Small gray bird on brown wood fence in backyard

How Long Does A Wood Fence Last? 20-25 Years If You Do This.

When weighing the options for fencing, there’s often the argument for and against a wood fence.  There’s the aesthetic benefit of wood, it has a warmer look and texture, then there’s the longevity of a man made product like vinyl or cellular PVC.  But how long does a wood fence last really?  How many years can you expect your fence to be looking great before it needs replacement?

How Long Does A Wood Fence Last?

As a rule of thumb, a wood fence will last 20 – 25 years. However, this number is only an estimate. If you maintain your fence and don’t live in a harsh environment, wood fences can last beyond 30 years. Alternatively, if you live in an intense weather location and don’t tend to your fence, it could fall apart in just 10 years. There are several more factors that affect how long a wood fence lasts.

Factors That Impact How Long Does A Wood Fence Last

The time a wood fence lasts will depend greatly on a few key factors. Like any outdoor structure, subjecting a wood fence to different conditions will impact its longevity. Also, there are many kinds of wood fence materials. Each of these materials have different lifespans. In this section we’ll explain why these two factors matter.

Wood Type

First, what is the species of wood you are using to build the fence?  Much of the time one of the cedar species is used for wood fences. This is due to the natural rot and infestation protection provided by cedar. There are more luxurious options however, like Teak, Mahogany, and Ipe to name a few.  These may last longer than cedar, but you will pay significantly more up front. Ipe fences will last the longest of the group. However, at the time of writing this article, ipe is the most expensive option.

Fence Climate

The next factor to weigh is the location of the fence.  Are you installing the fence in Arizona or Upstate New York?  You’d be surprised to find out the fence will likely not last as long in a place like Arizona due to the dry air slowly making the wood brittle.  This is one reason why most fences in Arizona are built from concrete block. 

Will the fence be covered in a canopy of trees or plants which make the environment excessively damp and lead to mold growth?  Perhaps there will be snow plowed up against the fence  Is your fence in an excessively windy location where the wood will constantly flex?

You need to choose whether you will be leaving the fence natural wood and letting it weather. Furthermore you could elect to paint or stain the fence.  This will affect the longevity of the fence significantly.  Some wood, like ipe will not take paint well, so make sure you know whether you are going to paint the fence before you start on the project.  

How long does a wood fence last answered by showing a weathered 20 year old fence still standing in backyard with green grass

How To Make A Wood Fence Last Longer

There are a number of ways to maximize how long does a wood fence last.  To be sure your fence lasts the longest you can paint the fence. In addition, keep the trees trimmed back and clean the fence regularly to prevent mold buildup.  As the fence ages, take the time to walk the fence. You’ll be able to locate any rotting boards and places where the paint has chipped.  Repair and replace boards as your fence ages to keep it looking its best.

How Long Does A Wood Fence Last Summary

How long does a wood fence last will depend greatly on how you take care of it. It also varies based on whether or not you are willing to do the regular maintenance to keep it looking its best.  A well maintained fence can last many years if you are willing to do the work. Consider your location and wood material carefully.