So, you plan to install a new fence or replace the existing one. But, more importantly, you’ve already decided to install a wooden fence.
Unfortunately, you’re spoilt for choice. Which wood should you use? Which is the strongest wood fencing? Which one offers the best value for money? Which is the best wood for outdoor fence?
You’ve come to the right place. We answer these and many questions below to make your work easier.
Best Wood for Outdoor Fence
The following are some of the best woods for fencing;
- Douglas Fir
Advantages of Wood Fences
There are many types of outdoor fencing materials. These include concrete, stones, wrought iron, and wire. Other fence material options are composite and vinyl. However, wood stands out. Why? Because wooden fences;
- Are cost-effective
- Provide full privacy if necessary
- Are easy to install and replace
- Can be painted and decorated
- Are incredibly versatile
How to Choose the Best Fence Post Wood
Unfortunately, not all wood species make good fences. So, your search for the best wood fencing material must begin with understanding what makes a great fencing wood. The following are seven factors to consider;
The local weather
First, wood fencing in extremely wet climates is never a good idea as the risk of rotting is very high. Secondly, extreme weather conditions – too hot today and cold the next day – increase the likelihood of warping and splitting.
For example, if you’re doing fence installation in Sydney, where we have a humid climate, I would recommend using a hardwood. These woods can withstand moisture and won’t rot easily.
Durability and strength
The wood’s durability determines the life of the fence. For instance, whereas heard, strong, and durable woods, such as ipe, can last 20+ years, perishable woods, such as ash wood, may not last more than two years.
Moisture and rot-resistant
The best wooden fences resist moisture, rot, and decay. Ideally, you should consider wood species that naturally repel moisture and rot-causing microorganisms.
However, it’s fine to find pressure-treated wood that offers the same moisture and rot resistance benefits.
Resistant to insects
Termites, carpenter ants, powderpost beetles, back beetles, and wood borers are notorious for chewing on wooden fences.
So, make sure to find naturally insect-resistant woods to prevent insect infestation. Alternatively, tenure the wood is treated to repel insects.
This especially applies to privacy and picket fences. Find wood types that elevate your outdoor decor. Redwood is a great choice as it’s naturally beautiful, as are many high-end hardwoods. However, you can also paint the wood fence if you wish.
Ease of installation and maintenance
How easily can you install the wood fence, and how difficult is the maintenance? For instance, though easy to install, cedar posts require regular UV protection for wood.
Conversely, redwood is a low-maintenance wood bur requires weathering before use to allow the natural oils to dry. You need to take these requirements into account.
If you’re hiring a professional to install your fence, be sure to ask them what type of wood they would recommend. And if you’re doing it yourself, be sure to read up on installation instructions, so you don’t cause any damage to your fence.
Finally, different types of wood are priced differently; it’s your job to find one within your budget. For instance, redwood lumber, though very popular, is expensive.
Similarly, cedars are highly durable but expensive. Conversely, pine is affordable but not as beautiful as redwood or durable as cedar.
If you want to know more, here is a guide on cedar wood for sauna.
Best Wood for Outdoor Fence
The following are the nine best fence wood types to consider for your upcoming outdoor fencing project. All prices are for a single six-foot-tall picket.
Many experts widely consider cedar the best fence post wood type. It’s an attractive, close-grained softwood with distinctive knots that add to the outdoor charm. Moreover, cedar is naturally durable and strong.
Above all, cedar’s pleasant smell means you get a natural deodorant for your home. It’s also affordable, costing $2 to $8 for a six-foot-tall picket, though the western red cedar is a little more expensive at $6 to $8 per picket.
- Durable (30-year+ lifespan)
- Its natural oils and acids deter insects
- It’s naturally rot-resistant
- Cedar boards can warp in constantly humid conditions
- The wood requires periodic restaining to prevent fading
Many people often wonder which one makes the best wood fence panels between cedar and redwood. It’s not even close; redwood is the best type of wood for fence panels.
First, redwood’s natural beauty is hard to overlook. The luxurious reddish-brown hue is very attractive. More importantly, redwood is low-maintenance timber. It doesn’t require periodic restaining like cedar.
