Selecting Panel Fencing: Wood or Vinyl?

There are several things to consider when selecting panel fencing, including whether it should be made out of wood or vinyl.  Here are a few things to keep mind as you make your choice.


Vinyl fencing is less expensive overall than wooden fencing, due to the savings in maintenance. But are these real savings?

It might be true that you will not have to paint your vinyl fence, but did you really paint a wood fence that often? All the comparison figures use the ideal maintenance schedule of painting a fence once a year, but there are many wooden fences that are never painted at all and yet are still serviceable.

It is true, though, that a vinyl fence will retain its color through the years and only need a wash now and again.

A big claim for vinyl fencing is how strong it is. Nonetheless, it becomes very brittle in the cold, taking away from its durability.  In response to this, there is already a growing market in tools and equipment for repairing it.

For the suburban home vinyl, fencing is probably worth spending the extra money on. It will look smart for a long time and doesn’t require much maintenance.


Wood is often the material of choice because of its long tradition. In an environmentally aware world wood from renewable sources is very popular. It is also much cheaper than vinyl.

It is true that wood needs to be painted to protect it, but that still doesn’t make the initial cost as high as the same fence built in vinyl. Certainly, few fences built of wood are painted as often as the experts say they should be. Despite this, old wooden fences seem to serve their purpose very well.

A wooden fence will fade over the years, but the way it fades is familiar and is generally not considered unsightly. An aged fence attains a character and can become like a part of the family or landscape.

It is often claimed that wood is not very strong. Nonetheless, even if it gets broken, a wooden fence can be repaired by any handyman with the minimal tools and equipment. Surprisingly few repairs to wooden fences involve much more than joining a broken rail with another piece nailed on. The natural flexibility of wood enables it to stand up to knocks much better than vinyl.

For the suburban home where appearance is important wood may not be the first choice. In the countryside and small holdings wood will be in demand for many years yet. The choice between wood and vinyl is one of personal preference.