When it comes time to replace your old fence or put one up for the first time, you may wonder whether to go with a wood fence or a vinyl one. Both materials have their pros and cons. Here are some things to consider when making your decision.
Advantages of Wood Fences
Wooden fences are traditional and will always provide a classic look to your landscape designs. They're also affordable to install and cost significantly less up front than vinyl fences do.
This material gives you a wider selection of color choices since you can paint or stain wood in any shade you choose. Cedar is the most common lumber type used for wood fences. This means it’s an organic, all-natural choice of fencing material and will likely appeal to anyone concerned about the environment. They also blend well with flowers and foliage for a natural look.
It's easy to personalize the look of wood fences with planters and other decorations such as stenciling patterns on the boards. Erecting a wood fence can be a great family project since it requires teamwork and a little creativity to get it done. Repairs are simple and inexpensive because all you need is a hammer, nails, and a piece of wood to fix any damaged or loose boards.
Disadvantages of Wood Fences
The heavy maintenance needs of wood are its biggest drawback. Yearly maintenance is required to keep a wood fence in good shape. Regularly reapplying paint or finish reduces the chances your fence will fall victim to fungus or rotting wood.
Wood fences are vulnerable to termites and in attracting the pests,which can potentially put your home at risk to termite exposure.
The fence boards can also warp, especially if they haven't been properly treated to resist moisture or changes in temperature.
Without improper installation, the posts for wood fences tend to sink below ground level which can warp the fence.
Advantages of Vinyl Fencing
Those who want a different look than standard wood will appreciate the options available with vinyl fences. While you can get ones that look just like wood, they're also available in a variety of colors such as white, gray, and tan. They don't require painting or staining and can be purchased as ready-to-install strips.
One of the biggest distinctions is how low maintenance this material can be. Dirt is easily sprayed off of vinyl fences due to their glossy, non-porous surfaces. These same qualities make it easy to remove graffiti. Vinyl fences won't split or crack. They don't get termite damage, fungus, or dry rot. They're also fire resistant.
Installation of a vinyl fence is simple since all you need to do is slide the rails into the posts and secure the posts into the ground.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Fencing
Cost is the biggest disadvantage of vinyl fencing. They tend to cost more upfront than wood fences, which means that if you're looking to fence in a large area, your initial investment could be high.
Extreme temperatures can make the vinyl expand or bend, and high winds can cause the sections to twist since the lengths on vinyl fences aren’t connected together as firmly or securely as the boards of wood fences.
A few types of vinyl fences can have mildew problems, especially if they're located near yard sprinklers. Since the surface of the fence is non-porous, the mildew can easily be removed. However, it needs to be removed before it causes stains.
One huge downside to choosing a vinyl fence is the repair. The process typically gets more complicated than just replacing a board or two as with wood, and you could easily find yourself replacing an entire section to pull off a proper fix.
Keep in mind that wood and vinyl are discussed at length here because they're so comparable, but there are a multitude of other fencing materials and options.