Wood Fences - Wooden Fencing Endures

You've decided to install a wood fence. Here are some things to know to choose the fence that's best for you

Most fencing installed today continues to be wood fencing.

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In addition to eye appeal, wooden fence is easy to obtain, affordable, comes in a variety of styles, can be painted or stained to your liking, and will be there for many years if properly maintained.



Some common fence styles include:

  • Solid board or privacy fence. These can have decorative cap rails at the top, or can also feature a lattice top to allow a partial view and to allow a breeze
  • Picket (sometimes called spaced picket)
  • Stockade
  • Basket weave
  • Vertical board on board (boards are applied in a staggered fashion to the center horizontal rails
  • Post and rail

Although any wood may be used to construct fencing, the following woods are most common:

  • Spruce, Pine or Fir (collectively known as Whitewoods because of their white appearance when new)
  • Cedar (red cedar or white cedar)
  • Redwood
  • Treated Wood

Wood Fencing

Cedar fences, redwood fences and treated wood fences are generally more rot-resistant than Whitewood fences, giving them a potentially longer lifespan. Where rot is most often a concern is the fence posts or where the fence bottom touches ground or dense vegetation. In fact, the greatest single disadvantage to wood fences is the propensity of the posts to fail at or below ground level well before the fence field itself. You may wish to review installation guidelines if you are considering a new fence or looking to repair an existing one.

The quality of the wood's appearance is known as the wood grade. The following is a brief description of the grades:

  • Clear grade contains very few to no wood knots, and knots that are visible are very small and very tight.
  • Premium grade contains occasional small tight knots on both faces of the board. There is a very limited chance of knots becoming knotholes.
  • Select grade is basically premium grade on one side of the board, and limited knots or abrasions on the other side of the board
  • Standard allows a limited number of knots or abrasions on both sides of the board, with a more limited chance of knots becoming knotholes.
  • Quality is the economical grade, allowing a
    greater number of knots or abrasions, with knots having a significant chance of knots becoming knotholes.

To keep your fence looking as new as possible for as long as possible, wood fence experts recommend the following:

  • Fence fasteners should be made of hot-dip galvanized metal, aluminum or stainless steel to resist corrosion. Nails should have a ring or spiral shank to reduce the chance of loosening.
  • If you want the fence to keep its new appearance, treat the surface with a water-repellant soon after installation. Be sure to verify the presence of UV inhibitors in the repellant, as UV light is the primary cause of fences turning grey.
  • Brown stains at the nailing points of cedar and redwood fences can be removed with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). Black stains at the nailing points are more successfully tackled with an Oxalic Acid solution.
  • Chlorine bleach is effective against mildew, fungi and in removing much of the grey oxidized layer generated by exposure to UV light.

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