Interstate FAQ’s

Interstate FAQ’s
Where can I get references on local contractors?

We would always recommend you do your homework! Today many companies present themselves online as reliable contractors. In recent years; many organizations have been created to protect homeowners and provide information on contractors such as the Better Business Bureau or BBB. Referrals in our industry we feel are a very valuable reference and we recommend you consulting with your friends and neighbors for a reliable fence contractor they have used in the past.

Do all fence companies carry Interstate Products?

Like all industries; Interstate too has its competitors. Yet when selecting a high value quality fence; Interstate’s product mix can offer you the best products for all budgets. It’s important that you ask “What Makes an Interstate Fence Better” than all other fence products on the market today. If there is a product sample you may need or specific request of materials and design; we are happy to support your contractor to satisfy your request.

How can I find a contractor in my area who carry Interstate’s Fence:

We are more than happy to assist you in the selection process and make our recommendation of a contractor in your area. Simply provide us with your contact information along with critical details of your project; and we will make our recommendation of an Interstate Contractor in your area specific to the project and materials you are looking for: CLICK HERE!

What should I ask for before I invest in a fence?

You have made a great start by reading this information and familiarizing yourself with Interstate’s products. Selecting a suitable contractor is the second critical element to a successful fence project. Good Installers just like quality products help ensure your fence will be an investment in your home to last throughout the years.

Some recommended items to request from a contractor;

  1. Documentation regarding their Home Improvement License to verify they are authorized to perform installations in your State and Town.

  2. Documentation of Insurance; to ensure their workers and your property are protected against any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during an installation.

  3. CALL BEFORE YOU DIG: Any project which entails breaking soil require the contractor to coordinate with your local utility companies to identify underground objects such as gas, water and electric lines.

Do I need to maintain my Aluminum Fence?

Aluminum is a product which does not rust and its color finish is a powder coated back on enamel so there is no need to re-paint. It is recommended that homeowners do monitor the performance of gate hinges and latching hardware especially in pool situations.

Are there different grades of Aluminum Fence?

Visions Ornamental carries several grades of aluminum fence which range from a residential grade typical for the common residential application to a heavier grade for commercial/industrial applications. Whatever the at hand may be; feel confident Visions Ornamental has a solution. Consult your contractor for their expert recommendation on the grade of fence for your project.

Which styles are best for pools?

The following styles have been engineered by Visions Ornamental to satisfy U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Swimming Pool Enclosure Code:

Styles: #101 Modified, #200 Modified, #202 Modified, Ovation, #111 Modified, #211 Modified, Bravo, Symphony, Concord Modified

Be sure to verify the requirements for swimming pool fencing in your area before ordering.

What are the most common applications of Aluminum Fencing?

Aluminum Fence is most commonly recommended as a pool enclosure as well as a perimeter fence where privacy is not an issue.

Does Interstate Manufacture their own line of Aluminum Fence?

Interstate represents and supplies aluminum fence products from a manufacturer in the USA named Visions Ornamental Aluminum Fence. Visions Ornamental Aluminum Fence has been nationally distributed and installed since 1961. Visions Ornamental is the highest regarded product in the industry and satisfies the most stringent of residential and commercial specifications. Interstate is the exclusive dealer of the Visions Ornamental Liberty Fence Line in the North East; ask for it by name!

Aluminum Fence? But I thought we wanted Wrought Iron!

Wrought Iron Fencing & Railing is a heavy industrial steel product which in the last 25 years has been limited primarily for use in commercial applications. The emergence of aluminum as more widely used building product delivered opportunities to the fence industry as comparably lower cost, lower maintenance product which has proved to successfully perform. In fact; today’s alloys with a yield strength of 35,000 PSI are significantly stronger than typical steel products.

How does full width differ from scant width?

All lumber is produced with a stated width, which is the target size. As milling has become more accurate, target sizes have moved closer to surfaced or planed sizes, i.e. 5 1/2″. As the width diminishes, the actual width is scant-or less than-the nominal width. See examples below:

Full Width
Scant Width
How long can I expect my Whitewood fence boards to last?

Untreated, unpainted Whitewoods will last 3 to 7 years, depending on local environment conditions. (Source: USDA Forestry Book.)

Can the mold or mildew be cleaned off my boards?

Yes, you can choose from a number of readily available commercial products. Read the directions closely. They’ll describe various wood-cleaning problems and recommend the proper cleaning solution.

What are the black spots on my boards?

