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Fences are everywhere around us. All it takes is a simple drive around town to spot all sorts of fencing options. Perhaps on the way to work, the beauty of a new stained wood fence caught your attention, or maybe the pristine look of a bright white composite fence stood out to you.

There are numerous types of fencing materials, and each kind comes with various pros and cons. Variety is great since the characteristics you find important in a fence will not necessarily match what your neighbor thinks is best. Variety also means it is critically important to research what type of fence will meet your needs and expectations.

Among Denver homeowners, a cedar wood fence or a composite fence are two of the most common material choices. Let’s explore the differences and similarities between these popular types of fences.

Attributes of Cedar Wood and Composite Fences

Appearance

While this observation may seem obvious, it is worth noting just how different a cedar wood fence and a composite fence look. A cedar wood fence has rustic charm with a warmth and softness that a composite fence made of plastic cannot fully replicate.

Designs

Artistic elements can be added to both a wood or a composite fence. If you want lattice work across the top of your wood fence, no problem. If you want top and bottom rails to run along your composite fence, that’s definitely doable.

Style

Fences can be constructed with the fence slats positioned horizontally or vertically if you are building with cedar. When it comes to composite fencing, most patterns are only arranged vertically.

Repairs

Composite fences are made from panels. Cedar fencing can be built with either premade panels or individual fence boards. If a composite fence needs repairs, oftentimes will need to replace an entire panel or section of fencing. Comparatively, if a wood fence needs to be fixed, you can simply switch out only a board or two.

Durability

Due to the fact that composite fencing is constructed using panels, they have been known to blow over in severe weather conditions. The panels act like solid walls and can struggle to withstand the impact of heavy winds. In high-wind areas, you could build gaps into your cedar fence to allow the wind to pass through. One popular option is the shadowbox style.

Maintenance

A cedar wood fence should be sealed, painted, or stained every year to protect the natural wood from weather-related damage, insect infestations, or harmful UV rays. A composite fence does not require regular applications of stain or paint.

Color

When you apply a coat of stain or paint to their wood fence, it can totally transform the look of it. You can choose to use a unique color, shade, or tone to give an extra boost to the appearance of the wood. If a composite fence looks weathered or worn, you cannot revive the look of its fence with a quick stain application.

Sunshine

Over time, harsh UV rays will break down any type of fence. In addition, sun exposure will impact the color of a composite fence. Composite fences are known to fade, and although wood fences can change in color as well, applying a coat of stain can readily remedy the color differentiation.

Privacy

Privacy fences block others from peering into your yard. Both a wood fence and a composite fence fit the bill. However, it is important to note that a cedar wood fence can have small gaps between the boards if you choose not to place the fence slats right next to each other.

Height

Composite fences come in different heights, as do cedar fencing boards. Your everyday privacy fence is typically six feet tall, but a customized wood or composite fence can reach upwards of eight or 12 feet high.

Regulations

City regulations and HOA rules might restrict what kind of fencing materials you can use on your property. Cedar wood is a widely accepted material, but composite fences are not as commonly approved.

Security

If you have small children or pets to contain, both fences will get the job done. But if the panel of a composite fence breaks, you will have a gaping space in your fence until it is replaced. If a single board of a wood fence breaks, the amount of security your fence provides will not be as significantly compromised.

Environmental Impact

Cedar wood is an all-natural, renewable resource. Composite fencing materials are engineered, and while many companies make their composite panels from recycled plastic and even reclaimed wood, composite fences may not be considered environmentally friendly to some homeowners.

Cost

There is a definite cost difference between cedar wood and composite fencing materials. Composite fencing comes with a higher price tag, and this is a big deal for homeowners working on a tight budget.

Cedar Wood or Composite?

Every type of fence comes with its advantages and disadvantages. If you are looking to build a new fence or replace an old one, take a moment to make a list of what is most important to you. Research your options. Compare features. Weigh out the short-term and long-term benefits.

From there, you can better determine whether a cedar wood fence or a composite fence would be the best choice for you.