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Fence finials, also known as fence post caps, come in a wide array of styles and materials. Their designs can range from simple and utilitarian to extravagant and ornate. Fence finials are also available in several kinds of materials, including wood, plastic, iron, and aluminum.
The shape of the fence finial will depend on the purpose for which it was chosen. They can be flat, round, pointed, or molded into an elaborate design. Designs can also be of specific objects and creatures, such as a fleur-de-lis or animal. Fence finials range from purely ornamental designs with elaborate detail to more forbidding varieties such as pointed metal designs for increasing security.
Fence finials can serve more than ornamental purposes. They can help to extend the life of wooden fences by protecting the top of the post from the absorption of environmental elements such as moisture. Pointed designs on metal fences not only provide security from intruders by making it more difficult to climb over, but also prevent birds from sitting on the fence.
Traditionally, fence finials were made of either wood or iron. These materials are more commonly used for fences that have an ornamental, in addition to a utilitarian, purpose. Modern materials include less expensive options such as plastic, aluminum, and artificial wood. These materials are typically used for more utilitarian purpose and thus tend to have less elaborate fence finials.
The type of fence finial is usually decided by the style, material, and purpose of the fence. Typically, a fence finial is made of the same material as the fence. This is desirable both from a style standpoint and for ease of installation and maintenance, though using a different material can have a striking effect. The fence finial also tends to be in the same style as the fence it tops, be it utilitarian, ornamental, or both.
How many and what variety of finials a fence has usually depends on the number of posts and the type of material. Wooden fences tend to have fewer finials because the posts are situated between larger expanses of slats. These kinds of fences typically have either the same fence finial at each post or two different, more ornamental finials on the gate posts. Metal fences with vertical poles can have a finial on top of each one. They could all be the same style, though the finials on the posts may be larger and more elaborate.