Small, sooty-looking circular spots are caused by mold or mildew. Mildew occurs when there’s low air circulation, moisture, temperature and food source (wood). Installing your fence will expose the wood to airflow and stop mold.

What are Whitewoods and where do they grow?

The species Spruce, Pine and Fir make up the grouping known as Whitewoods. Fence board cut from these species have a white appearance when first installed. While these species are prevalent throughout North America, Whitewood fencing products are produced primarily in a belt ranging from Eastern to Western Canada.

What about any cracking, warping, and graying that may show up over time?

Even though pressure-treated wood is protected from termites and fungal decay, it is still a porous, natural material. Wood swells when it absorbs moisture and shrinks when it dries out. The drying process creates stresses in the wood, which contributes to cracking and warping. The sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays cause the wood to turn gray. Pressure-treated wood is subject to these effects, just like other lumber.

What are some of the advantages of pressure-treated wood?

It’s economical; works easily with common tools; is naturally attractive; durable; strong for its weight; and is readily available in a wide variety of sizes and styles.

What’s pressure-treated wood?

It’s wood that has been pressure-impregnated with an effective preservative. This treatment helps wood resist attacks by termites and decay-causing fungi.

Where does Redwood come from?

It’s unique to the Northern California coast and adjacent regions. Redwood is harvested in commercial forests from San Francisco to Southern Oregon in a strip along the Pacific Ocean.

The boards at the top of my fence are warping. Why?

The backrails should be no more than 8″ from the fence board tops and bottoms. Fence boards 6′ high should have three back rails. Spacing your rails this way will help control the wood’s natural tendency to warp, due to expansion and contraction.

What can be done to eliminate the effects of weathering and keep that “new fence” look? While there’s no way to eliminate the weathering of wood, it’s relatively easy to minimize the effects:

  • Use three back rails (6′ fence), two backrails (4′, 5′ fence), or 4 backrails (8′ fence) for more hold-down points.

  • Use only hot-dipped galvanized, or stainless steel fasteners with a ring or spiral shank to minimize warp and rust stains.

  • Treat the surfaces of fence boards with a water-repellant solution to reduce the rate that moisture is absorbed and released. This solution should also have a good UV inhibitor if you don’t want the fence to gray.

  • Follow a regular maintenance program of cleaning and refinishing every few years with a “clear” or “toner” water repellant containing UV inhibitors. This will revitalize a dingy appearance caused by dirt, mildew or graying. It’s like washing and waxing your car. Opinions differ on how necessary it is to perform regular maintenance, but most agree your fence will look much better for the effort.

Why do boards split when fastened with nails?

Correct nails and nailing practices are essential for successful installation. Choosing a needle point nail is a common mistake. While the most commonly used nail is a diamond point, a blunt point will reduce splitting also. Overdriving nails is another problem that distorts wood and causes excessive splitting. Predrilling will help reduce any splitting that can occur.

What about using bleach and water?

Chlorine-based or Oxygen-type bleach is effective against mildew and fungi. Oxygen-type bleach contains sodium percarbonate, which when added to water forms hydrogen peroxide, an effective agent in removing mildew stains, dirt and weathered gray residue from wood that has ultraviolet (sunlight) degradation. Unlike chlorine-based bleach, once the wood is treated with the oxygen-type bleach, it will return to its original natural appearance.

Some species of wood contain tannins, a natural resin. Water can extract these resins from wood leaving brown or black discolorations on the surface. Blue-black stains can result from a reaction of tannins to the iron in nails or fasteners. Neither chlorine nor oxygen bleaches are effective against tannin or iron stains, but the use of an oxalic acid-based product mentioned previously will render the stains colorless.

Can the stained wood be cleaned off?

Yes. If the stain is has a brown tint to it, use a solution with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP), which is available at local retail hardware stores.

If the stain is black, use a solution with Oxalic Acid to clean the boards. This material is also available at retail hardware stores.

Commercial cleaners are available as well. Identify the cause of the stain to ensure you choose the correct product. Certain concrete cleaners are specifically formulated to clean wood extracts from patios, sidewalks, or other concrete structures.

What causes wood boards to develop black stains at the nails?

The stain is caused by natural wood extracts interacting with metal in the fastener. Moist wood increases the likelihood of this interaction. For Cedar, Redwood and Cypress, you should use double-dipped galvanized, stainless steel or aluminum fasteners.

Why do knots fall out of boards, creating holes?

