Selecting the Best Material For Your Fence

Selecting the Best Material For Your Fence

Today, there are a wide variety of material choices for fences. The purpose of the fence will be a big factor in selecting the best material to use. Whether you choose wood, vinyl, metal or another fencing material, you’ll want to know the pros and cons, cost, style and durability of each of the materials.

To help you get started, consider these popular materials to find the type of fencing that will work best for your budget, purpose and your time.

Wood Fencing

Pros: An all-time favorite. Attractive and usually inexpensive. Very versatile and come in a variety of designs and styles. Can be painted any color you like or stained.

Cons:  Requires regular maintenance that can become expensive; may rot or warp due to excess moisture; termites and other pests may lead to destructive infestations.

USE: Privacy and security fences


Pros:  Beautiful, long-lasting, tight grain, fewer knots, will not warp or shrink, naturally resists decay and insects, will gradually weather and fade to a gray color if not stained, low-maintenance.

Cons: Untreated portion of wood in the soil will likely rot after several years, requires maintenance including occasional plank replacement,

USES: Security and privacy fence

Redwood and Teak

Pros: Beautiful, natural softness and luster, naturally resist insects, decay, shrinking, and warping.

Cons: Very expensive so usually limited to small areas, requires sealer or oil once or twice a year to maintain original color

USES: Enclosures around spas or pools 

Vinyl Fencing

Pros: Vinyl fencing comes in a wide range of heights and styles and at affordable prices.  It won’t blister, rot or warp; many vinyl systems come with aluminum for durability and strength; easy to install-a DIY project.

Cons: Vinyl has a higher upfront cost; can turn brittle and crack in extreme temperatures.

USE: Privacy and security fences

Steel Fencing

Ornamental Steel Fence

Pros: Strong, heavy, long-lasting; most steel fences are galvanized and covered in a powder coating to prevent rusting.

Cons: Quite expensive, lacks versatility, more difficult to install,

USE: Good for uneven or sloped land, some professionals recommend steel for only commercial uses.

Wrought Iron Fencing

Pros: Durable, requires little maintenance, works well for creative, decorative designs; extremely strong and resilient, hard to break, won’t warp, deteriorate, dry out, or be affected by termites.

Cons: Most expensive of all fencing materials, heavy, difficult to handle, hard to install, can develop rust spots.

USE: Excellent for security fences and those seeking high-level security


Pros: Looks like wood, but not affected by termites, won’t rot, low-maintenance

CONS: Requires professional installation, more expensive than other materials.

USE: Privacy and security fences

Chain-link Fencing

A Chain Link fence does not provide privacy or security and is not that attractive

Pros: Inexpensive, rugged, durable and typically maintenance-free; easy to install, long-lasting

Cons: Basic, no-frills, boring/unattractive in appearance, easy to climb over so not good as a security or privacy fence.

USE: Best in commercial use for schoolyards, prisons, surrounding electrical enclosures.

Masonry – Concrete – Stucco – Brick – Block – Stone

Brick Fence

Pros:  Creates beautiful, stately look around the home

Cons:  Pricey, requires professional installation, needs structural footing poured below the frost line due to its weight, over time mortar joints can work loose

USE: Privacy and security fences