Vinyl Or Wood? See How These Two Common Privacy Fencing Materials Compare

Posted on: 22 March 2016


If you're looking for a sturdy fence to enclose your yard and enhance your property, you have several choices. Two of the most common privacy fence materials are wood and vinyl, largely because it is easy to make a solid structure out of these materials. Both vinyl and wood have their pros and cons. Here's a look at how the two compare when it comes to common fencing features and considerations.

Appearance: Wood prevails (usually).

It's hard to beat the natural, stately appeal of real wood, especially if you have a home with a more rustic exterior or one made in a more traditional architecture tradition like the Craftsman style. While there are vinyl fences that are made to look like wood, you can tell the difference when you're close up. Of course, appearance is a matter of opinion. If you happen to think that vinyl looks better than wood, then this gives vinyl another leg up on the competition.

Maintenance: Vinyl prevails.

There's a great deal of required maintenance for a wood fence. You'll need or paint or water seal it regularly to keep rot from setting in. You'll need to keep an eye out for insects and treat the fence with insecticides if pests like wood bees decide to call it home. Boards may also warp, requiring replacement. Vinyl is much lower maintenance. You don't have to stain or paint it, bugs stay away from it, and when it starts to look dirty you can just spray it down with a hose.

Cost: Wood prevails.

The cost of fences varies widely based on your region and the specific style of fence you choose. In general, however, wooden privacy fences tend to be less expensive than vinyl privacy fences. You can expect to pay between $7 and $15 per linear foot for a standard wooden privacy fence without any special ornamentation. A standard vinyl privacy fence typically ranges from $12 to $25 per linear foot.

Safety: Vinyl prevails.

If you don't have kids or pets, safety might not be on the top of your list of concerns when it comes to privacy fencing. However, if you do have kids or pets, it is important to note that vinyl is safer or several reasons. It won't splinter like wood does, so you don't have to worry about your kids or pets coming in with splinters in their flesh. Vinyl does not need to be treated with stains or insecticides either, so you don't have to worry if your child or pet decides to chew on it.

Ease of repair: Wood prevails.

Both wood and vinyl are pretty durable, but if your fence is going to break, a wooden fence is a lot easier to repair than a vinyl fence. Vinyl privacy fences are typically made from just a few big sheets of vinyl. If one breaks, the whole sheet must be replaced -- and typically, you'll need to have a professional do this. Wooden privacy fences are made from stacked boards or boards placed side by side. If the fence breaks, usually just a board or two break, and you can replace the broken boards yourself with just a few basic DIY skills.

Lifespan: It depends!

The average vinyl fence will last about 20 or 30 years. The lifespan of a wooden fence varies. Cheap pine fencing only lasts between 5 and 12 years, but if you spring for pressure treated lumber, your fence will last 20 years or more. Cedar may even last up to 40 years. In reality, either choice is typically durable and long-lasting.

If you're looking for a less expensive, rustic-looking fence and you don't mind doing some maintenance, wood is a great choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a lower maintenance fence and don't mind spending a little more, you might be best off with vinyl.

For more tips and options, contact a professional fencing company, such as Mr Fence.