There’s no contesting that wood remains to be the most popular choice of fence material. However, a wooden fence is not for everyone. Before you finally decide on having one for your home, it’s best to understand the pros and cons of wood fencing.
While a properly installed privacy fence can elevate the aesthetics of any property, there’s more to it than meets the eye. And if you consider that installing a wood fence can cost you between $1,996 and $4,448, then learning these details about wood fencing becomes even more crucial.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- Pros of Wood Fencing
- Cons of Wood Fencing
- Most Common Types of Wood for Fences
- FAQ About Wood Fences
Pros of Wood Fencing
Let’s start with the advantages of choosing wood as your fence material.
Here’s the most obvious benefit of having a wood fence – it simply looks gorgeous. The classic and natural look is something that never grows old. To some, the more rustic it looks, the cozier it is. There’s also a variety of ways to make the fence somehow unique, from the stains to the colors and right down to the grains and knots.
Wood fences can come in many different styles, like shadowbox, trellis or board-on-board, to add personality to your property while withstanding the elements.
With a wood fence, you can add either partial or full privacy to any property in style. Do you want to block out noise as well? Solid wood, like red cedar, naturally has this feature. In general, a wood fence’s privacy feature will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of wood used as well as the style of the fence.
The cost of wood fencing can vary greatly depending on the type of wood you choose. Still, the average cost is cheaper than other types of fencing, such as vinyl, since producing the material is not as expensive. If you think about the manufacturing process involved in other materials compared to the growing of trees, you can easily get the idea why it’s generally not as costly.
You might be wondering why wood is eco-friendly when it involves cutting down trees. When you think about it, the production of wood does not produce the same high level of carbon emission compared to vinyl, steel, or aluminum. Wood is also biodegradable and organic. As a renewable resource, the trees from which the wood materials were sourced must be replaced and grown faster than they’re cut down.
A well-maintained wood fence installation can add curb appeal, which translates to a higher value for your home. But regardless of your chosen fencing options, here’s an aspect you need to consider. With the costs incurred for installing a privacy fence, remember that the amount you invested will not directly add to your home’s overall property value.
Cons of Wood Fencing
Now it’s time to mull over whether the advantages you get from wood fences can justify their drawbacks.
Since wood is an organic material, it’s vulnerable to decomposition. Decomposing wood in a humid environment is a haven for fungus and dry rot. A drying wood, on the contrary, can fade and crack. It’s also vulnerable to termites. Choosing a low-quality type of wood also can lead to warping and twisting.
Proper maintenance can help counter the vulnerabilities of wood fencing. However, not everyone is keen on, or comfortable, taking care of their wood fence. Wood fence maintenance usually entails regularly cleaning with a pressure washer or garden hose, a bi-yearly repaint, and a re-stain every five years. The work involved doesn’t even include fixing broken or cracked boards after withstanding strong winds or storms.
Compared to steel, aluminum, or vinyl, a wood’s average lifespan of 20 years is relatively short. If you factor in improper maintenance, a wood fence can deteriorate even faster. It might need replacing in a little over half of its life expectancy. Choosing a high-quality wood can extend its lifespan, but not as long as the other types of fencing materials.
As you can see, having a wood fence – from installation to maintenance – is not really a walk in the park. However, you can easily address all these drawbacks if you have an excellent fence contractor helping you out.
Most Common Types of Wood for Fences
If you’re seriously thinking about wood for fencing, it’s important to determine your style and design options. To help you out, here are the most common types of wood fences.
- Cedar: Cedar offers more variety when it comes to aesthetics. It comes in vivid colors, from pale white to a reddish hue. It has natural acids and oils, which effectively repels pests. Like all types of wood fences, cedar is eco-friendly and biodegradable.
- Pine: Similar to cedar, a fence made of pine is easy to shape because it’s a kind of softwood. However, that doesn’t mean they’re less durable. In fact, pine is naturally resistant to shock. If well-maintained, it can last for 15 to 20 years.
- Oak: This is the type of wood you should choose if you want one made of highly-durable material. High-quality oak boards can last for up to 20 years, even if left untreated. Oak has numerous color variations that range from reddish to light beige.
- Redwood: If you want to incorporate a rustic or classic wooden look in your home, redwood is one of the best choices. Its elegant look – a combination of color and tight grains – can level up a home’s curb appeal. Compared to oak, redwood is a better choice for outdoor uses.
- Cypress: With almost similar properties as redwood, cypress is an alternative choice if you’re willing to go through the more expensive route. Its heaviness and durability can withstand strong winds, and it does not warp like pine.
FAQ About Wood Fences
Yes, if your priority is aesthetics and budget. When it comes to looks, wood has always been a great option that can increase a property’s appeal and value. It comes in a variety of colors and designs and can be easily manipulated to suit your preferred style.
Additionally, a well-maintained wooden fence can usually last 20 years on average. Some wood types, such as redwood, can even have a longer lifespan – helping you get the most out of your investment.
Choosing between wood and vinyl of fencing can be challenging for most homeowners. A PVC fence or vinyl fencing can easily mimic most wood designs and doesn’t require the same level of maintenance. The catch, though, is that vinyl is more expensive.
Plus, if you’re someone who loves the natural scent of wood in your fence, you won’t get the same satisfaction in vinyl fencing. So if you still want to use wood, choose a low-maintenance yet long-lasting material like oak.
A privacy fence can indeed help add value to a home. However, it would usually just add around 50% of the fence installation cost. For example, a $10,000 fence cost will only add about $5,000 to your home’s value. So if you’re planning to install a high-end fence to boost your home’s value, the return on investment is not really that high. A home with a good fence, though, attracts more potential buyers. Therefore, it’s better to focus on affordability, versatility, durability, design, and cost-effectiveness.
Homeowners can perform regular fence cleaning by hand washing or using tools like a garden hose or power washer, usually with oxygenated bleach. When it comes to protecting the wood from natural damage, such as UV rays from the sun or constant exposure to elements, you have many choices.
You could apply paint, stain, or sealant for protection, and determining which of them to use will mostly depend on the type of wood. Some wood types may require certain treatments to protect them from pest infestations.
Choose the Right Type of Fence for Your Next Home Project
Now that you know the good and the bad about wood fences, you can better decide how to proceed with your fence installation. And whether you decide to hire a professional fence contractor or make this your next DIY fencing project, understanding these pros and cons can help prevent disappointments in the long run.
Decided to hire experts for your fencing project? Check the best fencing company in your area.
Main photo credit: Ballygally | Shutterstock