What Does It Cost? - Wood Fence vs. Vinyl Fence…an Honest Comparison
Posted by David Bryant on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 12:32 PM

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Wood and Vinyl Fence Pricing and Comparisons between Fences...

Wow, this is a very popular question we hear every week, so with this much interest I thought it would make a great blog article.

If you are like most of our customers, you may purchase and move to a home 3 - 5 times over the course of your life. When you get to that new home, you may need a fence!

We strive to be the most educational fence site to give you an edge when considering purchasing a fence, and hope to earn your business in the process.

Pets, children, security, and aesthetics are all reasons to consider installing a fence at your home.

WHAT FENCE IS RIGHT FOR ME?

All fencing products will have their pros and cons and there is no one fence that is "right for everyone". What I will try to do in this article is review the differences so you will choose for yourself what best meets your lifestyle.

Points to consider when discussing fences with our homeowners boils down to a few basic ideas.

Objectives for fence, maintenance issues, aesthetics, length of time on property, size of the project, return on investment, and of course HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? - budget constraints.

FENCING OBJECTIVES

When considering a fence we need to define the objective requirements for your project. By defining the fencing objectives, we can narrow down the many choices available and make sure the fence you ultimately choose will BEST MEET YOUR NEEDS! Primary objectives would be for privacy, security, containment, aesthetics, boundary marking, safety (pools, children, pets).

 

MAINTENANCE ISSUES FOR FENCING - I'd rather be on the lake!!!

This is one of those frequently overlooked aspects when purchasing a new fence. Vinyl fencing requires no additional maintenance upkeep other than occasionally hosing off dirt on the fence. Wood fencing will require a regular maintenance of cleaning, staining, and replacement of lumber to keep your fence looking fresh and presentable.

Natural wood fencing to maintain than pleasing look will need 2 coats of stain in the initial year of installation (remember, you must stain inside and outside for the lumber stability), and regular staining every other year to maintain that aesthetically pleasing look.

ADVANTAGE: VINYL

 

AESTHETICS OF FENCING

Wood Fencing boast the natural beauty and warmth of traditional fencing of our ancestors. It is a beautiful fence material, and many people consider the defects in the lumber as an asset adding character to the fence. It reminds me of an old National Geographic photo of an old sailor man, rough looking, deep lines and wrinkles, a craggy face, where you can imagine his adventures.

The Vinyl Fencing is a Maintenance Free Fence, no painting, no termites, no warping, no splinters. It also is a beautiful fence, but without the flaws and without the maintenance so you can enjoy you time off at the lake or golf course or the beach.

ADVANTAGE: WOOD AND VINYL

LENGTH OF TIME ON PROPERTY

Here is a really great concept frequently overlooked! Something you should consider is REALLY HOW LONG WILL YOU LIVE HERE?

If you are short term 1-3 years knowing you are moving then you may consider an initially less expensive fence such a natural wood fence. The effective cost of the fence continues to increase after year three due to high maintenance cost, but up till about year 5 it is still a great value.

If you are planning to live in your home for 5-10 years, then you should give some thought to the higher initial cost of maintenance free fencing such as vinyl or aluminum. We have charted the cost of wood privacy and vinyl privacy for a 10 year period and the break even time between the two fences is about year 8. At this time it's more cost effective for the vinyl fence over the wood fence, and the maintenance cost on the wood fence keeps climbing.

ADVANTAGE: WOOD FENCE 1-3 YEARS

ADVANTAGE: VINYL FENCE 5-10 YEARS

SIZE OF THE PROJECT

Another really important issue here it the total size of the project. When considering the fencing options available, most of our customers prefer, if within their overall budget, a maintenance free fence such as Aluminum or Vinyl. For a fence around an entire yard the homeowner may not choose the higher end product, however if the objective is for a smaller patio fence then the homeowner can choose less footage with a higher end product and still stay within budget.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

The green chart above shows the 10 year average of different fences.

The high maintenance fences (WOOD-10% and WROUGHT IRON-35% ) lose value at a much higher rate than the newer maintenance free fences (ALUMINUM-65% and VINYL-65% ).

Adding the overall cost of a well maintained Wood or Wrought Iron fence and you will see below how those costs affect the overall pricing of your fence.

ADVANTAGE: VINYL FENCE

INITIAL COST OF FENCING...BUDGET CONSTRAINTS

Choices in fences as in all things comes down to dollars. Whether in the short run (1-5 years) less expensive initial cost of fencing or the long term (10+ years) with an overall lower cost and high ROI

Natural Wood Picket Fencing will vary in costs from about $10 - $16 per linear foot installed, the majority of jobs ranging $11 - $13 per linear foot installed.

