What Is The Best Wood For Fencing?

The best wood type will depend on your budget, location, style preferences and more! Check out this comprehensive guide that breaks down the pros and cons to each type!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
July 7, 2023

If you are thinking about having a wooden fence installed on your property, one of the first decisions you have to make is what type of wood you want to use in your fence. If you have never looked into wood fences before this question can seem daunting, because there are many different types of wood fencing materials that can be used in fences and all of them have their pros and cons. So what is the best wood for your fence? In order to make the correct choice for your needs, you first need to learn about each type of wood. Then, you will match the characteristics of that wood to your preferences and budget!


Redwood is one of the most popular choices of wood types for wooden fences and has a natural beauty that makes it stand out from other types of wood. Although it is on the upper end of the scale when it comes to cost, it is a high quality wood that is worth it if your budget allows. Redwood is known for its durability and quality, as it is naturally resistant to rot and insects. This type of wood is a great choice for wetter areas like the Pacific Northwest. Redwood is even stronger than cedar, and it can have a lifetime of up to 20 or 25 years with little maintenance!

Even though it is one of the strongest types of wood, you should still stain your redwood fence, because staining it will still help your fence last longer. Redwood is also known for its beautiful reddish-brown coloring, which can be enhanced by a good staining. The higher the grade of redwood that you use, the darker the coloring gets and the fewer knots it has. The average cost of redwood is around $48 per linear foot including installation.


Pine is a budget-friendly, easy to use type of wood that is great for many types of fences. It is softwood, and makes great vertical boards or picket fences. The downside of it being a softwood is that it can be vulnerable to dents from impacts or warping in high wind areas. While pine is less expensive than other types of wood, it will not last as long. A pine fence can be expected to last between 10 and 15 years.

Visually, pine wood has a yellow or white tone to it. Unlike darker colored woods like red cedar, pine is easy to paint over in just one coat of paint. As far as maintenance, pine is not naturally water resistant like other types of wood including redwood. So treating your pine fence will be important in order to make it more waterproof and rot resistant. Pine is a good choice in areas with a mild climate all year long. A pine fence, including installation, will cost around $28 per linear foot.

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Oak is known for being exceptionally durable, and an untreated oak wood fence can last longer than a fence made of pressure-treated pine. Untreated oak fences can last up to 20 years. Oak is available in a wide variety of colors and has a beautiful natural grain pattern.

Unlike cedar and redwood, oak is not naturally insect resistant, so it is not the best choice for homeowners who live in rainy climates. Oak is a good choice for fences in dry regions like the southwest United States. However, you can also choose to have your oak wood treated and then it can be used in wetter climates. The cost of oak is on the upper end of the scale, at around $35 per linear foot including fence installation.


Cedar is a softwood known for being resistant to rotting so it is a great type of wood to use in wetter regions. Cedar also has natural oils that keep insects away, so it is a durable option for your new fence if you live in an area where termites are a problem. It is also good for homeowners who are on a budget and want a quality wood that will not break the bank. A properly maintained cedar fence can last up to 30 years - so it's no surprise it is one of the most popular types of wood for fencing.

Generally, there are two types of cedar: western red cedar and white cedar. If you are planning to paint your fence and not just stain it, red cedar is probably not the best choice because its striking red coloring is hard to cover. In that case, white cedar is a popular wood for that purpose. Keep in mind that cedar fences do turn gray as the wood ages. And also consider whether you love the scent or hate it because it will be noticeable. Cedar is a mid-range wood in terms of cost, and will cost around $33 per linear foot on average including installation.


Cypress is a type of wood that is native to the southern United States, and it's important to keep in mind it may cost more in states that it has to be imported. However pricey it may be, cypress has many of the same advantages of redwood. Cypress is naturally resistant to rot and as durable as redwood. Cypress also has natural properties, including cypretine, that protect against insects. It can last up to 30 years.

Cypress wood is available in many colors including creamy white, yellow and brown. It is easy to stain because of the light coloring of the wood. Just like oak, the coloring of cypress wood makes it a great choice if you are planning to paint your fence. Cypress is perfect for windy areas and it will not twist or warp. It is durable and will not get as many scratches as a wood like cedar would get. Because cypress trees are native to southern states, it has properties that make it a good option for states that are rainy and humid. The average cost of cypress is $29 per linear foot including fence installation.

