With regular maintenance, a wood fence has a lifespan of about 20 years. However, you can increase a fence’s life expectancy significantly if you pay upfront for higher quality wood. Some species of wood hold up much better than others. Here are a few of the types and characteristics of wood to help you decide which one is best for your next fencing project.
Western Red Cedar – Western red cedar wood is naturally resistant to many of the ills that befall your average pine. Its natural resistance to moisture, rot and insect infestation makes it well suited for pickets and posts. Furthermore, the beautiful appearance of western red cedar makes it prized by many home owners.
White Oak – White oak is tough, hardy, and it stays strong even when exposed to harm weather and the elements. Because of this, white oak is an excellent choice for people who keep horses or other animals (and also — horses enjoy chewing on pine). Oak has a tendency to warp or bow, however, so you will want to take this into consideration before installing it with your fence.
Black Locust – Black locust is one of the toughest woods found north of the equator. It will last for decades without significant maintenance, making it an excellent choice for posts.
Tropical Hardwoods – South America is home to many of the most durable and beautiful woods for outdoor fences. Tigerwood, Brazilian Cherry, and Ipe offer extreme density in addition to their natural beauty. The only drawback, of course, is there much higher price tag.
Pressure Treated Pine – Although pine is a more common, cheaper option, pressure treatment can imbue it with much more durability and moisture resistance. For the environmentally conscious, however, the heavy chemicals may raise an eyebrow. Regardless, pressure treated pine remains a good option for those looking for durability at a lower price point.
Plastic Lumber – Techniques with synthetic materials are making plastic an option that resembles wood much more than it ever did before. PVC fencing lasts an extraordinarily long time, sometimes as long as 100 years or more, and requires very minimal maintenance. Bugs can’t eat it, fungus won’t harm it, and it won’t develop moisture cracks either. Still, PVC fencing is costly, and it’s not actually lumber. It will, however, pay off in the long term.
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