American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright said, “Wood is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials.” From the warm hue of redwood to the creamy white grain of spruce, each type of wood is unique, down to each knot and striation.
What better way to embrace the beauty of wood than by using it to fence the perimeter of your home or business? Among the many types of fencing materials available, wood remains a ubiquitous choice, popular for its pleasing aesthetic and affordability.
At Montana Fence, our top priority is pairing our customers with the ideal fencing solutions for their properties. There are many reasons why wood fences and gate supplies have long been a favored material for residential and commercial fencing. But is wood the right fence product for you? Before you make any decisions, let’s dive into the pros and cons of wood fencing and show you all they have to offer.
What is Wood Fencing?
Wood fencing is one of the oldest types of fencing in the world—and for good reasons. Timeless, versatile, and easy to source, wooden fencing is an affordable, easy choice. Whether you’re looking to boost property value, contain pets and kids, increase security, or provide a bit of added privacy, wood fencing is a solid option (literally!).
Fencing land was a common pioneer practice to establish property boundaries and to keep livestock in yards or out of gardens. Before the invention of barbed wire, settlers used materials that were readily available—namely wood. By some estimates, there were some 6 million miles of wooden fence in America by the 1880s. Even the first fence surrounding the White House in Washington D.C. was a wooden post and rail fence commissioned in 1801 by Thomas Jefferson.
Although there are more types of fences available today than ever before, wood fences remain as relevant as they were in the days of our pioneer ancestors.
Benefits of Wood Fencing and Gates
Did you know that wood fences have more benefits than just their classic look? Wood fencing has become a popular choice for both home and business owners because it provides a host of benefits. From style to environmentally friendly, read on to learn more about the benefits of wood fencing and gates.
- Aesthetic Appeal – The most obvious benefit of having a wood fence is that it simply looks gorgeous. Wood fences provide a natural look that blends well with the environment and enhances the overall appearance of a property. They create a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
- Easily Customizable – Wood fences provide endless aesthetic possibilities from traditional and natural to contemporary and stylish. You can choose from different types of wood, each with its own unique look and attributes. Wooden fences can also be stained or painted in various colors, allowing owners to fine-tune the fence’s look to match the look of their property. There are also different design options, ranging from traditional picket fence styles to more modern looks, like picture frame styles.
- Affordable – While the cost of wood fencing can vary depending on the type of wood you choose, the average cost is cheaper than other types of fencing. In comparison to, say, vinyl, producing wooden fencing material is not as expensive and the installation is relatively easy.
- Natural Sound Barrier – Wood fences provide a surprising amount of noise reduction. This comes in handy if you live near roads with more traffic and activity (or neighbors with noisy kids and dogs). Denser wood materials and fences with no spacing between panels can help soak up outside noise and create a more comfortable space.
- Environmentally Friendly – Because it’s a renewable resource and biodegradable, wood is a perfect option for those who are eco-conscious. There are also treatments available that can protect wooden fences from rot and pests without harming the environment. Plus, when it comes time for a new fence, the components of your old wooden fence can be repurposed or disposed of in an eco-conscious manner.
- Easy to Repair – If a section of a wood fence is damaged, it is relatively simple and cost-effective to repair or replace it. Compared to other fence materials, wood can be patched or replaced without having to replace the entire fence.
Disadvantages of Wood Fencing and Gates
There’s little contesting that wood remains one of the most popular choices of fence material. However, a wooden fence is not for everyone. Before finalizing any decisions on installing a wood fence, be sure you are aware of some of the challenges you may face with it.
- Vulnerability – Since wood is an organic material, it’s prone to damage from various sources, including moisture, insects, and rot. This can cause the wood to weaken, leading to structural damage and reducing the fence’s overall lifespan. Additionally, wood fences are susceptible to warping, which can cause panels to become misaligned and compromise the fence’s aesthetic.
- Ongoing Maintenance Required – One major drawback of wood fences is that they require regular maintenance to help counter their vulnerabilities. Not everyone is keen on, or comfortable, taking care of their wood fence. Wood fence maintenance usually entails cleanings with a pressure washer or garden hose and consistent re-staining depending on the intensity of weather in your area. The work involved doesn’t even include fixing potential broken or cracked boards after withstanding strong winds or storms.
- Limited Lifespan – Compared to steel, aluminum, or vinyl, a wood’s average lifespan of 20 years is relatively short. If you factor in improper maintenance, a wood fence can deteriorate even faster. It might need replacing in a little over half of its life expectancy. Choosing a high-quality wood can extend its lifespan, but not as long as the other types of fencing materials.
How Much Does it Cost to Build a Wood Fence?
While wood is one of the most popular fencing options, there are several elements that impact the pricing structure of wood fencing. Here are a few cost factors to consider when preparing for a wood fence estimate.
Wood Fence Cost Factors
- Height – The taller the fence, the more wood you will need and the more labor-intensive the installation will be. Weigh your need for curb appeal, privacy, and safety to figure out which fence height best fits your needs.