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir is widely known for being exceptionally strong and having a high-quality appearance featuring a straight, even grain with occasional knots depending on the grade. It is typically a light brown color with hints of red or yellow. The coloring on a douglas fir fence will fade over time to a gray hue, but this can be delayed by sealing your fence. You can also paint or stain the fence to achieve the coloring you want.

Douglas fir does have some natural resistance to rot and decay even untreated. But it can be treated with a protective finish to make it even more durable. Douglas fir is more expensive than pressure treated wood but less expensive than redwood. On average, a douglas fir wood fence costs around $32 per linear foot including installation.

Pressure Treated Wood

Pressure treated wood is durable and already treated to make it more resistant to rot, insects and other types of decay. It is less stable than types of wood like redwood or cedar, however, it is one of the most affordable types of wood to use in fencing.

Wood that is pressure treated varies in coloring depending on what species and grade of wood it is. Pine is one example of an inexpensive option for pressure treated wood. Along with having the wood pressure treated, you can also choose to have the wood color treated to make it appear more like redwood or cedar. Once you have your fence installed, it is easy to paint or stain. A pressure treated pine fence costs between $10 and $25 per linear foot including fence installation.

What are Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Wood?

Even after you have decided you would like to use wood in your new fence as opposed to other types of materials like vinyl or aluminum, there are still many options to consider. It is important to consider these factors as they can have a big impact on the lifespan on your fence. There is also a pretty wide range in terms of pricing depending on what type of wood you want to use for your fence.

Local Weather

Local weather should be one of the first factors you think about when you are making the decision on what type of wood you want to use in your fence. Do you live in a wetter climate, or a drier climate? Wood types like redwood, cedar and cypress are great choices for wetter regions. On the other hand, pine and oak are better for drier climates.


Once you’ve narrowed your choices down to woods that are better for wetter or drier climates, depending on where you live, the next factor to consider is your budget. How much are you comfortable spending on your fence? The most expensive types of wood like redwood are also extremely durable and will last for decades. So if you have the money to spend more up front it could save you money in the long run to choose a higher quality type of wood. However, if you do not have that much to spend up front, or maybe you are not planning to stay in your current home for decades, perhaps a less expensive and less durable option would work better for you.


Another thing to keep in mind when choosing which type of wood to use in your fence project is whether your region is known for having an insect problem. If you live in an area that has termites, for example, you will want to choose a wood that has natural oils in it that repel termites. One example of a type of wood that would naturally repel termites is redwood. Another option is to choose a wood that is more affordable but getting it treated to prevent termites from eating your fence.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between spruce and pine?

Spruce wood is less expensive than treated pine wood for fences, although they are both on the lower end of the price scale for wooden fences. Spruce starts out light gray and darkens with age. Both are great choices if you are planning to paint the wooden fence after it is installed.

What grade of lumber is used for fences?

Wood is graded depending on its use, and the grades help create a standard for the structural integrity and appearance of the wood. The fewer knots the higher the grade and as a result the more expensive the wood will be and the more it can increase your curb appeal. If you ask a fence company for a high grade fence panel will have a similar look on both sides and no holes in it. This makes it a good fence material for a privacy fence! A lower grade fence panel could have multiple knotholes and different appearances depending on which side you look at.

Is pine or cedar better for a fence?

Better is relative, so the real question is will pine or cedar work better for a fence on your budget, in your climate, and for your purposes. Pine is less expensive and could be a great option if you have less money to spend up front and do not live in an overly wet climate. Of course, you could choose pine and then use a sealant to make it more resistant to water. Cedar wood is an excellent choice for wetter regions and for homeowners with a slightly higher budget and who are looking for a fence with a longer lifespan because it is a durable wood.

What type of wood fence lasts the longest?

The longest lasting types of wood fences are redwood, cedar or pressure treated pine. Cedar can last between 15 and 30 years, or up to 40 years if you use treated cedar. Treated pine can last about 20 years in any of the fence styles from split rail fences to lattice fences. Redwood can last around 25 years. No matter what fence material you decide on, the fence posts are likely to get worn down first before fence panels that do not touch the ground. You can help any wood fence look great for longer by adding a stain to your fence.

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