Thursday, July 7, 2016

Putting a round peg in a square hole?

When a round shaped object touches another object, it does so at one small point. A flexible round object, like a tire or a water balloon, then conforms to the shape of whatever it is touching, which is why an under-inflated tire has a flat-looking spot where it touches the road.

A rigid round object then presents a single point of contact and maintains that single point until forces overwhelm the rigidity.

Now look at the way most fence posts are set. You bore a round hole into the ground, three, four, maybe even six feet, then you put your post in the hole with some concrete. The concrete hardens. Now, whenever there is a side load on that post, the round shape of the concrete plug you created presses into the surrounding earth at a single point, directly opposite the line of force applied.

This concentrates that load onto a very small point of earth, which can cause it to compact, or to shear, or to simply slide past the post and its anchor, as the force causes the post to move away from the applied force.  Think of a rolling pin forcing pie dough into a flat shape as it rolls.

One way to counter that and achieve a side load bearing capacity much higher than what a round concrete post foundation offers is to dig a square hole. You might even start with an auger and shape the hole after the majority of the dirt has been removed. What does this accomplish?

Once the concrete is poured around a post in a square hole, the resulting block of concrete is contacting the earth over several square feet, instead of a single point, or line opposite the application of force. Take for example an 18” hole, four feet deep. If the hole is round, the surface area transmitting a force to surrounding earth is pretty much just a four foot long straight line.

Same 18” hole, made square, affords six square feet of surface area to spread the load to surrounding earth. That flat face is much less likely to compress the earth on the “downhill” side of a force. This means the post stays more stable, right where you want it.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Stainless Steel Chain Link Fence...American Made

Tennis anyone?

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, what do you do?

  Recently Modern Fence Technologies was asked if we do stainless steel chain link fence fittings.

 We do now.  In response to the request for fittings, pipe, and fabric, of domestic origin, we were able to manufacture all the necessary components for a tennis court enclosure that is now somewhere on an island in the Indian Ocean.

  The job specs required American made materials throughout, and called out a specific type of stainless to endure the conditions expected, and we were able to source American made pipe, while manufacturing all the fittings necessary, from required materials, to assemble the fence.  We can also source the fabric, again, of domestic materials.

  Of course, this was a one time thing.  The chances of you ever needing to get an American made stainless steel tennis court fence shipped to Sri Lanka are likely pretty thin, but if Modern Fence Technologies can do all that, at a price that allowed the contractor to make considerable profit, what can we do for you?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Good enough?

  Don't settle for good enough. 
 Demand the best

American made hinges, latches, drop rods, vinyl caps and other accessories for your next fence!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Give Your Customers What They Really Want, in Three Easy Steps!

Even if they don't know what that is.

Buying a fence can be a daunting experience for a homeowner. The huge variety of styles, materials, and types of fence available can be overwhelming. Add to that the wide range of options in quality, whether or not a do-it yourself option is worth considering, and the overall price of a residential fence, and it's no wonder that sometimes, customers feel let down by the process.

When it comes right down to it, your customer wants the peace of mind that they are getting good value for their money, and getting what they paid for.

There is a way to avoid customer disappointment with your work. 

 1.Wherever possible, written orders, including all customer concerns, need to be signed by the contractor and customer as part of your work order/customer contract. Be sure to include site prep, clean up, and disposal of old fence and excess fill, if necessary. This won't prevent disputes, but it does provide a common frame of reference when settling questions that arise.

 2. Wherever possible, specify in the work order the name of the manufacturer of the product you intend to install. Name the grade and species of lumber, along with accurate measurements of boards. (If you are using a full 1” thick Clear Select Western Red Cedar picket, call it out in the contract.) It will differentiate you from the competition, and justify your price. If the customer calls for an “economy model” fence, make sure that the 1/2” thick #2 pickets are specified, and consider a section that lays out the relative advantages of the various grades of materials you offer.

 3. The same goes for hardware and accessories for the fence. Let the customer know that you offer the very best American made hardware from Modern Fence Technologies. Always choose materials you are proud to stand behind. Don't let the customer force you into inferior products to meet an unreasonable price point.

If the customer is unable or unwilling to pay for the quality of materials and work that go into the fences you build, then that customer is probably better off going to another contractor.