Which Fence Material Lasts the Longest?

Residential Vinyl Fence

There are many reasons to consider getting a fence. Yard fences create a new dimension to your property. They serve the obvious utilitarian purpose of privacy and noise reduction, in addition to security. Fences are a necessity for children or pets, providing you with some peace of mind and ease of play, especially with a lockable fence. In addition to these practical uses, fences break up the sightline and add to the house style in a way that few other outdoor amenities can.

You can match your fence style to your house decor, installing a modern fence design or a traditional design depending on your taste or your decor. In this way, fences are both practical and aesthetically pleasing. With all of these benefits in mind, it is important that you invest in a fence that will last for the long haul. If you are investing in your house in such a visible and purposeful way, you must make sure that you consider the longevity of the installed fence just as much as the style.

Vinyl. It’s Vinyl

Long story short: Vinyl is hands down the material that is going to give you the most bang for your buck in terms of longevity. Vinyl fences can last over 30 years if they are properly maintained. And that maintenance doesn’t actually require that much. 

So why do vinyl fences have a superior life span?

Fence material is one of the first decisions you will make in the process of getting a fence installed. It is an important decision when considering how resilient and long-lasting your fence proves to be. And since a fence is an investment, it pays off to do research to ensure you are getting a fence that not only fits your style and fencing needs but will last for the long haul. 

There are many different types of fencing materials — from PVC and vinyl to stone, chain-link, and bamboo. Each has its own value and style. 

As we mentioned above, vinyl is a top choice out of all of these contenders because it gets high marks in all fencing factors: It is long-lasting, easy to maintain, and visually versatile to meet many different aesthetic needs.  Vinyl is long-lasting mainly because it is weather-resistant in a way that most other fences are not. Vinyl resists the rot that is the dreaded sign of a soon-to-be-replaced wood fence. Vinyl also resists rust that can eat away at metal fences like a hurricane or chain-link fences that can slowly (or quickly) make the fence’s purpose obsolete. 

Other Long-Lasting Fences

Other long-lasting fences, such as fences made out of aluminum, steel, or wrought iron, can in fact last you decades, but not without considerable work and installation cost. Chain link fencing is the cheapest metal fence option, but at around a 20-year lifespan, it is not very long-lasting and is also not very aesthetically pleasing. Wrought iron, aluminum, and steel are more eye-catching and durable against common vulnerabilities such as wind and water damage, but also have a much higher price tag.  With any metal fencing option, the biggest vulnerability is rust and corrosion, and the resulting holes that can make the fence’s purpose obsolete. To avoid rust and corrosion, these metal fences require that they be treated with a rust-resistant treatment every few years or sooner. 

Wood can be pretty long-lasting, but also requires even more regular maintenance than steel, aluminum, wrought iron or other metal fencing. Moisture is the biggest culprit for wood’s demise. Wood choice is one factor for its longevity when it comes to standing up to moisture. Cedar is the top contender over spruce or pine, as it can last around 30 years, but it is also the most pricey. Lower down, spruce is in the mid-price range but will last around 10 years, and pine is the cheapest wood option and will last around 5-10 years.  And whatever the wood, you must use treated wood and preferably concrete for the posts since wood in the ground is bound to rot. Staining or painting every two years or more will increase a wood fences’ life span by many years! 

But let’s be honest with ourselves, most of us will fall out of the habit of fence maintenance as life gets busy, just as we lose even time for ourselves and our loved ones when we’re busy. Without regular maintenance, these fence options no longer seem as appealing- but vinyl always comes out ahead.  

Maintenance needs

Today’s vinyl fences have come a long way and are built to be durable and long-lasting. Unlike wood, vinyl is not prone to rotting, warping, or shrinking. Vinyl is rigid and resilient against our most common fence worries including pests, extreme and common weather alike such as wind and snow, and temperature changes. Higher gauge or thicker vinyl offers premium durability and withstanding of the elements. Outside of hosing off mildew or mold that may grow on it, vinyl fences require virtually no maintenance. Unlike other options, it does not need to be treated or stained, and can easily be hosed off with soap and water. In addition to durability, vinyl is aesthetically versatile and so can provide the privacy, color, and height for whatever you are looking for. With our fast-paced and busy lives, this is the choice for the modern home. 

To maximize longevity even further, there are some planning tips that can reduce accidents or wear and tear that will undermine your fence’s durability. For one, limit exposure to damage by planning before you build near or around your fence to ensure if structures fall they do not put your necessary fence at risk. Along those lines, keep trees and other plants trimmed back away from your fence. This helps with reducing the risk of falling damage from debris or the tree itself, and also of the incremental potential of mold from falling plant matter, or of favorable habitat for unwanted pests. In addition, it is important to remove the possibility of structural damage from roots and branches.

With any fence choice, it is important to get repairs done as quickly as possible to avoid worsening damage. But with vinyl, we can assure you will rest easy and minimize stress for the fence’s lifetime to come. Just call the most trusted fence company in the U.S., Long Fence.

Read More:

Choosing the Right Fence: Wood vs. Vinyl

How Much Does a Privacy Fence Cost?

Why Would I Build a PVC Fence?