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Choosing the Right Material for your Fence

Trying to decide what kind of fence to build? To give you a better idea, here are some of the popular choices:

Natural Materials

  • Wood
    There are so many types of wood to choose from, and they can be further subdivided into treated and untreated variants. Ideally, wood used for fences is treated to slow the material's aging and protect it from corrosion, but there are certain varieties like cedar and black locust, which do not need chemicals. Whichever type you choose, make sure you waterproof the wood after installation.
  • Stone
    Though stone fences may be tougher to build and more expensive, it would obviously last longer and look better than any other natural material. For best results, get an experienced professional to put together your stone fence because this is no casual DIY project. It takes knowledge and skill to select the best stone, shape them into blocks and put everything together.
  • Bamboo
    You can also use bamboo, a lightweight, durable, low-maintenance yet natural material. Bamboo is so durable that structures made of this material have withstood intensity 9 earthquakes. It's also easily renewable because bamboo trees regenerate removed parts in less than six months.

Metals

  • Wrought iron
    If you want a wide variety of possible design combinations, you can look into using wrought iron for your fence. You can follow any combination of colour schemes as well. The main thing you need to watch out for is rust. Don't take peeling paint and rust stains for granted--it could eventually lead to structural weakness.
  • Aluminium
    Aluminium is a great alternative to wrought iron or any other metal for your fence. It's cheap, recyclable and doesn’t rust. However, aluminium is quite fragile as climbing or sitting on it could damage the fence.
  • Chain link
    If you want to enclose a large property, then chain link is the way to go. Chain link is also cheap, resistant to rust and very durable. Its main weakness is that it's really ugly and you get no privacy since people can see all the way in.

Man-Made Materials

  • Blocks
    Durability is the bottom line when using blocks for fences. However, like stone, you need to spend for it since this is no simple DIY project--it takes expertise to put up. You'll still need to choose the type of blocks as well. There are cinder blocks, quarried stone and even plastic bricks.
  • Vinyl
    You may have seen vinyl fences but haven't realised it. It can imitate wrought iron, picket or even dog ear fences. Vinyl fences need no maintenance, easy to install and very durable, but are more expensive than wood and difficult to cut.
  • Composites
    Composites are expensive but incredibly sturdy and long-lasting. It gives you the durability of plastic and the appearance of wood, which is the best of both worlds when it comes to fencing material since there's no need to seal or paint the material.
  • Hybrid materials
    There are also hybrids--combinations of materials like wood and vinyl, which also combine their properties. An example would be wood that has been pressure-treated and coated with vinyl. Since the vinyl is applied to the wood using heat, it won't ever come off. The result: a very hardy plastic/wooden fence.