If you are considering a fence for your property, you’ve probably considered traditional wood fencing. But there are also a number of non-wood alternatives. Some of these alternatives are a much better choice when it comes to safety, durability, and pricing.
To prove the point, we’re going to do a head-to-head comparison of aluminum vs wood fencing. Let’s look at each using the five criteria St. Louis area homeowners tell us they care about most: Cost, maintenance requirements, installation hassle, privacy, and looks/style options.
Aluminum vs Wood Fencing: Total Cost
The price of a fencing project depends on materials and labor costs, as well as the overall length of your fence and the need for gates, etc.
Wood Fencing: Depending on the size of your fencing project and the type of wood that you go with, the cost of wood fencing can be significant. And since these fences regularly require maintenance and repairs, they continue to create costs year after year. Eventually, you will have to replace the wood fence.
Aluminum Fencing: Aluminum is less expensive than many types of wood, though not all. This means that price comparison will have to be done against different kinds of woods (for example, pine vs. cedar fencing). That said, aluminum fencing can be said to be comparable in price. Also, since most aluminum fences come in pre-made panels, labor costs can be lower. Finally, high-quality aluminum does not need to be stained, nor does it need to be fixed or replaced nearly as often as wood, and so the long-term costs are also lower.
The Winner: Overall, aluminum fence costs vs wood are about equal for materials on average, but are less when you include labor and maintenance. Indeed, maintenance costs for wood can make the long-term cost up to 40% higher! Furthermore, when you consider the longevity of a wood fence (approx. 20 years) to that of an aluminum fence (approx. 50 years), it’s a no-brainer that the aluminum fence is a better investment and value!
That said, prices for any fence will vary from company to company. It pays to compare the best available price in each category, rather than the average. Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions is proud to offer some of the lowest prices on aluminum fences, so check with us for a free estimate!
Aluminum vs Wood Fencing: Maintenance Requirements
Wood Fencing: How does maintenance affect costs so much? Wood does not weather the elements well. It can bend and warp with sun and rain, and excessive moisture can rot wood easily. Paints and stains can protect a wood fence for some time, but even these tend to fade in the sun, snow, and rain. Wood fences are also more likely to become a home for pests, especially in climates that are warm year-round.
Aluminum Fencing: Aluminum has a reputation for being both light and highly durable. It is impervious to bugs and mold, and the coatings for aluminum tend to hold their color in the sun and rain much better than wood stains and paints.
The Winner: Aluminum fencing is clearly the winner here. We especially recommend it for areas of the country with “four seasons,” such as the St. Louis metropolitan area that we serve.
Aluminum vs Wood Fencing: Installation Requirements
Wood Fencing: Wood fencing takes time to install, especially if your contractor is creating the fence from scratch (for example, if you are getting a custom fence). Even if the wood fence you are getting is typical, there are many ways in which things can go wrong.
Aluminum Fencing: Most aluminum fencing comes in premade panels, which makes installation fast and easy. Each piece is perfectly uniform and designed to work as a part of the whole. Fastening the panels to posts is easy, and there is little chance of ruining the various parts of the fence. In addition, the smaller aluminum 2×2 post requires a smaller hole, less concrete, and less dirt removal and clean up compared to the larger 4×4 wood posts.
The Winner: Again, aluminum fencing hands down. It’s not even close.
Aluminum vs Wood Fencing: Privacy
Wood Fencing: Many wood fences are made with the planks or pickets close together, which can give you a greater sense of privacy, if you want it. As long as the fence is well maintained, a closed picket wood fence can obstruct the view from neighbors and nosy passersby.
Aluminum Fencing: Most aluminum fencing is designed with spaces between the vertical pickets on each panel. This means that your property will be visible. This is great if you want to keep the view from your yard, but not so great for complete privacy. If privacy is your ultimate goal, you will have to get a special privacy design, or invest in privacy slats.
The Winner: Wood fencing has the advantage here, though there are options if you want aluminum fencing that is private as well as low maintenance.
Aluminum vs Wood Fencing: Looks and Style Options
Wood Fencing: Let’s be honest: People like the look of wood. That said, a wooden fence can easily become decrepit looking if not well maintained. Paint will peel, stain will fade, and gaps in the fence will emerge. Unless you want a really “rustic” look, the beauty and value of wood fades over time.
In terms of style options, wood does give you some choices. Paints and stains come in a number of colors, and wood can be cut in any number of designs, as long as they are relatively simple.
Aluminum Fencing: The look of an aluminum fence will keep its “wrought iron look” over time. There are many designs to choose from. there are some with a simpler, cleaner look and some with more sophisticated patterns and designs. There are fewer color choices, however.
The Winner: This is a hard tie. While aluminum fences may have fewer options, there is an unmistakable elegant look to these fences that you just can’t get with wood or stone. This look is especially common in some areas of the country, such as New England, the south, and the greater St. Louis metropolitan area. So, if this is the look you want, aluminum is the way to go. Then again, wood might appeal more to you: It really is more a matter of personal taste.
Is Aluminum Fencing Looking Like the Option for You?
If aluminum fencing is sounding more and more like the way you want to go for your fencing project, we’d be happy to show you our products, answer your questions, and even give you a free estimate. We’ve been happily serving the St. Louis area for years, and our customer reviews show that we have some of the highest levels of satisfaction in the area!