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10 Types of Fence Materials and Styles a St. Louis Fence Company Can Offer You

privacy fence

When we think of home sweet home in the United States, we likely envision a white picket fence surrounding it.  This is an iconic image of the American dream of homeownership.

It has firmly implanted a fencing vision in our ideas of a dream home. The most common reasons for installing a fence are to increase curb appeal, protect children and furry friends, or provide security. A single fence installation can provide all three functions.

If you’ve decided to take the plunge on fencing or are redoing your current fence but aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry. This guide will give you an intro course to the types and designs available in St Louis.

Check out these 10 fence materials and styles

See which one will work best for your dream home!

privacy fence

1. Privacy Fence

A privacy fence is designed to block the view of your yard from outsiders, strangers, and neighbors. As the name implies, its primary function is to provide privacy.

To make this happen, the fence must be solid construction with no openings and tall enough to obscure your vision, whether looking from the inside out or the outside in.

Privacy fences work best when your neighbors’ homes are at a similar height to yours so that their upstairs windows don’t look into your yard. Your privacy fence will also keep passersby from peering into your yard.

One common type of privacy fence is a cedar plank fence. Cedar planks don’t warp or shrink over the years, keeping your fence in relatively good shape for years.

Cedar naturally resists rot and insects. However, it will weather to a silver-grey unless sealed immediately after installation and annually afterward.

An alternative that may be right for your home is a vinyl privacy fence. Vinyl requires less maintenance than wood but provides the same level of privacy.

2. Picket Fence

The American picket fence was traditionally made from wood. Improvements in technology have led to newer styles found in alternative materials, like maintenance-free vinyl.

Traditional picket fences are decorative fences. Typically installed in the front yard for aesthetics or surrounding a garden for differentiation, these applications appear aesthetically more appealing at a height of 3 feet. This height will likely not keep a large dog in the yard or provide any privacy.

They are constructed in such a way that openings appear between each board. This allows peek-a-boo views of your landscaping and yard.

The traditional picket fence is the embodiment of the American dream. It pairs nicely with a Colonial, Cape Cod, or Craftsman-style home.

3. Split-Rail Fence

Are you looking to go a little more rustic? Check out a split-rail fence.

Historically, these fences were constructed to keep livestock in a pasture. They were traditionally made from felled chestnut trees or whatever other wood was locally available.

Nowadays, you’ll most likely find split-rail fences made from black locust wood due to its rot resistance and wide availability.

A split-rail fence is installed by threading rough-hewn horizontal beams between heavier vertical posts. The posts have holes bored into them to secure the horizontal beams.

A maintenance-free alternative to a split-rail fence is a vinyl post and rail fence, which is available with a wood-grain texture and several “blended colors” that offer the appearance of stained wood.

ornamental steel fence

4. Metal Ornamental Fence

Metal fencing, such as steel fencing, is highly versatile.

While the first thing that jumps to mind is likely a wrought iron fence at a Victorian mansion, custom metal fences match every home style, including the most contemporary.

Wrought iron is highly durable. You must hire a fencing professional to install a wrought iron fence since most wrought iron fences are a more custom build than your typical fencing.

Other metal fence material options include cast iron, aluminum, and steel. These options provide the strength of wrought iron with an easier panel installation.

When deciding between metal options, remember that each metal requires a different level of maintenance. Aluminum fencing resists rust and is relatively maintenance-free.

Wrought iron and steel will require rust-inhibiting paint jobs periodically to stop corrosion.

5. Wooden Lattice Fence

Heavy-duty latticework panels can create a beautiful and unique decorative fence.

Typically, these fences are installed using a wide top and bottom rail for sturdiness. The latticework is less durable and should never be considered a security fence.

Many homeowners will opt for decorative posts or postcaps to personalize these fences.

The most common types of wood for a wooden lattice fence include pressure-treated pine, chemically treated to resist rot and insects, and cedar, naturally resistant to rot and insects.

6. Post-and-Rail Fence

Post-and-rail fencing is sometimes referred to as estate fencing. It is an updated take on a split-rail fence.

If you like the idea of split-rail but don’t think the rustic look will complement your home, check out a post-and-rail fence.

Made from wood, vinyl, or metal, a post-and-rail fence is a classic with many options.  The most common design – the three-rail design – limits the height of the fencing to three to four feet.

For this reason, a post-and-rail is a decorative fence. It can be used to delineate the boundaries of your property but won’t likely keep your pets inside, or intruders outside.

7. Semi-Private Wood Fence

Many love the idea of a private backyard but think a cedar plank privacy fence is too much. Try out a semi-private wood fence. This style is sometimes referred to as board-on-board fencing.

This construction alternates two widths of vertical planks to create a privacy fence with slight gaps between the two kinds of planks, providing minimal openings. This allows for airflow, views to the outside, and a more exciting fencing option.

It’s a great alternative to a solid privacy fence. It can be constructed tall enough to contain your animals and keep prying eyes out.

8. Chain Link Fence

A chain link fence provides zero privacy.

Constructed from metal posts and linked mesh, a chain link is an excellent option for security fencing or other situations where aesthetics do not play an essential role in your fencing choice.

Chain link fences are probably the most cost-effective choice for fencing. They are less expensive per linear foot than your other options.

If you have a large yard where the required length of fencing makes other options unfeasible, a chain link fence is a great alternative.

Although chain link does not provide much privacy, it is a top choice for a security measure around your home. It will show its age after some years, so be prepared for some maintenance.

9. Stockade Fence

A stockade fence is a simple fence constructed with boards that have pointed edges. It’s an older style of fencing that is typically constructed from wood.

The pointed boards are placed tightly together to create a solid panel. The panels are then nailed to the top and bottom rails, creating premade panels that can be attached to vertical posts.

You can purchase panels based on the number of linear feet required for your yard.

Stockade fencing is another great option for backyard fencing. It provides enough height to provide privacy and security.

vinyl fence

10. PVC or Vinyl Fence

Polyvinyl chloride, also known as PVC, is a type of vinyl. Vinyl is an umbrella term for all ethylene-based materials. When vinyl refers to fencing material, it is always used interchangeably with PVC.

Vinyl has become one of the most popular choices for new fence construction because it is durable, relatively maintenance-free, and easy to install.

In the early days of vinyl fencing, the material tended to sag and yellow after a few years. Modern vinyl fencing has none of those issues. It resists breaking down, rot, insects, and chemical deterioration.

Vinyl comes in a variety of heights and styles. When choosing a vinyl fence, remember that the thickness of the vinyl will determine the quality.

A thicker gauge vinyl will last longer.

Vinyl does not hide imperfections as well as wood does. Professional installation will ensure your new vinyl fence has a nice flow at the top and is perfectly aligned when looking down the fence line.

Your new vinyl fence can be scrubbed with mild detergent and rinsed with a garden hose if dirt or mud sticks to it, or you can power wash it with a maximum of 1,500 tips. Be sure to test your power washer in an obscure fence area first. Otherwise, your vinyl fence requires no maintenance.

Let Us Help You Pick Your Fence Materials!

A fence can offer peace of mind, create a safe play space for children, and ward off intruders. It can also keep your four-legged friends safe, boost your house’s curb appeal, and create a sense of home.

Installing a fence is never a bad idea.

Now that you have more information on fence materials and styles let’s begin designing your dream fence today.

Contact us for a free estimate.  Our fencing professionals are excited to answer your questions and help you achieve your St. Louis dream home.


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Tim Kelley

With over four decades in the St. Louis fencing industry, Tim Kelly leads Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions as its President. He is renowned for his commitment to quality, ethics, and community involvement.

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