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.
WoodTraditional 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.
VinylVinyl 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. Vinyl privacy fences shield a property and can be built as a solid board or in a style that allows wind to pass through. Post-and-rail vinyl fences add a ranch look to property and can contain larger animals. Ornamental vinyl fences provide an elegant look and are often used to enclose swimming pools. Vinyl fences come with extensive warranties, a feature that is important to many homeowners.
Ornamental steelOrnamental steel fencing is favored by many home owners for its beauty and strength. Ornamental steel and aluminum fences offer style and security, and the open design is preferred by many consumers because the design doesn't detract from landscaping. In many cases, the decorative fencing provides an attractive backdrop for landscaping. Customers can personalize their steel fences by adding rails, rings, scrolls and finials. Ornamental steel gates are particularly popular with homeowners who want an elegant look. To lower the cost, steel fencing is often combined with wood in less noticeable areas of a property. Ornamental steel is constructed from standard prefabricated tubular and solid bars then welded or fastened together into panels to produce an attractive, strong fence. Steel fences must be coated to preserve the finish, because they will rust. A fence built from galvanized steel adds an additional layer of protection against rust. Homeowners who want to add more security to their decorative fence can add unobtrusive mesh behind the pickets, and gates can be outfitted with locks.