- Durable (25-year+ lifespan)
- Natural tannins prevent rotting, warping, and twisting
- It maintains the beautiful reddish-brown color without staining
- It’s expensive at $8 to $10 per picket
- Redwood is rare, and the posts are difficult to find
3. Douglas Fir
Douglas fir is a very beautiful wood. It is known for its light brown shade with a touch of red or yellow. In addition, standard planks have straight grains with noticeable knots.
These qualities make it more popular for rustic or farmhouse-style furniture than any other application. However, we consider it the best wood fence material if you’re on a budget for two reasons.
First, douglas fir is highly weather resistant. It doesn’t warp easily, can handle impact, and bears heavy loads (e.g., winds)without bending. Secondly, Douglas fir is waterproof.
And does Douglas fir stain well? Read our article to find out.
- It’s fairly affordable ($6 to $7 per picket)
- It’s fairly durable (15 to 18 years if pressure-treated)
- Douglas fir fencing posts are readily available
- Untreated douglas fir fences only last 3-7 years
- The timber lacks natural termite resistance
Cypress trees are softwoods in the same class as fir wood. Therefore, a cypress fence is similar to Douglas fir fences in many ways. For instance, both are knotted woods.
Both are also affordable and readily available. And both are soft and easy to nail, drill, cut, etc. However, note that older cypress trees provide the best type of wood fence if you want to maintain a scratch-free, dent-free fence.
Older cypress also boasts natural resistance to pests and is highly rot-resistant.
- It’s the best wood for a privacy fence
- Cypress wood is very affordable ($2 to $3 per picket)
- It contains natural tannins that resist insects, rot, and decay
- Mature cypress is rare and expensive
- wavy/curved grains increase the risk of warping
Maple is a staple in the woodworking industry in the US, widely known as the best wood for wall shelves. It’s a readily available hardwood that’s strong and durable. Moreover, the white color of Maplewood makes it ideal for finishing and making wood utensils. Above all, it’s affordable.
These qualities make it one of the best wood for fences. Indeed, some people consider it the best wood for fence rails.
- Strong and durable
- It’s an affordable hardwood
- It’s highly resistant to scratches
- Maplewood is prone to cracking
- It requires sealing to look even
6. Composite wood
Composite is a combination of plastic, paper pulp, and wood fiber. Many manufacturers use 100% recycled materials in most cases.
The wood components create a natural and authentic-looking fence, while the plastic components ensure increased strength and weather resistance for enhanced durability.
In addition, composite fences are low maintenance and splinter-proof.
- A long lifespan (20+ years)
- Requires very little maintenance
- Not affected by fungus, rot, insects, or UV
- It’s a little expensive at $6 to $10 per plank
- The posts can fade with time due to oxidation
Pine is often mentioned in the same breath as cypress and Douglas fir. It is an affordable but durable softwood that’s readily available and easy to use.
Moreover, older pine trees are rot-resistant, thanks to natural oils. These qualities make pine one of the best types of wood for fencing.
The only challenge is that pine requires pressure treatment to enhance its water and rot resistance.
- It’s inexpensive ($1 to $5 per picket)
- Pressure-treated pine is durable (15-year+ lifespan)
- It’s the best lumber for fence posts with lengths below ground level
- Pinewood is prone to insect damage
- Pressure-treated pine is a dull, off0putting green color
8. Ipe wood
Ipe is a prime candidate if you’re shopping for premium wood for your fence. It is an exotic wood from South America, also known as the Brazilian walnut, and ranks highly in hardness and strength. It lasts 75+ years outdoors.
The praises don’t end there. Ipe is rated class A for fire resistance (same class as concrete). It is also a beautiful reddish-brown wood and doesn’t fade. Additionally, ipe is water-resistant and easily withstands UV rays.
- It’s the perfect choice for durable wooden fencing (it lasts 75+ years)
- It has the highest rating (of all woods) for termite resistance
- It’s moderately priced at $3 to $8 per picket
- Ipe wood requires annual oiling
- It’s extremely dense and hard, thus challenging to work with
9. Acacia wood
Another exotic wood to consider for outdoor wood fencing is acacia. Acacia is a strong, durable hardwood native to Africa.
The wood is mainly used in heavy construction because it’s hard to break and is extremely durable. However, it’s the best wood for a picket fence and fencing posts. Also, acacia is the best wood for making walking sticks.
