Vinyl and Wood Fence Comparison
Vinyl fences, launched in the 1980s, have significantly higher durability than wood, need almost no care, and won’t be damaged by the natural enemies of wood (termites, fungus, rot, and flame).
Nevertheless, PVC is a bit costlier compared to wood. So, what to pick if you are thinking of constructing a new fence: wood or vinyl? We’ll help you decide that a lot simpler by having wood fight vinyl fences in a one-on-one battle. Who is going to be the winner? Stick around and figure it out!
Which product is stronger? Which one can withstand stormy weather? Which one has the longest life span? Vinyl wins this first game with flying colors. Vinyl can withstand rough weather, pests, rot, and fungal attack. In fact, it can easily last for decades without your help. Wood may hold for approximately 20 years, but in time it breaks down and you have to fix and renew the wood in the fence. The kind of wood also influences the longevity of the product, since some wood types are more structurally rigid and more resistant to rotting and deterioration (cedar and redwood are best). If you would like your wooden fence to be durable for a long time, you will have to buy a product that has been treated with pressure and chemicals and eventually add a layer of protective coating. Oh, what a bother! Keep to vinyl if you are looking for a tough, long-lasting fence.
How long do vinyl fences last?
If you are concerned about longevity, there’s a definite winner.
Vinyl – It’s tough to break and it can hold for up to 100 years with the least care.
Wood – If maintained properly, it normally holds for around 20 years. Better quality wood has a longer life span.
Vinyl is more complicated to fix than wood
Even though vinyl is very resistant, fixing vinyl can be quite troublesome if, for example, it is cracked or broken by exposure to harsh weather conditions or accidental impacts while playing soccer in the backyard. You can fix tiny cracks or holes using a DIY repair set for vinyl fencing from the home workshop; a specialist may be needed for more serious repairs. And because many vinyl fences are offered as big boards – squares of up to 2 meters in size – that are made to appear like separate pieces of wood put together, you may have to change the whole board instead of just a couple of planks. In such cases, it can also be tricky to find your fence style when it has been adjusted. Wood can distort, decay, or become weaker with time, but when it cracks, it is fairly easy to replace a matching piece.
The winner: Vinyl is the obvious winner in terms of the longevity of wood-vinyl fences.
The fares are usually good against bad weather, extreme temperatures, pests, and fungi.
Closely spaced panels do not allow air to pass through, making it more susceptible to strong winds.
Specialists install it with small gaps between the pickets to let the wind through so that they are less likely to fall down in strong gusts.
Insects and moisture can cause decay. Changes in temperature cause wood to expand and contract, reducing its stability over time.
Also: The best wood oil
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, and there is no place where this is more real than with countryside fences. For most people, authentic wood is more appealing than PVC plastic fencing, which is due in great part to its versatility. Wood is an extremely flexible material and can be subjected to natural weather influences, or it can be stained or painted as desired. A wooden fence can be made to order to be unique to your landscape, and it is easy to adjust to uneven construction sites.
In contrast, vinyl is at its best when it attempts to imitate the appearance of a typical white-painted fence, although even in this case it is hard to fully eliminate the artificial feel. Older vinyl fences and less costly new products have a glossy surface that appears slightly artificial. When PVC fences are exposed to weather conditions, the shine may be replaced by a chalky finish that dims the appearance of the fence. PVC fence panels, which are in large quantities, are sold in a restricted range of choices, so you might be frustrated to discover that your fence will look exactly like tens of other fences in your neighborhood. It is difficult to achieve a “designer” look when using mass-produced PVC fencing.
One of the benefits of PVC is that it does not change color and it does not have to be coated as wood does. Aside from dirt and moss, white PVC fences stay completely white, from year to year. Obviously, this can be a drawback though – after you have put your PVC fence into place, you will stick to its look and paint for the rest of your life. Contrary to wood, PVC can’t just be coated in a new color if you wish to modify its look.
Some of PVC’s obligations are slowly being eliminated as producers add more colors and have now added textures to their products. And extra features such as lattice panels and shaped post tops are making PVC fences slightly less utilitarian than they were before. In the same way that synthetic decking material has progressively turned into a more sophisticated choice, it is probable that PVC fencing will also experience visual upgrades.
Looks new for longer. You can buy panels, decorative toppers, and rails in a variety of colors and styles from the shelf.
The overall picture is less appealing. Its synthetic appearance stands out against the natural background.
The natural look pleases most homeowners and blends well with the surrounding foliage. Style variations such as picket fences and split railings fit any budget.
Its appearance can deteriorate over time, which has a negative effect on the attractiveness of the curbs.
