Fences are often chosen with function first in mind, with their aesthetic features next in line in terms of importance. However, for someone who is concerned about how long it’ll be before they have to get another fence, longevity is as important as function. In this case, a big question is which type of fence lasts the longest.
There is no single answer to this question, because a variety of factors affect how long a fence will last. Suitability for purpose can be a big part of the equation if a fence is meant to contain strong animals or keep out robbers, and climate is a serious issue if the area has windstorms. Insect issues are also common in some areas.
Factors that Affect Fence Longevity
Suitability for Purpose
If a fence is only used to mark off a lot line, early failure due to the purpose is unlikely to be a problem. However, if it is meant to contain cattle, goats, or even strong dogs, this purpose will have a lot to do with how long it lasts. In this case, you’ll need a strong fence, or it may end up being mangled or bowled over when an animal decides that it’s time to leave without waiting for the gate to be opened. The same problem can happen when an anti-robbery fence meets a particularly determined thief.
Resistance to Unexpected Uses
Anyone who lives with, or in the vicinity of, children has seen them climb on fences. Adults such as meter readers sometimes climb them too, so they don’t have to walk all the way back to the front of the house to get to their next stop. If a fence is too weak, it won’t be able to handle it when people use it as a ladder or a toy. Weak fences can be bent within months under such treatment, but suitably strong ones can last for decades.
Weather and Climate
Galvanized metal fences, and those that are made of vinyl-covered wire, are generally impervious to weather-related degradation. However, wood privacy fences are another story. Hurricanes and other windstorms can blow these over if they have no gaps between their slats.
Insects and Rot
Carpenter ants, termites, and other wood-chewing insects make fairly short work of wooden fences. In areas where these insects are problematic, you can expect to have to replace a wooden fence within a few years or even less unless you use pressure treated material. Rot can also quickly destroy wood. Vinyl, which is unattractive to such creatures, will not have this problem.
General Guidelines for Choosing the Longest-Lasting Fence
First, think of the purpose the fence will have. This will determine whether it should be solid or see-through. From there, you can move on to materials.
If you choose wood, pressure treated pine is recommended for privacy fencing thanks to its natural resistance to rot and insects. It’s also good for wood fencing that isn’t meant for privacy.
Composite fencing is much like vinyl, but can have a more realistic appearance. With both this and the vinyl option, it is important to choose high-quality materials for the best longevity.
Metal fencing is one of the longest lasting options. This is especially true if you go with wrought iron. Its expense makes it so it is rarely seen, but it is almost invincible unless you’re in a climate with prolonged heavy rains. That said, it offers no privacy at all, so you’ll need to choose one of the other options if you want to block the view.
Because of the cost of wrought iron, most people go for chain link or aluminum when they want a metal fence for a residential property. Chain link and aluminum fences can keep most dogs in the yard as long as they haven’t figured out how to climb, and is good for child safety, as well. They can last for decades, however they offer no privacy.
Some sources consider masonry to be a fencing material, however, anyone who sees a stretch of it will recognize it as a wall rather than a fence. Therefore, it is not typically offered by fencing companies.
Here at Fence Outlet in Florida, we offer high-quality materials that will last for many years or more. Unlike most other fence companies, we make it easy for you to do it yourself by offering all of the materials you need for a DIY project. We also offer full installation service if you’d rather have everything done for you. Either way, just contact us to get started!