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Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fences – A Compare and Contrast Guide

Compare and Contrast a Vinyl vs Wood Privacy Fence Guide

If you want a new privacy fence or plan to tear down your old one and start anew, how do you know which material will work best for your needs? Wood and vinyl are both popular options, but they are not the same. This helpful guide will explain the differences between a vinyl vs. wood privacy fence and help you determine which will add value and convenience to your home.

dog with umbrella

The Durability Factor for a Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fence

Any privacy fencing you install needs to hold up well to the harsh elements. Durability is a significant player in choosing the suitable fence material.

From torrential rains and wind to fungus and pests to large energetic pets, which material lasts longer?

The Durability of Wood Privacy Fences

  • Wood has long been the popular choice for many homeowners, usually lasting around 20 years or so.
  • On the other hand, wood naturally breaks down over time, being made from a natural material.
  • Certain types of wood hold up better than others and can resist decay and rotting. But even so, you must treat the wood and apply a protective sealant to keep it in good shape. Read more on the maintenance required further down.

The Durability of Vinyl Privacy Fences

  • As for vinyl, it can withstand all kinds of adverse conditions. A vinyl privacy fence stays strong despite a lot of rain, humidity, or fungus.
  • Since vinyl is synthetic, it is not susceptible to falling apart after prolonged exposure to the elements.
  • In the battle of durability for vinyl vs. wood privacy fences, vinyl is the victor.

DURABILITY WINNER: Vinyl Privacy Fences



staining wood fence

The Maintenance Factor for a Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fence

Fences are made to keep intruders out, add beauty to your home, keep pets contained, and give you additional privacy. We get it; regular maintenance and fencing are not topics typically thought of, together.

The Maintenance of Vinyl Privacy Fences

  • With vinyl fencing, you do not need to worry about maintenance. Occasionally, you can hose the fence off to keep it looking clean. Please rinse it with a garden hose after storms to remove excess dirt.
  • Heavy rains will often wash any residue off, making vinyl virtually maintenance-free!

The Maintenance of Wood Privacy Fences

As for wood, you must be more vigilant to keep your wood fence looking new.

  • Wood must be treated and stained at least once yearly for the best aesthetics and to help prevent rot. This intensive process takes money, energy, and a full day for standard yards.
  • You should treat your wood fence annually for the first three years as a good rule of thumb. Then, stain it every other year to keep it looking beautiful and new.
  • Wood tends to rot as time passes and starts to fall apart or warp. When this happens, you will replace an entire section or add a new piece of wood.
  • Termites are another serious concern when it comes to wood fencing.

In comparison, vinyl fencing does not have this problem and has a much longer lifespan. With no maintenance, vinyl fencing wins the battle for ease of care.

MAINTENANCE WINNER: Vinyl Privacy Fences



vinyl privacy fence

The Cost Factor for a Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fence

This round outlines the cost of vinyl vs. wood privacy fences. Of course, most homeowners want to save money on a new fence, but how does that play out in the long run?


Wood vs Vinyl Fences - Cost Compared Over Time


Wood vs Vinyl Fences - Value Compared Over Time


The Cost of Vinyl Privacy Fences

  • Regarding upfront pricing, vinyl is typically more expensive than wood. However, if you look at the big picture, it’s less costly (long term) than wood after all the maintenance that a wood fence requires.
  • If you plan to live in your home for long, vinyl is the better choice. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to repair or replace your wood fence within 15-20 years.
  • Once you install a vinyl fence, you’re good to go. Compare the cost of repairs, replacement, and maintenance, and vinyl wins out yet again.

Think of vinyl privacy fences as a wise and long-term investment. You may pay a bit more initially, but you’ll reap the great benefits of no maintenance and longer-lasting material. Even if you sell your home shortly after your vinyl fence installation, you’re sure to recoup your investment with the sale of your home. The new homeowner will be happy that they won’t have to put additional money into the maintenance of their fence!

The Cost of Wood Privacy Fences

  • On the other hand, wood is undoubtedly cheaper upfront, but you must include treatments and stains as part of your fencing budget. The larger your fence, the more this can start to add up, especially if you pay to have the fence stained by a professional staining company.
  • Wood might be viable for a small project like a garden area. But vinyl is the better investment regarding long-term cost when it comes to pool fencing or fencing around your entire backyard.
  • Over time, as a wood privacy fence depreciates and maintenance increases, you may end up paying twice the cost of the wood privacy fence. Then, once the life of the wood fence ends, consider the costs of yanking it out and starting over.

The bottom line is that the additional difference in price to purchase a vinyl fence is well worth it.

COST WINNER: Tie. Long-term goes to vinyl, short term to wood.


vinyl privacy fence


The Design Factor for a Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fence

Fencing serves a purpose but should also add beauty to your home. Who will be the victor regarding vinyl vs. wood privacy fence designs?

The Design of Wood Privacy Fences

  • Wood offers a rustic, natural look that a lot of homeowners prefer.
  • Wood gives your home a traditional aesthetic that has long been part of the classic neighborhood landscape.
  • A perk of having a wood fence is that you can stain it any color, giving you flexibility when choosing the desired color.