The most outstanding quality of Balau, though, is its value for money. It’s one of the most affordable high-end hardwoods at $2 to $5 per picket board.
- It’s extremely durable (30-year+ lifespan)
- Naturally resistant to insects, mold, and fungi
- It is rot and decay-resistant even without staining
- Requires sealing or oiling once yearly
- It dries out and cracks in hot weather if not sealed/oiled
Softwood or Hardwood; What Makes the Best Fence Post?
When selecting fence posts, hardwood is often preferred due to its superior durability and strength. Hardwood varieties like oak and cedar are highly resistant to decay and can withstand the elements better than softwoods such as pine.
Consequently, hardwood fence posts are more likely to offer longer-lasting support for your fence. On the other hand, softwoods like pine are commonly utilized for artworks and pyrography on wood due to their ease of carving and smooth texture.
Different Types of Wood Fences: Maintenance Tips
As you’d expect, erecting a wooden fence is only the first step. You must properly maintain the fence for maximum function and long life. Consider the following maintenance tips;
- Seal the wood with a wood sealant to maintain the shine
- Don’t put unnecessary weight on the wood/fence
- Protect your fence from moisture and water
- Keep an eye on the wood posts
- Promptly address signs of damage, e.g., sagging, loose boards, and rotting
See also: What type of wood is best for speaker boxes?
What type of wood fence lasts the longest?
Redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated pine are not the best wood for bows. While they are longest-lasting for fences, they lack the necessary qualities for crafting high-performance bows. For bows, woods like hickory, yew, and osage orange are preferred for their strength, flexibility, and suitability in archery.
Is pressure-treated wood good for fences?
Yes, pressure-treated wood is an excellent choice for wooden fences but not the best wood countertop. The pressure treatment process infuses wood with arsenicals that protect the wood from insects and microbial agent attacks, effectively protecting the wooden fence from termites, rot, and decay. Better still, pressure treated wood outdoors is safe for you and your pets.
What is the most durable, long-lasting fence?
Masonry wall fencing is the most durable fencing material. This includes stones, brick, concrete, and stucco fences. These fences easily last 100+ years without any issues. Next in line are vinyl fences which can last 30+ years with proper maintenance. Wood fences are also great. However, most wood fences don’t last more than 20 years.
Which is better for fencing, pine or cedar?
Cedar surpasses pine as an outdoor fencing material, being stronger and more durable. Cedar’s natural resistance to weather elements and rot makes it an excellent choice for outdoor use. However, pressure-treated pine is also among the best wood for wood signs, providing good durability and versatility for outdoor signage applications.
What is the best fence post material?
Cedar, redwood, and Douglas fir are the best fence post materials and outdoor wooden pergolas and also the best wood for porch posts. Overall, cedar wins due to its natural durability and weather resistance. Cedar posts can last 20 years without pressure treatment. However, redwood is an excellent alternative as it’s strong and beautiful. Douglas fir is the most cost-effective option, though.
What is the best wood for an outdoor gate?
The best wood for an outdoor gate is spruce. There’s a common debate on cedar vs. spruce for wooden outdoor gates. While cedar is the more durable wood and rot-resistant, often the best wood for exterior shutters, pressure-treated spruce often wins because it’s almost as long-lasting but at a fraction of the cost. Fir, pine, cypress, and redwood are worthwhile alternatives.
What is the longest-lasting fence post?
DuraPosts are currently considered the most durable fence post materials – better than concrete and wooden posts. They are made from galvanized steel, thus don’t split, rot, warp, or crack. Moreover, DuraPost fencing posts can withstand wind speeds up to 110mph. Few wooden posts are left standing after such strong winds.
Did you know:
Maple wood is highly suitable for making desktops. Renowned for its strength, stability, and attractive grain patterns, it is considered one of the best wood for a desk. A maple wood desktop not only offers a durable surface but also adds a touch of natural beauty to your workspace. Maple also makes the best wood workbench thanks to its durability and resistance to wear.
The strongest wood fence design requires strong wood species with a reputation for durability, insect resistance, and weather resistance.
Additionally, you should consider rot and decay-resistant wood types that repel fungi and other microorganism attacks. So, hopefully, you can find one of the nine wood types above.