5 Questions to Ask When Choosing Finials for Your Iron Fence

Posted on: 21 September 2015

When buying an iron fence, you'll need to decide whether you want it to have finials. Finials are the decorative metal toppers you see adorning the top of many iron fence posts. While they can turn a boring barrier into a classy work of art, there are a few questions you'll need answered if you are to select the finials that are right for you.

1. Are They Really Finials?

Fence companies sometimes offer finial-style fence posts as a cheap alternative to authentic finials. These finial-style posts (sometimes called crimp-top posts) are created by pressing the metal at the top of the post flat and then cutting it into a triangular shape.

Crimp-top posts work for some buyers because they offer an inexpensive way to add more detail to their fence. If you're looking for optimal security or maximum durability, however, you should know that this choice probably isn't best for you. The thin, pressed-metal tops of finial-style posts make them prone to bending and breaking. 

2. What Are They Made Of?

Finials will sometimes come included with your purchase of an iron fence at no additional cost. If the fence company you're doing business with offers free finials, don't assume that they'll be iron ones. Ask what material they're crafted from before agreeing to have them placed on your fence; they might be made of plastic or a less durable metal, such as aluminum. 

3. What Casting Type Was Used to Create Them? 

There are a couple of different ways in which true finials are created. In the sand casting technique, sand is used as a barrier between the mold used to form the finial and the liquid metal being poured into it. The surfaces of these finials are pebble-like in appearance. Sand cast finials are usually less expensive than die cast ones, but their walls are of uneven thickness and they're more susceptible to becoming weakened by porosity issues.

Die cast finials are created using high heat-resistant metal molds. The metal is forced into the mold under high pressure; it's packed good and tight so there are no weak spots or spots that are too porous. The result is a more solid, more durable iron finial.

4. How Are They Attached to the Fence?

Some finials are grooved to fit like a cap over the top of fence posts. Others slide over the top and screws are used to hold them in place. These two types of finials are beneficial in that they're easy to replace, but it's not uncommon for neighborhood children to lose them when they realize their ease of removal, or for vandals to swipe them just because they can.

If you want your finials to stay intact and attached to your fence, you'll want to have them welded onto the posts. Ask your fencing contractor to show you only styles of finials that are weld-attached and request that each one be welded all the way around the perimeter of the post.

5. How Safe Are They?

Your final concern when choosing finials for your new iron fence is safety. Some finials have solid, pointed tips to discourage unwanted visitors from scaling the fence they're attached to. If the main reason you want a fence is for security purposes, this style is perfect for you.

If you want a fence for curb appeal or to increase the value of your home, though, you might view the added security of pointed finials a bit out of your comfort zone. You can tone down the danger of somebody getting snagged on your fence by opting for rounded finial tops or ball-style finials. 

Finials add a beautiful touch to iron fences, but there are many styles and options of them to choose from. If you're in the market for an iron fence and you've decided you want it to have decorative toppers, click for more information before deciding on which finials are right for you.