What’s On Your Estimate?

As a licensed Minnesota contractor, we are obligated to provide our customers with certain, specific information.

According to the article on the Minnesota Attorney General’s website, “Home Building and Remodeling,” consumers can expect:

“The contract should be detailed about the kinds of materials to be used and the work to be done. Minnesota law requires contractors to reduce all contracts and change orders to writing and to include the following:

“1. A detailed summary of the services to be performed;

“2. A description of the specific materials to be used or a list of standard features to be included; and

“3. The total contract price or a description of the basis on which the price will be calculated.

There’s more information available on the Minnesota Attorney General’s website.

Ebbs and Flows in Contracting

All businesses and industries have their own ebbs and flows, and contracting building projects is certainly no exception.

Here at Authority Fence, there is a lull in administrative activity from mid-October through late February. There’s time to clean up files and prep for tax season. The storage areas and desk drawers get organized and clean. Even the shop gets spiffy.

When the season hits, things get a little crazy! With all the access allowed by social media, websites, email, phone calls, and showroom visits, there’s not much time to sit still. The days are unpredictable and the hours are long. It’s impossible, many days, to finish the task list and return all the messages.

What’s interesting is that, despite the intense busy-ness on the administrative side of the business, the installations are markedly organized and efficient. The customer-facing side of the work is handled by our installation teams professionally every single day. We’re proud of our installation teams!

Fences in History

The word “fence” originates with the Latin defensus, which evolved to the French fens. By the 17th century it clearly meant “a structure serving as a barrier, boundary, or enclosure, usually made of posts or stakes joined together by boards, wires, or rails. It surrounds, separates, keeps away, defends.”

The first fences were built by the Greeks, but not in their hometowns! They built fences in conquered areas to clearly indicate to other factions what property the Greeks had claimed. The Romans adopted the practice and, when they conquered Britannia during the reign of Hadrian (122 AD) they built a border fence along the northernmost edge of the Roman Empire.

Running from the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth near the Irish Sea, the Villum Hadriani (Hadrian’s wall) provided a defensive fortification.

It stands today, which is a testament to the brilliance of ancient Roman engineers, who did all their calculating using Roman numerals!

Today’s fences still provide for the safety of the property owners’ children, pets, and property, but are also an opportunity to express personality and style! With so many different products available – including stone! – no two fences need to look alike anymore.

Richmond Deck Transformation

We specialize in “Extreme Deck Makeovers” and we have one to share today!

The O’Briens of Richmond started talking with us about their fence and deck needs early in the season and eventually they stopped into the show room to meet with deck specialist and owner, Scott Sypnieski.

They had fun in the showroom and were excited about their future yard transformation that’s happening in three phases. Their deck makeover is the first phase.

First, view these images of their existing deck. This deck has a nice shape and looks well-used, but it definitely needs some TLC…

Today, we finished the transformation! This is a thing of beauty! The house even looks different!

We hope the O’Briens enjoy their new deck, especially over the upcoming Labor Day Holiday! What a perfect place to entertain family and friends…

Phase 2 of their transformation is a new fence and phase three is a pergola using those taller posts on the right side of the deck. Stay tuned!

Gate Adjustment, Just That Easy!

Now and then a gate needs a slight adjustment, and even the most uninitiated among us can often to it ourselves! Watch this two-minute video to see how it’s done.

See “Authority’s Hinge, Latch, and Gate System” by Scott Sypnieski.


Scott said, “This is another great informational video on the hinge, latch, and gate system used at Authority Fence & Decks Inc. This video will help you understand how to adjust your own vinyl gate and demonstrate for you the “‘best practices” for vinyl gate construction, parts, and installation. If you need any further assistance feel free to call…..320-558-4488!!”

Garden “Trees”

We have a fun new option for your garden – our Garden Trees. They retail for $73.95 plus sales tax. You can pick them up from the showroom fully assembled, or we can ship them ready to assemble with clear instructions included in the box. Shipping is $40.00.

The current version relies on potting soil, and we’re working on a hydroponic version, which grows food without soil, keeping the plants naturally pest-free. Crops can be harvested every 45 days! Stay posted!

The Down-Low on… Warranties

One of our customers called when he received the warranty card for his Country Estates fence. He was wondering what the best of the two options are: should he take the Limited Lifetime Warranty or the full 50-Year Warranty.

The default for customers who don’t send back their cards is the Limited Lifetime Warranty.

We called our rep for some information on warranties and he explained the Country Estates warranty options as follows…

Ultimately, the company began to offer the “lifetime” warranty option because competitors were offering and customers wanted it. So they created a Limited Lifetime Warranty to meet consumer demand.

Understanding that the “lifetime” referred to is not the purchasers lifetime, determining what the lifetime of a product is depends on what kind of litigation has taken place in the “vinyl product” industry. In order to find out what “lifetime” means, a consumer needs to get in touch with the state’s Attorney General (here in Minnesota, the number for the Attorney General’s Office is 651.296.3353) and ask. The lifetime of a product is defined by whatever current litigation has trended toward. When comparing vinyl products, the lifetime is not determined by cases for all Country Estates Products or even limited to only vinyl used in construction; the lifetime is determined by any kind of vinyl product, regardless of the quality of that product.

One day, when things slow down a bit, we may just call the Attorney General’s Office and see what they have to say about it.

To learn more about our product and installation warranties, visit our Warranty Information Page.

Maple Grove Show Highlights

We enjoyed our visit with the community of Maple Grove today at the Maple Grove Home Improvement & Design Expo!

There was free admission to all attendees, and the COVID-related social distancing and mask requirements were observed, resulting in a smaller crowd than was originally expected. Those who attended seemed to be highly motivated to do some home improvment!

Aside from the show, the Maple Grove Community Center is gorgeous! If you haven’t been out there to check it out, make it a goal! Nearby is the Central Park of Maple Grove with some beautiful gardens and a labyrinth. The entire experience is lovely for couples or families – or even for those of you who like a solitary experience.

Our display was complete with images of jobs we’ve finished in various mediums, from chain link and aluminum, vinyl and specialty projects like pergolas and arbors.

There in the front we have a small sample with various props we use to demonstrate our product. All four of the most common colors are displayed (tan, white, gray, and adobe). There’s a heavy post and a light post, and the latches we use for gates. The cap on the left side is one of the most commonly chosen caps, and the other post is intentionally bare, so customers can see the thickness of the posts. The handle on top makes it easy to haul!

Youth Service Project

We were blessed by this great group of young adults from Rejoice Lutheran Church at our shop today. On this very hot and humid day they came and pulled weeds, weed whipped, and helped raise our American Flag in our outdoor display. They worked very hard and got a lot of work done. Thank you to all these amazing people!

The Youth from Rejoice Lutheran Church – service with a smile!