What are the Different Types of Wood for Fences?

Tim George

Fences can be made from many types of wood. The varieties of wood for fences include the economical and relatively short-lived southern pine, the always-popular cedar, the traditional and sturdy oak and the very strong teak wood. The choice of wood for fences can depend on a combination of economic and geographic considerations. The cost of wood for fences can vary by type, and the most expensive wood is not always the best choice for every situation.

Cost, climate and fence purpose are all considerations when constructing a wooden fence.
Cost, climate and fence purpose are all considerations when constructing a wooden fence.

Yellow southern pine is one of the most pliable and adaptable wood for fences available. When pressure-treated to make it resistant to termites and other parasites, treated pine provides an excellent material for wood fences. It typically is the least-expensive option for a wooden fence. When treated annually with an oil stain, it can be excepted to last 10-20 years.

There are several wood options for fences.
There are several wood options for fences.

Western red cedar and eastern white cedar both provide viable alternatives to treated lumber. Knotted cedar is the least-expensive of the cedars and provides a rustic look. Clear grades of cedar provide a polished appearance and can last as long as 40 years. Cedar resists moisture and insects, and it tends to shrink less than pine. Fences made from cedar are as pliable as pine fences but typically last longer.

Fences made of oak are great choices where cost is less of a factor. The high amounts of tannin in oak make it highly resistant to insects and fungus. Some common oaks used for fences include white, red and European oak.

Teak is an extremely dense and strong hardwood. This gives it excellent longevity. Teak comes in three grades, and older teak is of a much higher quality than this type of wood that is less than 40 years old.

Bamboo also can be used as wood for fences, although it actually is a grass with the strength and durability of wood. Though bamboo is more expensive, fences made from bamboo are relatively easy to construct, have a long life expectancy and age well. Bamboo is a renewable resource that replaces itself in less than five years, making it a popular choice for people seeking to make less of an impact on the environment's natural resources while still enjoying the benefits of a wood fence.

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