Select the Right Wood For Your Privacy Fence

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Privacy fences can add significant value and curb appeal to your property. They can make a backyard much more enjoyable for children, pets and family. A wood privacy fence is the most common and most versatile type of privacy fence available.

Why Wood?garden-fence-326616_1920

Wood has been the favorite residential fencing material for Americans for the last 300 years. Americans have erected over 60,000 miles of wood fencing; that’s enough to circle the globe 2.5 times! Wood is so popular as a material for privacy fences because it is a very cost effective, yet flexible material. Wood is easy to work with, readily available, and able to be cut into countless styles. You can even stain and paint wood privacy fences to find the exact design that you’re looking for.

What Grade?

The first step to choosing the correct wood for your privacy fence is to select the proper grade. Wood comes is various grades – the higher the grade, the higher the quality. Higher-grade woods also come at a greater expense. When selecting a wood grade, keep in mind these factors:

  • How long do you need the wood to last?
  • How pest and rot resistant do you need the wood to be for your area?
  • How appealing you would like your privacy fence to be?
  • How strong does your material need to be?
  • How uniform in appearance should the lumber to be?

What Kind?

Here are some of the most popular standard-quality woods:


Pine is one of the most common woods used for privacy fences. The wood is affordable, yet durable. Pine is often treated with a water repellant stain to prevent rot and to make the wood last longer in wet climates. Pine can also be treated with CCA, or chromated copper arsenate, to make the wood resistant to insect and bug infestations.

Pine comes in all levels of quality, at different price points. The best Pine boards have no knots. This means that every part of board is usable when constructing your privacy fence. While it comes at a higher cost, it can often be more economical, since you don’t have to discard any material during construction. Pine boards with a knot-free surface also allow for easy treating with stains and coatings.


Fir is also a common, affordable and durable material used for privacy fences. Fir woods tend to have a more unique look than Pine. Fir wood can be extremely strong, while also quite easy to cut. Like Pinewoods, Fir can be treated with water repellant stain to prevent rot and extend the life of your fence. Fir can also be treated with CCA, or chromated copper arsenate, to have a similar insect resistance as more expensive varieties of wood.


Spruce is most commonly used for prefabricated, stockade style picket fences. Like other standard quality woods, Spruce strikes a reasonable balance between affordability and durability. Spruce is not as prone to rot as Pine or Fir woods. To enhance the insect and bug resistance, Spruce can also be treated with CCA, or chromated copper arsenate.

Here are two of the most popular woods with a higher level of quality:


Cedar is a solid wood with a middle-of-road price, high levels of rot resistance and unique coloring. Cedar is considered one of the most frequented fence materials because of its marble coloring and ability to absorb paint, stains, and other coatings very quickly and evenly. One of Cedar’s best qualities is that it contains natural oils to keep away insects. Keep in mind that Cedar needs to be treated with a clear stain to prevent turning grey over time.


Cypress mostly comes from the southern part of America so, depending on your location, it can be expensive to procure. Cypress is naturally rot resistant and will give your privacy fence a much longer lifespan than standard woods. Also, Cypress contains a natural chemical called cypretine that works great to naturally repel most types of insects. Like Cedar, Cypress needs to be treated with a clear stain to prevent turning grey in color.


By: pb3131

Redwood is the gold standard for wood privacy fences. Most people regard Redwood as the most beautiful wood to choose for a privacy fence. Redwood is extremely long lasting and holds up perfectly under all weather conditions. Redwood is extremely resistant to bugs and rot, without needing any treatment. A clear coat is all you need to keep this beautiful wood in prime condition.

This high level of quality does come at a cost, though. Redwood is one of the most expensive woods available and is not economical for large projects. However, Redwood is recyclable, so there may be old projects that you can salvage to obtain it cheaper. You can also save money by using redwood for your panels, and other standard quality woods for your posts.

Whatever wood you choose, be sure to know how to treat and care for the wood to get the most out of your privacy fence. The right small touches can make any privacy fence look great for years.

2 thoughts on “Select the Right Wood For Your Privacy Fence

  1. Wood fence indeed looks good on everyone backyard, as a fence contractor I recommend wood that is treated because it adds durability to the wood fence that can last longer compare to fence that is not treated. What can you say about this?

    • Hi Darrick

      Appearance is a matter of personal preference, we want a fence that we enjoy looking at every day and that we don’t have to work hard to maintain. Fences will fail at the post first and the cross-rails second, it is very uncommon to have the pickets fail first regardless of the materials used. Proper staining/sealing and care will preserve the look of the original wood without the green color of pressure treating. Without treatment, all woods will weather and grey after a season or two. We are fans of covering the unsightly metal posts (or treated wood) with the same wood used on the pickets to keep a uniform appearance.

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