Are you still unsure if aluminum is the best material you can use for your fencing project? Well, you can forget about having to do in-depth research about it. By learning the pros and cons of aluminum fencing, you can quickly understand if it is well worth the investment.
There are numerous fencing options available today – from wood and vinyl to aluminum and steel – and there’s no one type that fits all. It’s true that cost plays a major part in any decision, but homeowners should consider other factors, as well. Do you need a privacy or high-security fence? Or do you need your new fence to withstand high winds and endure the humidity in your area?
Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of aluminum fencing can help you decide if this type of fence is right for you.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Pros of Aluminum Fencing
- Cons of Aluminum Fencing
- Styles of Aluminum Fence
- FAQ About Aluminum Fences
Pros of Aluminum Fencing
The average cost of aluminum fence installation is not cheap. But considering its advantages, you can see that it’s generally justified. The following are the pluses of an aluminum fence:
Aluminum fencing has always been a great option for homeowners who want a stylish and classy fence without going through tedious maintenance work. Compared to other materials like wood, you won’t have to repaint or restain an aluminum fence.
Nowadays, not everyone has time to spare for repainting or repairing fences. Aluminum fences are virtually maintenance-free. The material doesn’t rot or attract insects.
Do you live in a region with constant high humidity? You don’t have to worry about moisture because aluminum is not susceptible to corrosion or rust, unlike its heavier counterpart – wrought iron fence. The biggest maintenance work most people would do is wiping it clean to remove dust and debris.
Compared to steel or wrought iron, aluminum is less expensive – that’s why it’s the most cost-effective among metal fences. While the upfront cost of an aluminum fence can be more expensive than wooden fencing, it makes up for it with its low maintenance. You can save money in the long run since you won’t shell out money for repainting or repairs. And since an aluminum fence is easy to install, you’ll be able to save more if you decide to do it yourself.
Aluminum fences can effectively replicate the style of wrought iron and steel fences, but without paying more or worrying about rust. It also comes in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit your preference.
Whether you live in a modern home or a traditional one, this fence can adapt to complement your home’s exterior. From classic white or black to more natural shades like brown, there’s a color to match your design.
Thanks to its incredible ductile properties, this metal is easy to manipulate and shape. You can even have the decorative elements customized. Regardless of the design you choose, an aluminum fence has a timeless design — it will never go out of style.
Aluminum can weigh up to one-third less than steel. It’s this lightweight property that makes it easy to install. Property owners who are pretty confident with their DIY skills can usually get the fence up in the course of only one weekend. With professional fencing companies, though, it’s relatively faster.
What makes aluminum fence different from other types is that it comes in panels. These panels are then joined together with a screw at the picket and rail junction. As a result, aluminum fences can easily follow the slope of the land – making it the best fence material for homes with uneven terrain. You can adjust the incline of the fence to accommodate the dips or pits or even a sloping hill.
Over the past 30 years, the carbon footprint from manufacturing aluminum has been cut in half. The North American industry wants to reduce it further – to about 77% by 2050. But aluminum is still an environmentally friendly option even beyond its production.
Did you know that this fencing material is one of the easiest metals to recycle? Every component is 100% recyclable, which helps reduce waste. Compared to PVC or vinyl fences, your discarded aluminum fence will not end up adding to the landfill waste.
So for those looking for an eco-friendly fencing solution, aluminum continues to beat steel and wrought-iron by a mile.
Cons of Aluminum Fencing
While aluminum fencing has fewer drawbacks compared to other fence types, it’s still not for everyone. So it’s best to learn about these disadvantages before installing your fencing system. Here are some cons you should be aware of:
Falls Short in Security
If your primary reason for installing a fence is security, an aluminum fence may not be the right choice for you. Yes, it can look tough because it effectively mimics steel fences, but it doesn’t sit on the same level.
The mechanics behind its ease of installation is what caused this disadvantage. Since the aluminum panels are only screwed together, your fence won’t have the same sturdiness as other materials welded in place. To disassemble a panel, you just need to locate the juncture points and unscrew them.
