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Wood, Vinyl, Aluminum, Steel? Comparing the Top Types of Fences for Your Backyard

Types of Fences

In respect to the types of fences available, consider the following scenario: you’re hanging out in your yard, lounging by the pool, and having a chat on the phone with your best friend. Your kids are running around playing a new game that they’ve invented. It’s all very homelike, comfortable, and domestic.

Suddenly, a nosy neighbor walks by and curiously stops. The neighbor eavesdrops on your conversation while watching your kids play. This scenario is disturbing and annoying, of course, but it’s also preventable with the right types of fence.

If you’re among the 65.3% of Americans that call themselves homeowners, you’re likely always looking for ways to improve the quality of your living space. Privacy fencing is essential to maintaining both the aesthetic and privacy of your yard and your lifestyle. Because of this, it’s important that you get the right type of fencing to suit your needs.

In this latest article, we’ll discuss the most popular types of fencing and compare and contrast them. You’ll learn the pros and cons of wood, vinyl, aluminum, and steel fence types and get some help deciding which is right for you!

Wood Fences

Wood FenceWood has been the most popular material for types of fences. It has a natural look that many homeowners crave and it can last for about 20 years when properly maintained.

However, despite its popularity, there are a lot of downsides to wood fencing. It breaks down easily because of its natural material. It usually doesn’t last for its maximum 20-year lifespan.

Because of this, it isn’t sustainable or environmentally-friendly. You’ll need to waste more resources erecting a new fence sooner rather than later.

It’s also quite difficult to maintain. Not only is it a hassle when pest insects like termites gnaw at it, but it also is hard to clean in the best of circumstances. It needs to be power washed and re-stained once a year simply so that it doesn’t rot away. This can’t be easily done on your own, which means that you’ll be spending a lot of money on annual treatments.

Many people still choose wood fencing because of its all-natural aesthetic and because they can stain it in many colors. Vinyl fencing, however, is significantly more sustainable and can come in many different colors as well.

The rustic vibe of a wood fence, however, isn’t worth the extra money and maintenance effort. If you love the all-natural aesthetics a wood fence offers, simulated privacy fences now come in woodgrain, and stone textures.

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl FencesIf you want to respect tradition, vinyl fencing can do just as good a job as wood can for the best types of fences. It’s the perfect material for creating white picket fencing, but the most popular are styles for homeowners looking for a privacy or pool fence installation.

There are several types of vinyl fences to choose from including privacy, semi-privacy, contemporary, traditional, and even classic.

Vinyl fences also come in various heights from 3’ to 6’ for traditional fences and up to 12’for privacy fences.

And while many homeowners choose white vinyl for the sake of tradition, there are many color options to choose from including almond, clay, grey and blended colors that simulate a stained fence. We have you covered.

With all the options vinyl fences come in, when it comes to privacy, the Certainteed Privacy New Lexington is the most popular, and best fence for homeowners. The Contemporary Baron and

Traditional Danbury is the other customer favorite.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Fencing

Pros of vinyl fencing:

  • Not susceptible to the elements (doesn’t rot or get destroyed by pests)
  • Low maintenance (no need to get it professionally appraised or maintained post-installation)
  • Inexpensive (virtually free) upkeep
  • Vinyl fences are easy to clean (you usually don’t need to do anything, but you can wipe it down with soapy water every few months if you like or power wash it every other year)
  • Sustainable because it doesn’t need to be replaced
  • Great privacy fence material because it doesn’t require gaps

Cons of vinyl fencing:

  • Can have some issues with mold (but this can be solved with the soapy water cleaning or power washing like we talked about before)
  • Higher initial installation costs (costs are offset by nonexistent maintenance costs)
  • Not a natural material

Clearly, the pros vastly outweigh the cons!

Aluminum Fences

Aluminum FenceAluminum is the second favorite fence material regarding types of fences by our customers. The Elite EEF-20 aluminum fence is our most popular aluminum fencing model because of its safety, security, and protection.

Aluminum fencing isn’t meant to be a completely oblique wall for privacy fencing – its panels lack the necessary space coverage.

