There are many types of fencing, but three of the most common materials from which fencing is made are iron, vinyl and wood. While they can accomplish similar tasks, it’s important to know what the pros and cons are in order to choose the right type of fence for the job.
Iron fencing is best used in residential or commercial applications, although it is sometimes seen in public parks and other similar areas. Vinyl fencing is used most often in agricultural applications, but is also ideal for marking boundaries between parcels of land and some landscaping uses. Wood fencing is used when there is a desire for total privacy where the planks can be positioned side by side totally obstructing a person’s view.
Iron fencing is very strong and is of a heavy gauge. A well made, correctly installed iron fence is almost impossible to damage. This makes it perfect for security applications and for privacy fencing around homes or other private areas. Vinyl fencing tends to be more flimsy, but is strong enough to enclose small livestock and pets. Wood fencing is sturdy and provides privacy, but requires upkeep. Iron and wood are better solutions for deterring movement, especially when trying to keep humans from crossing a line (most people will have no trouble getting through vinyl fencing).
In terms of maintenance, iron fencing is relatively resistant to the effects of weathering, but it is subject to corrosion through forces like sea air or in metropolitan areas with acidic rain. Most iron fencing is powder coated to protect against these elements but it still can rust over time. Vinyl fencing, on the other hand, is very resistant to weathering and does not corrode; however, there have been reports of cracking in some high temperature areas.
Iron is very hard to damage, but if it does need to be repaired it can be expensive to do so. Vinyl is relatively cheap and easy to replace, but can be damaged relatively easily by people, animals, rocks shot through lawnmowers, etc. Although wood fencing is less expensive to purchase, it is more costly to maintain than iron and vinyl, because it requires a fresh coat of paint to maintain its appearance and resist the warping effects caused by seasonal changes – rain, cold, high humidity, etc.