What are the Different Types of Fence Panels?

Dan Cavallari

Fence panels exist for every fencing application one can imagine. From privacy fencing to decorative fencing, fence panels make the construction of a fence easier and quicker than building from scratch. Fence panels come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and applications, so choosing the best ones can be a bit daunting. Most fence paneling is broken down by material, of which the most common are wood, metal, and vinyl. Just about all fence panels come in a standard length — typically about six feet or two meters — but the height of the panels vary depending on how they will be used.

Galvanized steel wire is often used to weave the fabric of a chain link fence.
Galvanized steel wire is often used to weave the fabric of a chain link fence.

Less common materials include iron fence panels. These types of panels are quite a bit more expensive than other types of fence panels, meaning they are not used as often as less expensive options. The most common material for fence paneling is wood, as it can be easily made into different shapes or designs. Trellis fence panels are increasingly popular for privacy fencing and as additions to existing fences. Trellis panels can be affixed to the top of an existing fence to add height and enhance privacy while adding an aesthetic complement to the fence and the yard.

Fence panels can be purchased for privacy or garden fences.
Fence panels can be purchased for privacy or garden fences.

Vinyl panels have become increasingly common in back yards and other areas because they can be made to look like other materials, and they require little or no maintenance. While wood panels will require yearly maintenance and inspection — including restaining or repainting, as well as visual inspection and replacement of rotted boards — vinyl panels need no painting, staining, or inspection. Vinyl panels are also easily cleaned using a hose and soap, though less expensive versions of vinyl panels do tend to yellow in direct sunlight. Higher end vinyl panels usually do not have this problem, so one should be careful to choose a high quality panel.

The most common metal fencing is chain link fencing, and while these are not panels per se, they are a low maintenance choice for a security fence. They are not aesthetically pleasing, but they are a good choice for holding up tall plants or creeping vines. Other types of metal fencing do come in panels, and they are usually made from steel, aluminum, or iron. Iron fence panels are less common but more decorative; aluminum and steel fence paneling is cheaper but often less aesthetically pleasing. Aluminum is a good choice because it does not rust, though it is not quite as strong as steel or iron.

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