What are the Most Common Types of Fences for Your Yard?

Small yellow house with white picket fence

So you’re thinking about installing a fence and you’ve started researching ideas and options. Then your head starts to spin as you consider all the common types of fences for your yard.

With so many fence styles, how do you choose? We’ll look at the different styles, their pros and cons, and their prices to help make your decision easier.

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In this article, we’ll cover:

6 Most Popular Types of Fences

What You Should Know Before Choosing a Fence

FAQ About Common Types of Fences

6 Most Popular Types of Fences

Wood

A wood fence with grey gravel on the ground
Photo credit: Meritt Thomas | Unsplash

This go-to staple is still a popular fencing material due to its durability, affordability, natural appearance, and ease of installation. A wood fence will last for a few decades when installed and maintained properly.

A wooden fence is a great and economical solution if you are looking for a security or privacy fence. Building a wood fence is also an easy DIY project if you’re looking to cut costs where possible.

Popular types of wood for fencing: 

Redwood:

  • Resists insects and rot
  • Absorbs and retains all finishes
  • Highest quality choice
  • Most expensive option
  • Fragrant

Cedar: 

  • Resists moisture, rot, insects
  • Easy to seal or stain
  • Weathers to gray when untreated
  • Won’t warp or shrink
  • Fragrant
  • A nice middle ground; not as expensive as redwood but not as flimsy as pine

Pine:

  • Must be treated to resist rot and termites
  • Most economical
  • Breaks easily
  • Fragrant

Oak: 

  • Durable
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Color darkens over time
  • Susceptible to insects

Cypress:

  • Repels insects
  • Scratch and ding resistant
  • Fragrant
  • Younger cypress is less durable

While a pressure-treated wood fence may not have the same classic beauty of maybe a cedar fence, but for the price, it will do its intended job while providing excellent resistance to rot and insects.

Pros:

  • Customizable
  • Versatile
  • Easy DIY project
  • Classic, natural look
  • Green/sustainable material
  • Affordable
  • Great for privacy
  • Sturdy
  • Wind resistant (better with open slats)

Cons:

  • Susceptible to termites
  • Regular maintenance is required or it will rot
  • Relatively short lifespan of 10-20 years

Cost: $1,996-$4,448

Composite

A composite fence installed around a house
Photo Credit: Elite Balustrade / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A composite fence is manufactured from wood fibers combined with plastic polymers. Composite fencing can provide a wood-like look without the threat of insects and rot. Often made from recycled materials, composite fencing is considered an eco-friendly option for those who may be eco-conscious-minded.

While a fence made from composite wood may have a higher upfront price tag, it has quickly become a go-to option for many homeowners. Its durability and little-to-no maintenance make it appealing to many considering building a privacy or garden fence.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance
  • Pest resistant
  • Rot resistant
  • Long-lasting material
  • Splinter proof
  • Natural looking

Cons:

  • More costly than wood or vinyl
  • Color may fade over time

Cost: $1,650-$6,750

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Vinyl

A beautiful white vinyl fence installed in a lawn of a house
Photo credit: Davgood / Pixabay

Vinyl fences have quickly become the most popular fencing material thanks to their resilience, versatility, and low maintenance. It can provide homeowners with a fully private or semi-private yard, or it can offer a purely decorative statement adding curb appeal to your property. There are customizable options like laser-cut panels, shapes, colors and styles to suit any home.

This man-made product offers endless options to choose from for your own one-of-a-kind backyard fence. Vinyl also can mimic most other common fencing materials. If you like the look of a natural wood fence without the maintenance, vinyl is the option for you. 

Pros:

  • Easy installation
  • Little to no maintenance
  • Does not rust or rot
  • Heat/UV resistant
  • Wind resistant
  • Moisture resistant
  • Pest resistant 
  • Flexible
  • Five times stronger than timber

Cons:

  • High upfront costs
  • Could become brittle over time

Cost: $2,181-$6,089

Chain Link

A beautiful chain link fence with green background
Photo credit: Markus / Unsplash

While chain-link fencing may not be the most visually appealing fence, it is one of the most budget-friendly options as well as an easy-to-install DIY project. There are multiple ways to customize a chain-link fence for your needs, including different styles and thicknesses of the metal as well as numerous color-coated chain-link options.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel is covered with a layer of zinc which prevents metal from oxidizing and creating rust. This is the most popular and budget-friendly chain-link option. A galvanized steel chain-link fence should last about 12 years with no maintenance.

Stainless Steel 

This is the most durable of the chain-link materials but also the most expensive. Stainless steel is highly resistant to chemicals, corrosion, and rust. It’s able to withstand high temperatures and is resistant to extreme weather conditions. It’s not likely to roll, sag, or break and will maintain its shape for many years.

Aluminum 

This material is weather and corrosion-resistant, will stand the test of time, and is an overall lightweight option. Aluminum chain-link fencing is a durable and good choice for public or commercial use. 