However, it’s a popular choice for protecting children and keeping them safe in the backyard, particularly around a swimming pool.

It’s also a great choice to keep dogs confined and to allow that natural beauty of the property outside the fence to be seen.

Aluminum fences come in different grades including Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and even Heavy Industrial.

Pros and Cons of Aluminum Fencing

Pros of aluminum fencing:

  • Low maintenance (just needs to be wiped clean once in a while)
  • Insignificant maintenance costs
  • Can be installed on large slopes because they’re adjustable (this is known as ‘rackability’ and is perfect for those who live on rocky ground like in the Missouri Ozarks slopes)
  • Great for interacting with the world beyond your yard
  • Pickets can be spaced out or close together
  • Durable and more affordable than steel

Cons of aluminum fencing:

  • Not versatile so it’s not best for privacy needs
  • Due to aluminum being lightweight, bars could bend due to hard impact

Here again, the pros outweigh the cons! Whether or not you prefer vinyl or aluminum fencing is entirely up to personal preference and the applications that you’re using it for.

Ornamental Steel Fences

Ornamental Steel FenceIf you’re looking for the best in security and one of the strongest fences, consider ornamental steel. Our most popular model, Montage II, is often used for high-security projects and comes with heavy gauge pickets with state-of-the-art fusion technology welded rails.

In addition to traditional ornamental steel fences, we also offer steel-reinforced simulated stone fencing. Simulated stone fences are made from polyethylene plastic and reinforced with durable steel.

The plastic surrounding these fences not only look and feel just like real stone would, but create a solid privacy wall. This means that you have a privacy fence option that gives you all the benefits of durable galvanized steel.

Pros and Cons of Steel Fencing

Pros of steel fencing:

  • Solves the ‘lightweight’ problem that aluminum has (and is, therefore, more resistant to bending)
  • Maintenance is just as easy as aluminum
  • Rackable (just like aluminum fencing)

Cons of steel fencing:

  • Standard steel fences aren’t versatile so they aren’t used for privacy
  • Very heavy (this can also be a good thing, though, since it’s strong against weather conditions)
  • Considerably more expensive than aluminum

Like with both vinyl and aluminum fence solutions, there are far more benefits than there are disadvantages with ornamental steel fences.

A DIY Don’t: Why You Need Professional Installation

Maintenance-Free AdvantageOnce you’ve compared the benefits and disadvantages of common types of fencing, you’re probably thinking through the installation options.

And while YouTube has become a popular goto for the DIYer’s across America, fence installation is very challenging. With the investment of a maintenance-free fence, you’ll benefit from having your new fence installed professionally.

Between measuring, to the level of accuracy needed at leveling for post-installation, to the steep slopes and rocky soil conditions of the St. Louis area, the risk of doing it yourself is high.

Making a mistake can be costly. Uneven installation or painfully shallow fence posts will mean you will run into problems.

DIY fence installation, if you don’t have the experience, can be unsafe. You need the appropriate tools, and you always need to make sure you have your public utilities marked before you dig.

It’s safe to say that fence installation is a DIY don’t, especially given the fact that installation costs aren’t that much!

We encourage you to consider the benefits of professional installation.

St Louis fence companies have experienced professionals. True experts that have the appropriate tools and training to install your fence safely and efficiently.

You’ll still have control over what the final product will look like – and most importantly the peace of mind knowing your new maintenance-free fence will last a lifetime.

Get the Top Types of Fences Today

So while wood fencing was popular in the past – if you own a home in St.Louis’s four-season climate, you can’t go wrong with vinyl, aluminum, or steel maintenance-free fence alternative.

Now that you know the pros and cons of the top fence types, it’s time to get started. Request a free on-site estimate and we’ll visit your home to give you a no-obligation estimate.

Our professionals have been installing maintenance-free fencing across both Missouri and Illinois since 1994. So whether you need privacy, pool, or pet containment fencing, there are many different options that we’re excited to discuss with you.

No matter what fence you decide, when you hire our company you will receive the best everyday value through our Maintenance-Free Advantage. Have peace knowing we have a 4.9 Google rating and an A+ rating from the BBB customers.

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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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