types of wood fences
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Navigate Your Choices: The Top 13 Types of Wood Fences

Wooden fences are more than boundary markers; they are a blend of function and aesthetic appeal. From picket to louvered fences, each of the 13 types of wood fences carries its distinctive allure. This article uncovers these types, assisting homeowners to navigate their lumber yard trips with confidence and purpose.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood for Fences

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1. Durability

The type of wood you choose will directly affect the lifespan of your fence. Woods such as cedar, redwood, and cypress are renowned for their natural resilience and resistance to decay and pests.

Meanwhile, pressure-treated woods like pine and spruce offer enhanced durability due to their treatment process, making them resistant to decay and pests. The more durable the wood, the longer your fence will last and the less maintenance it will require over time.

2. Cost

The cost of your fence is not just the upfront expense. Certain types of wood, while more expensive initially, could offer savings in the long run due to their longevity and reduced maintenance needs. For example, redwood may have a higher initial cost, but its durability could make it more cost-effective over time. Conversely, less expensive woods like pine or spruce may require more frequent maintenance, increasing their overall cost.

In order to reduce expenses for your ideal wooden fence project, consider exploring discounted tools for use during the construction process. Additionally, look for HLSupply Coupon to avail discounts when purchasing tools and equipment.

3. Appearance

The visual appeal of your fence can significantly contribute to the aesthetic of your property. The type of wood you choose will impact the color and grain of your fence, as well as how it weathers over time. For a rich color and attractive grain, consider woods like cedar or redwood. For a more rustic appeal, pine may be a good choice.

4. Maintenance Requirements

All wood fences will require some degree of maintenance, including regular cleaning and potentially staining or sealing. However, certain woods, such as cedar and redwood, have a natural resistance to decay and insects, reducing the need for frequent treatments and thus lowering the maintenance demands.

5. Sustainability

The sustainability of your wood choice is a factor that is growing in importance. Choosing a wood that has been sustainably harvested can help to minimize the environmental impact of your fence. Look for woods certified by organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which ensures the wood has been responsibly harvested.

Remember, the right type of wood for your fence will balance these factors, meeting your specific needs, aesthetic preferences, and budget.

13 Different Types of Wood Fences Styles 

The diversity of wooden fence types caters to a multitude of needs and aesthetic preferences. Each one has its unique advantages and considerations:

1. Picket Fence

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Picket fences, synonymous with traditional charm, are ideal for creating a friendly home boundary without blocking views. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Creating an inviting exterior, defining front yard boundaries, or garden enclosures. They also complement traditional or cottage-style homes well.
  • Key Characteristics: Picket fences are defined by their evenly spaced vertical boards, or ‘pickets,’ attached to horizontal stringers. They are traditionally around three feet high but can be adjusted to personal preferences.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar and pine are favored for picket fences due to their durability and aesthetic appeal.

2. Privacy Fence

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Privacy fences, as the name suggests, provide an opaque barrier between your property and the outside, offering excellent seclusion. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Backyards requiring privacy, security, and noise reduction. They suit urban or suburban homes where close proximity to neighbors calls for a more private setting.
  • Key Characteristics: Privacy fences are taller (usually around six feet) with no gaps between the boards, ensuring a solid, impenetrable barrier.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Redwood and cedar are popular due to their strength, durability, and natural resistance to decay.

3. Split Rail Fence

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Offering a rustic, country-style look, split rail fences are perfect for marking boundaries over large spaces. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Rural properties, farms, or large estates where a simple boundary marker is required, rather than a privacy or security barrier.
  • Key Characteristics: Made from roughly hewn logs split into rails, these fences are stacked horizontally between vertical fence posts, offering an open, natural look.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Pine is commonly used because of its availability, resistance to insects, and the weathered look it develops over time.

