Fencing Solutions for Dogs

As the spring time approaches and the weather warms across the U.S., one thing is on everyone’s mind – spending more time outside. I even gave up an hour of sleep last night for an extra hour of daylight! That’s how you know its getting serious. As we clean up our yards and make plans to enjoy them, be sure to think about fencing solutions for dogs. Fences are not only a great way to keep unwanted wildlife and people out of your yard, but also an excellent way to protect your dogs!

Fencing to Keep Pets Safe

Keeping our dogs (and other pets) safe is a serious concern. According to LostPetSearch.com, 11-16% of pets will go missing at some point withing a 5 year period. Furthermore, depending on the study, only somewhere between 70-90% of these dogs are found. Data like this puts into perspective the importance of keeping your family pet safe and secure. These backyard fencing solutions will help you achieve that level of safety while giving your dog (or cat, lizard, or whatever you have) the ability to enjoy the outdoors with the family.

Best Backyard Fence for Dogs

In my experience as a home and dog owner, the hands down best fence to keep your four legged best friend safe is a six foot privacy fence. The privacy fence is an excellent fencing solution for dogs because of its height and design. The typical privacy fence is constructed with solid wood boards positioned one next to the other. This design provides for an increased level of privacy, and even more important, security for you and your dog. Neighbors or people driving by cannot see into your backyard and your dog will have less temptation to escape. Again, I have found this is the best backyard fence for dogs in regard to security. Privacy fences can cost you about $15 to $25 per linear foot depending on the features.

Split Rail Fencing

The house I’m in now has a combination of split rail and privacy fence in the backyard. The back of the property has privacy fencing that my neighbor installed before I moved in. I decided to fence off the other two sides of the backyard with split rail due to the cost as well as the landscaping (we like to see through the fence across our neighbor’s green, sprawling yards.

fencing solutions for dogs

The split rail fence consists of posts evenly placed about 10 feet apart, 3 wooden rails between them, and a 2” x 2” mess wire fence attached to it. I was not as concerned with privacy in this house because of how far apart our homes are and how they are situated. We are also fortunate to have a (somewhat) well behaved pooch -and she’s only about 20 pounds.

I’m not concerned about her jumping over the shorter, 4 foot tall split rail. Although we are happy with this style fence, the lack of privacy can be a concern for some dogs that are prey driven as they can see animals outside of their backyard and be tempted to escape – just something to keep in ind. If you’re to have someone install split rail fencing, it will set you back about $20 per linear foot.

Chain Link Fencing for Dogs

Chain link can be an excellent choice for fencing in a backyard with animals. Most chain link fence is 4’ tall and again lacks the element of privacy, but is more affordable like split rail. Maybe you have moved into a house that already has chain link, or the yard is partially fenced and you want to complete it. Some may just prefer the look of chain link fencing – either way, this is a durable fence solution that will keep your dogs just as safe. A quick look on the web shows that chain link costs about $10 – $20 per linear foot installed.

Temporary Fencing Solutions for Dogs

Not everyone is ready to spend the money or tackle a project such as installing a backyard fence and that is 100% understandable. This does not mean your dog cannot safely enjoy the outdoors with you the spring and summer. I’ve put together some quick dog fence ideas to enable maximum fun with your four legged friend.

Temporary Vinyl Fence

For less than $1 per linear foot, you can construct a fairly sturdy fence that will contain your pet – and the best part is, you can easily take it down when you’re not using it. Lowes sells 100’ rolls of 4’ tall vinyl fencing for about $40 per roll. Pair that with some a 4’ U-post every 10 feet or so and you have a temporary setup that costs a fraction of what  permanent fence would cost.

I have even found this setup to work well within the confines of my backyard to keep my dog out of gardens or mulched areas. Last year I put up a 3’ tall fence around our raised beds and it worked wonders.

Outdoor Kennels and Fence Panels

Another temporary option is to get a pre-fabricated outdoor kennel. There are many options out there that include modular fencing panels – you can add to or take away panels to make the kennel the right size for your dog. They come in different heights, some even have tops like a cage. Again, I endorse this as a temporary option, I wouldn’t advise keeping your dog unsupervised in something like this.

