There's a lot to consider when weighing the pros and cons of a wood fence versus a chain link fence. We've tried to make the process easier for you by diving deeper into some of the areas of consideration.
Before you start your fence project, it's critical that you review the regulations for your area. Many cities and/or homeowner's associations will have rules and regulations about the height, style and material of your fence. You can read more about California fence regulations here and here.
Wood fences provide a lot of versatility when it comes to design and finishing options. You can select the type of build (nail up/dog ear, horizontal, picture frame, etc.) elements like the lattice or kickboards, different types of wood, and different stains. If you need help decoding fence jargon, here's a guide that will help you understand some of the style terms and what they mean. Not sure how to choose a design? Discover our post on wood fence ideas to enhance your creativity.
Chain link fences have fewer options when it comes to the design and finishing. The colors, for example, are normally limited to black, green, brown or silver. The material choices are also limited, with the vast majority of chain link fences being constructed out of galvanized aluminum and coated with vinyl. Discover our article on chain link fence ideas to gain inspiration for your yard.
Although both types of fences can be installed 'DIY', it is highly recommended that you use a licensed fence contractor. In addition to saving you hours of difficult labor, hiring a fence contractor will ensure you avoid dangerous (and potentially costly) situations that can occur from hitting a power or water line- and ensures your fence is properly installed and under a warranty.
There are some differences in the labor associated with the two fence types.
Wood fences require each fence board to be nailed to a rail/post individually, whereas chain link fences are sold in large rolls. This means that once the posts are installed, the chain link installation goes a bit more quickly.
Both wood fences and chain link fences will do the basic job of creating a barrier around your property and keeping animals or children in (or out). However, there's more to consider when it comes to the practical application of your fence.
The level of privacy, for example, will vary from one type to another. Wood fences can provide a great deal of privacy for your property, which adds curb appeal and can even serve the purpose of reducing unwanted neighborhood noise. A wood fence can be built to different heights depending on the privacy needs (like around a pool area).
Chain link fences don't provide as much privacy due to the spaces in the mesh material rendering them essentially see-through. There are things you can do, however, to add some privacy. One option is to add slats in the chain link material to make it not see-through.
The cost of a wood fence depends on things like the height, length, style, and the type of wood. Factors on the property may also impact the total cost. Those factors can be anything from the slope grade to the type of landscaping you already have in place.
You can read an in-depth guide about everything that impacts wood fence costs in our fence cost blog.
Chain link fences are typically less expensive than wood fences. That's because the material is less expensive and the labor hours required for installation are usually less. However, add-ons like gates, vinyl coating or fabric screens will all increase the total cost per foot of a chain link fence.
Discover our in-depth guide on chain link fence costs to make a more informed decision.
Wood fences do require some maintenance in order to keep them looking good and to prolong their lifespan.
Chain link fences will require relatively less maintenance because the metal used is usually quite durable. The galvanized metal has been treated using a special process that makes it less likely to rust. Metal is also stronger than wood and won't sag over time like a wood fence might.
Whether you choose a wood fence or a chain link fence- a fence repair or replacement is a great investment for your property. It's even possible to split the cost with a neighbor, use your insurance to pay for it, or write it off as a tax deduction.