The Best Type Of Wood For A Wood Fence

Wood fences are a classic choice for fencing and have been for many years. Wood fences offer versatility and tend to be one of the most budget-friendly options of all fencing materials. Wood fences do require a little more maintenance than other fencing materials, but within the wood fence family, the type of wood you use can also have an impact on maintenance and budget.

Types of wood for fencing

Here are typical wood options for your fence, listed from least to most expensive:

  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Spruce
  • Cedar
  • Cypress
  • Redwood


Pressure-treated pine is the least expensive option for fencing. Pine is a dense wood that is affordable and durable, which makes it one of the most popular choices for wood fences.


Spruce is commonly found in prefabricated wood fence pickets or panels. Spruce is not as durable as other woods and is prone to warping when exposed to long damp spells. Spruce is not a good choice for you if you live in a damp or rainy climate.


Douglas fir is just a little more expensive than pine and spruce. Fir is readily available to most contractors and homeowners. Because it is obtained from older, more mature trees, fir has been performing well recently and sometimes outperforms cedar when used in fence panels and pickets. It is stronger and more rot resistant than pine.


Cedar is quite durable, although it is considered a softwood. It is actually one of the most durable types of wood, but there are differences in the types of cedars you will find as fencing options. Even if left untreated, red cedar can last for thirty years or more, according to some studies. Untreated white cedar is durable as well, but has a lifespan of only five to fifteen years. As you may already know, cedar is an excellent choice for rot and insect resistance. Finally, cedar fences are by far the most attractive in appearance. Cedar does have knots that may extrude over time, so repairs may need to occur if that happens. Cedar is not a good choice if you have a limited budget or if you want to paint or change the color/appearance of your fence.


Depending on where you live, cypress may or may not be a good choice for your fence. Cypress typically requires shipment from the southeast area of the United States, so you may not find it to be a budget friendly option. However, cypress, like cedar, is naturally resistant to rot and insect damage due to the natural chemical in the wood called cypretine. Cypress is also a less dense wood than cedar, which means it may not last as long as a cedar fence. However, cypress fences typically have less knots than cedar, which requires less maintenance over the lifespan of the fence.


Redwood is the most expensive option when choosing the best type of wood for your fence. If you intend to build an extremely long/large fence, redwood would not be a good choice for your project. However, if money is not an issue, the beauty and quality of redwood rise far above other types of wood. High-grade redwood is the most resistant wood, which means less maintenance over time.

So, which wood is best for my fence?

As you can see from the options listed, wood fences vary in durability and cost. Only you can determine the best wood for your fence based on your budget. However, based on durability and appearance, redwood tops the list, hands down.

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