Knowledge Base:  
Knowledge Base > Fences 101: A beginner's guide --> Knowledge Base > Fences 101: A beginner's guide
Fences 101 - Chapter 2: Fence Materials
Last Updated: 02/10/2012

This is a general information guide on fence materials. If you need specific material data for a fencing product that we sell online, see the manufacturers documentation in our product knowledge section.

Modern Fence Materials

Long gone are the days when your choice of fencing materials was limited to wood, iron, and steel. With modern technology, manufacturers can produce quality fencing from a wide variety of natural and synthetic materials that exhibit the superior physical characteristics and eye catching appeal demanded by consumers. Your fence design is no longer constrained by the properties of the supplies available, but only by your budget, and imagination!

In this section of the DIY Fence Buying Guide, we will provide a short summary of popular fencing materials available to the Do-It-Yourself fence builder.

Aluminum Fences

Regis Ornamental Aluminum Fencing

Regis Ornamental Aluminum Fencing

Aluminum is a popular do-it-yourself fencing material known for being affordable, lightweight, and extremely low maintenance. A practical alternative to ornamental steel and iron fencing, high quality ornamental aluminum can add the same elegant look to your home at a lower cost per foot.

Ornamental aluminum fences are built from 6 or 8 foot panels (sections) and posts. Panels are made from horizontal rails and vertical pickets. Some brands like Regis (shown in the picture) come with panels that are pre-assembled at the factory; with others, you will have to build each panel from the loose components before installation.

Ornamental aluminum fences are available in a wide range of styles, heights, and colors, making them easy to configure for your application.

Aluminum fencing is a great option for homeowners that have swimming pools.

View our ornamental aluminum fence guide to learn the important features that you should consider when buying an aluminum fence.

Composite Fences

Composite fence panels by Timbertech

FenceScape Composite Fencing

Fences in the modern era may be the product of rigorous engineering efforts, but that doesn't mean they have to look cold and industrial. Composite Fencing has the look and feel of real wood combined with and the strength, durability, and low maintenance characteristics of a synthetic material.

Composites are a great solution for homeowners who want the beautiful aesthetic of a wood fence, but don't have the time to keep up with the staining, painting, or sealing.

Composite Fences are built from components that can be cut, assembled, and installed just like wood. The components (composite boards, posts, rails, etc) sell at a premium to corresponding wood components, but over time the savings in maintenance and replacement costs level the disparity somewhat.

Composites fences will not rot or become susceptible to termite damage, so no treating is required.

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl Fence

Vinyl Fence

Vinyl Fencing is another durable, low maintenance fencing material. Vinyl Fencing, also known as PVC Fencing, is rapidly gaining in popularity among DIY fence builders for several reasons: vinyl fence components are pre-shaped into many popular styles, vinyl does not require painting or finishing, and vinyl fence components are lightweight and easy to assemble.

Vinyl fences typically cost more than wood fences; however, they are comparable or even less expensive than wood when maintenance and replacement costs are considered. Also, like composite fences, the color in vinyl fencing is embedded in the material so nicks and scratches won't ruin the look of your fence.

Classic Fence Materials

Just because you don't have to build a wood, steel, or iron fence, doesn't mean that you shouldn't if that's what you like. Wood and Steel are extremely popular fencing materials among homeowners. Iron is a little less popular due to cost and difficulty of installation, but it is still a viable alternative.


Wood Fence

Wood Fence

For a warm, "homey" feeling fence that blends in with the natural elements of your landscape at an affordable price, wood fence is still hard to beat. If, as a diy fence installer and homeowner, you are willing to put the time in to build and maintain your wood fence, it can offer a distinctive beauty around your home.

Wood fence styles range from the simple split-rail design to more elaborate lattice style fences. An extremely versatile fencing material, wood can be used to create just about any style fence you desire, including your own custom design.


Steel Fence

Steel Fence

For a heavy duty fencing material that not only looks great, but provides a high level of security, steel is the material of choice.

Steel fencing, like aluminum, comes in a large number of styles, heights, and colors making them highly configurable to your application. Steel is heavier and stronger than aluminum and will withstand more wear and tear in a high activity area.

In this chapter of the DIY Fence guide, we briefly summarized several of the most popular fencing materials available. In the next chapter, we will go over several of the most popular fence styles.

We try to constantly update our DIY Fence Buying Guide based on the questions that our customers ask, so you may end up helping our entire fencing community.

Was this article helpful?


Related Articles
 > Fences 101 - Chapter 1: Introduction
 > Fences 101 - Chapter 3: Fence Types
 > Fences 101 - Chapter 4: Fence Installation Basics
 > Fences 101 - Chapter 5: Fence Glossary