But if you’re not installing it for security purposes, an aluminum fence is still a great choice if you want your pets and small children to play safely in your backyard. It’s also wonderful for accentuating your garden and landscape lighting. And if you want to make it hard to remove the panels, you can install the screws on the inner side of the fence.
An aluminum’s lightweight characteristic can be advantageous in lowering labor costs during installation. However, having a lighter structure means it’s not as tough as its steel and wrought iron counterparts. An aluminum fence can only take so much abuse until it bends.
This fencing material is rust-resistant, thanks to its invulnerability to moisture. However, it is relatively weak to high-impact damage. It can certainly hold its own through the winter or summer months. But if storms often pass by your area, impacts from flying debris may show on your fence when the weather clears.
Keep in mind that not all aluminum materials are the same. You can always shop around or ask your local fence experts for higher-grade ones. They are more expensive, but you won’t have to worry too much about damaged or bent bars.
Not Ideal for Privacy
The most commonly used aluminum fence style – the traditional design – is unsuitable for privacy purposes. Similar to a wrought iron fence, it doesn’t block the view from either side since there are gaps between the bars or rails.
However, recent advancements in aluminum fence manufacturing offer more privacy options. The bars in newer designs are wider and leave very minimal gaps, with some even having a full solid aluminum panel. The problem with this type of installation, though, is that it can bring up the cost really high.
So if privacy is your primary concern, an aluminum fence is not your best option. That is unless you have the budget to go for the higher-priced ones designed for privacy purposes.
Styles of Aluminum Fence
You’ll find that this type of fencing has a wide variety of styles. So if you want a particular style installed, you should take a picture of the fence you want to mimic and discuss it with your local fencing contractor.
But before contacting a fence installer, you must have a good idea of the characteristics you’re aiming for in your fence. Here are some important factors that can influence the style of your aluminum fence:
- Number of rails
- Decorative finials and post caps
Still, all these diverse designs can be classified into two basic styles: the traditional and the privacy fence.
Traditional Aluminum Fence
Traditional is what you’d normally see in steel fences. Each panel consists of pickets attached to posts. Note that these pickets do not add any structural support to the fence. Instead, it’s the horizontal components called rails that reinforce the structure.
Most manufacturers provide different ways of adding decorations to the rails called decoration finials. For the posts, you can choose between a sphere, flat, or convex cap. You can add even more decorative elements and place them between the rails.
Privacy Aluminum Fence
There are two subtypes of a privacy aluminum fence. One is made of solid panels, and the other of wide pickets with very small gaps in between. These gaps offer great privacy compared to the traditional style since it will be very hard to see through them. Although, as mentioned earlier, the major gripe about this style is its cost.
FAQ About Aluminum Fences
For people who want to prioritize aesthetics and minimal upkeep over privacy and security, aluminum fencing is worth every penny. Unlike its heavier counterparts – steel and wrought iron – aluminum doesn’t rust. It also doesn’t require refinishing that wood fences normally do. This type of fence can help you achieve an elegant and stylish look without having to worry about maintaining it.
When you choose a high-quality aluminum fence that’s well constructed and installed, expect it to last for more than half a century. That’s more than 50 years of service with very little maintenance work needed, which usually only involves light cleaning.
Yes, an aluminum fence, on average, is more expensive compared to wood or even wrought iron. However, your investment is money well spent since the fence has a very long lifespan. You won’t have to spend a lot of time, money, and effort on its maintenance. To most people, not having to worry about rust or termite infestation is more than enough to justify an aluminum fence’s upfront cost.
Choose the Fence Type That Matches Your Preferences
Each one of us has our own set of priorities. Some people want to have a fence for privacy, while others want to beef up their home security. Still, some homeowners want an elegant-looking fence that will increase their property value. An aluminum fence seeks to satisfy those who prioritize curb appeal and low maintenance. If you’re still unsure which fence type is right for your property, you can check this guide.
Ready to install the right fence for you? Connect with expert fence contractors in your area today.
Main photo: Genotar | Shutterstock