Tie Outs

Let us not forget about the original low budget solution to getting fido some sun without him/her running off into said sunset – the tie out. I love being able to put my dog on a tie out when we are working in the front yard, or when we take her to a friends house that doesn’t have a fence. Tie outs work great for well-behaved dogs, but if your dog is prone to running away or is super afraid all the time, you may want to ease your way into this one. Tie outs are only as good as the anchor – if you tie your dog to a plastic chair, your dog may run away with the chair attached!

Fencing Solutions for Dogs – Takeaways

There are many ways to make sure your family pet is able to get outside and enjoy the weather without getting lost, stolen, or attacked. Solutions range from 20’ security fences to tie outs, all of them having a different level of security and freedom for you buddy. I present you with these options as a way to explore what’s out there and how it can help you and your pets in the future. This list is not exhaustive as there are hundreds of solutions in between – let us know if you have a fencing solution for dogs that I haven’t covered – we’d love to hear your ideas!

How to Replace Window Locks

If you live in a home that is more than 10 or so years old, chances are the locks on your windows are wearing out and may need to be replaced. Every time you go to open or close a window, that locking and latching mechanism is put under stress. This is normal though, and I’m going to talk about how to replace window locks and latches.

The good news is, these locks and latches are easy to replace and are a fraction of the cost of a new window. So, this spring, when you go to open the windows and a latch or lock breaks – don’t worry, take a look at these easy steps below to replace it!

Types of Window Locks and Latches

Most typical modern windows have a locking mechanism at the top of the lower window that locks it into place with the stationary upper window. This makes it impossible (or at least near impossible) to open the bottom sliding portion in a normal manner. These locking mechanism’s look something like the picture below – note there are different variants, but this is typical. Take a look at Home Depot’s option – they have all different styles.

window sash lock

Window Lock Location

Take a look at the picture above and note the two sections of the window locking mechanism – the portion with the lever is attached to the lower sliding part of the window and the static receptacle is attached to the static upper window frame. By simply turning the lever arm, a latch is moved into the static receptacle to prevent movement of the lower window.

Window Sash Lock Replacement

Both the lever housing and the static receptacle are fastened to the window frame by small screws. In order to replace these locks in the event they become worn out, one must remove the screws. In the picture above, you can see the screws can be removed with a Phillips head screw driver.

Before removing the latch and housing mechanism, be sure the screw heads are free of dirt or foreign debris – this will help ensure you do not strip out the screws and cause excess damage to you window.

After removing the old latch housing, clean the window frame thoroughly and replace with the new mechanism.  It can be helpful to remove on of these locks and take it to a hardware store with you in order to be sure you’re purchasing the correct one. Another idea is simply purchase it on Amazon!

Window Tilt Latch

There may be other mechanisms on your window frame next to the lock that prevent your window from tilting inward. Many windows have this tilting feature to make it easier to clean the outside of the window. By operating the tilt locks, you enable the top of the bottom half window to tilt inward for access to the outside.

dirty worn out window tilt latch

When operating these spring loaded latches, they tend to wear out and break, requiring replacement just like the locking mechanisms.

Window Tilt Latch Replacement

Replacing these latches are just as easy as replacing a lock – they are held on the window frame by two screws. Be sure to take care when removing these screws that you do not strip them out and damage the window frame.

Just as the locking mechanisms were replaced, the new latch can be installed where the old latch was removed. Be sure to check the operation of the latch after installed and make sure its not being hung up or obstructed. If the spring mechanism seems difficult to operate, do not force it, only remove the latch from the window, identify the issue, and reinstall. Sometimes the spring is not lined up during installation and can get pinched between the housing and the window frame.

Common Parts

Window locks and latches are very common parts – window manufacturers realize that these small, plastic moving parts will break many times over the life of a window. That is why it is easy to find these parts at any local hardware store, or even more conveniently, Amazon. So take a look this spring as you are opening windows or going through and doing a spring cleaning. If you have broken or worn out locks or latching mechanisms on your windows, replace them to ensure your family’s safety as well as the health of your windows.

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring

There are tons of flooring options available for reasonable costs at any flooring or hardware store. There are so many options available however, it becomes a daunting task to choose what floor is right for you and your home. I’m going to talk about one type of flooring specifically – that’s luxury vinyl plank flooring (LVP). I’ll compare vinyl plank flooring based on a few (not all) attributes in an effort to make choosing the right floor easier.

