What's the best fence material? Wood, Plastic, or Metal?
It's a very simple question with a complicated answer and a lot of variables. Budget, personal taste, even your local zoning or home owner's association rules could come into play. But lets take an in general look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Cedar, Redwood, Teak, and Treated Wood will be the most common wood options. Cedar naturally resists decay and insects but is not as impervious to soil as treated wood and will rot if the owner doesn't install a concrete base or secure fence posts made from treated wood. Redwood and Teak are typically more expensive wood options, the cost usually limiting them to smaller areas. They naturally resist decay, insects, and the elements but they also require a penetrating sealer once or twice a year to maintain their color. Treated Wood is the most economical wooden option. As with the other types Treated Wood resists insects but fence pickets have a habit of warping or twisting as quickly as a month after installation. This can be avoided by handpicking the planks individually from a lumberyard looking for the straightest planks and avoiding ones that look green or damp.
Vinyl and Composite are your options here. Vinyl fencing has come a long way in the past few years. Early examples had a tendency to yellow, sag, or become brittle after a couple of years, but newer technologies have changed all that with some thicker gauge Vinyl coming with a lifetime guarantee. Unlike wood however, the installation must be precise so it's recommended you hire a professional installer. Once installed Vinyl fencing only requires an occasional wash with a mild detergent and the garden hose. Composite is a combination of wood fibers and plastic polymers so it looks more like wood but like Vinyl it's less likely to rot or degrade. That two for one of style and substance comes with a price tag, costing more than Vinyl or Cedar. Also like Vinyl, Composite requires professional installation.
Metal Fencing is extremely durable and can match any home style. From Wrought Iron, Cast Iron, Aluminum, and Steel all the way down to the inexpensive Chain Link, Metal Fencing has the widest range of budgets and styles each with their own pros and cons. For example, Aluminum holds up without rust all year long but Wrought Iron and some Steel fencing requires rust inhibiting paint. Metal Fencing usually doesn't do much for privacy but they offer security for children and pets and require little to no maintenance.
As we alluded to in the opening paragraph, which type of fence material is best really depends on the taste, budget, and needs of the homeowner. But we hope this information helps you come to a decision about your fencing needs!