If you have been researching new fences for your home, you may have noticed the buzz around vinyl fencing. But with wood fencing being the traditional go-to, you may be wondering, “can vinyl fencing replace wood?” To help you make the best decision on fencing material for your property, we will take a look at both wood and vinyl. We’ll give you some history, and answer your questions about maintenance, durability, and the thing on everyone’s mind: cost.
A little bit of history
Vinyl is a super-durable material often referred to as PVC, which is short for polyvinyl chloride. It was introduced as fencing in the 1980s, but those early versions looked plastic-y and cheap. Since then, improvements in manufacturing have led to PVC fences that look more natural and last longer. This change has led to an increase in the popularity of vinyl as a fencing material.
Meanwhile, wood has long been a popular material for fences. Affordable and coming in a range of colors, wood fences can be found in every style and size. Redwood is the most extensively used type of wood for fencing, along with cedar.
Can you replace a wooden fence with vinyl?
Perhaps you have made the decision to replace your wood fence with vinyl. There are still a few ways to go about this.
Vinyl fence posts
If you have a wooden fence, you may have experienced the issue of needing to replace pickets, slats, or posts as they age and decay. So you might be considering a sort of hybrid situation, where you add vinyl to your existing wooden fence. There are vinyl fence post sleeves designed to be used to cover wooden posts. They are commonly used to cover deck posts, pillars, or small-scale fencing projects.
However, poorly prepped wooden posts encapsulated by vinyl are far more vulnerable to mold, decay, and rot. So the question is not can but rather should vinyl fencing replace wood in bits and pieces. The short answer is that, no, you should probably look for a longer-term solution, likely in the form of a new, well-built vinyl fence.
Issues with installing vinyl over wood
One of the biggest issues with a wood fence is that it is susceptible to moisture and will rot. A wood post will absorb water through its top and bottom end grains like a sponge. However, because of its porous nature, even when the wood is completely saturated, as long as a post is allowed ample ventilation, the wood will eventually air itself out.
However, in construction, at least one end of the post is typically installed in direct contact with another material, diminishing ventilation. Therefore, if subject to constant moisture exposure, the portion of a wood post that cannot air itself out will lend itself to mold and decay. As a result, covering an existing post with a vinyl sleeve can exacerbate this issue. Therefore, if you choose to have vinyl fencing replace wood fencing on your property, start with a new vinyl fence.
Wood versus vinyl fencing
As vinyl production continues to improve and prices continue to drop, it seems likely that vinyl will soon unseat wood from the fencing throne. You can read more about how the two compare here. To summarize, with wood you are looking at a lot more work in terms of maintenance, and the overall lifespan is shorter than vinyl. Vinyl is essentially indestructible and unchanging for a good 30 years.
There are a few major concerns that homeowners have when it comes to purchasing a new fence: aesthetics, maintenance, and cost. So let’s start at the top. You may have heard that vinyl fences can look cheap or tacky. And while that may have been the case 20 years ago, it certainly does not ring true today. If you use a trustworthy fencing company, your new vinyl fence can make your home the star of the block. However, vinyl fencing DIY attempts may result in less than stellar aesthetic results.
While wood’s aesthetics can vary by type, there is a certain warmth and beauty that vinyl cant’ quite recreate. However, since wood is so susceptible to wear and damage, this can quickly take away from its beauty. A new wood fence may be stunning. But add a few years, some weathering and discoloration from sun and rain, and a broken fence panel… Your wooden fence will no longer look as beautiful as you’d hoped. And unless you are willing and able to invest time and money in maintenance, you may be stuck with an eyesore instead of a stunner.
Whenever you purchase something for your home, you are probably thinking about what you will need to do to maintain that item. And just like any appliance or home feature, fencing requires some maintenance. If your home has a wood fence, you may be familiar with sanding, staining, and painting your fence. A vinyl fence won’t require any such maintenance. Just a good hose down or some soapy water should do the trick to keep a vinyl fence looking new. And in terms of durability, vinyl fencing easily outlasts wood fencing by 10 to 20 years.
The bottom line for many homeowners is the price of fencing. But remember, a fence is a long-term investment! Vinyl fencing is a longer-term investment, therefore it has a higher value. Typically, vinyl fencing will cost a bit more upfront than installing wood fencing. However, in the past few years, we have seen the price of vinyl fencing decrease, making it ever more popular.
Will vinyl fencing replace wood?
Wood will likely remain a popular fencing choice for many. In humid climates, the decline in popularity may be quicker. In areas such as the Southeast, a vinyl fence is a much smarter, safer choice.
However, as of now, vinyl fencing can’t quite match wood in its warmth and beauty. But it is getting close! And because vinyl doesn’t require the ongoing maintenance that wood does, it will look the same for many more years. So will vinyl fencing replace wood? Maybe not entirely, but it’s certainly closing the gap.
Get started with a new vinyl fence
Now that you are armed with more information about wood and vinyl fencing, you may feel ready to proceed with your project. The first step to purchasing a new fence of any material is to find a reliable fencing company! When you work with experienced professionals, you can feel assured that you are getting accurate information and a good price. At Bravo Fence Company, our goal is to provide customers with superior service, top-quality materials, and expert advice. All at an affordable price.
In order to achieve this goal, we will start by helping you choose the best fence solution for your needs. And we back up our work with a 5-year warranty on all labor related to our fence installations and against any defects in workmanship. So don’t delay in replacing your old wooden fence! Contact the pros at Bravo Fence Company today.