Installing luxury vinyl plank flooring

Scope of LVP Comparison

I’m not going to cover ALL of the flooring options – like I said, there are a mind boggling amount of brands and sub-brands. I’ll cover a dozen or so widely available brands. Ones you can get at Lowes or Home Depot as well as from a flooring store. The prices I have listed are not characteristic of all of the flooring from that brand, only the specific floor that I researched – and that may not be true when you go to buy it. Remember, the information I’m providing here is accurate, yet relative and meant to help you do your due diligence before you get to the store.

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring Size

Every brand of LVP out there has a few different size options. The smaller planks tend to cost less per square foot – I find smaller planks to be harder to work with, take longer to install, and don’t have the same quality look that the larger planks do. You’ll find plank sizes vary from about 36” – 72” in length and 3” – 9” in width. What you go with here really depends on your personal preference. Take a look at other peoples flooring, in real time, or just some pictures on the internet. It’s good to know what you’re getting into before you install or have the floors installed. I’ve never tried to box up a whole house’s worth of flooring and return to the store.

LVP Plank Thickness

Another major consideration when it comes to comparing luxury vinyl plank flooring is the planks actual thickness. Most LVP flooring planks I’ve seen are between 3mm and 7mm thick. This is relatively thin in comparison to hardwood or laminate flooring. Many brands of laminate are 8mm to 12mm thick. Obviously, the more expensive flooring brands tend to be thicker, but don’t let that deter you – all of the vinyl plank brands out there come with some sort of pre-installed cushion layer on the bottom.

LVP Water Resistance

If you’re looking to put LVP in your home it’s probably because of it’s water resistant properties (or at least that’s one of the reasons). LVP is inherently water resistant due to the V in LVP. Vinyl is a thermoplastic – it’s a linear polymer that allows for some cool properties like water resistance and durability, but provides a bit of flexibility as well. Viny plank wouldn’t fair well by itself due to the somewhat weak polymer bonds so all products on the market have some sort of wear layer to protect it.

LVP Wear Layer

Types and thicknesses of wear layers vary between brands and products. Some companies prefer acrylic wear layers, others urethane. Some more high-end brands have ceramic urethane wear layers for added strength. Wear layers are described by thickness, and in mils. A mil is a thickness measurement – 1 mil is equal to 1/1000 of an inch (0.001). You’ll see wear layer thicknesses anywhere between 6 and 20 mil for residential products, depending on the type of wear layer.

Wear Layer Thickness

When you compare vinyl plank flooring, there are a few key attributes to take notice of. The wear layer is one of these attributes, its purpose serves to protect the vinyl core and the pattern printed on it. The wear layer helps to keep the floors looking new over the years. After a quick search on the internet, the consensus is that 1 mil of wear layer is good for about a year of protection in a residential setting. I’d take that with a grain of salt though because of the different types of wear layers.

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring Wear Layers

LVP Warranty

Warranties are something I’m usually skeptical about. You’ll see most of the warranties associated with flooring are “limited lifetime” or “limited 50 year” – they all include that one keyword – LIMITED. So again, take the warranty information for what it is. I like to think of it as a relative guide – considering that I will NEVER be able to actually get the floor replaced if something happened. So, if one brand has a 20 year warranty and another a lifetime, this tells me the floor with the lifetime warranty MAY be of better quality (and cost more too). Again, use this information as you will.

Cost of Luxury Vinyl Plank

I know the cost per square foot of flooring is one of the most important factors for most people – it was for me! Flooring can get quite expensive when you’re replacing it in an entire house. The products I researched here cost anywhere between $1.99 and $5.75 per square foot. This is quite a range, but keep in mind some LVP goes up to $8 or $9 per square foot – and hardwood can be north of $10 per square foot. These prices are only for material – installation is another story and as you probably guessed, I like to do this myself (and no I’m not a professional).

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring – What is the Best Quality LVP?

I’m not sure that I can tell you which is the best quality, but I’m going to lay the facts out for you here. Below I will talk about 12 LVP brands / sub-brands that are widely available. Three of the lines are Lowes exclusives of which I chose to talk about because I have used and really like. I hope this information helps you, and if you do not want to read anymore, skip to the bottom to see the visual comparison.