Natural Wood Privacy Fencing will vary in costs from about $14 - $24 per linear foot installed, with the majority of jobs ranging $14 - $18 per linear foot installed.

Vinyl Picket Fencing will vary in costs from about $20 - $34 per linear foot installed, with the majority of the jobs ranging $24 - $28 per linear foot installed.

Vinyl Privacy Fencing will vary in costs from about $28 - $52 per linear foot installed with the majority of jobs in the range $30 - $38 with steel post stiffeners per linear foot installed.

Both the Natural Wood Privacy Fence and the Classic Vinyl Privacy Fence will provide strong, beautiful long lasting fences.

Natural Wood fencing features the warmth and beauty of wood grain fencing and is initially less expensive to install. Natural wood fencing will warp, twist, crack, will require a regular maintenance schedule and rapidly looses ROI after 5 years.

Premium Vinyl fencing will out last the wood fencing by years, requires no maintenance upkeep, is impervious to insects, and over the long run VINYL IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN WOOD! Not only will it be less expensive than wood over a 10 year period, it will also have about 6-1/2 times the Return On Investment over wood.

Tags: Vinyl Picket Fencing Cost, Vinyl Privacy Fencing Cost, Vinyl Fence Pricing, cost of wood fencing, vinyl vs wood
Comments
Great post this is exactly what im looking although im sure a wood fence in albany oregon might cost a little bit more or less but i imagine its not a very big difference. Thanks!
Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 6:58 PM by Lance Tankman tankman.lance@gmail.com [Delete]
Nice post, Wood fence are really better than vinyl fence. Wood fences are more strong and there price are really less as compare to vinyl fence. They give an attractive look to home and really nice for house’s decoration.
Posted @ Monday, April 15, 2013 4:21 AM by Tom Smith tomsmith9983@gmail.com [Delete]
Thanks for sharing useful information and fence is another decoration on your yard.
Raleigh Fence
Posted @ Monday, May 27, 2013 2:16 PM by lobopatrick lobopatrick420@gmail.com [Delete]
I don't understand your Return on Investment figures. Could you explain in simple terms for a simple reader? If I were to invest eg $100 in a wooden fence, how would it pay me $10 (10% ROI); $100 invested in an aluminum fence will pay me $65?????
Posted @ Monday, July 01, 2013 1:43 PM by j innomid innomid@worldlynx.net [Delete]
That is a great question about Return on Investment and thanks for bringing that to my attention, I will see if I can clear the confusion. In the current market, most of our customers do not live in the same home all of their lives, they will move 2-5 times in a lifetime. Going to a starter home, to 2 story home, downsize to rancher when kids are gone, then to condo.

I like to use cars for explanations so bear with me. When considering the true cost of a car it is original cost, plus all the maintenance (oil, gas, tires, insurance) less the amount you sell it for. So a $10,000 car after expenses of $4000 less $1500 sale price actually costs you $12,500 to own it! The return on investment is the $1500 (what you got back out of it) divided by the TOTAL COST $14,000 not just the original investment.

The same holds true of fencing for your home. If you invest in a high quality maintenance free fence then your initial investment IS your total cost after 10 years. When you go to sell the home after 10 years it is still worth 65% of original value (it will depreciate). Whereas a wood fence requires a high level of maintenance to keep an attractive appearance and that cost is factored into the total 10 year cost. So maintenance would be staining, replacing damaged, warped, rotten boards, replacing posts, on a yearly basis. You also get to enjoy an attractive wood fence for the 10 years. Now don't get me wrong, wood fences are beautiful when they are first installed, and to keep up the value of the home they WILL REQUIRE regular maintenance to hold on to that value. BUT, in the EAST TENNESSEE AREA wood fences drastically lose value after 5 years and virtually have no value after 10 years when discussing additional value to your home when marketing you home for resale.
Now lets say you that you have a natural wood fence, and let it age out grey, no repairs are made and you put your home up for sale. Not only has the fence lost value but now so has your home. Your best option may be to remove the fence to remove the negative curb appeal.

So there you have it! The return on your investment only happens when you sell the home. It is always nice to think that you can use a home for 10 years and get more money out of it than you paid for it.

ROI is only one factor to consider when purchasing your fence such as objectives, budget, maintenance, HOA restrictions and such. Hey that sound like a great article for the blog.

Have a great day!
David