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Chain Link vs. Wood Fences - Which Is Better?

When it comes to choosing the right fence for your home, there are many factors to take into account. Material, cost, installation, and maintenance are all important factors in the decision-making process. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to fencing, so it’s important to consider each of these factors carefully.

Two of the most popular fence materials on the market are wood and chain link. Both have their pros and cons, but which one is the better option for you? In this blog post, we will compare the two, so you can make an informed decision about which would be perfect for you.

Fence Style Rules

While picking out a new fence for your home or business is really exciting, it makes sense first to confirm if there are any city, county, or HOA rules that you must follow. With the city and county, it is best to contact the local planning department to confirm if there are any ordinances that regulate the type, height, and style of fences that you can have on your property.

Here is a link to all of the local city/county planning departments and ordinances. If you are in an HOA it is best to reach out to the HOA board or management company to obtain a copy of their approved styles.

Collecting this information ahead of time may impact your decision on chain link versus wood fencing. In addition, the licensed contractor that you work with on your fence installation will really appreciate this information.

Chain Link Fences

There are a few key differences between chain link fences and wood fences, which may make one or the other a better choice for your home or business.

Chain link fences are almost always less expensive than wood fences, and they require little to no maintenance. They're also highly durable and can last for many years. However, chain link fences can be an eyesore, and they offer little privacy in comparison to wood.

Advantages

There are several advantages to choosing a chain link fence over a wood fence. Firstly, chain link fences are much better at surviving everyday weather conditions than wood-based ones. This means that they tend to require very little attention in the course of their lifespan.

They will not rot, warp, or break down over time, and they are not susceptible to termite or other insect damage. The only upkeep you might have to do is to occasionally tighten the bolts if you start to notice sagging.

Chain link fences are also cheaper to install and maintain than wood fences. Both in the short and long term, you could be saving a significant amount of money by opting for chain link. Because of the economy and durability of chain link fences you commonly see them installed in areas where long runs of secure fencing are needed like parks, schools, residences, businesses, and storage yards.

The security of a chain link fence can be upgraded by adding barbed wire and/or razor ribbon to the top of the fence. This is commonly installed in commercial/business districts to increase overall safety.

The privacy of a chain link fence can also be increased by adding privacy slats. These slats come in a variety of awesome colors and significantly increase the privacy of these fences. There are actually two levels of privacy options, and with these added a chain link fence can be as private as any other type of wood fencing.

Another bonus is that chain link fences are environmentally friendly because they are infinitely recyclable when they are no longer needed. Although wood isn’t exactly known for not being environmentally friendly, some will be made with timber that is taken from unsustainable sources.

Disadvantages

There are a few disadvantages to chain link fences. First and foremost, they are, obviously, not as private as wood fences since you can see through them if privacy slats are not added. These do cost a bit more and are best to be installed at the time the fence is initially built.

There’s also rust to worry about. It’s not a common problem at all, and it certainly won’t happen quickly after the installation of a high-quality chain-link fence, but it is something to bear in mind if you live in a particularly rainy or humid environment.

Lastly, I think almost everyone would agree that a natural wood fence has an aesthetic appeal that really cannot be rivaled by chain link. They tend to be less vibrant, inviting, and homely than wood versions.

There is a bit of a stigma that chain link fences do not look right around a home because they look more industrial and should only be installed around commercial/business buildings. In the end, this is a personal decision as long as it complies with the local zoning ordinances of your city.

Wood Fences

Do Ear Redwood Fence with Kickboard

Wood fences are more attractive than chain link fences (to most), and they can provide a significant level of privacy. However, wood fences are more expensive than chain link fences, and they require relatively regular maintenance (such as staining or painting).

Advantages

Apart from simply being more attractive, wooden fences are more customizable. There are many styles you can pick from including dog ear, cap and trim picture framed, board on board, and horizontal. If it’s important to you to be able to match the color of your fence to your house, door, or other decors in the yard, then wood is definitely a better choice. You also have the option of switching it up over time to refresh the look of your home by repainting or staining them.

On top of this, the added privacy compared to chain link means you get to enjoy family gatherings, parties, and BBQs without any prying eyes from the outside world. This can also play into the security of the fence also. If people on the outside can’t see any valuable belongings on the other side, it may make theft and burglary less likely to occur.

Disadvantages

There are a few disadvantages to wood fences when compared to chain link. Wood fences tend to cost more to install because the materials tend to cost more and normally it takes more labor hours to install, than a standard chain link fence. There are a lot of factors that impact this overall cost including style, height, and grade.

Also, as previously mentioned, wood fences require more maintenance and upkeep than chain link fences - they may need to be stained or painted regularly in order to keep them looking their best, and they are also susceptible to damage from rot, insects, and severe weather. This means over the years you might have to repair a weak post or a rotten rail.

Linked to this is that if a wood fence is not maintained regularly, it really shows. In our experience, wear and tear is not so obvious with chain link.

Resale Value

If you’re thinking about renting out or selling your home in the near future, it's important to think about the resale value of your fence. A well-maintained wooden fence can add curb appeal and value to your home, while a chain link fence may not have the same appeal.

Longevity

When it comes to longevity, chain link wins the top prize, but not by an awful lot. A well-built wooden fence could last for around 15-20 years if it has been built with solid materials, is finished well, and is maintained regularly.

On the other hand, with a lot less effort in terms of upkeep, chain link fences will generally last 20 years or more without a problem. This is particularly true if it has been galvanized or powder coated to protect it against the elements. In that case, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect a lifespan of up to 30 years.

Which Is Better for Your Home?

It depends on what you are looking for in a fence. If you want a more affordable option, then a chain link fence is usually the way to go. If you are looking for more privacy and security, then a wood fence is probably the better option.

Bear in mind that if the inhabitants of the property are aging, have poor health, or are in quite an isolated location, the upkeep factor can play a larger role in their enjoyment of the fence than you might expect. Sometimes it makes sense to compromise on aesthetics for the sake of longevity.


In Conclusion

After weighing the pros and cons of both chain link and wood fences, it's clear that there are benefits to both options. If you're looking for a fence that is low-maintenance and durable, then chain link is a great choice. However, if you're looking for a fence that will add beauty and curb appeal to your home, regardless of its lifespan or need for maintenance, then wood is the better option. Ultimately, the decision between chain link and wood fences comes down to personal preference.

If you’re still not sure or are interested in sourcing or installing your perfect fence near our Rocklin or Sacramento locations, we would love to help! Our team of professionals also specializes in repairing and replacing old fences, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the phone numbers listed at the top of the page.

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Fence Installation Information for Sacramento & Roseville, CA

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