If you live in the Midwest where winds can pick up or live along the coast where tropical storms and hurricanes blow through, you’re well-acquainted with gusty winds. To keep your property secure, you need the best fence to withstand high winds.
There are two main factors to consider when choosing a wind-resistant fence – materials and design.
In this article, we’ll cover:
What Makes a Fence Wind-Resistant?
The key features of a wind-resistant fence are material and design, but there are a few other factors to consider.
Posts are the backbone of a fence. When these are made of sturdy, rot-resistant materials, your fence will stand strong longer. Metal and concrete posts are the best choices.
Use concrete to anchor your posts into the ground, making them even sturdier. Are you looking for more anchor security? Stakes and brackets can make that post-anchor foundation even stronger.
Also, footers should be planted at least 30 inches into the ground for optimal anchoring and stability.
Having about 2-3 inches of space in between slats makes a fence stand up to winds. But post spacing matters, too. It’s tempting to save some cash and use fewer posts by spacing them further apart, but don’t give into temptation. Posts should be spaced no more than 7 feet apart with 5 or 6 feet being the ideal spacing.
A critical step in protecting against high winds is using strong fence materials. Fences built with strong materials like chain link, vinyl, metal and wood create a strong fence. If you settle for weak materials, you’re settling for a weak fence that will fall in the wind like a house of cards.
A key factor in fence strength is low wind resistance. Fence designs built with gaps allow the wind to pass through. The larger the gaps, the better the airflow. A fence with little to no gaps creates a barrier that wind gusts will batter down. Balance a wind-resistant design with other must-haves like privacy, curb appeal, and cost.
Best Fence Materials for Withstanding High Winds
Fences are made from just about anything, but to have a wind-resistant fence consider these go-to options.
Chain link fences are commonly used for security fencing and excellent for withstanding high winds. With their large gaps, the winds pass right through. They are also very strong, so they are less likely to sag or become fragile.
Weather: Because chain link fences are constructed using metal, they’re durable and will withstand most weather conditions. Applying a protective coating will make them last even longer.
Maintenance: Chain link requires almost no maintenance.
Privacy: Chain link fences offer zero privacy. If you live on a large piece of property or privacy isn’t a big concern for you, chain link may be the way to go. Privacy slats are available to add in several different colors. However, adding privacy slats will make the fence less wind resistant.
Price: Chain link fences are less expensive than other materials. Depending on the height, the gauge, and other project-specific factors (like coating), the cost could range anywhere from $12 to $33 per linear foot. For standard fence installation, the whole project could range from $1,241 to $5,194.
Vinyl fences are the exception to the no full-privacy fence rule. Because the material has more give, vinyl fences are able to bend and flex with the wind. You can reinforce a vinyl fence with metal fasteners to make it even stronger. If privacy is a priority, vinyl may be the best choice for wind-resistant fencing.
Weather: Vinyl fences have some give, so they can hold up against high winds. Because they’re made from synthetic materials, they’re not affected by rain, snow, rot, or pests.
Maintenance: This is a low-maintenance fence material that just requires periodic pressure washing to keep it free of dirt, mold, and mildew.
Privacy: Vinyl fences come in many different styles, including several privacy variations. While solid fences made of wood and metal are not a good choice to withstand wind, the flexibility of vinyl provides protection and privacy.
Price: Although vinyl fences can be pricey, they are typically easy to care for and long-lasting. Depending on your choices, your vinyl fence can range from $17 to $38 per linear foot. For a standard-size fence, homeowners typically pay from $2,181 to $6,089, with the national average being $4,135.
Metal fences are sturdy, easy to clean, and long-lasting, making them an excellent option for high-wind areas. Some metal fence choices include:
- Aluminum Fencing
- Wrought-Iron Fencing
- Steel Fencing
How durable are metal fences? Wrought iron fences dating back to the 1600s can be found in the French Quarter of New Orleans, proving their long-lasting durability.
Weather: While no man-made structure can truly be weatherproof, metal fences are about as close as they come. Plus, most metal fences are manufactured with a protective coating, making them nearly rustproof.
Maintenance: Just like chain link fences, metal fences require almost no maintenance.
Privacy: Metal fences typically have large gaps, so they’re not ideal for privacy. However, the designs are nearly limitless, offering some semi-private options.
Price: Prices depend on the type of metal used. Aluminum ranges from $19 and $76 per linear foot, which is $3,111 to $6,753 for a standard fence. For a wrought iron fence the range is $26 to $34 per linear foot, or $2,334 to $4,769 for a standard fence.
