By Erik J. Martin | CTW Features
The poet Robert Frost famously wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” But they also make life a lot more comfortable and secure for homeowners.
Trouble is, not all fences are built alike, and some fall apart more quickly than others. So, whether you are considering a first-time fence or eager to replace your worn-down property barrier, it’s essential to carefully consider all the different fence types and styles available today.
“Any homeowner who is looking to increase privacy, define property boundaries, provide protection around a pool area, create a contained area for pets or small children, or add decorative accent to increase their home’s curb appeal is the perfect candidate for new or replacement fencing,” says Peter Fickinger, vice president of Pro Fence Channel at Barrette Outdoor Living, a division of Oldcastle APG.
Even if you already have a fence, remember that most types don’t last forever due to wear and tear.
“Most wooden fences only last around 10 to 20 years, although less durable types of wood may need to be replaced even sooner,” cautions Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love in San Diego.
If you live in an area that endures extreme weather conditions, like heavy snowfall or high winds, selecting a material that can withstand the elements is essential.
Fickinger says solid vinyl fencing is the most popular fencing type in America today and is typically recommended for homeowners seeking increased privacy.
“Solid vinyl fencing comes in various styles and colors, is durable, easy to maintain and clean, and will not splinter or warp. On the downside, it is slightly more expensive than other types of fencing, including steel and aluminum,” he notes. Per HomeAdvisor, vinyl fencing often costs between $10 and $40 per linear foot.
Wooden fencing is another crown-pleasing choice, offering attractive aesthetic appeal and widespread availability. However, it requires more maintenance in the form of sealing, staining, and/or painting if you want to preserve the materials and extend longevity.
“Cedarwood is generally the most resistant to weathering, meaning it will stay looking nice for longer. It contains natural oils that are more repellent to bugs and help it keep its color better, so it fades less with time,” says Yamaguchi, who adds that oak, pine, cypress, or pressure-treated wood are other options. “But with any wood, rain can warp it, the sun will damage it, and strong winds could blow fence slats free from the overall structure of the fence.”
Depending on the species, wood fencing will set you back $17 to $45 per linear foot, according to HomeAdvisor.
Meanwhile, aluminum fencing can provide an open feel, durability, no-maintenance features, and a high degree of rackability. However, it is not as strong as steel fencing and does not offer privacy. Expect to pay around $7 to $32 per foot, per HomeAdvisor.
“Steel fencing is cheaper than vinyl but slightly more expensive than aluminum, can easily follow the natural slope of your yard, and can withstand extreme climates. But it is a heavy fence, the styles and colors available are limited, and it has the potential to rust over time,” notes Fickinger. You’ll likely fork over $17 to $90 per linear foot for steel fencing, HomeAdvisor reports.
Chain-link fencing is among the cheapest choices, with a price tag of around $5 to $40 per foot, according to HomeAdvisor. But it is probably the least visually appealing type, offers the least amount of privacy, is typically not as tall as other fencing materials, and is relatively easy to climb, Yamaguchi explains.
“Some other popular fencing options include wrought iron fencing and bamboo fencing,” says Joshua Haley, founder of Moving Astute. “Bamboo fencing is a more affordable option that can provide a similar look to wrought iron fencing, but it is not as durable.”
Before committing to a particular fencing material or style, “consider your home’s exterior materials as well as your property’s hardscapes and decking and how they might harmonize or clash with your fencing choice,” suggests Joe Raboine, director of Residential Hardscapes for Belgard. “A classic white picket fence and a cottage style would lend itself to a more organic feel, incorporating more natural paver stones and textured looks. On the other hand, a more modern style home with aluminum fencing would complement contemporary, linear, and smooth services for hardscapes.”