Good Fences & Bad Fences: How to Decide

Good Fences & Bad Fences: How to Decide

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Rachael Grad
Jun 13, 2008

Do you dream of a house with a white picket fence? You're not alone. The Washington Post consulted fencing experts to report on suitable options for this area. While white picket fences are very popular, the Post article describes the benefits and drawbacks of different fence types: chain-link, wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, and ornamental steel. After reading the Post story, we started noticing interesting fences around DC. Below are a summary of the article's positives and negatives and photos of local fences....

Below are the fence types recommended for the DC area. Which would type of fence would you pick?

Chain-link: durable, low priced but not considered aesthetically pleasing.

Wood: the two most used woods in DC are pressure-treated yellow pine (from this region so less expensive, but more likely to warp, twist or shrink) and natural cedar (holds up better but not underground - pressure-treated posts are recommended).

Aluminum: lightweight, cheaper than steel, but not easy to customize.

Vinyl: easy to customize (different looks and details) but prone to cracking. Not aesthetically pleasing (looks like plastic) and pricey right now because vinyl fencing is derived from petroleum products.

Composite: durable but heavy so needs to be used with a steel or wood frame. Not as reliable, and not suited for steep terrain (which is common terain in DC).

Ornamental steel: attractive, strong, secure, and long-lasting, but requires maintenance to avoid rust. Also, bars are made thinner so offer less privacy than the other types.

For more information, tips and price estimates for each type, see the table comparing fence types from the Washington Post and the full article.

- Rachael Grad

[photo before the jump from Country Living]

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