You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to fence material types, but just as with other things in life, not all fences are created equal. Before you shell out your hard-earned cash and waste time on installation, you’ve got to make sure the fence type you’ve picked is what you need and will stand the test of time. Generally speaking, aluminum is the material of choice for a durable, easy to maintain fence, especially when you compare it to the alternatives.
Wood is easily install and often a mainstay around pools and in decking areas. Unfortunately, wood may rot and be damaged by pests. A typical maintenance schedule for wood fencing involves painting, staining and waterproofing at least once per year to prevent warping. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, harsh winters or high levels of humidity, you may need to treat wood fencing more often. Since wood is a sensitive material, you can’t scrub at it to remove stains, as this may damage it permanently, so you’ll need to use a special wood cleaner.
Vinyl fencing is durable and may last a decade or more, but it must be cleaned and treated, and you may need to reinforce it over large areas to keep it from sagging. Extremes in temperature and exposure to UV light can damage and discolor vinyl over time, so it’s not always the best choice in sunny areas or places with rough winters. The level of maintenance required for vinyl fencing depends on various factors, including its environment, the quality of the vinyl used and the placement. Most vinyl fencing can be washed with just a hose or with a soft cloth or sponge and a vinyl cleaner.
Wrought iron fencing is largely made from stainless steel nowadays, which makes it more affordable. While this style of fencing is tough, it can rust quickly if dented or scratched, particularly at the weld points. Rust at these points can weaken the gate’s overall structural integrity. It also must be placed with precision to prevent bulging or waving. You’ll need to check a wrought iron fence annually for signs of rust to catch it before the fence begins to deteriorate. You’ll also have to sand it down and reapply a coat of paint about once every two to three years.
Bamboo is decorative and relatively easy to install, but it tends to be a more expensive option than wood, vinyl and some of the wrought iron styles available. Like wood, bamboo may rot, fade or become damaged by pests. Water and high humidity levels are especially bad for bamboo fencing, causing it to warp, swell and weaken over time. It’s not a popular choice around water, unlike the aluminum pool fence. You’ll need to waterproof bamboo fencing and apply a good sealant with UV protection at least twice a year. Bamboo fence owners also need to check it periodically for signs of fungal infections and termite infestations, as the pests can both ruin the fencing and make their way to the wood of a nearby home or garage.
Chain link is affordable but not considered as attractive as many of the other fencing options, including wrought iron and aluminum. You’ll also need to add mesh or slats for privacy, as you can see right through the fencing in its normal state. Like wrought iron, chain link is durable, but it is vulnerable to rust and corrosion from time and exposure to the elements. It’s generally considered low maintenance, with annual rust checks and cleaning recommended.
Aluminum fencing is very durable, like chain link and wrought iron, but is more attractive than the latter. Unlike wood and bamboo, aluminum fencing will not rot, dissolve under water damage or be felled by pests. You won’t have to paint it either, and it’s considered close to a “no maintenance” fence option because you’ll only have to clean off any occasional splashes or splatters with a hose. While you can use this type of fencing in a lot of applications, the aluminum pool fence is popular because it offers a clean look and a clear view.