Know Your Fence Materials



PRESSURE TREATED PINE

Pine is an inexpensive, easily accessible soft wood that - when treated with chemicals - provides a reliable option for fence framing (posts and rails).

PROS:

  • Lowest cost, chemical provides rot resistance

  • Longest lasting softwood option

  • Recommended option for wood posts and framework (pieces that accept fasteners, like screws or nails)

CONS:

  • Susceptible to warping, twisting, and cracking - ranging from mild to severe. This is an aesthetic downside, not a durability/longevity flaw

  • Chemical treatments can pose health risks to small animals, children, and plants

  • Cannot be recycled after use

WESTERN RED & SUGI CEDAR

Cedar is the most reliable and sustainable species of soft wood used for fencing. It can be used for fence framing for a nicer look, and it's one of the best wood option for pickets.

PROS:

  • Contains natural acids that deter insects

  • Minimal shrinkage and lowest vulnerability to warping, twisting, and checking among coniferous lumber

  • Superior sound dampening due to cellular pore network

  • Cedar lumber trees are fast growing, and provide one of the most sustainable options for fence material

  • Can be recycled after use

CONS:

  • Will decay/rot naturally and require replacement sooner than treated or composite alternatives

A NOTE ABOUT WESTERN RED vs SUGI CEDAR

There's a lot of information out there about these two species, and many traditional voices tend to stand by Western Red Cedar as the best option for fence material, period. The physical characteristics of the two species are incredibly similar, though, and recent climate events in regions where Western Red Cedar is harvested have made Sugi a great alternative.

Our short, honest version of the comparison is that Sugi is harder, and therefore slightly more susceptible to shrinking and warping; two problems that are easily mitigated by proper fence design, something we're very good at. We're confident that either option will provide a great looking, long lasting fence, and both can be trusted as great options.

COMPOSITES

A mixture of recycled plastics and woods, composites offer superior looks, longevity, and manufacturer warranties.

PROS:

  • Made of 95% recycled material.

  • Up to 25 year manufacturers warranty against warping, cracking, and twisting.

  • No maintenance required.

  • Multiple color options available.

CONS:

  • High price compared to wood products

  • High manufacturing carbon footprint

  • Cannot be recycled after use

GALVANIZED STEEL

Steel provides the longest lasting post structure for any fence, particularly with the rust resistance offered by galvanization. We recommend steel posts for all clients who want their fence to maintain a nice, straight appearance long-term, or who plan to live in their home long enough to replace the lumber without the cost of new posts.


Reputable ornamental iron manufacturers use only galvanized steel as their base metal prior to powder coating.

FASTENERS (NAILS, SCREWS, ETC.)

See blog post below entitled "Why We Use Stainless Steel Ringshank Nails"