Learn all about two popular materials—each with various benefits and drawbacks—so you can install the ideal fence for your property.
The iconic white picket fence symbolic of the American dream? It was surely made of wood. Wood is a tough competitor. With its long history, its many virtues, and its popularity, wood once dominated the fencing market. You can’t beat wood for organic warmth and traditional feel. Wood fences also come in warm colors and design options that go far beyond the classic picket. Add in organic texture and the unique grain of each board and you can see why so many folks love a wood fence. However, wood requires an abundance of work if you want it to look clean and presentable and last for many years to come. It will need to be cleaned periodically, treated, stained every year for the first three years, and stained every other year after that (and unfortunately, staining can be expensive and time-consuming). Plus, wood rots as the years go by. As it warps and begins to fall apart, you will need to replace the damaged lumber.
Vinyl, however, is giving wood some stiff competition these days. Vinyl fencing lasts much longer than wood, requires virtually no maintenance, and won’t be destroyed by wood’s archenemies (termites, fungus, dry rot, and fire). However, vinyl is somewhat more expensive than wood. This super-durable material often referred to as PVC, short for polyvinyl chloride, was introduced as fencing in the 1980s, but those early versions looked plastic-y and cheap. Improved composition has led to PVC fences that look more natural and are stronger and tougher than ever.
Wood vs. vinyl fencing: which is best? With its lengthy life, lack of maintenance, formidable strength, and beautifully versatile appearance, vinyl should be your preferred choice for fencing. Although it is more expensive upfront, it provides a better return on investment and won’t require regular (and costly) maintenance like wood fencing. Unless you’re looking to fence a very large area and you also don’t plan to live in your current home very long, we promise that you will be happier with a vinyl fence in the long run.