There are good reasons why wood fencing is still a common sight around Calgary and Southern Alberta. It has many advantages that home, farm, and business owners look for and value when selecting fencing for properties.
Even with improvements in technology and greater competition from vinyl, chain-link, and ornamental fencing, wood fencing stands tall and remains an extremely popular choice.
Why is this?
What are the main wood fencing benefits and how do they stack up with other alternative materials? Are there any disadvantages to using wood for building your fence?
Let’s take a look.
The advantages of building fences from wood
From its affordability to its superior appearance, the following are the main reasons why wood remains such a popular choice for fencing material in Calgary.
The affordability of wood
Wooden fences are affordable both in terms of installation and ongoing costs. Wood is a natural and abundant material in Alberta, helping the price remain competitive (even during recent pricing volatility).
The ease of installation comes partly from the fact that most professional installers (the Reliabuilt team included) are well-accustomed to working with wooden panels. This minimizes disruption to your property during the installation process and keeps costs down.
The affordability of wooden fencing is one of its major attractions and, while wood fences require some maintenance to keep their fine appearance, this is usually no more than the cost of wood stain, painting, or another relatively simple and cost-effective treatment.
Wood just looks better
Most traditional fences in Calgary are wooden pressure-treated fences, whether located in the city or on rural acreage properties.
The natural, classic and timeless appearance of wood is highly attractive for homes, farms, and businesses. Little has changed in this respect throughout the decades — even though many wood imitation products are now on the market, such as vinyl and composites.
Wooden fences offer protection and privacy
A wooden fence provides a good degree of security and protection. This is a basic requirement for most families, especially for property owners with children or pets.
A wooden fence can be built high enough to act as a deterrent to unwanted visitors and can prevent your children and pets from getting out. It also provides peace of mind and privacy for families who want to enjoy time together in the yard.
Pressure-treated materials last longer
We all know how the climate in Alberta can impact our homes. Fencing is no different and it can suffer from the elements.
By using natural wood from these parts, we ensure that your wooden fence is well suited to the climate. For extra durability, the wood is usually pressure-treated, which can add many extra years to the life of your fence. A well-constructed wooden fence can protect your property for 35 years.
The cedar that grows in BC is a popular choice and stands up naturally to the climate.
Choice and versatility
Wood provides a wide selection of fence-style choices. It doesn’t have to be just a choice between pressure-treated wood or cedar.
Wooden fences can be stained or painted relatively easily, adding variety to their appearance, and increasing durability.
Wooden fences also come in many styles. A vertical/horizontal board or fortress-style backyard fence looks very different from a picket fence, split rail fencing or paddock fencing.
Nowadays, with wooden fencing, you have the additional choices of decorative gates, lattice sets across the top or a design with extra space between the boards.
You can even opt for a custom-designed fence made to your exact preferences of size, height, gate width, and colour specifications.
Changing the appearance of your fence is as easy as applying a coat of paint or some wood stain.
Ease of repair
Repairing a wooden fence usually requires nothing more elaborate than replacing a board from time to time.
Problems with wooden fences are not usually serious but wood can split and crack under certain weather conditions.
With panels made in manageable sizes, they are generally easy to fix or change. This is a distinct advantage over vinyl and other materials.
Wooden fencing from Reliabuilt uses Canadian wood sourced from renewable resources. This makes wood a good choice for eco-conscious homes and business owners.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of treatments used to protect wooden fences from rot and pests, more environmentally-friendly options are now on the market (e.g., eco-friendly wood stabilizers and preservatives).
Are there any disadvantages to wooden fences?
Nothing is perfect — wood included:
Wood fences tend to be higher maintenance
While wood fences are generally durable, they do require some time and effort to remain in tip-top condition.
This is not to say that you need to be out in the yard every weekend. However, many homeowners like to stain and/or paint their fences — and most fences need an occasional clean.
Because wood fences are susceptible to mould and mildew from the moisture in Calgary, you may want to use a water repellent to prevent damage. Cleaning may also need to be slightly more robust than with vinyl but a soap and water mixture usually does the trick.
A natural product has a natural lifespan
However well you maintain your wooden fence, its looks will fade slightly over time. Some people like the aged look but other property owners choose to re-stain the wooden panels or paint them.
When push comes to shove, wood is a natural product with a natural lifespan. Even pressure-treated wood, which is more robust, will not last forever.
Some property owners opt for vinyl because it generally lasts longer than wood but keeps in mind that a well-maintained wood fence can last decades even in Calgary’s harsh climate.
The downsides of using wood alternatives and DIY kits
Wood is not always the perfect choice for a fence —as you have seen— but each of the alternatives to wood also has its downsides.
Vinyl is often chosen these days ahead of wood. This is predominantly because of its low-maintenance requirements. However, vinyl fences are more expensive, do not have the homely natural appearance of wood, cannot be stained or painted, and may need large panels replacing if they develop problems.
Chain-link fencing may be considered a better option by some homeowners because of its affordability and ease of installation.
However, this also comes at a price. Chain-link fencing, like wrought iron fencing, does not offer anywhere near the same level of privacy as a wooden fence. Many people also consider that a chain-link fence lacks physical appeal.
Each alternative to wood has its pros and cons. Be sure to weigh up what you need for your property and what the advantages and disadvantages are of each option. The material you choose is just as important as the overall design and style of the fence.
A quick word of warning about “out of the box” or pre-built wood fence kits. These DIY fences are made using inferior material and are extremely flimsy. They will generally not last the distance and come in standard sizes that may not fit the spaces you intend on your property.
Most times, a professionally installed wooden fence is one of the best options for home and business owners in Calgary.
With its attractive natural appearance, wide selection options, affordability, security/privacy qualities, and flexibility, wood fencing provides great value for property owners — whether to increase curb appeal, property value, or the security and safety for the kids and pets.
At Reliabuilt Fence and Deck Ltd., we install all types of fences in a variety of fencing materials. Wood is always one of the most popular options but vinyl, chain link, ornamental fencing and custom-designed fencing are also available.
Speak to us first for a free, no-obligation quote. Our estimates are free and always will be.