The Design of Vinyl Privacy Fences

  • On the other hand, vinyl fences now come in a vast range of designs, and they’re continually evolving. White used to be the primary color for vinyl fences, but this industry has certainly come a long way.
  • Today’s vinyl fences feature an assortment of attractive colors. You can find vinyl fences in many colors, whether light tan or dark brown, to suit your style.
  • Aside from the colors, these fences are now available in various designs and textures.
  • Whether you love the sleek contemporary look or prefer something more classic, vinyl fencing has it all.
  • You can also buy a wide range of decorative post caps and lighting to add to your vinyl fencing, giving you a lot more flexibility in how you want your home to look.

Vinyl privacy fences also look newer for much longer, creating more positive curb appeal for the life of your home. The comparison of fencing in design is subjective, but many modern homeowners like the sleek, smooth look that vinyl fences offer.

DESIGN WINNER: Vinyl Privacy Fences


The Material Factor for a Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fence

A quality privacy fence should give you more privacy when enjoying your pool or backyard. So, regarding the best fencing to provide you with the privacy you need, which material is better?

The Material of Wood Privacy Fences

  • Wood can offer your home a subtle, natural look, and tall fence panels should provide the privacy you need. However, when wood warps, it leaves significant gaps between sections, making complete privacy challenging.
  • The back of a wood fence usually doesn’t look as good as the front, so when you are outside, you’re not enjoying the beauty of your fence unless you’re looking at it from your neighbor’s yard or the street.

The Material of Vinyl Privacy Fences

  • Many vinyl fence panels consist of tongue and groove pickets, ensuring no gapping, which means you’ll get the privacy you deserve.
    And since vinyl won’t warp, there’s no need to worry about those privacy-reducing gaps like wood. Most vinyl fencing looks the same way on both sides, fantastic, no matter your view.
  • Unless you choose a picket-style fence that already comes with gaps, vinyl fences give you the privacy you need. Wood can also perform well in privacy, but it’s more prone to damage, putting your privacy at risk.


Consider a vinyl fence with a lattice top to let more sunlight into your yard or pool area. This consideration boils down to your personal preference regarding privacy and style.

MATERIAL WINNER: Vinyl Privacy Fences



vinyl privacy fence

Most Popular Vinyl Privacy Fences

We hope you are convinced to invest in a vinyl privacy fence. Overwood is a sage choice.

Here are the most popular privacy fences we offer.

  1. Good: New Lexington Vinyl Privacy Fence. New Lexington is our most popular and least expensive vinyl privacy fence. Available in the colors of white and almond and the heights of 4′, 5′ and 6′.
  2. BetterChesterfield Smooth Vinyl Privacy Fence. The Chesterfield Smooth textured vinyl privacy fence has been wind load tested to withstand up to 115 miles per hour winds. Great for both home and commercial applications.
  3. Best: Chesterfield CertaGrain Vinyl Privacy Fence. Bring the timeless beauty of painted wood fencing to your backyard thanks to the Chesterfield with CertaGrain™, Bufftech easy-care, wood-look privacy fence. CertaGrain provides an authentic, wood-like appearance AND texture you won’t find on ANY OTHER vinyl fence products.


Need More Convincing in Vinyl over Wood Fencing?

A Tale of Two Materials

Once upon a time, in the early settlements of America, wood was the guardian of homes, the sentinel that stood between the wilderness and civilization. Fast forward to today, and a new contender has entered the arena—vinyl, the sleek, modern protector of suburban dreams. This journey from wood to vinyl is not just a shift in material but a reflection of our evolving lifestyles and values.

Making a Green Choice

As stewards of the Earth, it’s crucial to consider the environmental impact of our choices. Wood, though natural, often comes from non-sustainable sources and requires chemical treatments that can harm our planet. Vinyl, on the other hand, has a longer lifespan and is recyclable, making it a friend to Mother Nature.

The Chronicles of Maintenance

Imagine the biting winds of January howling through your backyard. If you have a wooden fence, you’re likely bundled up, paintbrush in hand, sealing cracks to keep the rot at bay. Come spring, your vinyl fence merely needs a quick rinse to sparkle in the sun, with no sweat or splinters involved.

A Cost Analysis Tale

Meet Penny, a frugal homeowner who counts every dollar. She opts for a wooden fence, lured by the initial low cost. Across the street lives Time, a busy entrepreneur. Time chooses vinyl, which is a bit more expensive upfront but a time-saver in the long run. Penny spends weekends and extra dollars on maintenance as years pass, while Time enjoys leisurely Saturdays, his fence as pristine as day one.

Visual Harmony in Your Space

Wood sings a rustic ballad, a hymn to the yesteryear homes, adding nostalgia to your space. Vinyl, however, performs a modern jazz number, its sleek lines and glossy finish embodying the pulse of contemporary design. The choice is yours: which musical genre does your home resonate with?


Make Your Home Beautiful (and Safe) with Privacy Fences

Whether you love the natural look of wood or prefer the low maintenance and aesthetics of vinyl, fencing can add beauty and functionality to any home.

In the battle of vinyl vs. wood privacy fence materials, carefully consider the pros and cons of each.

The weather in the St. Louis area often changes, so keep that in mind when choosing your new fence.

Wood material prone to damage or rotting is not as good as vinyl, which will stand the test of time.

Call us today for your free onsite privacy fence estimate, and visit our website for more great information on choosing a fence for your home!

Call us today for your free fence estimate, and visit our website for more information on choosing a fence for your 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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