Assessing The Proper Wood For Fence Appearance And Durability

Justin Ross

Picking fencing material takes more than looking for the prettiest wood. You need to know what works well with difference paints, weather conditions and even the way you install the fencing. A few concepts of wood durability can help you figure out which woods to use for which purposes.

Oak Wood Is Sturdy And Load-Bearing

Oak wood is moderately rot resistant, but its claim to fame comes from its ability to take a punch. Oak is a strong, sturdy wood that doesn't chip easily. If you're building a fence that needs to last against the elements and even rough cattle, oak can be a great choice. Oak's major downfall is that the fibers can be a bit spread apart, which may give way to persistent insects and compromise the rest of the wood. Treat oak with a sealant if you live in a wood-bore insect area.

Red Cedar For Rot Resistance

Red cedar is an amazing wood for fencing because it resists many wood diseases that pine, yew and other common building materials fall to on a regular basis. Although it isn't immune to problems such as wood fungus rot, the thickness and finely packed fibers make it difficult for rot-festering moisture or insects to set in. It's a good idea to treat any type of wood, but if you're looking for a natural appeal without doing too much prep work, red cedar is your choice. The only downside is the appearance, which can sometimes show through certain light coatings of paint.

Pine Wood For A Quick And Affordable Choice

Pine is one of the most available, affordable wood choices. It offers moderate rot resistance and can stand up to damage as well as most wooden building materials, but has quite a few drawbacks. 

Pine holds a lot of moisture, so unless it has been treated already, it can absorb a lot of contaminants from the surrounding area. It can become weak from such softness, and may be an easy nesting area for wood-boring insects. Untreated pine also has the tendency to 'bleed' or leak sap from its fibers, which can lead to foreign objects getting stuck to the surface. Painting can be difficult, as the sap can become mixed with the paint. Dirt, paper and anything else that comes into contact with the wood over an extended period of time may be stuck, and the end result can become ugly after just a few weeks.

If you'd like to understand other woods and their benefits when used as fencing, contact a wood fencing professional.