Know Your Material: Wood vs. Steel Posts
While there’s an array of fencing post materials to choose from, timber and steel remain the most popular and widely used. When considering which material is right for your fencing needs, you’ll need to weigh in a few crucial factors. You will have confidence in your material of choice once you know the pros and cons associated with each. Here’s a detailed comparison of these two materials based on the most important factors.
Ultraviolet sun rays, heavy crosswinds, rainstorms, and hail can take their toll on a fencing post. Wooden fencing posts can warp due to the endless expanding and contracting cycles caused by summer’s heat and winter’s moisture. Aside from the fact that an intense bout of wind is capable of knocking over fences that have warped posts, termites are another threat to wood. Over time, termites can break down wood posts to twig-like weakness. Fortunately, some options are naturally termite resistant and can last for as long as 50 years.
On the other hand, the elements mentioned above will have little to no effect on steel fencing posts. Although steel is prone to rust, the pre-galvanized steel used in fencing is resistant to rust. As a result, once the steel posts are up, they won’t require any weather-related repair.
As the cycles of nature take their toll on wooden posts, they will break down. As such, fence repair is necessary to keep wood fences intact and strong for the coming year. Irrespective of whether you’ll hire a professional or complete the repairs by yourself, the work involved costs both time and money. Thanks to technological advancements, we can treat and stain wooden posts to withstand extreme weather and resist insect infestation. However, you may have to apply these finishes annually to ensure optimal performance.
Conversely, steel fencing posts do not require such maintenance or repairs. As long as they are made from pre-galvanized steel and tightly fastened, steel fencing posts are a maintenance-free option. Once coated with a protective layer of zinc, it’s not uncommon for steel posts to last up to 70 years under certain conditions. Even though pre-galvanized steel is structurally designed for durability, salty water or acid rain can accelerate corrosion.
Apart from being a cheap raw material, wood is easy to cut, carve, and hammer together. As a result, you will find it relatively inexpensive to purchase and install timber fencing posts. But as noted above, wooden fencing posts are associated with ongoing costs. Compared to steel, timber probably has a shorter lifespan, which means you may have to replace your wooden fencing posts much sooner. Although annual treatment and maintenance costs can add up over time, timber fences are a high return investment.
On the other hand, steel fencing posts tend to be significantly more expensive up-front. Because of its weight and the work involved, you’ll probably have to engage a professional fencing contractor to install your steel posts. In fact, some experts view steel as an entirely impractical material for residential fencing applications. Even so, you will most likely incur little to no cost in the foreseeable future once you’ve made the initial investment.
Once weakened by the elements, wooden posts are a lot easier to snap. With a concerted effort, intruders can break through a well-maintained wooden fence. Although intruders and burglars are likely to gain entry through a wooden fence, this type of fencing is the best option if you want to enhance privacy, lower your ambient sound, or confine young children and pets.
On the other hand, intruders will probably need a grinder to gain access through a fence that features steel posts even though the resulting noise is likely to alert you to their presence. You can also top steel fencing tubes with pointed tips, as a result of which the fences can be a lot harder to scale than wooden fences.
Timber offers an unmatched level of warmth, charm and natural beauty. Wooden fencing posts can complement the landscape, architecture, and layout of a modern, country, classic, or traditional style property very well. Thanks to its charm, warmth and aesthetic value, the white picket fence is one of the features most people have in mind when thinking of their dream home.
In general, wood is versatile, machines well, and takes paint or stain finishes well, all of which allow for creativity and invention. As such, you can use almost any stain, color, or design.
Steel fencing posts, on the other hand, go well with modern architecture. The block colors and clean lines featured can complement a more contemporary design. While ornate tubular steel fencing posts have a grand and luxurious effect, wooden fencing posts are considered the more aesthetic option.