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by Cedar Rustic Fence Co.

What Is the Best Wood for a Fence? A Comprehensive Guide

Wood fences offer a timeless aesthetic that suits a wide range of homes and landscaping styles. But navigating the world of lumber can be daunting – how do you know which type is best for your needs? Selecting the right wood is essential for creating a fence that will not only look great but also stand the test of time. In this guide, we'll delve into the key considerations for choosing your ideal fence wood and highlight some of the most popular options, like cedar, pressure-treated wood, and more.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Wood for Your Fence

When planning your new fence, take the time to consider these key factors. They'll help you select a wood that fits your needs and looks fantastic:

Understanding Your Climate

Your local climate plays a significant role in selecting the ideal wood for your fence. Areas with high humidity or frequent rainfall require wood that naturally resists moisture to prevent rotting and warping. Conversely, if you reside in a drier region, you'll have more flexibility with your wood choices.

Protecting Your Fence: Resistance to Insects, Pests, and Rot

Choosing wood with natural resistance to insects, pests, and rot is crucial. Woods like cedar and redwood contain oils that act as repellents and inhibit decay, making them excellent fencing choices. Other wood types may benefit from chemical treatments to enhance their overall durability.

Budget Considerations: Finding the Right Balance

Your budget is an essential factor when selecting wood. Consider both the upfront cost and long-term value. Premium woods like cedar and redwood may have a higher price tag but boast superior durability and require less maintenance over time. 

Aesthetics: Enhancing Your Property's Visual Appeal

The appearance of your fence shouldn't be overlooked! Different woods possess unique grain patterns, colors, and textures that can significantly impact your property's curb appeal. Consider the overall aesthetic you wish to achieve - whether it's a warm, natural look with cedar or redwood or a more neutral and adaptable appearance with pressure-treated pine.

A Quick Guide to Popular Fencing Woods

Choosing the right wood is key for a beautiful and functional fence. Consider these crucial factors: durability, pest and rot resistance, price, upkeep, and of course, looks! Below, we break down the most popular wood choices for fences, and their average lifespans with proper care:

Wood Type Durability Resistance to Insects and Rot Price Range (per Linear Foot)* Maintenance Appearance
Cedar High Naturally resistant $25 - $40 Low Reddish-brown hue, weathers to gray
Pressure-Treated Pine High Treated for resistance $45 - $90 Moderate Yellowish-green, can be painted or stained
Redwood High Naturally resistant $35 - $120 Low Rich reddish-brown color
Cypress High Naturally resistant $27 - $43 Low Light to medium brown with distinctive grain
Oak High Not naturally resistant $30 - $75 Moderate Light to medium brown with straight grain
Black Locust High Naturally resistant $40 - $80 Low Yellowish-brown to dark brown
Ipe (tropical hardwood) Very High Naturally resistant $35 - $55 Low Rich, dark brown color
Douglas Fir Moderate Not naturally resistant $22 - $35 Moderate Light brown with straight grain

*prices are given for material only 

Wood Type Average Lifespan (with proper maintenance)
Cedar 15-30 years
Pressure-Treated Pine 30-40 years
Redwood 20-30 years
Cypress 15-25 years
Oak 15-25 years
Black Locust 30-50 years
Ipe 30-50 years
Douglas Fir 10-15 years

Knowing what sets each wood type apart is key to making a smart fence investment. Let's take a closer look at the most popular options, including their unique traits and lifespans:

A Closer Look at Top Wood Types for Fencing

By understanding the key characteristics and lifespans of each wood type, you can make an informed decision that perfectly balances your needs, preferences, and budget. Let's dive deeper into the options, exploring their unique features, pros, and cons.

Cedar: The Classic Favorite

Cedar stands as a top choice for fencing, thanks to its natural resistance to insects, rot, and decay. Homeowners also love its attractive appearance, boasting a warm, reddish hue that weathers gracefully over time. Cedar's natural oils help protect it from the elements, making it a relatively low-maintenance option for your fencing needs.


  • Naturally resistant to insects and rot
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Warm, attractive color


  • Can be pricier than other options

Maintenance and Staining Tips:

To maintain your cedar fence's natural beauty and durability, consider applying a clear sealant or semi-transparent stain every few years. This will help protect the wood from moisture and UV damage while highlighting its unique grain and color. Using products specifically designed for cedar will ensure optimal results and extend the life of your fence.

Pressure-Treated Pine

Pressure-treated pine is a popular choice due to its affordability and wide availability. This budget-friendly option undergoes a chemical treatment process that enhances its resistance to insects, rot, and decay. This treatment makes it a surprisingly durable choice for your fencing needs.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Widely available
  • Can be painted or stained to suit your style


  • May warp or twist over time
  • Chemically treated material 

Maintenance and Staining Tips for Pressure-Treated Pine:

Keep your pressure-treated pine fence looking its best with regular maintenance. Make sure the wood is dry before applying a stain or sealant. Want a custom color? Pressure-treated pine takes paint well – just be sure to use a product specifically designed for treated wood.

