Fencing has been used for centuries for many different reasons. Now a days, fencing is used to enhance landscaping, define landlines, and keep children and pets safe. While the choice to get a fence may be simple, but then comes the decision on the type of fence you want. The most common types of fences are vinyl fences and wooden fences. Both types of fence materials have their positives and negatives. You should consider both sides of the coin when making your decision.
Vinyl fencing is more modern than wood fencing and has not been around as long. But there are so many vinyl fencing styles and colors available on the market today, that you can find the right fit for any home style. Since the fencing is made from vinyl, there is virtually no up keep and you do not have to worry about pests, termites, and rot. In addition, the styles can accommodate any period of home with vinyl split rail fencing, vinyl fence panels, and even toppers for the vinyl fencing.
Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of vinyl fencing:
- There is very little maintenance required for vinyl fencing. At most, you need to occasionally pressure wash it to keep mud and debris off of it.
- Vinyl fencing comes in many styles and colors to help fit in with your home’s aesthetic appearance.
- You can section off areas of your yard such as pools and decks with vinyl fencing and keep children and pets safe from harm while keeping with the fencing theme and style of your overall yard.
- There is no need to repaint the fence as vinyl fencing does not fade or chip.
- Vinyl fencing is not susceptible to insects, termites, or rot.
- Vinyl fencing is very durable even in high winds. If damage does occur, repairs are fairly easy to make.
- Due to the type of material, vinyl fencing is more costly upfront than word fencing. However, with low maintenance costs and the long life expectancy of vinyl fencing, the cost factor may not be as much as wood fencing in the lifetime of the vinyl fence.
- There are less colors and styles available for vinyl fencing. That being said, with new colors being added all the time and fence styles changing, you are sure to find a style and color that will compliment your home’s style and be aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
- In extreme temperatures, a vinyl fence panel may warp and need replacing. If that does occur, repairs to vinyl fencing are easy to make as a panel or vinyl split rail can be replaced at any juncture.
- When it comes time to replace a vinyl fence, they may be hard to dispose of due to the materials in the fence. However, the need to replace a vinyl fence in a lifetime is very seldom and some recycling centers will accept the fencing because of the contents of its make-up.
Vinyl fencing has proven over the years to be a reputable material for fencing and continues to make advances in styling while keeping your fence virtually maintenance free. Vinyl fencing that has the appearance of wood is even available.
Wood fencing has been around for centuries. Unlike the modern panels, wood fencing began as rough split rails even back in the Civil War. While wood fences have evolved into the modern panels and rails that you see today, they have been unable to make changes in the genetic material to make it as maintenance free as other materials, such as vinyl. Wood fencing does have the advantage of being able to be painted or stained virtually any color and there are plenty of styles to choose from. However, that paint or stain must be maintained and needs to be redone every so often as the color is susceptible to fading and chipping.
We can take a look at the pros and cons of wood fencing for comparison to other materials such as vinyl:
- Wood fencing has the ability to be painted or stained virtually any color that you can imagine.
- Wood fencing is less costly to initially install, however, you must take the cost of upkeep and maintenance into the overall cost.
- There are many styles of wood fencing available.
- When it comes time to replacing wood fencing, the material is sustainable and easy to dispose of. This is an important factor as wood fences have a limited life expectancy.
- While you can paint or stain a wood fence almost any color, the color will fade and chip over time and require that you paint or stain it again – and again.
- Wood fencing is susceptible to rot, insects, termites, water damage, and damages from the elements. As time goes on, repairs and replacements of wood fencing can be costly.
- When your fencing is compromised with insects and termites, this can bring potential problems to your neighboring home.
- Fence boards made of wood must be properly treated in order to sustain from elements such as rain, snow, and other factors. If they are not, costly repairs and replacement costs may come in to play.
- While wooden fences are susceptible to moisture damage, this damage can also lead to sagging which has to be replaced or repaired in order to keep your fence in good working order as well as looking good.
- It is true that wood fences are easy to dispose of or recycle. However, in the time that you have one vinyl fence, it may be necessary to have several wooden fences. The cost of replacing and upkeep negate the sustainability of the fence itself.
While wood fencing has come a long way over the years, the maintenance and upkeep of wood fencing still remain a daunting – and costly – concern. In order to upkeep your wood fence, you should treat it for termites yearly, this cost alone can be a couple hundred dollars. Keep in mind if you want to keep throwing money at a product that has a limited life expectancy.
Overall Vinyl Vs Wood
There are many factors that you should consider when making the decision of what type of material to use for your fencing needs. Fences provide not only privacy and safety but security. You should feel that same security when you make an important investment in your home.
It is a simple fact that vinyl fencing will last longer than wood fencing and require much less repair and maintenance upkeep. These factors should be taken into consideration when looking at initial costs of fencing. Maintenance, upkeep, and replacement costs of fencing should be factored in with the initial installation costs in order to get a fair estimate of the actual cost of fence ownership in its lifetime.
You may feel that if you choose vinyl fencing that your style options are more limited than if you went with traditional wood fencing. This is not true at all. Not only can you get privacy fences made from vinyl but also stylish fencing such as equestrian rail fencing with two, three, or four rails. That does not even go into the other styles that are available in vinyl fence trends such as the classic picket fence, the Charleston styling, American Heritage classic styling, and more. These fences come in a variety of color choices that do not require you to repaint them in the coming years as they are resistant to fade and chipping.
If privacy is your main concern when it comes to fencing, vinyl privacy fence panels cannot be beat. Vinyl fence privacy panels do not have gaps in them and they will not contract or expand in the elements. Your neighbors will love the look as both sides are finished so you do not have to worry about who gets the unfinished side with posts that stick out. The panels even come available with nice decorative tops that not only are aesthetically pleasing but allow light to filter in to your yard. While wood privacy fencing may blend in with the outdoor elements, they may gap, sag, or warp over time. This not only requires maintenance but leaves your neighbors facing the same issues.
Since there is virtually no upkeep required on vinyl fencing, it leaves more time and money to do other projects around your yard and home. The yearly maintenance fees and upkeep on a wood fence can take you away from other projects that you could be pursuing.
Vinyl fences look new for a longer period of time than wood fences and age well. All the maintenance that is required on a vinyl fence is washing it – easily with a pressure washer – to keep the dirt and grime off of it that can accumulate over time.
Regardless of your fence choice – vinyl or wood – make sure that you look at the whole picture and take all costs and maintenance upkeep in mind when making your decision. Fencing is a long-term commitment and you should take careful consideration to make sure that you do not make a decision that you will regret in the future. When ten years down the road comes and you have to replace a wood fence, the decision to not to install a vinyl fence may be one that you regret.