Polymer and PVC Coated

Polymer is coated in a powder coating and PVC is covered in a heavy vinyl coating. These two options are more expensive than galvanized but offer a rubberized coating for a nice look and feel. The coatings also shield it from rust, scratches, and harsh weather. PVC will not peel or crack easily when applied correctly. Both have a natural shine and come in a range of colors. It is easy to see why many homeowners don’t mind the cost of a coated chain link fence. 

Slatted 

A slatted chain-link fence is designed for privacy. Its slats are usually made of durable materials such as PVC and come in a variety of finishes and colors.

Pros:

  • Low maintenance
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to install
  • Graffiti resistant
  • Long-lasting
  • Rust resistant

Cons:

  • Low security
  • Low privacy
  • Utilitarian or industrialized look

Cost: $1,241-$5,194

Aluminum

A beautiful shiny aluminium fence
Photo Credit: reartis / Canva Pro / License

Do you like the elegance of a wrought iron fence but don’t want to worry about rust? Aluminum is a great alternative to bring the old-world beauty of wrought iron to your yard, but without the risk of your fence developing rust.

Aluminum is also a very versatile option. It comes in numerous colors and styles. You can choose a color to match your gutters or other trim elements along your house. You also could choose more dramatic colors for a strong contrast or you can blend it completely with your home.

It’s one of the strongest, but also one of the most lightweight, fencing materials available, often making installation costs lower than other options. Aluminum fences are also able to be customized to suit the grading of the ground with very little effort, making it suitable for uneven terrain.

Pros: 

  • Budget-friendly
  • Customizable
  • Suitable for uneven terrain
  • Durable
  • Moisture resistant
  • Will withstand harsh weather
  • Maintenance free
  • Keeps pets and kids in the yard
  • Keeps intruders out

Cons:

  • Little privacy

Cost: $3,111-$6,753

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Wrought Iron

A iron fence with blue background
Photo credit: Pixabay

No other fencing option is as timeless as the beauty of a wrought-iron fence. The welded construction of this type of metal fence can provide strength and durability while also bringing an atmosphere of high-end luxury to your outdoor space.

Wrought-iron fences peaked in popularity during the Victorian era when foundries started casting and mass-producing pickets and posts. You can find examples of these ornate fences in some of the more historic neighborhoods in New Orleans or the New England area. 

The high cost of a true wrought-iron fence has caused fence makers in today’s society to look for more economical ways of creating these masterpieces. Wrought-iron fences are now often made by using more-available steel or aluminum. Pickets are also often hollow, further making the metal fence more affordable.

Pros:

  • Heavy
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Wind resistant
  • Traditional look
  • Unique and classy

Cons: 

  • Pricey
  • Prone to rust
  • Low privacy

Cost: $2,334-$4,769

What Should You Know Before Choosing a Fence?

Know Your Budget

Before choosing a fence type, you need to know your budget. Fencing can be quite costly, so you want to make sure you budget according to your needs and yard. The average fence typically costs $3,440 and can range from $1,330 up to $5,550.

Understand the Purpose of the Fence

There are many reasons to choose to install a fence, and depending on the reason, that may influence the type of fence you choose. Many people choose to put up a fence to keep their children or pets safely inside their yard. Privacy fences are also very popular for homeowners looking to create a private outdoor area to enjoy without the prying eyes of a nosey neighbor. 

Know Local Rules and Ordinances

Before you make any decisions be sure to check with your Homeowner’s Association for restrictions. Some HOAs may specify the type of fence, the fence height, or even the color homeowners are allowed.  

Even if you don’t live in a neighborhood with an HOA, you still need to check with your local city or county for possible restrictions. If you live in a historic area, your municipality may have very strict rules on the type of fence you are allowed, you may even have to submit plans for approval.

FAQ About Common Fence Types

What type of fences are best for around pools?

Wrought iron and aluminum are often popular options for pool fencing because they don’t block the view of the pool. However, any material may be used as long as you meet the local safety and height requirements. 

What is the most popular type of fence?

Vinyl has risen to become the most popular type of fence due to its durability and low maintenance. It also will never rust, rot, or decay and will last for decades.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of metal fence posts versus wood fence posts?

Both options will work for just about any type of wood fence installation, but many professionals recommend a metal post. A metal post will not warp, twist, split, or become deformed and should last longer than any other part of a wood fence. When properly installed, a metal post can be wrapped with wood to blend with the rest of the fence.

Are You Ready to Choose Your Fence?

Now that you know more about the six most common types of fences, you have information to make a choice that works best for you and your property.

Whether you choose the classic white picket fence or go with a more modern vinyl fence design, find the best fencing company in your area to help with installation.

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Main Image Credit: irina88w / Canva Pro / License

Amy Adams

Amy Adams is a freelance writer and former newspaper journalist. She grew up in Kansas but has been living in Florida for the past 15 years and has no intentions of ever moving back!