Picking the Right Wood for Your Fence
Wood fences are classic for a reason
They are inexpensive, easy to install and repair, and they look good in almost every application. Now you just have to pick what kind of wood to use. Some common choices are:
Cedar: Naturally resistant to both rot and insects, and widely used for fencing. In time, unstained cedar will shift from golden brown to gray tones. Periodically paint on a water sealant to keep cedar's natural oils from leaching out of the wood. Cedar is a natural product and a renewable resource, giving you bragging rights for your environmentally friendly choice. Cedar fences can last up to 25 years.
Whitewood: Cut from either spruce, pine or fir trees. Because these tree species lack the same natural preservatives as cedar, most whitewood boards are sold pre-stained. Stained whitewood is considered more of an economy product vs. cedar.
Pine: Often Southern Yellow Pine. Usually pressure treated with anti-decay preservatives. Pine is less expensive than cedar and a softer wood. If little Billy is going to be hurling baseballs and nunchucks into your fence all day, pine isn't going to wear very well. Also, pressure treating uses environmentally hazardous chemicals, meaning no smug bragging to your neighbors about how green you are, especially in Portlandia.
Redwood: Like cedar, it's naturally resistant rot and insects. Redwood is very dense, making it harder to crack and splinter. Redwood is available mostly in California and sells for a premium. Because of its wood oil, redwood is not a good candidate for a painted fence.