Redwood: A Premium Choice for Beauty and Durability

If you're looking for top-tier durability and striking looks, redwood is a fantastic option. It naturally resists insects and rot, making it exceptionally long-lasting. Redwood's signature rich, reddish-brown color only gets better with age, adding warmth and character to your outdoor space.


  • Unmatched durability and longevity
  • Built-in resistance to insects and rot
  • Warm, rich color that enhances outdoor spaces


  • Premium cost compared to other wood options.
  • Is not readily available in some locations

Maintenance and Staining Tips:

To maintain redwood's timeless beauty semi-transparent stain every few years will protect the wood from the elements. This keeps moisture and UV rays at bay, showcasing redwood's stunning natural color and grain.

Cypress: A Hidden Gem for Durable Fencing

Often overlooked, cypress is another outstanding material for fencing, especially in humid climates. This wood's rot-resistant qualities, plus natural insect-repelling chemicals like cypretine, make it ideal for areas where moisture and pests are a concern.


  • Exceptional resistance to rot and insects
  • Appealing grain pattern and color
  • Durable and long-lasting


  • Can be costlier depending on your region

Maintenance and Staining Tips:

Preserve your cypress fence with a clear sealant or semi-transparent stain every few years. This routine maintenance defends the wood against potential damage from moisture and UV light while maintaining its unique character.

Exploring Less Common Fencing Options

While cedar, pressure-treated pine, redwood, and cypress reign supreme in fence building, other worthy woods exist. Let's explore some unique choices that can offer specific benefits:

Black Locust: A Champion of Durability

For regions where high humidity and rainfall are the norm, black locust is a fantastic contender. This dense hardwood stands strong against rot and decay, showcasing a natural resistance to insects as well. A black locust fence is a low-maintenance investment that weathers the elements with ease.


  • Unmatched durability and resistance to rot
  • Naturally repels insects and resists decay
  • Appealing color ranging from yellowish-brown to darker brown hues


  • Can present challenges during installation due to its density
  • May be a costlier option than some other woods

Maintenance and Staining Tips:

Black locust's resilience means minimal upkeep is required. That said, a clear sealant or penetrating oil finish every few years will shield the wood from excess moisture and UV rays, ensuring its beauty lasts for years to come.

Ipe: The Tropical Powerhouse

Ipe, also known as Brazilian walnut, is an exotic hardwood prized for its incredible strength and durability. This wood naturally fends off insects, rot, and even the threat of fire, making it an investment in long-lasting outdoor structures.


  • Extreme durability and long lifespan
  • Naturally deters insects, rot, and fire
  • Rich, dark brown color that ages to a sophisticated silvery-gray


  • Premium option, making it one of the costliest choices for fencing
  • Prone to cracking
  • Material has to be pre-drilled
  • Cut ends need to be waxed
  • Should be stained or oiled
  • Will turn gray if not treated, and can crack when it dries
  • Very heavy
  • Density can make installation more challenging

Maintenance and Staining Tips:

Much like black locust, ipe's inherent resilience means maintenance is minimal. For those who love its rich color, a UV-resistant penetrating oil finish every few years will lock in that vibrancy. Alternatively, for a natural weathered look, the wood can age gracefully to a silvery-gray patina without added treatments.

Douglas Fir: Strength and Affordability Combined

Wood Fences: An Investment in Beauty and Security

Choosing the right wood is the foundation of a fence that will elevate your property and stand the test of time. A well-maintained, high-quality wood fence not only adds privacy and security but also significantly enhances your home's curb appeal and overall value.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood:

  • Your Climate: Is your area prone to heavy rain, high humidity, or harsh winters? Your local conditions will dictate the ideal wood type.
  • Insect and Decay Resistance: Some woods naturally resist rot and insects better than others. This is crucial for long-term durability.
  • Maintenance Needs: How much upkeep fits your lifestyle? Different woods require varying levels of staining and sealing.
  • The Look You Love: From warm red tones to rustic grays, the visual appeal of your fence matters!

Additional Considerations:

  • Professional Installation: Even the best wood needs proper installation to avoid warping, sagging, and other structural issues.
  • Regular Inspection: Annual checkups help you catch minor issues early, preventing major repairs down the road.


Selecting the best wood for fencing involves careful consideration of your specific needs, budget, and location. When determining what is the best wood for a fence, it's essential to consider factors such as climate, resistance to insects and rot, and desired appearance. 

Whether you opt for the natural durability of cedar fences, the affordability of pressure-treated pine, or the unique characteristics of other wood types, investing in quality wood for fencing is a smart choice for any homeowner.

If you're looking for a trusted fencing company in the Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana areas to help you choose the best wood for fencing and bring your vision to life, look no further than Cedar Rustic Fence Co. 

With nearly a century of experience and a commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, Cedar Rustic Fence Co. is your go-to source for expert advice and top-notch fencing solutions. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you create the perfect wood fence for your home or business.

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Cedar Rustic Fence Co.


We are Cedar Rustic Fence Company ;) Nailing expertise in fencing for nearly a century. We've seen it all, from picket perfection to backyard beast-proofing. Your fence needs are in good hands.

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