Guide To Selecting Wood For Your Fence
Wood fencing offers a level of beauty and privacy that cannot be matched by vinyl or metal products. It is an environmentally friendly and renewable resource. Additionally, you can stain or paint it whatever color you want as your tastes change throughout the years.
Some species of trees are better suited than others for fencing your property. Moreover, some specimens within each species are more appropriate than others. Use these tips to select the best wood boards and posts for a fence that lasts many years.
Trees in the hardwood group grow wood fibers that are more densely packed together than species in the softwood group. Hardwood boards and posts have greater strength and the highest resistance to pests. The posts are less likely to rot from exposure to wet ground since dense wood does not expand and contract as much as softwoods.
The strongest and densest hardwoods include cherry, mahogany, and black locust. They are very expensive when compared to other species in the hardwood category. Moreover, the wood is heavy and very difficult to cut if you need to trim the pieces at the property line.
Choose dogwood, black walnut, or pecan if you prefer a hardwood fence at a more reasonable price. They won't break your saw blade if you need to cut through them. Hardwoods are a good choice when you need to contain strong animals or want a fence that will last decades with minimal care.
Softwood is not really an accurate description for this category. These woods are strong enough for furniture and residential fencing even with their lower fiber density. They are lighter weight and easy to cut. Common species used for fencing include spruce, Ponderosa pine, and white fir.
The attractive lower cost of most softwood fencing has made it very popular with homeowners. The exception, cedar, is as expensive as the hardwoods. The trade-off when buying softwood fencing is a shorter lifespan with more maintenance. Rainwater seeps into the spaces between fibers and causes rot. Rot attracts termites and other insects that feed on the wood.
Treated or Untreated Wood
Lumber mills generally treat outdoor softwood with a chemical infusion to increase their resistance to pests and rot. Treated wood has a telltale green tint that you must paint or stain to hide. Moreover, you must be careful to not breathe the fibers when cutting or working with this wood.
The pressurized treatment application equipment injects holes in the wood. Sometimes these holes cause damage to the boards. Examine each individual board before purchase.
Untreated wood is more environmentally friendly but requires occasional maintenance to seal it from the elements. The posts are more vulnerable since you can't reapply a protective coating once they are sunk in the ground.
Grades of Wood
Lumber is graded according to its level of perfection. Grade #1 is straight and does not have any knots. Knots are imperfections that occurred as the tree developed. They are the weakest spots in a board and the most likely to cause problems. Grade 1 wood is the best you can buy as well as the most expensive. Your fence posts should always be Grade 1 since they will spend years in wet soil.
Grade #2 wood has some knots and possibly a little warping. It is very possible to find good Grade 2 boards and save a significant amount of money building your fence. A piece of wood with one or two small knots should still provide good wear, especially since the boards will not be bearing weight. Avoid pieces with several knots or with a large knot as they are more susceptible to damage.
Talk with a contractor at a fencing company like Sarasota Fence Inc to learn what type of fence will be best for you and your yard.