4. Post and Rail Fence

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Similar to split rail fences, post and rail fences offer a simple, open look that’s ideal for large properties. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Farms, ranches, or properties in need of inexpensive fencing to contain livestock or mark property lines.
  • Key Characteristics: This fence style consists of vertical posts connected by horizontal rails, with typically three or four rails spaced evenly between posts.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar and pine are commonly used for their durability and resistance to rot.

5. Louvered Fence

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Louvered fences, known for their distinct angled design, allow for airflow while maintaining privacy. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Properties in windy regions or areas where airflow is important, while still wanting to maintain a level of privacy. They also suit modern architectural styles well.
  • Key Characteristics: Louvered fences feature boards angled in a way that provides privacy from one side and visibility from the other, allowing air and light to pass through.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Hardwoods like cedar and redwood are common due to their durability and appealing finish.

6. Shadowbox Fence

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Shadowbox fences, with their unique semi-private design, provide a pleasant aesthetic from both sides. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Homeowners seeking a semi-private fence that appears the same on both sides, making it a neighbor-friendly choice.
  • Key Characteristics: This fence style uses alternating panels across the back and front to give the fence the same look on both sides and provide some privacy while allowing for air circulation.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Treated pine and cedar are typically used because of their resistance to rot and insects.

7. Board on Board Fence

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Board on board fences, constructed with an overlapping pattern, offer a high degree of privacy and a pleasing visual depth. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Those looking for superior privacy and a visually interesting design. Ideal for backyards, pool enclosures, or where complete privacy is desired.
  • Key Characteristics: This design involves an overlapping pattern of vertical boards (or ‘planks’), ensuring no gaps appear over time.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar and redwood are common choices due to their longevity and natural resistance to decay.

8. Lattice Fence

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Lattice fences, characterized by their crisscross pattern, offer a balance between privacy and openness. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best for: Gardens, decks, patios or as a decorative element within other fence types. They can also serve as a climbing support structure for plants.
  • Key Characteristics: Lattice fences are known for their iconic crisscross or diamond pattern, which can be varied in size to adjust privacy levels.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are often used because they withstand outdoor elements well.

9. Basket Weave Fence

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Basket weave fences, known for their unique and attractive design, offer significant privacy and noise reduction. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best For: Homeowners who value privacy, wish to dampen street noise, and desire a unique, aesthetic fence design that stands out.
  • Key Characteristics: Basket weave fences feature strips of wood woven together to form a design that resembles a basket weave. The intricate pattern offers considerable privacy and serves as a unique visual feature.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar and redwood, known for their durability and resistance to rot, are popular choices for this style. However, pressure-treated pine can also serve as a cost-effective alternative, especially if the fence will be painted or stained.

10. Japanese Style Wood Fence

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Japanese style wood fences, also known as “Shoji” fences, bring an element of tranquility and are often used in Zen gardens. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best For: Homeowners looking for a calming, minimalist aesthetic that complements an oriental or Zen garden design.
  • Key Characteristics: Japanese style fences often feature clean lines and simplicity, emphasizing natural beauty and tranquility. Some designs may incorporate bamboo or lattice work.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar, redwood, and bamboo are commonly used for their natural beauty, longevity, and resistance to decay.

11. Herringbone Fence

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Herringbone fences, with their intricate design, bring a unique aesthetic touch to the landscape. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best For: Homeowners seeking a sophisticated, eye-catching design that offers a high level of privacy.
  • Key Characteristics: This design uses slats arranged in a zigzag herringbone pattern, creating a visually appealing fence that’s also highly private.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Hardwoods like cedar, redwood, and oak are preferred due to their durability and the richness they bring to the design.

Each of these wood fence types serves different needs and aesthetics. From creating an inviting exterior to defining boundaries or ensuring privacy, there’s a type of wooden fence that fits your requirements perfectly.

