Fencing is essential to any property, providing security, privacy, and aesthetic appeal. However, choosing the right material for your fence can be a daunting task, as several options are available in the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages. One crucial factor to consider when selecting fencing material is its durability, as no one wants to invest in a fence that will only last a few years. With this blog, we explore the various fencing materials available and compare their lifespan to determine which one lasts the longest focusing specifically on:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Vinyl

As you’ll see, vinyl offers you the longest lifetime for your fence with the least maintenance associated.

Metal Fence Durability

Metal fences fall into three categories: 

Aluminum 

Aluminum fences are usually less expensive than other types of metal fences. They are easy to install and come in a wide range of styles. Unlike wrought iron fences, they require little maintenance. However, like all metal fences, aluminum fencing offers very little privacy. 

Steel

Steel fences are expensive, however, they require little maintenance and can be installed on most terrains. If you are looking for strong, durable fencing, steel may be the way to go. 

Wrought Iron

Wrought iron fences are durable and stylish. However, they have some major disadvantages. Wrought iron fences are difficult and expensive to install, and they require regular maintenance to fend off rust and corrosion. 

Wooden Fence Lifespans

There are many types of wooden fences. Cedar, cypress, and redwood are the most durable options. They are damage-resilient and contain oils that discourage wood-eating insects. However, all wooden fences require regular maintenance and treatment to protect against rot and weathering. 

Some common wooden fencing options are: 

Cedar

This wood is appreciated for its durability. It is warp-resistant and a great option for humid environments. It does require a lot of maintenance to maintain its appearance, though, and even with annual staining, its color usually fades in ten years. 

Spruce

Though spruce is commonly used for house construction, it is not the most durable option. This wood is prone to cracking and degradation, and processing it is difficult. Spruce is a very soft softwood, and must be chemically treated for outdoor use.

Pressure-Treated Pine

Pine is pressure-treated to prevent rot and decay. Like spruce, pine is very soft but much easier to process and work with. Pressure-treating eliminates many problems that might arise with pine wood and makes it termite-resistant. Pressure-treated pine is widely-available, durable, and cheaper than many other options. 

White Oak

White oak is used to make oak fences, as it is more weatherproof than other types of oak. White oak is durable and rot-resistant but must be chemically treated to protect against the worst of weather, or it won’t remain upright for long. 

Redwood

Redwood is extremely durable and low-maintenance. Unlike cedar, it is weight-resistant and is often used for structural support. The drawback of this wood is its cost. Because of its strength and color, redwood is an expensive building material. 

Vinyl Fence Can Last Over 30 Years

Also known as plastic fences, vinyl fences are composed of recycled and new materials. They are long-lasting and require very little maintenance. Quality will vary depending on the manufacturer, but a vinyl fence can last over 30 years. 

A primary concern with vinyl fences is fading, as they are sensitive to ultraviolet light. However, some come coated with titanium dioxide to protect against sun damage, so make sure to shop around. 

The Most Durable Fence Material

Vinyl wins as the most durable fencing material. It requires extremely little maintenance. Though it is more expensive than wood upfront, vinyl is a much more economical option in the long run. Wood requires regular maintenance, treatment, and repainting. Vinyl, on the other hand, has few, if any, maintenance costs. It is also more durable than wood. 

Though they are stronger than vinyl, metal fencing is much more expensive and typically requires more maintenance than vinyl fences. For this reason, vinyl comes out ahead of aluminum, steel, and wrought iron. 

Vinyl is an especially good choice for areas with high humidity or heavy rainfall since it is very weather-resistant. Overall, it is an excellent option for people looking for a reasonably-priced, long-lasting material to build their fence. 

How Can I Get the Most Use Out of My Fence

When choosing the right material to build your fence, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where do I live? What is the weather like? Some materials, like wood and wrought-iron, are more susceptible to rot and corrosion. 
  • Is the ground even? Some fences are difficult to install on uneven ground.   
  • What is my budget? Metal fences are the most expensive, but very durable. Vinyl is the most economic option over time, but it comes in limited styles.  
  • What is most important to me? Is it appearance? Security? Durability? 

Proper Care Extends Fence Lifespans

No matter what type of material you choose, proper maintenance is key to ensuring your fence stays standing for years to come. 

Wooden Fences

Wooden fences need to be sealed and repainted at least once every three years. How often you need to treat the wood will depend on the type of wood and the environment. Fences built in humid environments require more frequent care than those built in dry ones. 

These are some common steps to maintaining a wooden fence: 

  • Clean the fence. Pressure washers are often used, but if you don’t own one, don’t worry! You can clean the wood using vinegar, a scrub brush, or a bleach solution. Alternatively, you can purchase an outdoor cleaner. 
  • After allowing the fence to dry for 24 hours, apply a sealant. Polyurethane sealant can be used to protect against sun damage. 
  • Use wood glue to fix minor damage and cracks. Gorilla Wood Glue and Elmer’s Carpenter’s Wood Glue are both popular options. 

Metal Fences

Metal fences are very durable, however, they are still susceptible to corrosion. Check for rust, and rub away any spots you see with sandpaper or a wire brush. Remember to wear goggles and a mask when cleaning rust! 

Metal fences should also be primed using an oil primer and then sealed. Both will go a long way in preventing rust. 

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl fences are easy to maintain. They won’t rot, and they don’t require painting or sealant. But vinyl still gets dirty. To get rid of tough smudges, apply a vinegar solution, or use a vinyl cleaning solution. If a spot is especially stubborn, use a scrub brush. Then just hose the vinyl with water, and you’re done! 

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