My wife and I are going to have about 160 ft. of privacy fencing
installed. We are aware that the PVC fencing will last a lifetime,
but the cost is about $109 for a 6ft. length compared to $32 for an
8ft length of pressure treated wood. We don't want to spend the
extra $ for the PVC. The PVC is tempting, since neither my wife or
myself are handy with home improvements. So my question is, if we
do not paint the pressure treated wood fencing, or urethane coat it,
or put any type of coating on it, how long can I expect it to remain
decent looking? Or without some type of coating, will it deteriorate
No paint, stain. It can hold up for many years, but will start looking
crappy in just a couple with no stain on it. I agree that $3000 more for
the PVC is a chunk of change, but how long do you plan to live there? How
important is good appearance to you? How much will it cost to have the PT
fence stained every few years?
If you must use PT fencing, then I have a few recommendations
for you. Instead of the standard 2 rail system, use at least
3 rails and preferably 4. This is because PT fence pickets
will warp and twist so badly that the fence will look horrible
after six months or so, unless you take steps to restrain the
twisting and warping with the extra rails. Even then, there
will be some pickets that become so bad that they must be
replaced, so order some extra and keep them in the expectation
of having to replace a few. Use screws for the installation
instead of nails if you can afford it.
Having said that, penetrating stain is the only way to go.
Leaving the PT pickets natural, they will turn gray after
about 6 months. With a penetrating stain, they will retain
the stained coloring much longer, but will have to be
restained every 2 years or so.
My recommendation would be to use cedar, redwood, or even
cypress pickets. (You would have to make the cypress pickets
out of stock lumber.) The cedar is naturally resistant to
natural forces, looks better and does not warp or twist as the
PT pickets will. The extra cost of the cedar can be offset by
the reduced cost of the extra rails for the PT.
The cedar will also turn gray, unless you use a sealer on it.
If you use a clear penetrating sealer or an opaque sealer,
it will maintain its color for far longer. You will also not
have to replace any warped/twisted pickets.
Redwood will be more expensive, and has the same discoloration
(graying) as cedar, so treat it as the cedar above.
Cypress makes a very pretty fence, but warps and twists more
than the cedar or redwood. It also must be sealed to prevent
graying. Cypress, lasts a VERY long time and would
significantly increase the life of the fence.
It will look decent, with no coating at all, for at least a decade -
probably longer. In about a year the fence will develop a pleasing grey
1. Use screws, not nails. If you MUST use nails, use stainless.
2. If you're doing it yourself, buy the pickets and store them in a
well-ventilated area, with plenty of air circulation, for a least a month.
If put up "wet" when they dry they shrink showing gaps of up to 3/8"
3. Buy extra pickets (about 10%). Some will warp unbelievably during the
drying process. These crooked boards can be returned (at least to HD) for
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.