12. Wave-Top Fence

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Wave-top fences, known for their curving lines, offer a softer aesthetic. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best For: Homeowners seeking a fence that offers privacy while adding a unique and softer aesthetic touch to their property.
  • Key Characteristics: This design features a waving top line, creating a sense of movement and adding visual interest.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are top choices due to their durability and workability, allowing for the creation of the wave pattern.

13. Asian-Inspired Privacy Screen

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Asian-inspired privacy screens serve as fences that bring tranquility and an oriental touch to a landscape. Here’s what sets them apart:

  • Best For: Homeowners looking to create an Asian-themed garden or wanting a minimalist, calming aesthetic.
  • Key Characteristics: These designs often feature clean lines, grid patterns, and simplicity, bringing a sense of calm and order. They may incorporate elements like bamboo or lattice work.
  • Popular Wood Choices: Cedar, redwood, and bamboo are often used for their natural beauty and resistance to decay.

6 Different Types of Wood Used in Fences

Choosing the right type of wood can greatly affect the longevity and appearance of your fence. Here are some common types:

1. Cedar Wood

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  • Durability: Cedar wood stands out due to its natural resistance to rot and insects, thanks to its natural oils and preservatives. This makes cedar a highly durable option for fencing and allows it to endure varying weather conditions effectively.
  • Aesthetics: The rich, red hue and straight grain pattern of cedar wood enhance the visual appeal of any property, offering an attractive, natural look.
  • Maintenance: Cedar is relatively low-maintenance. Although it may fade to a silver-grey over time, this change often complements the wood’s overall aesthetic.

2. Redwood

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  • Durability: Known for its exceptional durability, redwood is naturally resistant to decay, rot, and pests. This makes it a long-lasting choice for wood fencing.
  • Aesthetics: Redwood’s deep red color and intricate grain patterns add a touch of luxury to fencing. Its rich, warm tones can enhance the overall aesthetic of any property.
  • Maintenance: Redwood requires regular maintenance such as staining or sealing to maintain its vibrant color, but this effort pays off with enhanced longevity and visual appeal.

3. Pine

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  • Durability: Pine may not be as resistant to decay and pests as cedar or redwood, but when pressure-treated, its durability significantly increases, making it a viable choice for fencing.
  • Aesthetics: Pine has a lighter color compared to cedar and redwood. Its unique grain pattern lends a rustic appeal to fences.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance is required to prevent decay and prolong the lifespan of pine fences. This typically includes frequent staining or painting.

4. Cypress

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  • Durability: Cypress contains natural oils, much like cedar and redwood, making it resistant to decay and insect infestation.
  • Aesthetics: Cypress wood displays a lighter, yellowish color with a straight grain pattern, offering a warm, welcoming appeal.
  • Maintenance: Similar to cedar and redwood, cypress wood requires relatively less maintenance, often needing occasional staining to retain its color.

5. Spruce

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  • Durability: While spruce isn’t naturally resistant to decay or pests, it can be pressure-treated to improve its durability, making it a sound choice for fencing.
  • Aesthetics: Spruce wood tends to display a lighter color, and its grain pattern is less pronounced, offering a neutral base for paints and stains.
  • Maintenance: Regular maintenance, including staining or painting, is required to prevent decay and prolong the lifespan of spruce fences.

6. Oak

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  • Durability: Oak is well-known for its incredible strength and hardness, which makes it highly durable. Its dense grain structure provides a robust defense against weather elements and pests.
  • Aesthetics: The prominent grain pattern of oak, combined with its warm, rich tones, offers a traditional, rustic appeal that can enhance the look of any property.
  • Maintenance: Oak fences do require regular maintenance, such as sealing, to protect against moisture and keep the wood looking its best. However, this effort is often rewarded with a long-lasting, attractive fence.

These six types of wood, each with its distinct characteristics, are popular choices for wood fencing. The right choice for your fence will depend on your aesthetic preferences, desired durability, and maintenance capability.

