Wood, Metal, or Vinyl: What Material Is Best for Your Fence?

Building a fence may not sound like a complicated job, but just like any construction project, there are many considerations to be made, starting from the planning step. One of the most important considerations many homeowners tend to overlook is what material to use for their fence. Depending on the material your neighbors use for their fence, you may lean towards a certain type of material without even considering the advantages and drawbacks of different materials in your case.

Every material is different, so their price range, durability, and resistance to certain weather conditions will differ. Wood may be a more affordable option for building a fence than metal. On the other hand, a well-built metal fence with proper maintenance can survive for centuries while the lifetime of a wooden fence may require a replacement after a few decades. If you’re not planning to build a fence that will outlive multiple generations, you should still consider other options such as vinyl. A vinyl fence is usually priced similar to a wooden fence, but it requires much less maintenance, especially in humid and rainy climates. There are many comparative advantages and disadvantages between the fencing materials, so you should pick one that works best for you before calculating how much fence material you need.


Fence Material – Wood

Wood is the most popular material used for fencing. More specifically, the most popular wood type used for fencing is cedar. It is considered a long-lasting, durable, and good-looking wood type that can not only provide privacy to your backyard but also bring a clean and natural look to your fence.

When it comes to wooden fences in general, the price may range from $10 to $24 per foot depending on the type of wood and the height of the fence. There is also a hidden cost associated with building a wooden fence. In particular, wooden fences may require concrete for setting posts. In addition to that, wooden fences require maintenance that may include coating or replacing certain planks. All these expenses may add up over time and may still not preserve the wooden fence to last for as long as other materials. Wooden fences tend to last for 20 – 25 years with proper maintenance.

On the other hand, wood is versatile and easy to install. Many people choose to build a wooden fence as a DIY project because it does not require technical skills that need to be learned. Wood is also highly customizable because you can use different plank sizes and shapes to create your unique design. Wood also provides a natural look to the area, which many people find attractive and calming.

Wood is a great material for fencing if you have a tight budget. It provides a clean and natural look when installed and is also reasonably durable. Even with all the advantages wood material has, a homeowner should be aware of the maintenance costs and relatively short life compared to non-organic materials.


Fence Material – Vinyl

Vinyl is a low-cost material that is less popular than wood, but it still holds a considerable portion of the market. It might be a less popular option because it is still a relatively new material that has been on the market only for a couple decades. Vinyl is considered a direct alternative to wood, although it has certain disadvantages that must be considered by a homeowner before choosing this material.

Vinyl tends to be slightly more expensive than wood with the prices ranging from $10 to $35. The main reason for such a large range in the price is due to the fact that the vinyl planks are produced on an industrial scale, so there are different designs of the planks. Some planks may be more difficult to create, so they may cost more. One important advantage of a vinyl fence is that it does not require much maintenance except occasional cleaning. In addition to the fact that it does not require maintenance, it also usually lasts longer than a wooden fence because of the properties of vinyl. On average, vinyl fences can last for around 30 years and their lifetime does not depend on maintenance procedures. Lastly, vinyl fences usually come in white color, which can look very attractive enclosing a backyard.

Vinyl is durable, relatively cheap and does not require maintenance. It sounds like a great material, but it has a large drawback. It tends to turn yellow over time. The appearance of vinyl may change drastically after a few years being in use especially in hot and sunny climates. Vinyl tends to sag, turn yellow and get small cracks on the surface. This means that a relatively new fence may become unattractive in time. Of course, you can easily find out whether you will face this problem by talking to contractors and seeing their opinion about building vinyl fences in your area.

Vinyl is an affordable and durable material. It usually comes in a white color, but it is possible to find other colors that you prefer. Even though vinyl tends to be slightly more expensive than wood, it does not require maintenance, which may lead to savings in the long term. Given that it may change color, sag or crack over time, it is important to make sure that your area is fit for vinyl fences before ordering one.


Fence Material – Metal

Metal fencing is more expensive than wood and vinyl, but the price might be worth the result. The price usually ranges from $9 for chain link fences to $50 for steel and corrugated metals. In addition to that, metal fences may be produced using a custom design, which can drive its price even higher. Generally, metal fences are installed either for a specific purpose where very durable materials are needed such as animal enclosures or industrial areas. When they are used in residential areas, they are mostly decorative because they cannot provide as much privacy as wooden or vinyl fences. 

Metal fences tend to be very versatile and decorative. Metal may take virtually any form, so this material provides much more design options compared to wood or vinyl. Because of that property, metal fences in residential areas are often used for decoration rather than privacy or protection purposes. In addition to that, these fences do not require much maintenance. Some metals may require occasional coating to upkeep their appearance although certain metals, such as aluminum, do not require any maintenance. Metal fences are also much more durable than vinyl or wood. Some metal fences may last for over 100 years, although it really depends on the type of metal and coating used as well as climate in the area.

The largest disadvantage of metal fencing apart from being considerably more expensive than wood and vinyl is that it cannot be used for privacy. While wood and vinyl fencing hides the territory enclosed from the outside, metal usually plays a decorative role. This means that people who are installing a fence for privacy and security purposes should consider materials other than metal. 

Metal fencing definitely requires a larger budget than the other two options, and it does not provide as much security or privacy. On the other hand, it is a great option for people looking to install a durable fence with a unique design for aesthetic purposes.