Choosing composite and wood fencing materials is a significant decision for homeowners, builders, and property managers. Both options have their unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve deeply into the characteristics of composite and wood fences, addressing factors such as material composition, cost considerations, durability, maintenance, aesthetics, and environmental impact.

By the end of this discussion, you will be well-equipped to decide which material best suits your fencing needs.

We also introduced real wood vs composite decking in detail in our previous article. If you are interested, you can click to read.

Composite fence

Composite fence

Composite fence definition

Composite materials, in fencing, refer to a combination of different materials that work together to create a durable and versatile fencing product.

These materials typically consist of wood fibers, plastic, and binding agents. The exact composition may vary by manufacturer, but the common goal is to create a product that combines the best qualities of each component.

Composite fencing materials are designed to mimic the look of wood while offering improved performance.

The wood fibers provide a natural appearance, while the plastic component enhances durability and resistance to the elements. Binding agents hold the composite together, ensuring structural integrity.

To know more about composite fencing, click on this: How long do Composite Fences Last?


Durability and Resistance to Elements: Composite fences are known for their exceptional durability. They don’t easily rot, decay, or get damaged by insects. This durability is due to the plastic component, which does not absorb moisture, making it impervious to the elements.

Low Maintenance Requirements: Unlike wood fences, composite fences require minimal maintenance. They do not need staining, sealing, or painting. Cleaning them typically involves a simple wash with a hose, and they can withstand harsh weather conditions without warping, cracking, or fading.

Versatility in Design and Color Options: Composite materials provide diverse design and color choices. This flexibility lets homeowners pick different styles and colors, making it simple to match the fence with their property’s overall look.


Initial Cost: One of the primary drawbacks of composite fencing is the initial cost. Composite materials tend to be more expensive compared to wood. Homeowners who choose composite fencing may face a higher upfront investment.

Limited Recyclability: Composite materials are more easily recyclable than wood. While some manufacturers use recycled materials in their composite products, disposing of composite fencing at the end of its lifespan may present environmental challenges.

Potential for Warping and Fading: While composite materials are known for their resistance to warping and fading, over time, some products may still exhibit these issues, especially if they are of lower quality or not properly installed.

What is a wooden fence?

A wood fence is a classic and traditional fencing option constructed from various types of wood, such as cedar, pine, or redwood. Wood fences are preferred by homeowners who desire a charming, rustic look due to their timeless natural beauty.

Wood fence

Types of Wood

There are several types of wood commonly used for fencing. The wood you choose impacts the fence’s appearance, lifespan, and maintenance requirements.

Popular Wood Choices: Cedar and redwood are popular wood choices for fencing due to their natural resistance to decay and insects. Pine is also commonly used for fencing, especially in areas with less available hardwoods.

Natural Characteristics of Wood: Wood is a natural material, and its appearance varies based on the type of wood used. Cedar and redwood have a beautiful, rich color, while pine is lighter and may require staining to achieve the desired appearance.


Aesthetic Appeal and Natural Look: Wood fences have a timeless, natural look that many homeowners find appealing. The grains and textures of the wood give the fence a warm and inviting appearance. Wood blends seamlessly with outdoor environments, making it a popular choice for residential properties.

Eco-friendly: Wood is a renewable resource, and when sourced sustainably, it can be an environmentally friendly choice. FSC-certified wood, for instance, is harvested in a way that ensures the long-term health of the forest.

Repairability and Customization: Repairing wood fences is straightforward; you can replace damaged sections without impacting the whole structure.Additionally, wood fences can be customized with various finishes, stains, and paints to match the homeowner’s preferences.


Vulnerability to Decay, Pests, and Weather: The primary drawback of wood fences is their vulnerability to decay, pests, and harsh weather conditions. Wood can rot, warp, or become infested with insects without proper maintenance. This requires regular upkeep to ensure the fence’s longevity.

High Maintenance Needs: Wood fences require regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and occasional repairs. Neglecting maintenance can lead to premature aging and the need for extensive repairs or replacement.

Limited Design Options: Wood fences, while highly customizable in finish and paint, may need more design options than composites. They often conform to traditional fence styles, limiting design versatility.

cost considerations

Composite fence

Initial Costs

The initial cost of composite fencing is a significant factor that potential buyers should consider. Several factors influence the price of composite fencing materials:

Pricing Factors for Composite Materials: Composite fencing materials vary in price, with some premium options costing more than others. Higher-quality composites are more durable and have better aesthetics but come with a higher price tag.

Labor Costs and Installation Expenses: The installation of composite fences can be more labor-intensive and, therefore, more expensive than wood fencing due to the material’s weight and density. Labor costs vary based on location, design complexity, and installation method.

Long-term Savings

While the initial cost of composite fencing may be higher than wood, it offers potential long-term savings:

  • Minimal Maintenance Costs: Composite fences have minimal maintenance costs. Homeowners can invest in something other than staining, sealing, or repainting the fence, saving time and money over the years.
  • Potential Increase in Property Value: Composite fencing’s durability and low maintenance can enhance the property’s value, providing a return on the initial investment if the property is sold.

Wood Fences

Initial Costs

Wood fencing can be a more budget-friendly option initially, but costs vary based on several factors:

  • Pricing Factors for Different Wood Types: The type of wood used significantly impacts the initial cost. “Cedar and redwood cost more, while pine is a budget-friendly choice.”
  • Installation Expenses and Labor Costs: Labor costs for wood fence installation are typically lower than for composites due to wood’s lighter weight. However, labor costs can still vary based on location, the complexity of the design, and the installation method.

