or more CMU/stucco wall is a privacy wall, and a view fence is designed to be able to see through the fencing when there is a feature worth viewing, such as a golf course, a greenbelt, or a desert view
Masonry Wall Fencing
The most common fence wall is constructed from CMU blocks. The walls are built in place by masons. Depending on the purpose, they can have different designs. The most common in the valley are:
- Standard 6” or 8” CMU, sometimes fully grouted (internal cells filled-in with concrete) for retaining walls.
- 4″ CMU (aka “Dooley Wall”) 4” block with 8” “H” shaped columns (pilasters) approximately 12′ apart.
- These walls are stuccoed quite often using a variety of stucco textures including integrated colored stucco or colored synthetic stucco. If the wall is finished with stucco, the wall should be painted to protect the stucco.
There are many options of decorative CMU block. When you drive around the Valley, you see many beautiful neighborhood theme walls. Some theme walls are built from decorative blocks such as split face or fluted masonry block or colored pre-cast concrete. Sometimes the substrate won’t be painted, but possibly lightly stained or sealed with a clear masonry sealer. But even these walls, after many years of aging, may be painted or resealed to give them a fresh look.
Ornamental Wrought Iron Fencing
Ornamental metal fencing and gates are available in three types of metal – iron, steel, and aluminum. The term “wrought iron” is usually incorrectly used to describe any metal fence, because it really means something specific. A wrought iron fence or gate is made from solid iron, and is usually not mass produced in a factory, but each project is custom made and assembly requires a skilled welder. It is used in situations where strength is important, such as ball parks and amusement parks, places where added strength is necessary to handle crowd control. Iron is stronger, more durable, and more expensive. Wrought iron is also used for artistic fences and in combination with steel for gates because the solid iron can be bent and shaped in ways that hollow steel cannot be.
Ornamental Steel Fencing
Ornamental steel fencing and gates are manufactured in standard size fence panels and gates from hollow steel tubing. Steel fences are inexpensive compared to iron, and easy to assemble. Therefore, steel fences are more commonly used for perimeter fencing. The fencing sections and gates are sometimes joined together with connectors and fasteners, which can make welding unnecessary.
Ornamental Aluminum Fencing
Aluminum fences are made with hollow tubes, similar to steel. Aluminum fencing is popular for its low maintenance costs, its appearance, which mimics that of wrought iron, and its durable, lightweight build, which mimics steel. Aluminum can be a great substrate because it doesn’t rust, but the design is important because it’s not as structurally strong as steel.
Finials, Rings, and Scrolls
To further customize your fence, manufacturers make flourishes that can be added. Finials are accessories that fit on top of spear point picket styles. A Fleur-Di-Lis finial is the most ornate. Similar to the triad finial, it can have more of a floral look. Rings are added on a third horizontal rail. Scrolls are added to the vertical pickets. Fancier entrances can employ these items and are sometimes accented
Maintenance and Painting of Perimeter Fencing
There are common maintenance issues that need to be addressed with perimeter fencing. Efflorescence, fading paint, chalky paint, peeling paint and delaminating stucco are the main concerns with masonry/stucco walls. We’ve covered these topics in these articles.
The maintenance concerns with ornamental metal fencing and gates are fading paint, chalky paint, chipped paint, and rust. Refer to this article on metal fences.
The first step in repainting perimeter fencing – as it is in repainting any surface – is prepping. We will pressure wash, scrape loose paint, and remove rust as necessary. Pressure washing requires a source of water. Usually, we can access a hose bib on a building or in an irrigation box. However, many perimeter walls are along a greenbelt or a desert view area where there is no water access. On these occasions, we have to bring our own water trailer.
Next, our skilled painters repair the stucco walls and remove or arrest any areas of rust. Benjamin Moore offers a product called Corotech High Performance V180 Rust Arrestor (for more information,see our February article). It is a water-based, film-forming primer that chemically transforms rust, halting the corrosion process and enabling the surface to accept a topcoat. Finally, we apply a new coat of paint. There are grades of paint. Some paints cost more, but last longer. You can consult with our MTS estimator to detail your options.
Has it been a dozen years or more since your walls were last painted? Is your color fading? Is the paint peeling or the stucco delaminating? Do you see efflorescence or rusting? Give us a call. We will inspect your property and put together a free estimate for repainting. If all you need is a quick guestimate for budgeting purposes, we would be pleased to help with that as well.