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A Pressure-treated Wood Privacy Fence vs. a Cedar Privacy Fence: Which is Right for You?

By August 7, 2014No Comments

One decision homeowners must make is whether to go with a pressure treated wood privacy fence or a cedar privacy fence. Both choices have their share of advantages as well as special considerations to keep in mind. To help you make the right decision for your needs, here’s a look at each type.

Pressure-treated Lumber

This type of wood privacy fenceis made with southern yellow pine that has been specially treated with preservatives to resist decay. The process works like this:

  1. Pine trees are harvested, cut into boards, and placed in a low-moisture, high-temperature device called a kiln. This is done in order to dry out the wood as much as possible.
  2. In the next step, the freshly dried lumber is put in a pressurized environment that forces preservatives into its cells and pores. These keep out moisture and prevent insects from gnawing on the wood. Softwoods like pine are well suited to this process due to their large pores, unlike hardwoods, which have very small pores.
  3. After treatment, the boards take on a slightly greenish tint and weigh a good deal more than they did prior to treatment. This type of lumber can resist decay successfully for 10 years or more, especially in arid climates like that of Texas.

A wood privacy fence made with pressure-treated pine offers excellent value. Costs are usually quite reasonable, and the fencing will remain strong and sturdy for many years. If you’re looking for excellent value at a good price, then you’ll find that a fence made with pressure-treated lumber makes a lot of sense.


Like pressure-treated wood, this material does a great job of repelling bugs that would otherwise destroy it quickly. It’s able to do so because of the aromatic oils it produces, the same ones that cause the pleasant smell cedar is famous for. The odor is aggravating to insects like moths, flies, mosquitoes, etc., making them averse to the wood.

Cedar trees are normally found in moisture-laden environments such as swamps or areas that receive large amounts of rain. It has developed special properties that cause it to repel water from precipitation and humidity. Since high moisture is a prime cause of decay in living matter, Cedar’s natural water repellence is a major factor in the longevity of a cedar privacy fence.Also, many homeowners love cedar’s aroma and appearance. It’s common for cedar fences to withstand decay and damage for 30 years or more in the right environment.

Pros and Cons

Now that you know a little about both types of material, let’s consider which one makes a better choice for your wood privacy fence.Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind:

  • While cedar is very good at resisting airborne moisture, it does less well when buried directly into the ground. For this reason, fence builders often use pressure-treated lumber for posts and cedar for planking. They may also pour concrete into post holes prior to inserting cedar, which stabilizes the posts and helps keep the wood insulated from direct contact with the wet ground.
  • While a pressure-treated wood privacy fencecosts less than a cedar privacy fence, pine is more likely to form cracks or splits as it dries. While this usually has no effect on the fence’s strength, some object to the effect on its appearance.

Both materials are good choices with their share of benefits and drawbacks. The material you choose should be decided by factors like your budget, your tastes, and how long you plan to stay in your home. Both offer excellent value, so you can feel good no matter which option you go with.

Regardless of which type of fence you choose, one thing is for sure: there’s only one best choice for fence contractors in the San Antonio area – American Fence & Deck. Call us today for a free, no-obligation quote.

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