- Type of Wood – Several types of wood—like cedar or pressure-treated pine—are commonly used for fence building and play a significant factor in the cost of your wood fence. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Choosing a wood type appropriate for your climate, budget, and aesthetic requirements is of the utmost importance. You should also consider the maintenance requirements of each wood type when deciding. Cedar is the most popular for residential fences due to its natural resistance to decay and insects. However, other types of wood, such as pine, are more affordable, so you need to weigh the costs.
- Style – The style of the fence you choose will also impact the cost. Simple designs like dog-ear picket fences will be less expensive than more elaborate designs, like horizontal privacy or anything with a custom, decorative, or accent top.
For example, we have a product called PostMaster posts, which are steel posts that are used specifically for wood fences. The posts are practically invisible because “cover boards” are used to mask their appearance, giving the same classic look of traditional wooden fencing with the longevity of steel. These posts are more expensive than cedar or pressure-treated posts, so you will need to account for this cost if you select PostMaster posts for your project.
Additionally, the more complex the design, the more wood and attention to detail you will need. That means the installation will be more labor-intensive.
- Staining – Not all fence companies offer pre-stained fences. But if they do, it might be worth considering. If you plan to stay in your house for a long time and want to avoid the sun damage and discoloration that can occur with time, staining is your best solution.
- Gates – If you want to add gates to wood fencing, that will increase the overall cost. The costs of adding a gate varies mostly depending on its size, height, hardware, style, and wood type. And if you are fencing your backyard, you should get at least two gates: one on each side of the property to allow for more than one access point.
Maintenance of Wood Fences and Gates
Many people believe that wood fences aren’t sound investments. After all, wood can deteriorate faster than metal. Yet, it is possible for your wood fence to last a decade or longer. You merely need to apply the following maintenance tips:
- Clean your fence every 2-3 years – It is easy for dirt and debris to build up on a wooden fence, especially in rural Montana towns. Cleaning your fence with a wire brush, power washer, or oxygenated bleach will properly remove buildup and keep your fence looking new.
- Point sprinklers away from fencing – Water can be very damaging to wood and cause rotting and fading. Keeping sprinklers pointed away and any other water sources off your fence is a good way to lengthen the lifespan of your wood fence.
- Apply protective coatings – To extend the life of your fence, it’s crucial to apply protective coatings. To protect wooden fences from moisture, UV rays, and pests, it’s advisable to apply a sealant or paint. This safeguarding measure preserves the wood’s strength and improves its resilience against the elements. This will help prevent rotting, warping, and discoloration.
- Regular Inspections – At least once a year or after any major weather event, walk around the perimeter of your fence and check its condition. Look for signs of damage, including rot, insect damage, and warping. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to prevent them from worsening. Take a close look at the posts and rails. They should be firmly in place and not wobbly at all. If you discover any issues, call the experts at Montana Fence for repairs.
- Move Your Grill – Did you know your grill may be causing unsightly damage to your wooden fence? Smoke and grease can cause your fence to deteriorate. To resolve this issue before it starts, move your grill as far away from your fence as possible.
- Minimize Contact with Excessive Vegetation and Dirt – Try to minimize contact with the ground, plants and trees. Anything your fence touches can allow extra moisture into the wood. Trees, plants and vines can also loosen pickets and cause structural issues with posts and pickets.
Applications of Wood Fences
In addition to their affordability, wood fences are popular for their timeless aesthetic. Here are just five of the many possible applications for wood fences:
- Perimeter Fence – Whether you are a business owner trying to control access to certain areas or a homeowner wanting to keep children or animals safely enclosed, wood fences allow you to set a clear, well-defined border around your property.
- Privacy Fence – Create your own private backyard oasis with a wood privacy fence. This type of fence offers the perfect balance of privacy, aesthetics, and sound reduction.
- Garden Fence – Installing a wood fence around your home garden can help protect your plants, vegetables, and flowers by creating a beautiful, natural looking boundary.
- Agricultural Fence – Wooden fences have been the go-to fencing for farms and ranches for centuries. Enjoy the timeless look of wood on your agrarian property while embracing modern customization.
- Privacy Screen – Wood fencing is highly customizable and just one panel can provide a necessary screen for your hot tub area, entryway, or trash enclosure. Natural and rustic, wood is an excellent choice that provides privacy but doesn’t call too much attention to itself—perfect for giving you the privacy you need.
Montana Fence: A Choice as Enduring as Our Wood Fences
When it comes to beautifying your property and enhancing its security, few options rival the appeal of wood fencing. A well-constructed wood fence not only serves as a boundary but also adds a touch of natural elegance to your surroundings. If you are ready to install a wood fence on your property and looking for local, professional fence builders, we’re ready to lend a hand. Since 1977 Montana Fence has served as your local fencing partner, able and equipped to tackle your next fencing project. We have the experience and integrity to complete your fencing with the highest quality of work and results that last for years.
Interested in learning how wood fencing and gates could serve your home or commercial needs? Browse through our wood fence portfolio to view images of our past installations and contact us today to schedule a free estimate. We serve clients throughout Montana and Idaho, selling and installing only high-quality, local wood fence supplies. Our friendly fencing experts are standing by to answer all of your questions.