Snow fences come in two varieties, and are used to reduce the problem of drifting snow in winter. There is a wooden variety and an orange plastic variety. They are used in multiple areas by different people, depending on where they live. They also have uses around the home, even when it's not winter.
Wooden Snow Fence
This is the traditional snow fence. It has 3- to 4-foot wooden slats with a longer, thicker slat every 6 feet to anchor into the ground. The width between the slats is 1 inch. The purpose of the wooden fence is to stop and hold the snow. They are more expensive than the plastic version, but have the advantage that they can be used on beaches to help with the drifting of sand in the summer. They also make good garden fences, which keep out rabbits and other critters.
The plastic fence is cheaper than the wooden fence but you will have to buy metal stakes for support. The plastic fence is a series of interwoven boxes resembling a thick gauge net. The advantage is that it is easier to run in curves. It does not have the advantages of the wooden model, since the squares in the fence will allow animals through, and it does not trap snow and sand nearly as well.
Areas such as farm fields or parks located by major roads are good spots for snow fences. They will reduce the amount of snow blowing across the road by catching and creating a drift. A snow fence will actually reduce the amount of snow being blown into the doorway and snowing you in. The best way to do this is to place the fence about 20 feet from the entrance, in a bow-shaped pattern. It should bow toward the door, with the apex of the arc in the front of the door.
Installing a Snow Fence
Wooden snow fences run cost around $50 per 50-foot roll, while the plastic version is $21 per 50-foot roll. You will have to purchase fence stakes; they can be either metal or wood, and need some type of wire binder to hold the fence firmly to the post. The fence posts need to be 8 to 10 feet apart. They can be pounded in when the ground is still warm with a post setter.
Snow fences should be placed in areas that drift. Tops of hills will catch some of the potentially drifting snow. If you live in the suburbs, you will want to put a section of fence at the back edge of your property line or around a patio to stop the snow from blocking in doors. If you are in a rural area and are preventing a driveway drift, remember to have the fence at least 35 feet from the drive. If this is the first time you are putting a fence up, keep track of where the snow drifts tend to occur before you put up the fence.
- Don Ferris; Former City Engineer; Fairview Heights, Illinois Interview March 16, 2011
- Illinois Department of Transportation: Snow Fence Guide
- How Far Should You Install a Snow Fence from the Road?
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