Wood vs. Vinyl Fencing

Wood vs. Vinyl Fencing

The iconic white picket fence is a symbol for many of their “dream home.” But in the debate of wood vs. vinyl fencing, you have to wonder: is that iconic fence wood or vinyl? In the past, it was surely made of wood, but nowadays you can’t be so sure! Wood fences are eternally popular, coming in warm colors and design options that go far beyond the classic picket. With its organic texture and the unique grain of each board, it’s obvious why so many homeowners love wood fencing.

However, when it comes to fence materials, vinyl is giving wood some tough competition these days. Whichever type of fence you choose will depend on a variety of factors. Consider your budget, aesthetic taste, and how much maintenance you’re willing to put in. Read on to understand more about the differences in the showdown of wood vs. vinyl. With all of this information, you’ll be sure to pick the perfect fence material for your home.

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, improved composition has led to PVC fences that look more natural and are stronger and tougher than ever. This change has led to an increase in the popularity of vinyl as a fencing material.

What is the best material to use for a fence?

PVC/vinyl and wood are both great materials to consider if you want to build a fence for privacy reasons. When it comes to wood vs. vinyl fencing, one key difference is that wood will have much more variety. This can be good and bad. It can be good, in that you’ll have lots of options aesthetically, as well as a broader price range. However, with that availability comes issues with quality, especially with less expensive woods.

What is the best wood to use for a fence?

Redwood is the most extensively used type of wood for wood fencing. Along with cedar, it is arguably the best wood for fences. While it comes at a high cost, redwood’s quality, durability, and aesthetic value make it among the best options. Cedar is popular for being non-toxic and insect resistant. It’s stable as a wood fence material, and it doesn’t shrink, splinter, or warp. Cedar truly stands the test of time, maintaining its look for decades.

COST OF WOOD VS. VINYL FENCING

Are vinyl fences worth it?

You may have read that vinyl fencing requires a larger investment upfront versus other materials. While this can be true, it’s also important to note that vinyl is one of the most durable fencing materials on the market. Therefore, you will save money in the long run with a vinyl fence. Vinyl requires much less maintenance than wood fencing, saving you valuable time and money.

Alternatively, while less expensive to purchase, maintaining wood fencing makes it pricier over time. A wood fence is bound to require maintenance, such as replacing boards as they warp or rot. Wood fences are susceptible to weather, rot, insects, and other debilitating factors. Vinyl won’t warp or fade, and should essentially look the same and hold up as well as the day it’s installed.

Does vinyl fencing add to the value of a home?

Any fence, wood or vinyl, can add value to your home. If you choose your design and layout carefully, your fence will enhance your home’s beauty, security, and functionality. A vinyl fence may add slightly more value, as a potential buyer won’t have to worry about replacing it in the future.

AESTHETICS

Do vinyl fences look cheap?

Wood will always look more natural than vinyl. You can’t beat wood for organic warmth and a traditional feel. It’s available in a seemingly endless number of options and design styles, from a privacy fence with a decorative scalloped top to a French Gothic-style picket fence. And when it comes to finishes, wood can be left in its natural state with simply a protective sealant, or stained or painted in virtually any color you like. Among the most popular wood choices for fencing, cedar has a rich reddish color, tight grain, and minimal knots, while somewhat pricier redwood and teak have a highly desirable luster.

However, the appearance of vinyl has greatly improved over the last decade. Now you can find options with faux-wood grain and even faux-stone looks. While you won’t mistake vinyl for wood or stone, they can be very aesthetically pleasing. You’ll know your fence is attractive and durable, so you won’t have to worry about it looking or feeling cheap.

 

MAINTENANCE

When it comes to maintenance, there isn’t a straightforward answer for which is better, wood or vinyl. Here are some details regarding cleaning and repairing fencing to help you determine if wood vs. vinyl fencing best suits your needs.

Vinyl fences are easier to keep clean

A periodic rinse with the garden hose is pretty much all it takes to erase dirt from a vinyl fence. A pressure washer makes it even easier but is not required. However, wood fences will likely need a power washing, and possibly the use of detergents, on a more frequent basis. Wood’s porous nature makes these fences susceptible to mold and mildew.

Wood can be refinished

Vinyl cannot be painted or stained, so once you choose a color and style for your vinyl fence, that’s what it will look like. If you continue to love it, great! But if you change your mind, you’ll have to start with a whole new fence. One of the wonderful things about a wood fence is that it can be painted or stained to suit your taste as time goes on.

Repairing vinyl is trickier than wood

Though vinyl is very durable, if it does get damaged, such as by extreme weather or accidental impact, it can be a pain to repair. Small holes or cracks can be fixed with a DIY vinyl fence repair kit from the home center, but major damage will likely require calling in a pro. Because many vinyl fences are sold as large panels designed to look like individual pieces of wood joined together, you may have to replace the whole panel instead of just a few planks of wood. In this case, it also may be hard to track down your fence style if it has been discontinued. This is why if you do choose a vinyl fence, it’s important to go with a trusted professional fencing company. They’ll be able to assist with repairs or replacements if ever necessary. Wood may warp, rot, or weaken over time, but it’s relatively simple to retrofit a piece to match if it breaks.

DURABILITY OF WOOD VS. VINYL FENCING

What type of fence lasts the longest?

When it comes to the durability of wood vs. vinyl fencing, it’s no contest – vinyl wins. Depending on your choice of species and finish, wood may need to be cleaned, treated, sealed, stained, and re-stained as weather and sunlight take their toll. For example, pressure-treated wood, which undergoes a preservative process, can warp as soon as one month after installation! Wood fences can be maintained but will still need to be fully replaced after about 10 to 15 years.

What is the life expectancy of a vinyl fence?

A perfectly maintained, top-quality wooden fence, will last 10 to 15 years. But a vinyl one can last up to 30 years!

WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU: WOOD VS. VINYL FENCING

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. Vinyl fencing provides a better return on investment and won’t require regular maintenance like wood fencing. You will likely be happier with a vinyl fence in the long run. Call Bravo Fence Company today to learn more about what installing a fence on your property will entail.