Outside of the standard full-privacy wooden fence, there are many excellent options for wooden fencing. On top of the seemingly endless list of design choices, there are many wood types to choose from. Here are just a few top picks:
Weather: Out of the options listed, wood is the most susceptible to weather damage. Wood isn’t typically as sturdy as metal or vinyl. It’s also vulnerable to rot and pests. Choose a wood that can best handle the weather conditions in your area. The good news is there are strategies to fortify and protect your wood fence, like securing your posts with concrete, replacing loose boards and nails, and applying fencing preservative.
Maintenance: To stay in good shape, wood fences should be stained and painted. They will also need to be checked for wear, cracks, breaks, and damage.
Privacy: There’s a vast selection of design choices, including faux privacy like shadowbox or semi-private like a picket. The full-privacy style is not recommended because it is not as wind-resistant.
Price: Price will vary by lumber type, but homeowners can expect to pay about $14-$31 per linear foot or $1,996 and $4,448 for a standard-size fence.
Best Fence Styles for Withstanding High Winds
Although you can find metal fences in different styles, especially if you choose a custom design option, you’ll find the most design options in wood or vinyl. While the list of design choices may seem longer than a child’s birthday present list, here are some of the best for a high-wind area.
Picket fences are a classic design recognized by many. Is it a good choice for you? Here are some highlights.
- Gaps to allow wind to pass through
- Classic, well-known look
A shadowbox fence, also known as board-on-board, alternates boards on the front and back of the fence rails (cross-section). Here are some points to consider.
- Looks full-privacy
- An interesting, three-dimensional look
- More susceptible to wind than some other designs. If you choose wood with this design, consider a hardwood option.
A lattice or trellis fence is a crisscross design of thinner fence slats. This design can be used for your entire fence, half your fence, or just the top piece, known as a topper. Here are some factors to consider.
- Gaps allow wind to pass through
- Semi to low-privacy
- It can be used to grow climbing plants, or create a living wall
Louvered fences traditionally use horizontal slatted fence panels with optional angled slats, though you can have them constructed with vertical slats. Check out some aspects to consider.
- Looks full-privacy (depending on the slat angle)
- More susceptible to wind than some other designs (depending on slat angle). If you choose wood with this design, consider a hardwood option.
- Stand-out, unique design
How to Windproof an Existing Fence
If you’re not quite ready to invest in a brand new fence or maybe you have a good solid fence you want to make more windproof, here are some ways to reinforce, protect, and windproof a fence.
If your fence was installed with wooden posts, you may see signs of rot or pest damage. Replace those as soon as possible. If you haven’t seen signs of rot, think about replacing them with a sturdier material before the damage happens. Posts hold up your fence, so if the posts go down, they may bring the whole structure with them.
If you can’t replace the posts just yet, be sure to keep up on staining. Professionals recommend staining every two to three years. A bonus is a freshly stained fence makes your landscaping pop.
There are support methods and strategies you can use to reinforce your fence.
- Use screws instead of nails during construction.
- Add hurricane straps
- Try post saver sleeves for extra rot protection
Protect from Damage
Like best intentions, reinforcing your fence isn’t enough when the storm rolls in. Take these proactive steps to ensure your fence’s integrity.
- Trim trees near the fence line. A fallen branch can take out fence panels
- Remove large objects. Damage from wind-thrown objects will compromise your fence.
- Lock and secure your gate. A swinging gate will cause damage and put pressure on connected fence panels.
- Make repairs quickly. Small damage will snowball into big problems, including rot, pests, slat weakening, animal invasion (like neighbor’s dogs or raccoons), and structural weakening.
FAQ About Wind-Resistant Fencing
As a standard rule, wooden fences will withstand winds up to 70 mph, but some can handle 115-mph winds. Metal fences have battled hurricanes and survived.
Fence sturdiness will depend on the materials, design, where it’s installed, and the support and maintenance it receives.
The short answer is, yes. Fences with gaps are more wind-resistant because they allow the wind to pass through instead of bludgeoning your fence.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. Vinyl fences are more flexible, so they can bend with the wind. Designs like shadowbox are built with spaces, so gaps don’t need to be added.
Hardwoods are the best choice for a wood-resistant fence because of their sturdy structure. Some great choices include:
• Douglas Fir
On the Fence? Call a Professional
When you need medical advice or a home inspection, you turn to a professional for help. It makes sense to do the same when you’re looking for a fence or answers to your fencing questions.
Thankfully, there are experienced, highly-rated professionals in your area that can answer your questions or build you the fence that best meets your unique needs. For fast and easy information, contact your local Lawnstarter pro today.