Fencing Materials

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My neighbors and I are looking to rebuild our fence, and we need to discuss materials. I know plastic will come up, but I'm against that, as in my opinion it's not mature enough of a product, and I've heard lots of bad things about it (molds when in shade, color fades differently in shade an sun, etc).
So, I'm looking between Pressure Treated and Cedar. I'm wondering what the advantages of either are. As far as life expectancy, the new pressure treated no longer has arsnic, so I'm not sure how long it lasts. Also, I've heard that they are now harvesting Cedar from younger trees, and again, that is supposed to lower how long that lasts. Does anybody have any ideas of how long modern cedar and modern ptw last for fences?
Also I've heard ptw is stronger than Cedar, and that some people use ptw posts on cedar paneled fences. I'm wondering how necessary this is, and how long the cedar posts will last.
Any advice is greatly appreciated (or a pointer to a good, unbiased web site would also be nice -- can't seem to find one).
Thanks
John
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I've had a white PVC fence for about 6 years now with no problems. I do get some algae in shade, but that's after the winter season. In the spring I usually just clean with a little bleach and soap and a brush, and its fine for the whole summer and fall. Mine does not fade. Not sure what you mean by "not mature enough", it's been around for a while. You will definately have a lot more maintenace if you put up a wood fence.
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I don't have enough experience (does anyone?) to comment on the longevity of the newer pressure treatment chemicals, but I can say that in my part of the USA (Baltimore Maryland) a good quality CCA treated post outlasts 2 or 3 sets of cedar fence pickets or cedar panels.
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foil,epee, or rapier? (sorry!)
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John wrote:

Here in California they use a galvanized pole post in concrete with a 4x4 PT post clamped to the pole. Most is Dog Eared ruff cut cedar or spruce on the panels. Panels are alternated so the neighbor gets the same look on his side. Seem to last a long time but we have a very dry climate here. I have a slump stone wall as a fence and the only thing I have to worry about is an earthquake.
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I likely should have mentioned, I'm in Ottawa, Canada. We get a LOT of snow, and the fence is in the open in some spots, and not in the open in others (thick hedges behind the fence in one spot for example). Painting in behind the thick hedges would be next to impossible....
John
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Here in California they use PT 4x4 or 4x6 for posts (_never_ seen a galvy pole), and redwood for the panels, with a 2x12 PT kick.
Don't know what california you live in.
scott
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Scott Lurndal wrote:

Open your eyes Dickwad
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On 4/29/2010 6:13 PM, Evodawg wrote:

Wash your mouth out with soap, kid.
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I used PT post and stringers and cedar dog-ear pickets to build my fence about 10 years ago. My local city code said that any fence along a road, must have the horizontal stringers on the inside of the yard. I think this is for security purposes. I guess it makes it harder for an intruder to climb over the fence. I don't put preservatives on the fence, as I like the weathered look of cedar as it ages. The previous same type fence lasted about 30 years. The failure points were the rotting of the post at ground level. water was able sit and soak into the post on top of the concrete, which caused the rotting. So if you use concrete to set your post, pitch the concrete so water will be allowed to run off.
Rob
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I'd use galvanized steel in concrete for the posts (e.g. Master Halco Postmaster). Then, I'd use pressure treated rails between the posts, but I don't trust the modern type for ground contact. Then, I'd let you decide between wood or plastic composite fence boards, as they're easy to change out if needed.
The one thing I hate about plastic composite fence boards is that they often don't come full length. Also, they seems to be a little flimsy.
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"mike" wrote:
The one thing I hate about plastic composite fence boards is that they often don't come full length. Also, they seems to be a little flimsy. ----------------------------------------
Do you have a problem with HDPE in standard lumber dimension cross sections and 12 ft lengths to be a problem?
Lew
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Kind of dependant on where you live.
1. I have not seen PT fence boards here in California. Posts yes and 2x material but don't recall seeing 1x fence boards in PT.
2. Regarding posts, they will both (Cedar and PT) last about the same. Both will give good service or bad, depending on how they are planted. If cemented into a hole, put gravel in the botton few inches of the hole to allow for drainage. Mound up the concrete above grade by a few inches and sloped away from the post. Or use (expensive) post brackets embedded in the concrete that hold the post above grade. Again, expensive to get ones that have tall strong straps.
3. Here in California we use Redwood posts and fence boards although PT posts are also quite a common approach.
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On 4/29/2010 11:00 AM, John wrote:

