Gone are the days when all you would see is wood fencing in properties around Calgary. While wood fencing remains a popular choice, one of the best competing options is vinyl.
Vinyl fencing offers plenty of the same benefits as wood fencing but there are some important differences.
How do they compare for appearance, cost, and maintenance? How do wood and vinyl handle the Calgary weather?
These are all questions that you will need to consider if you are replacing a fence on your Calgary property or installing a new one.
How does wood vs. vinyl hold up in Calgary weather?
Any fence in Calgary needs to be ready for some severe weather. This is no secret but some homeowners fail to consider the impact of moisture on a fence.
Both wood fencing made from local wood (like pressure-treated wood or cedar) and vinyl fencing fare quite well in the extreme winter temperatures in Calgary.
For wood fences, humidity and moisture can be a problem and fences usually need a high-quality stain or sealant to remain in tip-top condition for the years ahead. Thankfully, humidity in Calgary remains relatively constant even in the extreme winters, though.
However, wood can also fade and warp because of extreme weather, strong sunlight, and so on.
Vinyl is less susceptible to humidity than wood and does not fade or warp. Some vinyl fence manufacturers even offer lifetime product warranties.
Wood vs vinyl fencing: comparing costs
Some homeowners are deterred by the upfront costs of vinyl, which are higher than a typical wood fence. And as lumber prices have increased, so has vinyl.
As a guideline, you can expect to pay around 50 percent more for a vinyl fence than an average pressure-treated lumber fence. This does depend on whether you choose cedar, redwood or another type of wooden fence.
However, because of the lack of maintenance, painting, staining, sealing, and pest treatment required with a vinyl fence, the higher upfront costs are generally paid back over time. Wood needs more work to keep it looking great.
So, vinyl fencing should be considered an investment in the future for homeowners who prefer not to have to spend time and money on treating their fences.
A wood fence may need to be fully replaced after 10-20 years depending on how well it is maintained, whereas a standard vinyl fence can last longer than that, more than paying back the extra upfront investment over its lifetime.
Overall, because of their robustness and longevity, both wood and vinyl provide great value for money but wood is more flexible and vinyl requires less maintenance.
The appearance of wood fences vs vinyl fences
For homeowners, much depends on aesthetics and appearance when choosing a fence for their property.
For many, it is difficult to go past the look and feel of wood. For instance, cedar has a rich colour and a natural tight grain, with minimal knots. With its warm, traditional, and inviting appearance and the fact that it can be customized with staining and painting if required, wood has traditionally held a big lead in terms of appearance for Calgary homeowners.
However, the gap is closing and technology has improved the appearance of vinyl fencing. Vinyl now has more colours and finishes to choose from, making it a more viable option in the minds of homeowners when considered alongside its other benefits. For instance, faux-wood graining tries to emulate the inviting natural appearance of wood and faux-stone finishes provide other aesthetic options.
Bear in mind that painting a vinyl fence is difficult and staining cannot be applied. So, when you install a vinyl fence, its appearance is unlikely to change much over the passing of the years.
In truth, when vinyl is compared with wood’s appearance, most homeowners still choose wood.
Ease of installation: wood vs vinyl
Unless you have installed a fence before and have professional qualifications, a fence installation is not an easy DIY job.
You will need professional technicians from a reliable fence installation company, who will generally charge a fixed rate.
While both wood and vinyl fences are relatively quick to install, a vinyl fence generally takes a little less time because the panels are larger and easier to work with.
Wood vs vinyl maintenance comparison
Wood requires a variety of maintenance tasks to be performed to keep it looking its best.
Vinyl’s appearance rarely changes and it usually only needs cleaning with a high-pressure water hose (or even an ordinary garden hose) now and again to keep it looking good.
Some homeowners don’t mind the maintenance required with wood: sealing, staining and painting, as well as replacing boards that have warped, cracked or rotted. Cleaning wood fences is usually more challenging than cleaning vinyl fences too because of wood’s susceptibility to mould and mildew — power washing and detergents may be required.
If, for example, you’re after a white fence that you do not want to spend time on maintaining, vinyl may be the best option.
When it comes to repairs, vinyl is more brittle than wood but wood’s susceptibility to warping and rotting may make repairs more likely.
Problems with wooden fences may mean replacing a plank of wood or two. A vinyl fence may never need repairing but if it does get damaged by extreme weather or an impact accident, for example, it can be challenging to fix.
You may be able to repair small holes or cracks with a DIY vinyl fence repair kit from the home center but any major damage will require professional repairs. You may need to replace a whole panel — and there is a chance that the line of vinyl panelling has been discontinued or is unavailable.
Our estimates are FREE – and always will be
At Reliabuilt Fence and Deck Ltd, we install all types of fences in a variety of fencing materials. Wood and vinyl are two of the most popular options but chain link, ornamental fencing and custom-designed fencing are also available.
Speak to us first for a free, no-obligation quote.