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How Long Does a Wood Fence Last?

How Long Does a Wood Fence Last?

Metal, chain mail, and other types of fencing material are available at hardware stores.

But no other type of fencing will raise the value of your home and improve its exterior look more than beautiful wood fencing.

Wood fencing, as well as iron and brick fencing, matches nearly every house style.

Plus, a beautiful white picket fence is part of the American dream! But wood does not last forever. So how long does a wood fence last?

A wood fence can last up to 20 years if they are maintained correctly. But a wood fence needs constant care and maintenance and if it’s not taken care of, it can rot away in 5 years or less.

Wood fences need to be weather proofed, and planks need to be replaced when they are damaged.

Plus, animals can break wood planks or wear them out.

How Long Do Wood Fences Last?

Not many people have wood fences these days. The cost of wood is skyrocketing and people have less time to maintain the planks and repair them when they break.

But wood fences are a classic fixture to the exterior of a home.

We’ve seen wooden fences in sitcoms, wholesome movies, Christmas movies. Plus, it is likely that your grandparents’ house had a beautiful white picket fence.

I bet you can still picture the wooden fence in the background of your memories as you replay all the fun summers you had at their home.

If you’re looking into installing a wooden fence around the borders of your home, there are a few things to know about owning a wooden fence.

The first thing you need to know about a wood fence is that it can last for about 20 years. Well, the actual lifespan of the fence depends on the wood.

Some wood is so soft that it cannot be used for fencing. But other types of wood are very strong and are naturally resistant to rot.

The second thing you need to know about wooden fences is that the fence will only last 20 years if the homeowners maintain the fence.

Wooden fences absolutely require regular maintenance.

What Factors Affect the Integrity of the Wood?

Much like the design of a home, a wood fence can be customized with different woods and chemical treatments.

There are four main factors that will affect a wood fence’s integrity and lifespan. Those factors are humidity, coating, the type of wood used, and environment.

  1. Humidity: Areas that are humid will require the homeowner to repair their wood fence more often than non-humid areas. The humidity in the air can force the wood to expand and then split.
  2. Coating: The planks of a wooden fence are not just painted and then placed in the ground. After they are painted, they must be treated with a sealant, preservative, or a protective. If the wood fence is not, the weather and microbes will affect wood. The type of sealant or protective applied to the wood can affect its longevity.
  3. Type of Wood: The most decisive factor in the integrity and lifespan of a wooden fence is the type of wood itself. The two most common types of wood used in wooden fencing is cedarwood and redwood. Cedarwood and redwood are not the strongest types of wood, but actually the most resistant to bugs and mold.
  4. Environment: Storms with strong winds, flash floods, pouring rain, and a variety of bugs and molds in the area will affect wooden fences. Termites, mold, and other bugs will chew through the sealant and paint and get to the delicious wood.
Wood Fence

How to Maintain a Wood Fence

Do not place a fence near trees if possible. Trees especially trees that have a shallow root system or young trees that are still growing.

As young trees grow and age, their roots will scatter across the ground. If the fence is close enough to the roots, the roots will bury themselves underneath the wood planks and lift them out of the soil

Treat the wooden fence with additional protective or sealant every couple of years.

Most sealants and preservatives are not 100% weatherproof. It is more like they are weather resistant.

Reapplying the chemical treatment every couple of years will keep away bugs and reseal any areas of the fence that have become exposed to the elements.

Along with reapplying the sealant or preservatives, every couple of years the wood fence must be checked thoroughly for damage and then washed and painted.

Keep heat and water sources away from the wood fence. If there are flowers or vegetables near the fencing, put down a water guard on the fence and near the soil.

By doing this, the homeowner can water the ground around the fence and plants but the fence will not get wet.

Also, do not grill or have an open flame near the wood. If the wood has not been resealed for the past few years, it could catch on fire.

What Are Other Fences I Can Install That Aren’t Wood?

People love the sight of a wood fence encompassing their home. But once they find out how much maintenance goes into a wooden fence, quickly change their minds about installing one.

If reading this article has made you pause your plans for your beautiful white picket fence, there are few other low-maintenance fencing options. The best option for a low-maintenance pence is vinyl fencing.

Not only will it last a long time, it will not need regular maintenance, treatment, or repair. However, vinyl fencing is more expensive than wood fencing.

Conclusion to How Long Wooden Fences Last

If a wooden fence is properly maintained, it can last up to 20 years. After 20 to 25 years, the entire fence will need to be replaced.

Cedarwood and redwood are the most common types of wood used in fencing and it is because they are resistant to mold as well as bugs.

Do not place wooden fences near young trees, as the roots will uproot the fence.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.