The use of wood fencing started when trees were plentiful and other options – like concrete or metal – weren’t available to us. Now, the price of lumber has skyrocketed, and wood isn’t looking so great anymore. Is wood still the best option for fencing, or are there better options out there?
Is it Sustainable?
While there are sustainable wood options out there, the majority of the wood is taken from trees that take 15-20 years to mature. Considering a lot of wood fences will need replacing in that time, the wood starts to lose its shine. Truly sustainable wood can be hard to identify wood – not to mention they typically cost a lot.
Is it Durable?
Wood is a natural material – unfortunately, this equals easily damaged. Warping, discoloring, splintering, burning, and more are harsh realities when building with wood. They are also more susceptible to burning in a fire.
Considering anything from a tiny termite to a falling tree branch can take it out, it seems the answer to this is a resounding “No.”
Is it Affordable?
Following the price of lumber, the price of a new wood fence has also gone up. Even with this increase, wood might seem like a more affordable option when compared to other building materials – until you look at the long-term cost.
Replacing and repairing all the rotten fence posts, broken wood panels, and burned sections after a fire, really starts to take its toll. Add to this all the regular maintenance work like regularly treating and staining, and the cost starts to add up.
Wood Has Changed
Before the 1920s, the majority of wood used in the construction industry was old-growth lumber. This wood comes from virgin timberlands. Old-growth wood was used so much; virgin timberlands almost went extinct in the United States. After the 1920s, farmers began harvesting new growth lumber trees like pine. These trees reach maturity in 15-20 years and are a better option. However, the growth rings are not as tightly packed as old growth, and this makes modern lumber less sturdy.
There is a Better Option
Precast concrete ticks a lot of the same boxes as a wood fence with very few of the same downsides. It’s a sustainable option that doesn’t use plastics. Because precast concrete fencing is made in a climate-controlled building, there is very little waste. From the forms used during production to waste concrete (crushed and used as aggregate), many things can be recycled or reused. This sustainability also translates into cost savings for the customer!
Concrete is one of the most durable options out there. Estimated to last around 25-40 years, this almost doubles the lifespan of a wood fence. Concrete is used for things like bridges and buildings for a reason – it’s built to last.
In typical years, precast concrete fencing only needs an annual inspection and a quick wash. If there is damage to a section, it is a simple matter of popping out the damaged section and replacing it with a new one.
At American Precast, we have a fencing option made to perfectly mimic a wood fence’s look – you don’t have to abandon your dream fence. Contact us today for a free consultation!