Timber fences and picket fences have been a part of the look of the ‘ideal home’ for hundreds of years. The beauty of the classic white picket fence is timeless. Timber was originally chosen as the material of choice for fences due to the natural abundance of wood from trees. It’s also a lightweight and inexpensive material that can be easily customised to fit the dimensions of a particular area.
While sticking with tradition is always the first thought, fencing has come a long way over the years, and now it’s important to question whether timber is really the best material to build your fencing with. Here we look at the good and bad aspects of timber fencing and how they compare to some more modern alternatives that can still give you the security and even the traditional look of the great old picket or timber fence.
Pros and Cons of Timber and Picket Fencing
Regardless of the specific type of wood fencing a home or business owner selects, this type of fencing has always been known for its inherent beauty. Timber fencing has just as rich of a history as picket fencing, especially when it comes to use as privacy fencing for homes or a decorative addition to a home’s entrance or garden area. A popular choice for timber fencing is the shadowbox style, which is designed to look the same from both sides. Pros of timber and picket fencing include:
• Typically inexpensive
• Fairly easy to install
• An instantly recognisable style (especially with picket fencing)
• Easy to replace broken or damaged sections
• Able to be painted to either freshen the look or change the colour
While timber and picket fencing has some notable benefits, it does have some equally noteworthy drawbacks, especially when you consider the other types of fencing available as an alternative to timber and picket fencing. Cons of picket and timber fencing include:
• Rotting over time
• Warping of fence posts placed close together for privacy
• Termites and other insects prone to digesting wood
• Not as durable as other materials available today
• More care and maintenance than other fencing materials (varnishing, frequent painting)
• Higher costs of certain types of wood when compared to other available materials (oak, mahogany etc.)
Now we’ll take a look at some of the top alternatives to timber fencing and see how they compare.
Aluminium fencing, in particular, has several advantages over timber and picket fencing. A wrought iron, for instance, has to be specially manufactured through a complex process to produce the desired results. Aluminium fencing, on the other hand, can be easily crafted and installed in a way that mimics more expensive fencing choices. Benefits of aluminium fencing over picket and timber fencing include:
• No rust
• Security (since wooden fences can easily be broken or scaled)
• Low maintenance
Steel fencing offers a similar look when compared to what you get with aluminium fencing. Going by appearance alone, the two types of fencing are virtually identical. The big difference is in the durability of the fencing. Benefits of steel fencing over picket and timber fencing include:
• No splitting, cracking or warping over time
• Added protection from termites and other invasive insects
• Durable enough to withstand various weather conditions
An alternative to a standard picket or timber fence is smartwood fencing. This type of fencing is similar, if not identical, in appearance to traditional timber and picket fencing, but it is actually made from aluminium with a wood-look weather resistant coating. A smartwood fence will never warp or rot. It will never need to be repainted and it won’t rust either, regardless of how much water builds up around it. Smartwood fencing can be installed to mimic a modern timber fence design or vertically to create the appearance of a classic picket fence. Benefits of smartwood fencing over timber and picket fencing options include:
• Absolutely no maintenance
• Increased durability without sacrificing the timeless look of wood
• Ability to have the look of timber fencing in beachfront areas with lots of water
• Increased safety benefits
• Available in a variety of colours and styles to match just about any timber style
There’s no denying the timeless appeal of traditional picket and timber fencing. While wooden fencing can certainly be aesthetically pleasing, there are certain characteristics of this type of fencing that make it a less-than desirable choice for home or business fencing. With a growing choice of materials available, including the emergence of smartwood as a viable fencing material, there’s no reason for homeowners and business owners not to opt for fencing that just doesn’t offer the right look and durability.
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