From the intricate scrolls of New Orleans’ balconies to the latticework of the Eiffel Tower, ornamental iron has a long and fashionable history. Known for its bold, black look, iron has long been utilized in a variety of architectural structures—particularly fencing—because of its strength, style, and durability.
Fencing is more than just a barrier; it is a work of art that frames your property while enhancing its aesthetic appeal and security. Among the many fencing options available, ornamental iron fencing continues to stand out as a timeless choice that marries elegance with functionality.
If you want that traditional look with modern performance, consider installing an ornamental iron fence. At Montana Fence, our professionals have designed and installed ornamental iron fencing for home and property owners across Montana, so we can give you the expert’s take on this fencing material. To help you make an educated decision, we’ve broken down the pros, cons, and unique qualities that define ornamental iron fencing to help you determine whether it is the right fencing product for you.
What is Ornamental Iron Fencing?
Stately and elegant, an ornamental iron fence adds unmatched distinction to your property. With their intricate designs and graceful curves, these fences make a bold statement, elevating the aesthetics of your space while providing security and durability.
Even though it’s called “iron,” ornamental iron fences are typically made from steel, a man-made alloy that comes from iron and carbon. It is easy to manipulate, resistant to rusting, and is also available in aluminum models if you want a lighter metal for your fence. Ornamental iron is more affordable than its expensive alternative, “wrought iron”, which is made from iron and iron silicate. So if you want a fence with a stately, traditional look but without the high price, ornamental iron may be for you.
Historical wrought iron fences came to the United States with the colonists. However, they were initially reserved for the wealthy due to the intricate hand-forging process involved. Each fence was uniquely and intricately crafted. Today, modern mechanization enables the mass production of ornamental iron fencing, offering a more uniform appearance, easier repairs, and cost-effectiveness compared to traditional wrought iron. With its affordability and availability, ornamental iron fencing has become the preferred choice for the traditionalist at heart.
Benefits of Ornamental Fencing
Ornamental iron fencing has long been a leading choice for both home and business owners because it provides a host of benefits, notably style and durability. Read on to learn more about the benefits of ornamental iron fencing and gates.
- Aesthetic Appeal
Ornamental iron fences offer a classic, timeless appeal to your outdoor space. Regardless of the style and color of your home, an ornamental iron fence always compliments your property. Although there is a classic appeal to iron fences, you can add variety to your options to give them a more modern, traditional, or even rustic look.
Ornamental iron fences are a statement piece and help accentuate your yard. They make your yard feel bigger and allow you to see the beauty of your entire property’s landscaping.
Ornamental iron is longer lasting and more durable than any other type of fencing material like wood or vinyl. Iron fencing withstands everyday wear-and-tear as well as unexpected damage from weather.
- Variety of Design Options
Available in a wide spectrum of shapes and designs, from simple and functional to classic and ornate, ornamental iron gives you the freedom to choose what best suits your home or business’s style. You can also have your fence painted a different color from traditional black to better blend with your property.
- Add Value to Your Home
An ornamental iron fence adds elegance and appeal to your yard, which reflects in the value of your home. In fact, the unique appeal of ornamental iron fences and gates can boost the value of your property. If you plan to sell your home, an ornamental iron fence can be a great investment that will offer you better returns in years to come.
- Easy Installation
Many ornamental iron manufacturers design and manufacture their fencing in panels, meaning they’re easy to install by a Montana Fence professional. This equals a quick, efficient job that can provide you with a brand-new fence in quick installation time.
Disadvantages of Ornamental Fencing
- While ornamental iron has a long-standing history as one of the most popular choices of fence materials, that doesn’t mean it suits everyone. Before finalizing any decisions on installing an iron fence on your property, be sure you are aware of some of the challenges you could encounter with it.
- Lack of Privacy
The largest drawback of ornamental iron fences is they don’t provide nearly as much privacy as other fencing options. Because iron fences are open-concept and have gaps, people and neighbors can potentially see into your yard and home.
A properly built and coated ornamental iron fence or gate is likely going to cost more than a vinyl or wood fence. However, when you weigh the strength and longevity of an iron fence and gates over the maintenance costs often associated with other fence types, that price gap over time really isn’t as wide as you think. But if you are on a tight budget, a high-quality iron fence at a low price can be tough to come by.
- Difficulty to Follow Grade
While the welded, solid construction of an iron fence does wonders to make it stronger, that can also limit its use in hilly or heavily graded yards. Each eight-foot panel does rack a fair distance. They can be installed at an angle, but they will always be straight across that panel which can lead to a less smooth transition along the top line of the fence. A hilly yard isn’t a deal breaker for using iron, but you will have to make some extra considerations and work closely with your fencing contractor.
How Much Does It Cost to Build an Ornamental Fence?
