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Fence materials differ in their durability, style

By Chris Jones Published: August 14, 2008
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Choosing from the wide selection of fence materials can be confusing. Wood, vinyl and iron are just three of the choices available. The consumer fence guide from the American Fence Association provides information to help consumers learn about fence styles and uses.

Wood
Traditional wood fencing remains popular today, with the natural beauty of wood favored by many homeowners. New technology helps decrease problems such as warping and rotting wood. While consumers have a variety of wood from which to choose, the majority of fences are made of western red cedar or pressure treated pine. Spruce, fir and redwood are other choices.

Southern yellow pine is a popular choice because it is strong and more economical than many other fencing materials. Pressure-treated pine is resistant to decay and insects and usually comes with a 10-year warranty.

Western red cedar is favored for its natural beauty and longevity. It naturally resists warping and rotting in most situations. It usually costs more than southern yellow pine.

Picket fencing remains a popular style, along with stockade, and post-and-rail. Paint and stain can be used to coordinate the fence with its surroundings.

Remember before digging fence post holes, to check for underground utility lines in the vicinity.

Vinyl
Vinyl fencing is one of the most versatile materials in fencing. It can mimic wood and ornamental styles, and it is nearly maintenance free.

Vinyl fences do not rot or have to be painted, and can be cleaned up quickly with periodic washing. Vinyl is manufactured for strength and durability but it is also fire resistant.

Traditional white picket fences add charm to a property and can be used to enclose and protect children and pets.

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