Vinyl fences do not need any maintenance. Even though you may want to hose it down from time to time to remove accumulated dirt, this work is often done by the rain! Wood, on the other hand, needs a lot of work if it is to look clean and presentable and last for many years. It must be cleaned and treated at regular intervals, stained every year for the first three years, and then stained every two years (and unfortunately, staining can be expensive and time-consuming). Moreover, the wood rots over the years. If it becomes distorted and starts to decay, you will have to change the broken wood.
Winner: Vinyl gains from a landslide because it needs almost no care at all.
Vinyl is from the beginning higher in cost than wood. But after your first investment, you do not need to spend anything else. Unless in extreme weather situations, your vinyl fence needs to remain strong and attractive for years to come, with no expensive service or fixes. Although wood is less expensive in advance, it needs to be treated and stained often. And since it won’t hold up like vinyl, you will likely have to change the fence eventually if you are going to spend longer than 10-15 years in your home. If you are thinking about a wood-vinyl fence, take into account the dimensions of your design. If you have a limited size budget but a spacious farm, you may want to go with wood (except if you are planning to stay in that house for 15 years). However, if the area you wish to surround is rather limited and you can easily pay the initial cost, go for vinyl.
Is a vinyl fence cheaper than wood?
Vinyl fences cost more than wooden fences and usually cost between $25 and $40 per linear foot mounted, or $3,750 to $6,000 per 150 linear feet. But vinyl fences last much longer and come with a greater guarantee.
As with wooden fences, gates may or may not be built into the price. Additional decoration, like jagged corners, can cost $2 per linear foot, whereas taking out an old fence typically charges $3 to $6 per linear foot.
You could also cut up to 50 percent off vinyl fences by fitting them yourself. Plus, vinyl fences are far simpler to build since they are lighter.
The winner: wood costs lower in the upfront, but vinyl is more affordable over the long term.
Both wooden and vinyl fences usually perform significantly better when installed by a qualified fence builder. With any type of fence, digging post holes and placing posts is a very demanding job. In general, fence posts must be dug at least about one-third of their total length (or even lower in certain cold-weather areas). The posts must then be set in concrete. If you multiply this work by 20 fence posts, you will understand why so many homeowners entrust this task to a fence contractor.
However, if you’re a passionate DIYer, the work with vinyl fencing is a bit more straightforward than the work with wood, since the posts and boards are considerably lower in weight than the wooden poles and boards. Many PVC fencing products are designed to be easy to install, and the poles are offered with cut-outs to accommodate rails and suitable board supports.
When the wood is properly collected, wooden fences can be both environmentally friendly and long-lasting. Softwoods and modified softwoods have the highest sustainability. But untreated softwoods will not hold up as long as hardwoods, which could mean that you need to change the fence more frequently. A fence built with modified softwoods is a great option for sustainability as they can last for years without care and the woods regrow fast. Tropical hardwoods are a great option for fences in terms of long-term life, however, many tropical hardwoods are endangered by incorrect harvesting and because hardwoods need an average of 70 years to regenerate.
Vinyl fences are more durable than wooden fences, so you will have to replace them more rarely. But when it is time to change your fence, it may be tough to reach a recycling center willing to take vinyl. Certain vinyl fences may be manufactured from recycled material, which can enhance their overall environmental credentials.
No matter what kind of fence you opt for, check with the manufacturer regarding their production techniques to find out more about the sustainability of that specific product.
A lot of people like the appearance of a true wooden fence. It’s traditional, has a characteristic American touch, and a lot of personality. Nevertheless, wood also falls apart more quickly. Despite the fact that it comes in mint condition, it can become discolored with time, rot, decay, and possibly get eaten by termites or other vermin. All of this to state: To keep your fence flawless and attractive, go for vinyl. You do not need to be concerned about flaking paint, bleaching stain removers, termites, or decay. Also, vinyl is now offered in a wide range of colors and styles, some even look like real wood. Regardless of the choice of material, you should be sure to pick a premium grade fence and get it mounted right since these considerations also influence how aesthetically attractive the fence is.
The winner: It may differ based on your personal taste, however vinyl lasts longer and looks great.
In the long-term, you need to make a choice of what is most critical to you. Would you like to pay more now and take advantage of the convenience of a disturbance-free fence? If yes, vinyl is the best choice for you. Or would you be rather keen to pay less at first and be able to select from a wide range of wood types? Well, if you feel more like it, pick a wooden fence.
But if you are uncertain and would like to consult with a professional, feel free to get in touch with us. If you have any questions or would like to express your opinion, please use the comments section below. We would be pleased to assist you in choosing the best fence for you!