Wood, Vinyl, or Chain Link Fence: Pros and Cons

Fencing can both define and beautify your property. Let's discuss Wood, Vinyl, or Chain link Fence, Pros, and Cons with these three considerations.

1) Design and Purpose

2) Material selection

3) Installation

Design and Purpose

Before selecting your new fencing material, consider your expectations for the look, strength, and longevity of the fencing material. Also think about the purpose of the fence. Is it for sound insulation, protection from the access to pools, or gardens, perhaps safety fencing for pets or livestock? Whatever your intentions, remember that the material and the dimension of the fencing will determine the success of your project.

Before you commit to the fencing plan, check with your local building official about any regulations for fencing in your community. In some areas, fence height and proximity to neighboring property lines is highly regulated. Fencing materials and color may also be regulated in some communities. It is best to get approval from the local authorities before you invest into your fencing project.

Fencing has always been a generator of fresh conversation between neighbors. To avoid any negative discussion, meet with your neighbor first and explain the purpose of the fence. Show them your design ideas. Good communication can go a long way in getting your fencing plan off the drawing board and into the ground.

Material Selection

Fencing material types range from traditional wood, to metal, to vinyl. All types have unique qualities and benefits. Wood fencing offers a natural look and feel. Wood ages beautifully, and is generally easy to install and repair when needed. Wood also can be painted, or stained to meet any desired color scheme.

Metal fencing such as chain link is extremely durable and needs little or no maintenance. It is both inexpensive and easy to install.

Vinyl fencing is the most durable. It is easy to install and manufactured in many design styles and sizes. Vinyl is colored when manufactured, is fade-resistant and never requires maintenance.

Some geographical areas have strong seasonal winds, making chain link a good choice as it allows wind to pass through. Vinyl has little resistance in strong wind, and can come detached or even collapse if the wind conditions severe.


The installation of any fence is only as secure as the footings of the fence posts. When setting fence posts, be sure to set the post in either compacted earth or (preferably) concrete. Have the footing dug down between 24 and 36 inches.

In areas with cold winter weather, be sure to set the fence posts deep enough to be below the ground frost level. Freezing ground will cause the posts to heave, moving and changing position during the thaw of Spring.

With the exception of chain link fencing, most fencing systems have top and bottom rails. These rails must be securely fastened to the fence posts. Using the added strength of metal brackets to insure good attachment is standard with vinyl fencing, and should also be incorporated with wood. Most wood and vinyl fencing is easy to install yourself, but chain link fencing is best installed by professionals who have experience in working with chain link.