When it comes to choosing a fencing material for your property, two of the most popular options are corrugated metal and wood. Both have their own sets of pros and cons to consider before making a decision. Knowing the key differences between a corrugated metal fence and a wood fence can help you determine which is better suited for your needs.
Durability and Longevity
One of the biggest factors when weighing metal vs wood fencing is durability and lifespan. Corrugated metal is highly durable and stands up well to weather, rot, and insect damage. The galvanized steel construction resists rusting and corrosion. With proper installation, a corrugated metal fence can last 20-30 years or longer with minimal maintenance required.
Wood fences, on the other hand, are naturally prone to rotting, cracking, and insect damage over time. Fence posts and boards may need to be repaired or replaced every 5-10 years. Applying weatherproof finishes can help prolong the life of a wood fence, but it will likely need periodic maintenance like staining or sealing to keep it looking its best. Over the long run, corrugated metal is the more durable and longer-lasting fencing material.
Learn: How to Age Corrugated Metal
Appearance and Customization
When it comes to aesthetics, wood fences offer more flexibility and customization options. Wood can be stained or painted in any color to match your home. The look of a wood fence can range from classic and elegant to rugged and natural. Corrugated metal fencing generally has a more industrial, utilitarian appearance, though some types feature decorative patterns and coatings.
Wooden fences can also be designed with different privacy levels, board widths, post caps, gates, and more. Corrugated metal is limited to relatively standard stock panel sizes and profiles. So if having an attractive, personalized fence is a priority, wood may be the better choice.
Corrugated metal fences provide greater security and protection than most wooden fences. The rigid steel construction deters climbing and cutting through the fence. Metal fencing is also more opaque, limiting visibility from the outside. This can help deter potential intruders.
For properties requiring higher security like commercial buildings or storage facilities, a sturdy corrugated metal fence is a good option. The tradeoff is that metal fencing creates a more imposing, industrial look compared to wood.
In most cases, corrugated metal fencing is less expensive upfront compared to wood. You can expect to pay $15-$30 per linear foot installed for a basic corrugated metal fence. Wood privacy fencing costs $25-$50 per linear foot installed. However, as mentioned earlier, wood fences require more frequent maintenance and replacement.
When comparing lifetime costs, wood fencing often ends up costing more in the long run with the continual repairs and staining required to keep it looking nice. The higher initial price of metal pays off over decades of minimal upkeep.
Installation and DIY Option
Corrugated metal fences are quicker and easier to install than wood fences. Metal fence panels come pre-fabricated, so it’s simply a matter of setting the posts and attaching the panels with screws. Wood fencing requires cutting rails and boards, constructing panels, and piecing numerous components together.
For DIYers, metal is also the more beginner-friendly choice. Sturdy wooden fences are quite difficult to install properly without carpentry skills and experience. With just basic tools, an average homeowner can handle a small corrugated metal fence project. Just keep in mind that professional installation is recommended for any long metal fence runs.
By nature of the materials, corrugated metal handles weather exposure better than wood in the long term. It won’t crack, warp, or rot when exposed to rain, sun, wind, and other elements. Wood inevitably shows signs of weathering like checking, cupping, and discoloration if left unfinished.
However, metal conducts temperature. In very hot climates, the surface of a steel fence can get extremely hot to the touch. Wooden fences stay cooler in summer. Metal also creates a solid barrier that can deflect high winds onto surrounding areas. For properties prone to heavy winds, awood fence with airflow may be preferable.
Privacy and Sound Dampening
If total privacy is a major concern, wood fences usually provide better sound and sight blockage. The overlapping wooden boards are more opaque than corrugated metal panels. Fully closed wood fences with added lattice also dampen noise better for properties close to roads or other buildings.
Metal may work for basic privacy, but wooden fences give you more control over the privacy level. Opt for taller height wood panels, smaller board spacing, or added lattice to increase seclusion from neighbors.
From an environmental perspective, wood fencing has some advantages over metal. Wood is a renewable resource, while steel production is energy-intensive and creates pollution. Many types of wood can be sustainably harvested or salvaged and recycled.
However, modern metal manufacturing methods and coatings have improved metal’s eco-friendliness. Some corrugated steel contains 30-40% recycled content. Both woods and metals also have recycled options for even greener fences. Just be mindful of sourcing and disposal when choosing either material.
One of the biggest advantages of corrugated metal fencing is its minimal maintenance needs. Once installed properly, it requires little upkeep besides occasionally checking for damage after major storms. The galvanized coating prevents any need to paint or stain metal fences.
Wood fences, even pressure-treated, need resealing or re-staining every 2-5 years to preserve the wood and prevent rotting. Fences exposed to moisture or sunlight more frequently may need sealing as often as every 1-2 years. It’s also wise to inspect wood fences for loose boards, broken posts, and damage after extreme weather.
Find Out: Can you use Corrugated Metal as a Fence
Wildlife and Pets
Wood fences provide a better barrier against wildlife trying to get onto your property. Animals like deer can easily damage metal fencing as they attempt to leap over or push through. A sturdy wood privacy fence is harder for wild animals to breach. For homeowners who value keeping wildlife out, wood is the smarter choice.
On the other hand, active pets like dogs have a harder time destroying metal fencing. Dogs can chew through and claw wooden fences but generally won’t damage sturdier steel. Homeowners with unruly, escape-prone pets may prefer the resilience of corrugated metal.
Matching Your Home’s Exterior
When selecting a fencing material, it helps to consider your home’s current exterior and architecture. Corrugated metal fencing tends to pair better with contemporary, industrial, or ranch-style homes. The simple and linear look of metal matches cleanly with these designs.
For cottages, cabins, or traditional styled properties, wood fencing is often the ideal complement. Its natural, textured look fits nicely with wood and stone exteriors. However, you can mix materials and use wood fencing with a modern home or metal fencing with a Craftsman home – so don’t be afraid to get creative!
Corrugated Metal Fence vs Wood Fence: Which is Better Overall?
At the end of the day, it’s hard to declare one fencing material an all-out “winner.” The choice between corrugated metal vs wood fencing depends on your specific needs and priorities. For longevity and security, metal is generally the better option. But for appearance, value, and privacy, wood fences have advantages worth considering.
The good news is you don’t necessarily have to choose just one material. Many homeowners opt for corrugated metal fencing around their property perimeter for security and affordability, then install a decorative wood fence in the front yard or patio area for curb appeal. Mixing the two can give you the ideal blend of benefits that enhance your home’s functionality and aesthetics.
When weighing corrugated metal fence vs wood fence, key factors like appearance, cost, durability, privacy, and maintenance should help guide your decision. Corrugated metal excels in resilience, security, and longevity, while wood offers more aesthetic options, sound dampening, and renewable sourcing. Evaluate the pros and cons for your needs and property layout to choose the right fencing material or combination. Investing in the proper fencing upfront will reward you with security, curb appeal, and peace of mind for years to come.
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