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The Pros and Cons of Fence Materials

Pros and Cons of Fence Materials

Are you in the market for a new fence? It’s a wonderful choice for walling in your yard, keeping nosy neighbors out and your pets in. Plenty of quality materials are available, too, but which is the right material for you? Here’s a guide to the four most popular types of fencing, along with the pros and cons for each one.

Wood Fencing

Pros and Cons of Fence Materials - Wood Fencing

Image via Flickr by Field Outdoor Services

The picket fence is an ideal that stands as an iconic part of Americana. If it was good enough for Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, it should work for your home. The beauty of the material is that it works with just about any landscape. That’s because you can find many different styles and shapes of wood. Combined with a bucket of paint, the design of your fence is entirely up to you.

Selecting the perfect wood fencing for your home depends on how long you intend to stay. Pressure-treated wood offers longevity that other materials cannot match. It comes across as a bit more polished and thereby less rustic than other options, though. If you want to feature a woodsy look without the pressurized appearance, apply a coating of a preservative. It won’t last quite as long, but it’ll easily surpass the average lifespan of untreated wood fencing.

The other advantage of wood fencing is that it’s inexpensive. Keeping in mind that raw materials will include other factors, such as pickets, rails, fence posts, and swinging gates, you can build a wood fence for less than almost any other material. Research suggests homeowners spend between $1,533 and $3,470 on wood fencing. The one pricing caveat is that wood as a material often rises in price. Some styles such as redwood and cedar are now much pricier than they were only a few years ago.

Finally, the one problem with wood that’s unavoidable is bugs. Many critters love the taste and smell of wood. You’ll want to treat your fence with insecticides if an infestation occurs. Otherwise, insects will nest in your wood, causing rotting that will reduce the lifespan of your purchase.

Vinyl Fencing

Pros and Cons of Fence Materials - Vinyl Fencing

Also known as PVC fencing, vinyl is a manufactured material. That means the pricing is largely controlled. It’s not susceptible to the same market fluctuations as wood. It’s also one of the most durable fence materials. Combined with its low-maintenance nature, vinyl as a material is a turnkey solution. You either build your fence or pay an installer to do it for you. Then, you only have to worry about it should the fence start to look dirty over time.

Vinyl does cost a bit more than wood at the moment. The installation range for homeowners is between $2,078 and $4,894. Generally, it’s a one-time investment. The PVP manufacturing method even lessens the need for a later paint job. The color you buy shouldn’t fade over time nor should a white color even dull into a less attractive yellow. Similarly, the underlying aluminum isn’t attractive to bugs. Finally, manufacturers craft vinyl fencing as an alternative to wood. You’ll find it in many different styles.

While vinyl has many strengths, it’s not perfect, either. The material isn’t as strong as wood, which means it’ll collapse in the face of significant, direct impact. Another issue with the vinyl is that the pieces join without screws or nails. Vinyl is also not as flexible as other materials, and it’s prone to turn brittle during the harshest winter conditions. It’s less viable for residents in northern areas or mountains. Lastly, due to the plastic used in the materials, vinyl is not the most environmentally friendly fencing material.

Aluminum Fencing

Pros and Cons of Fence Materials - Aluminum Fencing

Are you in a secluded area or not worried about privacy? If so, aluminum could work. While it offers little shielding from nosy neighbors, it’s perhaps the most stylish and attractive fencing option. Despite its appearance, aluminum is basically the same price as vinyl. In fact, the materials cost of aluminum is slightly less. Consumers pay between $1,938 and $4,714 to fence in their yard with aluminum material.

One of the most popular applications for this kind of fencing is a family pool. It’s also great for keeping pets from roaming free, as well as children who wander. Since most vinyl includes an aluminum base, the other pros are similar. It’s extremely durable and is particularly resistant to corrosion. Since the material is lightweight, it’s easy to install. Similarly, if something does go wrong, aluminum is simple to repair. It’s also resistant to pest infestation. Plus, the only thing you need to clean it is running water from a garden hose.

Aluminum does have its drawbacks. The most alarming one is that aluminum bends. Any serious contact will leave a mark in your fence. Even pets can hit it hard enough to leave an imprint. It’s also similar to vinyl in that the wind from a storm can bend the fence’s structure.

Chain-Link Fencing

Pros and Cons of Fence Materials - Chain-link Fencing

The most recognizable type of fencing is chain-link. It’s extremely popular in suburban areas as a great way to encompass your property. The reason it’s so ubiquitous in American culture is its price. The estimate for adding a chain-link fence is between $1,131 and $2,621. Its high-end is on a par with the low-end projections for other fencing options.

Despite its low cost, chain-link fencing does have several positives. While it does keep your pets and children contained, it provides visibility from both sides. That means you can glance to see if your loved ones are safe. It’s also low maintenance, even compared to the options above. Once you install it, you never have to worry about it again unless you choose to change the color.

As an inexpensive solution, you get what you pay for with chain-link fencing. They’re not attractive in appearance, although that’s not a huge deal since they’re such a commonly accepted part of living in the suburbs. They provide absolutely no privacy, either. Total visibility cuts both ways. Finally, chain-link fencing provides practically no security whatsoever, unless you install barbed wire.

Choosing the perfect fencing material comes down to personal preference. Evaluate all the options above, and then choose for yourself which one works best for your yard.

Interested in purchasing a fence for your property? Check out BuildDirect.com’s selection of fencing products.

(3) Comments

  1. If someone wants to select the best fence, then he will need to debate the pros and cons of fencing materials like vinyl, aluminum, wood, wrought iron and chain link. Well among all the options, some of them are affordable, some are durable, some are easy to install and some are versatile and beautiful in nature. However each are having some kinds of drawbacks as well like higher cost, a tendency to rust, lack of effective style, demand more maintenance etc. So, before making the final decision, it is very important to consider all the pros and cons of fencing material by which one is not only able to select the best fence material according to requirement but also make the most use of his fence for a longer period of time. Thanks for such lovely blog.

  2. If you happen to be replacing a wood fence, one idea is to sell the old wood to local crafters. They love that stuff to make new home decorations. You can make some good money to recoup the cost of the fence.

  3. A low price definitely sounds like a big perk of wood fencing, but I can appreciate the warning you gave about watching prices as they may rise quickly. I would think that if you were willing to stain the fence you would probably have a larger option of wood types available to you that could still achieve the look you wanted. Working with a contractor would most likely be the best way to make sure that you get exactly what you envision.

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