How Long Does a Fence Last?

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There are many factors to keep in mind when buying a fence, but almost everyone wants their fence to last. There’s no sense making a big investment in something that’s going to need to be replaced soon.

Superior Deck & Fence, a decking and fence contractor in Cherry Hill, NJ, says, “Wood was the main residential fencing material for a long time because it was readily available and affordable. Metal fencing was mainly used for commercial buildings. Now, there are new materials available that last longer than wood and are easier to maintain.”

Here are the most common types of fencing and how long they last. This likely won’t be the only factor in your decision, but it is an important one.

Longest Lasting Fences From Shortest to Longest

Chain Link (~20 years)

If you want the cheapest option, a chain-link fence will fit your needs. This type of fencing can last longer than some wood options and shorter than others. However, it requires little to no maintenance.

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Unfortunately, chain link fences offer the least privacy and security of all types on this list. They are completely see-through and are easily climbable.

This option will keep a dog or small child from escaping your yard, but that’s about all it’s good for. It can mark the edge of your property as well, but there are better-looking options that can do that just as well.

Wood (~5 to 40 years)

A wood fence might arguably be the best looking, but it’s typically the first type of fence to need replacing, depending on the type of wood you choose. Some wood can last as little as five years, while other types can last up to 40 with proper maintenance.

When choosing a wood fence, make sure you choose a type of wood that will last a long time. Redwood is known to be sturdy and long-lasting. However, it’s important to choose wood that is locally sourced to cut down on your carbon footprint.

Your fence will also need regular maintenance to last long. If you’re the type of person to leave things without cleaning and maintenance for an extended period of time, a wood fence is not a good option for you.

Termites, moisture, and fire can all destroy a wood fence. There isn’t much you can do about a random fire, but you’ll need to check regularly for termite and water damage.

Since it doesn’t last as long as some options and readily available, wood is one of the cheapest options. It will cost a bit more than a chain link but will provide more privacy and security.

Composite, Vinyl, or PVC (~30 years)

If you want a wood fence with all of the privacy benefits but without as much maintenance required, a composite fence is the choice you’re looking for. This material mixes wood with plastic to make a longer-lasting material that requires less maintenance.

This mixture allows composite fences to last up to 30 years. This isn’t as long as the metal options below, but it is longer than the average lifespan of wood on its own. If you absolutely want a wood fence but don’t want more yard work, a composite fence will last a long time without the work.

If you want even less maintenance involved, you’ll have to go with vinyl or PVC fencing. You can get these plastic options in a color that looks like wood, but it won’t be as close of a match as composite. These options will also last about 30 years.

Because composite and plastic options last so long, they are one of the most expensive options. In both cases, you’re paying more for the features of a wood fence without the headache.

Aluminum, Wrought Iron, and Steel (40+ years)

Solid metal will always last the longest. As long as you take steps to protect your fence from rust, it can last a lifetime.

This option will also provide you with the most security. Metal fences are often the most difficult to climb, and they are the most difficult to knock down.

Any fence can have barbed wire or electricity added to it for added protection, but adding these features to a metal fence will give you maximum security. If you’re looking for maximum protection of your home and belongings, this is the best option for you.

They are also the most expensive option because of all of these reasons. Wood and plastic options can also provide more privacy. If you’re more worried about privacy than security, wood or plastic should fit your needs.

If you’re making your decision purely based on what will last the longest, metal is your best choice, but most people don’t make decisions like this. There are many other factors, including price, features, maintenance, and style.

What do you need from your fence? Are you just looking for something that lasts long, or do you have other needs? Let us know in the comments below!

Jennifer Bell is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.

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