Thanks to the development of man-made alloys like steel and advancements in manufacturing, ornamental iron fences deliver the look of a classic wrought iron fence but at a price point that is more affordable. Nevertheless, there are still a number of cost factors to consider when looking at ornamental iron fences.
Ornamental fence cost factors
- Design and Customizations
A decorative iron fence naturally costs more than iron bars and plain iron. That’s because an elaborate fence takes time and skills to design and build, regardless of the material used. Expect to pay more for installing an ornamental iron fence to suit your liking.
- Project Size
The amount of material required for a project is another significant cost factor. In other words, the bigger your property or the higher the fence, the more iron fence materials are needed to complete it. So, it pays to measure the whole enclosure, including the height, and identify the fence post locations and gate openings.
- Fence Thickness
A fence made from thicker iron will be more durable and more expensive than one with a higher gauge. While shopping for materials, keep in mind that — contrary to what you might think — thicker iron has a lower gauge, and thinner iron has a higher gauge. More often than not, thicker or higher rated thicknesses will only be used in commercial settings.
If you want to add ornamental iron gates to your fencing, that will increase the overall cost. The cost of adding a gate varies depending on whether it is a simple gate or a decorative gate. If you want to have a double gate instead of a single gate, that will also increase the average cost.
Maintenance of Ornamental Iron Fences
Ornamental iron fences are beautiful, timeless, and incredibly durable. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely maintenance-free. If you want to keep your iron fence looking great for years to come, there are some simple steps you need to take throughout the year. Read on to learn more ornamental iron fence maintenance tips.
- Clean the Fence Regularly
Ornamental iron fencing doesn’t require special cleaning chemicals or custom tools to clean. Simply wash your fence every six months with soapy water, rinse it off, and let it air dry. You can use a soft-bristled brush or a rag for the bulk of the cleaning.
- Avoid Consistent Water Exposure
This tip applies to any style of fence. If you have sprinklers near your fence, minimize the amount of spray that hits the fencing. While it may not leave any lasting damage to the fence itself, the mineral content in many waters may leave a hazy layer on your ornamental iron fence that will make it look less attractive.
- Complete Fence Repairs in a Timely Manner
Keeping up on smaller repairs can prolong the life of your ornamental fence. A trick we love is to use black acrylic-based paint from the manufacturer for any scratches that may come from installation or normal wear and tear. It’s safe to use on the coating and makes the fence look brand new. This is also great if you are installing this style yourself and have to cut a panel to fit a certain area. Just prime and paint, and the metal should be sealed against any kind of rust or weathering.
Applications of Ornamental Iron Fences
Whether your fence is needed for decorative or security purposes, ornamental iron’s construction provides sleek lines along with strength and durability. Here are just five of the many possible applications for ornamental iron fences:
- Perimeter Fence – Whether you are a business owner trying to control access to certain areas or a homeowner wanting to keep children or animals safely enclosed in the yard, ornamental iron fences allow you to set a clear, well-defined border around your property.
- Cemetery Fences – Metalwork, in the form of ornamental iron fencing, can add an air of timeless sophistication to a cemetery. At one time, iron was also believed to ward off evil spirits, which is why it surrounds many historical cemeteries. Consider iron fencing to surround individual or family plots, mark the boundary of a cemetery, or flank formal entrances.
- Garden Fences – Installing an ornamental iron fence around your home garden can help protect your plants, vegetables, and flowers while creating a stylish enclosure.
- Church Fences – The beauty and serenity of fine ornamental iron fence railings enhance the peacefulness of church settings. If you want beauty as well as security for a place of worship, ornamental iron is an ideal choice.
- Pool Enclosures – A popular choice for homeowners, an ornamental iron fence offers an elegant option for enclosing your private pool. It is extremely durable, and with regular maintenance, it stands up well to harsh weather and the wet conditions that come along with pools. With narrow pickets, they also offer excellent sight lines for increased safety and supervision of the swimming pool area without compromising the look of your home and yard.
Montana Fence: Where Elegance and Security are Ironclad
In a world where security and aesthetics are paramount, Montana Fence emerges as a craftsman of timeless elegance. With our ornamental iron fencing expertise and fencing products, we offer comprehensive solutions to property owners looking to enhance both the beauty and security of their spaces. With a legacy of trust and a commitment to craftsmanship, Montana Fence is your partner in turning your property into a masterpiece that stands as a testament to elegance and security.
Interested in learning how ornamental iron fences could serve your home or commercial needs? Browse through our ornamental iron fence portfolio to view images of our past installations, and contact us today to schedule a free estimate. We serve clients throughout Montana and Idaho, selling and installing only high-quality ornamental fence supplies. Our friendly fencing experts are standing by to answer all your questions.