Best Type of Wood for Fence Posts: Keeping Grounded

By: Jan Hajek | Date Posted: November 11, 2020

Did you know that the average person in the United States consumes 74 cubit feet of wood yearly? That includes tissue paper, construction lumber, furniture, etc.

Are you thinking about either installing or updating a fence for your yard? In this article, explore the best type of wood for fences. Read on to explore all about the different types of material for fences and why wood is so sought after.

How Can You Select The Right Wood?

The best type of fence is wood fencing since it offers privacy, strength, and longevity. When you’re looking to choose the best fence post wood types, it’s important to consider your weather. For example, do you live in a dry or rainy area?

Does it get cold where you live or incredibly hot? Asking yourself these questions will ensure that you choose a long-lasting fence that won’t decay as easily.

Wood Fence Pros and Cons

Wood Fence Pros and Cons

Not only are wood fences cost-effective, but they’re an earth-friendly option as well. Another benefit is the fact that they’ll blend into different environments.

Wood Fence pros:

  • You can paint them any color.
  • Biodegradable
  • Earth-friendly
  • Increases property value
  • Offers full privacy
  • Less expensive
  • Versatile
  • Can be UV treated to prevent splitting and to rot

Wood Fence cons:

  • High maintenance
  • Might attract insects and termites
  • Limited life
  • Worry about dry rot if left untreated
  • Vulnerable to fungus
  • Regular maintenance required

Proper Care Tips

To protect your fence against varying temperatures and moisture, it’s a good idea to treat it with a weatherproof solution. Ensure it contains UV protection to preserve the color of the wood. You’ll want to refinish and clean the fence every other year to maintain the look.

Select pressure-treated wood when you can. This is where chemicals that protect the wood from decay and insects are placed into the wood.

Best Type of Wood for Fence Posts

Best Type of Wood for Fence

1. Redwood

The color of your fence can vary depending on the part of the tree that’s chosen. The outer parts are cream-colored, whereas the inner portion is a deep reddish-brown.

There are well-spaced knots and a tight grain pattern. The higher the grade, the fewer knots there are.

If you decide to go with this option, keep in mind that it’ll need to be cleaned properly before applying it. Keep in mind that it’ll weather over time. Following a maintenance plan can help decrease weathering.

Redwood is a more expensive option. It’s a durable and strong material, though.

You don’t have to worry about warping or shrinking after installation. Depending on the type of redwood you use, it can resist insects. For example, heartwood has a strong resistance to insects.


2. Cypress

You’ll find that bald cypress and southern cypress are popular fence materials in the south. They’re a nice alternative to redwoods and cedar.

While they’re a red/tan color, they’re lighter than redwoods. They’re also decay-resistant and protect against insects.

A bald cypress is a good option when you’re looking to save. Cypress wood can be used in ornamental and structural parts of your fence.

3. Spruce

Spruce is a good option when you’re looking to save. They easily stain as well to help increase their life.

Since the spruce is light in color, you can change it to a different color. Without proper maintenance, it’ll turn to a very dark grey. It can be a harder option to maintain.

4. Cedar

Cedar is from Canada and the Northwest of the U.S. It’s a very durable option and can last up to 30 years.

Even when not treated, it can live longer than other wood options. Keep in mind that they’re expensive.

This is due to it being more durable and long-lasting. If you’re looking to paint your fence a different color, it’ll be harder to achieve this with cedar.

The 2 Types of Cedar

The Northern white cedar comes with pale brown heartwood and narrow white sapwood. You’ll find small knots with grains for this option. White cedar is insect and decay-resistant as well.

Keep in mind that white cedar tends to be soft and weak. This means that wood screws will be weaker.

Your other option is red cedar. This is considered a light softwood.

You can use different types of coatings, stains, and oils. They’re beautiful and will make your yard aesthetically pleasing. Keep in mind that some people are allergic to red cedar, though.

5. Oakwood

Available in hundreds of options, Oakwood is a type of hardwood. It’s durable and strong. Oakwood is a lighter color with grain knots.

You can add natural oil to make the Oakwood shine. Be careful with staining since it can darken the Oakwood too much. It’s best to leave them as their natural color.

Wood Grading

Wood Grading

Since wood is a popular choice for building a fence, keep in mind that there are different wood grades. For example, lumber receives a grade based on how it will be used.

When there are fewer knots, it’ll be more expensive. You might even see the price double between different grades.

Avoid buying a higher grade than you need. For example, hardwood grading will be determined based on the number of defects found.

Keep in mind that a lower grade might work just fine. You’ll find that hardwood receives its grade from the National Hardwood Lumber Association.

Exploring the Best Type of Wood for Fences

Now that you’ve explored the best type of wood for fences, you should have a better idea of what’s the right option for you. Would you like to read more home improvement content? For everything from interiors to exteriors, check out our other articles today.

Thank you for reading!

Jan Hajek

I am an experienced writer. I write about home improvement topics such as construction, electrical work, plumbing, security and safety, interior design, exterior design, tools and woodworking, gardening, and garage organization. I love helping people improve their homes and make them more enjoyable places to live.

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