Treatment and Preservation Methods for Different Types of Wood Fences

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1. Pressure Treating

Many types of wood, such as pine and spruce, aren’t naturally resistant to decay or pests. Pressure treatment is a process that forces chemical preservatives into the wood, making it more resistant to these issues. While pressure-treated wood doesn’t have the same natural beauty as untreated wood, it can be painted or stained to enhance its appearance.

2. Painting

Painting is a popular treatment option for wood fences. It provides a layer of protection against the weather and pests and offers an opportunity to match the fence color to your home’s exterior or other elements of your landscaping. However, painted fences require regular maintenance, as the paint can chip or flake over time, especially in harsh weather conditions.

3. Staining and Sealing

Staining and sealing provide an excellent way to enhance the natural beauty of wood while protecting it from weather and pests. Stain penetrates the wood and can offer some protection against UV damage, while a sealant provides a protective layer that helps to keep out moisture. Both treatments typically need to be reapplied every few years.

4. Natural Oils

Some types of wood, such as cedar and redwood, contain natural oils that offer some protection against decay and pests. These types of wood can be left untreated to age naturally, or they can be treated with additional oil for enhanced protection. Natural oil treatments need to be reapplied regularly to maintain their protective properties.

5. Rot Resistance Treatments

Rot is a common issue for wood fences, but there are several treatments available that can help to prevent this problem. These include both chemical and natural options.
For example, some homeowners opt for a borate treatment, which is a naturally occurring mineral that can help to prevent rot.

By understanding these various treatment and preservation methods, you can make an informed choice about how to best protect your wood fence. Each method offers unique advantages, and the best choice will depend on the type of wood you choose, your aesthetic preferences, and your desired level of maintenance.

Maintenance Tips for Wood Fences

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1. Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your wood fence is critical for maintaining its aesthetic and durability. Over time, a combination of dirt, mildew, and weather conditions can make your fence look worn down and aged. Use a soft brush or pressure washer on a low setting to gently clean the surface of the fence. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the wood’s surface. Instead, opt for a gentle, wood-friendly cleaner.

2. Staining and Sealing

Staining and sealing your wood fence can significantly enhance its durability by providing a protective layer against moisture, UV rays, and mildew. Depending on the type of wood and local weather conditions, you might need to re-stain and re-seal your fence every 2-3 years. There are various stain colors available, allowing you to choose one that complements your home’s exterior or the natural color of the wood.

3. Regular Inspection and Prompt Repairs

Regularly inspect your fence for signs of damage, such as broken or rotting boards. Promptly repairing these issues can prevent further damage and prolong the lifespan of your fence. Replace damaged boards as soon as possible, and if there’s a problem with a larger section of your fence, consider seeking help from a professional.

4. Protection from Pests

Some types of wood are naturally resistant to pests, but others may need additional protection. Regularly inspect your fence for signs of pest activity, such as small holes or sawdust. If you identify a problem, treat it promptly with a suitable wood preservative, or consider hiring a pest control professional for severe infestations.

5. Avoiding Soil Contact

Wherever possible, design your fence so that the wooden posts and panels do not directly contact the soil. This can help to prevent rot and extend the lifespan of the fence. Use galvanized steel post holders or similar solutions to elevate the wood above the ground level.

By adhering to these maintenance tips, you can ensure your wood fence remains beautiful and sturdy for years to come. Regular maintenance might seem like a chore, but it’s a small price to pay for a fence that adds to your property’s charm and serves its purpose effectively.


From the traditional picket fence to the sturdy post and rail, understanding the various types of wood fences can help you choose the right fence for your needs. Whether you prioritize privacy, aesthetics, durability, or all three, there’s a wooden fence that’s perfect for your home.

Remember that no matter which type you choose, regular maintenance can keep your fence looking its best for years to come.

AboutCorinne Switzer

Corinne is an avid reader and takes a keen interest in conspiracy theories. When not busy with her day job, she likes to indulge the writer in her and pens columns on a wide range of topics that cover everything from entertainment, healthy living to healthcare and more.