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hkolln 08-13-2012 01:44 PM

Vinyl or Wood Fence?
We currently have a chain link fence but are looking at either vinyl or wood. I'm reading vinyl is not all worth it and wood is better but my concern is the neighbor behind us has a wood fence collapsed from termites. I don't want that to happen to our fence if we run it across the back.

What is everyones opinions on wood vs vinyl? We are having a contractor come out Thursday to quote both wood and vinyl. I just want to be informed before he comes to estimate. I'm worried he'll sales pitch the vinyl...and I'm not sure if that is best.


user1007 08-13-2012 07:08 PM

Talking about either vinyl, composites or wood in generic terms is very broad.

Some higher quality vinyls and composites are rather nice and worth looking into in my opinion and I generally do not like synthetics mainly because cheap vinyl turns chalky, fades or becomes brittle in short order. I don't like viny sidiing for this reason. And the idea that vinyl is maintenance free and "set it and forget it" is very misleading and I suspect disappointing to those that bought into the hype.

Redwood or cedar fences will have natural resistance to insects. Treated wood will have less but can last a long time and since it is usually pine or fir is usually much cheaper. There are of course alternatives like tempered glass.

Your budget---initially and for maintenance---and the look you want really have to be factored in. I think wood fences are more natural looking but depending on your home you may want the more formal look you can achieve with engineered vinyl or composite material. Something like a lattice panel fence goes nicely with old Gingerbread Victorians.

You also have to consider utility of the fence material. Is it purely for privacy and decor value or do you have to keep wild jungle animals out like in/out Jurassic Park, Etc.

I would definitely go to the library or hit the internet to explore fence design options before making a decision. A good fence designer and installer should be able to help you with choices too.

bassheadjohn 08-13-2012 10:36 PM

I think it is personal choice. I find vinyl to be flimsy. On the plus side the vinyl will pretty much last forever with zero maintenance. I know some people that have a vinyl fence and I think they had to use a treated 4x4 post and then they covered them with a vinyl sheathing. As for wood you will probably have to stain it unless you like the graying of wood. Cedar is an option if you have insect issues. I think the cost ends up being pretty close to equal give or take a few bucks. If you are like me, when you get done with a job you want to be done with it. I like to get more projects done and don't like to go back to maintain things even if it is going to cost me out of pocket a little more. My time is worth money. The winner is vinyl. :) Good luck with your choice.

notmrjohn 08-22-2012 07:40 PM

PT wood posts certified for in ground use should do the job.On vinyl or wood fence. Dig the holes the depth for your area and soil, flare the bottoms out some (bell shaped holes) throw in a couple of inches of coarse drainage rock, center and brace the posts, fill with concrete, tamp it good, then fill concrete to a couple of inches above ground level, slope the top of the concrete away from the posts. That'll help prevent rot and at least give the termites something to think about. You can also keep the bottom of wood fencing panels a couple inches above the ground and nail a 3 or 4" vinyl board over the gap, a few short screws into bottoms of pickets. I learned that because grade issues left some big gaps at the bottom, I do all my wood fencing that way now. I use PT 1X4' or sixes with the top edge bevelled down away from the fence. Makes it easy to edge and mow, no grass growing out under fence or between pickets and a few screws into pickets keeps the bottoms from doing strange curly things. Put the board on side away from posts. You can make short home made forms to raise the concrete level, or cut Sono-Tube. If you're a sculptor you can use some of the dirt from the hole to make a form Some of the pros don't use concrete, they just sink the post way deep below frost heave level, they claim the concrete shrinks away from the post a bit and allows water to seep down and sit in the bottom rotting the wood, that's what the raised concrete level and rocks are for. Some say the concrete just makes the frost heave the post up, not a problem here but our clay soils have a wet dry cycle heave just as bad, but the bell shaped hole helps that. You can drill a bunch of 1" diameter and deep holes in the underground part of the post too. T here is no reason for the post to extend above the top rail, dig a deeper hole ( best anyway), use a shorter post, or cut the post, good idea to cut the top of the post at a slant away from fence anyway, water wont sit up there rotting the post.

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