If you’re one of the 67.8% of Americans that calls themselves a homeowner, you likely are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve your house’s overall aesthetic. Exterior renovations are an essential part of making this happen. From roofing to siding to landscaping, no stone can be left unturned.
One of the most important aspects of building a beautiful home exterior is getting the right fencing for your needs. Not only is it a good way to keep your house looking well-kept, but having a good fence is essential to protecting your privacy.
When it comes to fence installation, cedar and pine are both classic and timeless wood options. Read on for a comparison of cedar vs pine fence materials so that you can make the right decision for your home!
Why Wood Fencing?
Before looking into whether cedar or pine is the superior fence material, you likely are asking yourself: why a wood fence? After all, there are many new options out there that people purport are easier to maintain and longer-lasting!
To be fair, vinyl, simulated stone, and steel are all fence materials that have their perks. However, none of them have the same all-natural aesthetic as wood does. A wooden fence is made from completely natural materials that are coated to make them last longer. They have a completely unique, one-of-a-kind appearance as well since no two planks have the same coloring or grain.
Wood fencing also is built to last. While many companies want you to believe that a wooden fence will be eaten away or decompose within a couple of years, companies that install these fences put coatings and primers on them that keep rot away. Click here to learn about the best fence installation company in Idaho and contact them about these procedures!
On an eco-friendly level, wooden fencing is also the best option. This may sound counterintuitive- after all, isn’t it a waste to cut down trees to make fencing? The answer is a bit more complex than you may think.
Most of the trees that are used to make cedar and pine wood are going to be cut down anyway. They may be dead, invasive, or in the way of building new properties or roads. This means that the tree is going to good use rather than simply being tossed away. Additionally, wood is 100% biodegradable and doesn’t wind up in a landfill or the ocean like plastics and metals would.
The Rundown on Pine Fencing
Pine fencing is made from the wood of a pine tree. However, to make it more durable, it undergoes a process of pressure-treatment. This means that alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), copper azole (CA) or micronized copper azole (MCA) are incorporated into the structure of each wooden plank in the fence to make them more resistant to water, rot, and everyday wear-and-tear.
Pressure-treated pine is the most commonly used wood fence material because it is the least expensive option. Because of its low price, it also tends to be used for porches, decks, and outdoor furniture, which means that every aspect of your exterior design will match. For homeowners that are more budget-minded and practical, pine is a good first fence material.
Many people also like pine wood because it looks gorgeous. Its dark color and natural grain make any home look more welcoming and friendly. While it doesn’t have as “natural” an appearance as cedar does, it’s generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing due to its heavy hue and reddish accents.
Because pine is treated, the ends of most wooden planks have triangular points at the top. This gives your home a timeless suburban look. Like all wooden fences, pine makes for a great privacy fence material because the slats go directly together. There are no holes between the pickets for prying eyes to look through (unless you want there to be).
Is It Functional and Sustainable?
Because pine is so cheap, it isn’t the studiest fencing material. Over the course of a few years, it will stain, warp, buckle, and shrink. Without extensive maintenance, it won’t last longer than 5 years or so. This is frustrating for most homeowners because they will waste wood and need to reinstall their fencing. It also can be more expensive than just investing in cedar fencing right off the bat.
Despite these problems, pine wood is wonderful at standing up to soil. It won’t decay when exposed directly to dirt in the same way that cedar will.
Overall Pros and Cons
There are several advantages to getting a pine fence:
- It has a pleasing appearance that goes with the rest of your home
- It’s inexpensive and affordable
- It’s easy to find and purchase
- It’s resistant to humidity and soil (while cedar is less so)
- The posts have that timeless white-picket-fence look
There are also multiple disadvantages:
- Requires a lot of maintenance, including regular staining and sealing, which can be time-consuming and gainless
- It’s likely to rot, sustain termite damage, and decay over time
- Sunlight can damage the wood and cause staining and fading
- It needs to be replaced more often than other wood varieties (including cedar)
- This frequent replacement makes it less environmentally friendly
How Are Cedar Fences Different?
Cedar fences, made from the wood of cedar trees, are a common alternative to pine. They have an extremely natural appearance, which appeals to some people despite their somewhat shabby look. The colors also don’t fade in the rain or sun.
This material is far more long-lasting than pine is, which makes it optimal for those who don’t want to undergo installation every five to ten years. It also is better for the environment since you won’t be replacing the fence so many times. However, the longevity of cedar makes it an expensive alternative, sometimes costing up to twice as much as pine would.
How Do Cedar Fences Look?
Cedar fences aren’t unattractive, but they don’t have the same sturdy dark grain that pine features. The planks of cedar fencing are pretty plain. They do, however, feature all-natural knots and grooves that give off a natural and outdoorsy aesthetic. Many people like the light hues that cedar comes in as well, especially because it often has reddish undertones.
Cedar also gives off a really nice, natural smell that you’re sure to love. This is a great way to make your property stand out to people who walk by.
Functionality and Sustainability
Cedar fencing is incredibly functional. The material is made for outdoor use. It never stains, warps, or bends as a result of the climate, so you don’t need to worry about it becoming ruined. It only will need to be replaced every 15-20 years.
It requires a lot less maintenance than pine does- all you’ll need to do is wipe it down with soapy water, dry it thoroughly, and stain it once a year or so. This saves you time and money on treatment.
Overall Pros and Cons
There are many benefits to using cedar over pine:
- More durable and long-lasting
- Gives off a pleasant odor
- More eco-friendly (since it doesn’t need to be replaced as often as pine does and because chemical treatments are required less frequently)
- Easier for homeowners to maintain
- Lighter to carry than pine is (making for easier installation)
However, there are also a few downsides:
- More expensive than the alternatives
- Not resistant to direct contact with soil
- Less visually attractive to many people
- Less waterproof and therefore better for dry climates than humid ones
Cedar vs Pine Fence Materials: The Throwdown
Both pine and cedar have their advantages, but cedar is the best fence material for most homes. It isn’t as pretty as pine, but it can stain other natural wood colors if you want a natural aesthetic for your home. If you prefer, you also can paint it any color under the sun! This lets you set the mood for what to expect in your home and allows you to express yourself by showing off your favorite hue.
Generally, the appearance of cedar isn’t an issue. The durability makes it the best choice. It won’t rot, corrode, warp, or shrink in the same way that pine will. Pine is more suited to indoor applications while cedar is more suited to outdoor ones.
Because cedar is objectively more advantageous than pine is, many people choose to use it. However, they then find that the fence posts corrode and decay because cedar can’t last when placed directly in the soil.
One creative and effective solution that people have come up with is to use soil-resistant pine for fence posts and cedar for the pickets themselves. This allows them to have the best of both worlds when it comes to durability and price. If you’re looking to use this innovative solution for your home, a fencing expert can help you decide whether or not this is an option for you!
More Home Improvement Tips
Choosing cedar vs pine fence materials may sound like an impossible decision. Luckily, however, considering your needs and deciding which works best for your individual home is much easier when you have all the information.
Now that you have a better idea of which fencing is right for you, it’s time to learn more about what you should do when renovating your home. Check out the DIY home lifestyle tab on our homepage for more information. Here, you’ll find many articles about fence installation, making your home’s color scheme match, choosing roofing and siding, and more!