wood or vinyl fence

Wood or Vinyl Fence: The Right Privacy Fence for Your Home

For many homeowners, a metal or chain-link fence does not provide the necessary privacy that is desired. But the question then becomes, is a wood or vinyl fence the proper solution? Given the advantages and disadvantages of both materials, it can be a difficult choice.

Where to Start?

Everything begins with your needs. As the homeowner, you will need to make an evaluation of your current situation. This includes the fence that is in place, assuming there is one. Plus, what you want to protect in terms of privacy. You need to determine the height, length, and style regulations set by the city or county you live in. Then, within those guides, find the privacy and security solutions that you need.

But there are other questions that you need to ask first before taking the plunge into purchasing a new fence.

  • Why put the fence in place?
  • What budget have I set aside to buy and install the fence?
  • How difficult will it be to maintain?
  • Does it present a pleasing appearance?
  • Will there be a return on my investment?

There are other considerations, but they will mostly be based on the type of fence you choose. What follows are comparisons of both materials, so you can make the best-informed decision.

wood or vinyl fence [infographic]

Wood or Vinyl

Both materials share many similarities, especially since many vinyl fences are made to look like wood ones. Both fences achieve the same objective of providing a solid physical barrier that does not allow anyone to see into your property.

Plus, both fences can be customized to your needs. Whether you need a small fence to surround your patio or pool or a large fence to surround your property, both materials can be used for such purposes.

But there are significant differences between the materials you should know before choosing a wood or vinyl fence. What follows are the significant differences of each material.

Installation

This is where wood fencing has the advantage over vinyl. Although the actual cost will vary depending on several factors, a wood privacy fence is generally 50% less expensive to install than vinyl. The actual cost is based on the length of the fence you are installing.

Although vinyl itself is an inexpensive material, vinyl privacy fencing adds steel posts per linear foot to keep it resilient and standing upright. This additional cost means that you will pay more for the typical vinyl fence.

However, when choosing between a wood or vinyl fence, the initial installation costs are just one factor. There are other considerations to make as well when judging the total cost and what you receive.

Appearance

While how the fence looks may seem to be a minor issue to some, keep in mind that you will look at it every day. Therefore, a beautiful fence is desirable not only for you and your family but for your neighbors as well.

There is no doubt an inherent beauty to wood fences. Since wood has been used for centuries, a solid wood fence brings out nostalgia along with its beauty. Of course, the fence will only look as good as how it is maintained, but it is quite attractive when installed.

Since vinyl fences are newer, they lack the nostalgic quality of a wood fence. However, because they can be shaped into different designs, they have their own inherent beauty. And since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, both wood and vinyl are equally attractive when new and intact.

Maintenance

Arguably the biggest selling point of a vinyl fence is that once you put it up, it does not require any maintenance beyond repairs. You may need to wash off the dirt to maintain its appearance after a storm or weather event. But otherwise, you can leave it alone for years, and it will not fade, crack, or fall apart—at least not on its own.

Wood fences require considerable maintenance to keep up their appearance and physical condition. This means regular cleaning and replacement of lumber that is falling apart. A wood fence also needs periodic staining to keep the porous surface from developing mold, mildew, or other containments. This means staining or painting the fence when it is installed and staining or painting every two to five years as needed to ensure the material stays sound. So in terms of maintenance, vinyl fencing is superior.

How Long Will You Be on the Property?

This is an important question because of the durability of both types of materials. This means that before you make your decision, it’s best to know just how long you are staying in the home.

If you plan to stay only a short time, such as one to three years, then the less expensive wood fence may be the right choice. While you still must maintain it, the cost over the first two to three years is arguably less than vinyl.

That all changes when you plan on staying for longer than three years. The maintenance costs of a wood fence start to skyrocket at this point, with additional staining and replacement of wood becoming more frequent.

Since vinyl fences are maintenance-free, they can last up to ten years or longer, depending on the environment. Assuming that there is no impact damage to the fence, vinyl is the best value if you plan on staying for longer than three to five years.

Any financial decision should be based on the total cost over a year, five years, ten years, or longer, depending on how long you will stay on the property. In most cases, a vinyl fence offers a definite value advantage even if the initial installation cost may be higher. But in the end, the choice between a wood or vinyl fence should be based on more than just your budget. You will need to consider all relevant factors in your decision. For instance, regardless of budget, you may prefer the low maintenance of vinyl or the classic aesthetic of wood. A final decision will take in all the relevant factors, and whatever you decide, Bravo Fence can install the fence of your dreams.