Knots and the surrounding wood have different densities. Since knots are more dense, they expand and contract less than the surrounding wood, loosening the bond. To protect against this, use a Premium or #1 board with both faces graded. The knots will be smaller and intergrown. The cost is slightly more, but your fence will have a longer serviceable life.

What’s the difference between nominal and actual thickness?

Nominal is a size designation most lumber uses for convenience. In lumber, the nominal size is usually greater than the actual size.


1″ = nominal

3/4″ = actual

21/32″ = actual

5/8″ = actual

Producers have determined that the thinner sizes still have acceptable performance. Also, due to rising cost, raw-material producers receive a better return with thinner products.

Where does Western Red Cedar come from?

It’s unique to the West Coast of North America. In British Columbia it makes up almost 21% of the coastal forests. In the rest of the growing range, it comprises three to twelve percent of the total growth, along with Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock. Inland Red Cedar is a sub-species of Western Red Cedar that grows in an area that follows the Rocky Mountains, goes south from mid-British Columbia to the Salmon River and extends westward from Helena, Montana to Spokane, Washington.

What should I ask for, before I invest in a fence?

You’ve made a great start by reading this information. Ask your dealer to give you detailed material specifications on the products he/she is proposing. Ask for samples of the product and make comparisons.

Are all product warranties the same?

No. A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. The fence industry has seen products and/or companies enter the market, only to leave homeowners with a worthless piece of paper as a product warranty. That’s why you should check out the reputation of the company offering the warranty, just as you would when choosing the right contractor.

Will a quality fence cost more?

Yes. Good-quality material and workmanship always costs more than sub-standard products, while labor, concrete and building materials cost the same regardless of the chosen material quality. Although a sub-standard product may cost less, the risk of future maintenance and/or replacement cost outweigh any benefits the lower price may seem to offer.

Will vinyl be more expensive than wood?

A wood fence system may initially cost less than vinyl, but wood systems require maintenance. Conversely, vinyl fencing has almost zero maintenance cost, particularly compared to painted wood fences. Unlike wood, vinyl isn’t subject to termite infestation, which can increase the likelihood of costly partial or full replacement of a wood fence system. Although your initial investment may be more with vinyl, the cost difference is quickly eliminated when you consider the substantial cost of maintaining a wood fence.

How are Interstates Premium Vinyl fence systems installed?

Interstate vinyl fence systems install much like a wood fence. The posts come routed from the factory and the components are precut for standard installation. Rails are inserted into the routed holes in the posts. The heavier wall post and rail configuration along with the notched rails contributes to greater resistance to pullout and stronger fastening for better performance. Post caps are attached after the fence is installed.

Don’t all vinyl fences stand up to wear and tear?

Not necessarily. A light (standard) system may bend easily, even in normal use. Additionally, a weak-fastening system for a post and rail connection can result in poor performance and result in dislodged rails. However, a properly engineered system with a heavier wall thickness and secure rail connection will make a vinyl fence stronger and more durable.

Aren’t all vinyl fences the same?

No. Vinyl fence system components are available in a wide range of sizes and thickness. To reduce costs, some manufacturers decrease their wall thickness, resulting in reduced strength and ultimately yielding inferior fence systems.

How safe are vinyl fence systems?

Unlike some treated wood fencing, vinyl is an environmentally safe material with no toxins to pollute the sky or seep into the ground. Vinyl fencing has a smooth surface and there are no nails, sharp edges or splinters.

How Is Interstate’s Vinyl Fence Made

The two most common methods for manufacturing vinyl fencing are a mono-extrusion process that uses one vinyl compound and a co-extrusion process that uses two or more vinyl compounds. The co-extrusion process lets a manufacturer engineer a product with greater strength and durability. The best products are made from virgin vinyl, which ensures that the product is made using raw material most appropriate for its application. For vinyl to have the characteristics necessary for fencing, it must be combined with special additives and modifiers to make it strong and durable. Interstate uses a formula that contains UV inhibitors that guard against the sun’s harsh rays and additives that make the vinyl rigid, yet flexible enough to resist cracking.

How Popular Are Vinyl Building Materials

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is used in virtually every industry. Because of its low maintenance and durability, vinyl is a popular alternative for products normally constructed of wood-such as fences, gazebos, decks, siding and window frames.

What Is Vinyl Fence Made Of?

Vinyl fence is made from rigid Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), an extremely versatile thermo plastic that is extruded for superior performance, stability, weatherability, low maintenance, and long life.