Might want to look into ipe. Tropical hardwood of the "brown concrete" variety--needs no treatment, will last for a decade or more sitting on the ground in the Amazon rain forest, hard to get it to burn, hard, strong, and dense. Popular as a deck material.
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When I bought my home the previous owner had put in a cedar fence. The posts rotted off in ten years, and the pickets were darned near like stryofoam they were so dry. I replaced it with green treated, ten years now, and it is as solid as the day I put it in. I have not touched it as far as maintainance, no sealer, stain, nothing. It gradually faded to a nice grey color. As for fence materials, I would put in pretty much anything, EXCEPT cedar! Greg
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Greg O wrote:

Depends on the cedar and the climate, I guess. The fence on my house down in Louisiana went about like yours, as that climate will rot concrete. But where I grew up in Indiana, alternating-picket cedar fences I helped nail together 40 years ago are still standing. Western RSC is about the most popular fence board down there, at least for the pickets, since I was a small child back in the stone age. I presume most people now use pressure-treated for the posts and rails, due to cost. After redwood got too expensive, and before recycled pop bottle wood was available, it was also the default for deck frames, decking, and railings.
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On 4/30/2010 12:57 AM, aemeijers wrote:

Cedar used to be cheaper than pine in the South. Went to buy some a while back and found out that it had become a luxury item.
By the way, new technology--don't know whether it actually works or not, and it's not cheap enough for fencing yet, but the local hardwood yard has quite a lot of "torrefied" lumber of various species. Googling that I find that it seems to result in chemical changes making the various wood components that fungi and termites like indigestible to them and so works as an effective and nontoxic preservation process, with the side effect that the wood comes out as dark as walnut.
Next project I do I think I'm going to give it a try and while I'm about it cut some stakes and stick them in the back yard to see how they really hold up.
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I have built a lot of fences and taken down a lot of fences. The fences that last and look the best the longest in Houston use PT posts and rails and use cedar pickets WITH A BOTTOM PT ROT BOARD.
1. Typically cedar posts rot long long before the rest of the fence. 2. Typically PT pickets will out last cedar by a few years but PT pickets tend to warp pretty badly so you need a minimum of 3 rails to hold every thing straight. I always use 3 rails any way but try my best to sell my customer on cedar. I make my money on the labor so price of materials does not factor in on my recommendations.
Typically all pickets will last longer if you use a PT horizontal rot board along the bottom of the fence along the ground. Place your pickets "on top" of that board. This keeps the morning due from grass and the ground from wicking as badly into the bottoms of the pickets.
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Thank you for all the information and points of view. I was under the impression that Cedar outlasted PT, but I guess I'll have to look into that some more. The fence we're replacing is cedar, and is 28 years old. One thing that has occurred to me is that there are two types of cedar -- western red and white. Perhaps the type makes a difference, and perhaps PT would outlast one of them, but not the other? Also, perhaps the treatment makes a difference.
The plan was to have the fence to not touch the ground, and not to have a horizontal bottom board, so water wouldn't collect at the bottom. I was also considering having a stone tile underlay underneath to make mowing easier (no trimming needed near the fence). It would also eliminate the grass dew issue. The post material is still up in the air.
John
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Here we see more and more privacy fences built with the galvanized posts. For what it's worth, price wise it's an upgrade here. Here's a link to the connectors for the stringers. http://www.strongtie.com/products/connectors/PGT2E.asp
Mike O.
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