CALI Vinyl Pro / Pro Classic

CALI brand LVP is sold at hardware stores and flooring stores – they are well known for bamboo flooring.  They’re LVP is on the higher end, price wise compared to the other brands I researched for this, but other than that, they seem to be on par with industry standard. Most product comes in 48 in x 7 in planks, 5.5mm or 6.5mm thick. CALI luxury vinyl plank floors boast a 20-mil acrylic wear layer and a 50 year residential / 15 year commercial warranty. Prices vary, but the two product lines I looked at were $3.99 and $4.69 per square foot.


Mohawk is another huge flooring company that you can expect quality products from. They also have other brand lines out there including Pergo. The two lines of Mohawk I found were not identified by any sub-brand, just Mohawk LVP. Options included either 48” x 7” planks or 60” x 9”. The 48” planks are sold in 5mm thickness and the 60” in 6mm (I can’t stand how manufactures use both the imperial and metric system). The latter appeals to many because of the luxurious look of larger planks. For the smaller planks, they sell at Lowes for $4.89 per square foot and the larger $5.75 per square foot. Both product lines are protected by a 20-mil urethane ware layer and a limited lifetime residential / 20 year light commercial warranty. There they go with that “LIMITED” word again!

Pergo DuraCraft + WetProtect

Again, Pergo is a Mohawk brand and is reasonable similar to the Mohawk products in respect to the attributes in comparison here. Pergo commonly comes in 48” x 7.5” x 6mm planks and has a price line a bit lower at $3.99 per square foot. Pergo has the same 20-mil urethane wear layer as Mohawk yet has a bit better warranty. This product shows it has a lifetime residential and 20 year light commercial warranty.

ProCore Pro

ProCore seems to be a Lowes exclusive brand, not to be confused with SMARTCORE, another Lowes exclusive that is actually a Shaw product (which we’ll get to shortly). Procore has similar specs to other brands – common 48” x 6” x 5mm planks and a limited lifetime warranty. The wear layer on the product here is a bit thinner at 12-mil (urethane) and the cost reflects that at $3.31 per square foot.

Shaw Matrix / Parallax HD Plus

Shaw Matrix seems to be a lower end product – and that’s not to say it is bad. Its price point is impressive at $1.99 per square foot (remember, this is water resistant vinyl plank). It boasts a 30-year limited warranty and comes in   that common 48” x 6” x 3mm plank size. The wear layer is only 6-mil, but Shaw uses a urethane-ceramic material. This is urethane embedded with tiny ceramic molecules that strengthen the coat and make it last longer. I’m assuming this is why only 6-mil is required.

The Shaw Parallax HD Plus is roughly the same size but much thicker at 8mm and with a 20-mil wear layer and a lifetime residential and 10 year light commercial warranty. Shaw’s higher end flooring is around $4.55 per square foot.


SMARTCORE is a Lowes exclusive brand manufactured by Shaw. SMARTCORE offers a few levels of quality – hence the PRO and ULTRA. ULTRA comes in 72” x 9” x 7.5mm planks and PRO in 48” x 7” x 6mm. Both come with a limited lifetime residential warranty – and PRO with a 10yr commercial, ULTRA a 5 year commercial warranty. Overall, the brand lines are similar with the exception of the wear layer. SMARTCORE PRO is outfitted with a 20-mil urethane ceramic wear layer whereas ULTRA comes with a 12 mil acrylic layer. Make your judgments as you will. Prices are the same at $4.29 per square foot.  


The STAINMASTER lines come in similar dimensions, both 48” x 7” – the regular at 6mm thickness and the PetProtect at 7mm. Both products have a limited lifetime warranty for residential use but the PetProtect boasts a 5 year longer commercial warranty that is 20 years compared to the other line’s 15 years. The only real difference in the two product lines is the wear layer. The PetProtect has a 20-mil urethane/ceramic coat and the regular line a 12-mil urethane/ceramic coat. Prices here are similar as well, $3.49 and $3.89 per square foot.

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring – Top Choices

compare vinyl plank flooring

Compare Vinyl Plank Flooring Takeaways

As you can see, all of these brands have something a little different to offer. If you’re more concerned about the wear layer, you can see the STAINMASTER PetProtect is the way to go. On the other hand, if it’s the cost you’re worried about, there are great options, even with better than run of the mill wear layers. If you think bigger is better, SMARTCORE Ultra has 72″ planks to suit your needs! Whatever it is, if you’re updating an older house, building an addition, or just tired of your current floors, I hope this comparison of vinyl plank flooring served to inform your decision!