There is a lot to consider when building a fence. You need to determine the height, design, layout, construction method, and gate placement. The list doesn’t end there, though. You also need to think about your budget, the climate you live in, potential long-term maintenance, and the overall purpose of your fence.
Before you become overwhelmed by all you need to plan out, did you know you can address many of these components by first deciding what type of fencing material you want to use? The material you select impacts everything from styles and designs to cost and availability.
Homeowners construct fences made from various materials such as wood, vinyl, metal, wrought iron, steel, and aluminum. Wood is the most popular kind of fencing material used in the United States, but not just any type of wood makes a great fence. Every type of wood offers pros and cons, and what works for one homeowner might not be the best match for another.
It is important to understand the different benefits and drawbacks of each type of wood to ensure you select the right fight for your fencing project. As you become more educated about the available choices and determine what you want, you can make sure the fence meets your particular expectations.
Wood, Wood, and More Wood
What kinds of wood do homeowners commonly use for fencing projects? Let’s explore three well-liked options.
CEDAR: Arguably the most common type of wood used for residential fencing, cedar wood has a natural beauty, which is one reason homeowners love it for visible home applications such as fencing, siding, decking, and trim work. Many people recognize cedar wood for its flowing grain patterns, rich-looking textures, and lack of large knots.
While cedar wood is a softwood, it is considered more durable than your typical softwood. You can expect to get many years out of it, mostly because of its inherent ability to resist decay. The natural acids and oils repel insects and make cedar wood moisture-resistant. These characteristics give your fence more durability, stability, and sustainability as it ages over time.
Cedar wood has a distinct smell. When you have a large quantity of it, such as when building a fence to surround an entire yard, you will definitely notice the aroma. In fact, some homeowners sand down the top layer of wood every few years to bring cedar oil to the surface and draw out the scent. Doing so is a simple way to refresh the smell that drives away those pesky insects.
Not all cedar fence wood looks the same. Perhaps you’ve heard of western red cedar or northern white cedar. Both western red cedar and northern white cedar have a unique color and appearance. Western red cedar has more of a red tone, while northern white cedar is lighter in color and gives off more white or yellow shades. The aging process eventually turns both types of cedar into a shiny gray color.
PINEWOOD: Pinewood also falls under the softwood category. It is naturally stiff and commonly used as a fencing material. Although the soft texture makes it vulnerable to scratches and dents, many homeowners don’t mind the aged, old-charm look.
Most homeowners that choose to use pine for their fencing project decide to opt for the pressure-treated pinewood, either kiln-dried or air-dried. Pressure treated lumber is infused with chemicals to help the fence withstand wear and tear. The chemicals protect the wood from rot and destructive insects. The purpose of the pressure-treating process is to ensure the wood holds up longer and withstands the outdoor elements better.
As with cedar, color variations exist in pinewood too. It often varies from a white color to a more yellowish tone. Due to its naturally lighter shade, pinewood is easy to stain. One coat of your desired finish should complete the job just fine.
It is worth noting that in many climates, pressure-treated lumber ages quickly and fences made from this budget wood may need repairing and replacing more frequently.
CYPRESS: Cypress is yet another softwood. Fences made of cypress are durable and long-lasting. Cypress wood has a particularly vivid smell. Be aware if you are sensitive to strong aromas. However, that same oil is what also contributes to its distinct smell make it insect and rot-resistant. Even in wet climates, cypress holds up well.
The physical features of cypress wood truly set it apart from other kinds of woods. Cypress wood has a straight grain and medium to coarse texture. In addition, it has a wonderful light tone and yellow, brownish color palette.
Time to Decide
Cedar, pine, or cypress? You now have additional information about three popular types of woods that homeowners often use to build fences.
What is best for you? Weigh what you like and dislike about each option. Consider the appearance and aesthetic look you hope to achieve. Check the availability and pricing in your area and choose a type of wood that will bring you happiness and satisfaction. A fence is a strategic investment meant to improve your property. You can’t go wrong when you pick something you love.