Long-term Expenses

While wood fences may have a lower initial cost, they often result in higher long-term expenses:

  • Ongoing Maintenance and Repair Costs: Wood fences require regular maintenance, including staining, sealing, and occasional repairs. The costs associated with these maintenance tasks can add up over the fence’s life.
  • Decreased longevity Compared to Composites: Wood fences have a shorter lifespan than composites. They may need replacement or extensive repairs sooner, which could incur additional expenses.

Durability and maintenance

Composite fence


Composite fences are known for their durability due to the combination of materials:

  • Resistance to Rot, Pests, and Moisture: The plastic component in composite fencing makes it highly resistant to rot, pests, and moisture. This resistance ensures that the fence will not decay, become infested, or warp over time.
  • Lifespan Expectations: High-quality composite fences can last decades without significant degradation, even in harsh weather conditions.


Maintenance requirements for composite fences are minimal:

  • Cleaning and Upkeep: Cleaning a composite fence typically involves using a hose and, in some cases, a mild detergent. This easy upkeep ensures that the fence retains its appearance and integrity.
  • Repairability and Potential Issues: While composite fences are highly durable, they are not immune to damage. In the event of damage, repairs may be more challenging than wood, and replacement of a section might be necessary. Additionally, some lower-quality composite products may be prone to warping or fading.

Wood Fences


Wood fences are known for their natural beauty but have certain vulnerabilities:

  • Vulnerability to Decay, Insects, and Weather: Wood fences can deteriorate over time due to moisture, insects, and weather. Without proper maintenance, they can rot, become infested, or warp.
  • Expected Lifespan with Proper Maintenance: With proper maintenance, wood fences can last for many years. However, the lifespan depends on the wood type, the maintenance quality, and the local climate.


Wood fences require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity:

  • Regular Staining, Sealing, and Repairs: Staining and sealing wood fences protect them from moisture and UV damage. Periodic repairs are often necessary to fix any damaged or decaying sections.
  • Tips for Preserving a Wood Fence: To maximize the lifespan of a wood fence, homeowners should follow a regular maintenance schedule, including cleaning, staining, sealing, and addressing any issues promptly.

Aesthetics and Design

Composite fence

Aesthetic Options

Composite fencing offers various aesthetic options that cater to different preferences:

  • Variety of Colors and Textures: Composite materials offer a variety of colors and textures, so homeowners can select a design that complements their property’s look. These options include natural wood tones and contemporary colors.
  • Mimicking the Appearance of Wood: Composite materials can mimic real wood’s natural appearance effectively, offering a beautiful look without wood’s downsides.

Design Versatility

Composite fencing provides design versatility:

  • Different Styles and Configurations: Composite fences can be designed in different styles, including picket, privacy, or ranch rail. Homeowners can choose from various configurations to suit their needs and preferences.
  • Customization Possibilities: Some composite manufacturers offer customization options, allowing homeowners to design a fence that aligns with their unique vision for their property.

Wood Fences

Natural Aesthetic

Wood fences have a timeless and natural aesthetic:

  • Warm and Timeless Appeal: The grains and textures of wood give wood fences a warm and timeless appeal. They blend well with outdoor environments, providing a natural, inviting look.
  • Aging Gracefully with a Natural Patina: Wood fences develop a natural patina as they age, enhancing their aesthetic appeal. Many homeowners appreciate the way wood weathers and ages.

Design Limitations

While wood fences offer natural beauty, they have certain design limitations:

  • Conforming to Traditional Fence Styles: Wood fences often conform to traditional fence styles, limiting design versatility. Homeowners looking for more modern or unique designs may find wood less accommodating.
  • Limited Color Options: Wood’s color options are limited to the natural tones of the specific wood type used. While staining and painting are options, they require ongoing maintenance.

Impact on the environment

Composite fence


Evaluating the sustainability of composite materials is essential:

  • Evaluation of Recycled Materials: Some composite makers recycle materials like plastic and wood fibers in their products. This reduces waste and the demand for new raw materials.
  • Energy Consumption in Manufacturing: The production of composite materials may consume energy, but high-quality composites tend to be energy-efficient, with the potential to offset this environmental impact through their long lifespan and low maintenance requirements.

End-of-Life Impact

Understanding the end-of-life impact of composite materials is crucial:

Disposal and Recyclability: While composite materials are not as easily recyclable as wood, some efforts are made to recycle them. The disposal of composite fencing should follow local regulations and may involve sending it to a specialized recycling facility.

Click to learn: What is the Composite Fence Kit?

Wood Fences

Wood Fence


The sustainability of wood fences depends on responsible sourcing:

  • Sourcing Wood Sustainably: To minimize the environmental impact, sourcing wood from sustainably managed forests is essential. Many wood products, such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), promote responsible harvesting practices.
  • Carbon Footprint of Wood Production: When managed sustainably, Wood production can have a low carbon footprint compared to composite materials. Proper forest management helps sequester carbon and maintain healthy ecosystems.

End-of-Life Impact

Wood fences have a natural end-of-life impact:

Decomposition and Potential for Recycling: At the end of their lifespan, wood fences naturally decompose without significant environmental harm. Wood can also be recycled or repurposed, reducing waste and benefiting the environment.


The choice between composite and wood fences is multifaceted and should align with your needs and preferences. Both materials have distinct advantages and drawbacks, and your priorities and circumstances will influence your decision.

Whether you value durability, easy upkeep, the classic wood appearance, or eco-friendliness, our detailed comparison helps you make an informed choice between composite and wood fences.

Ultimately, both materials have their strengths, and your choice should reflect what aligns best with your vision for your property and your commitment to long-term fence performance and environmental impact.

f you have anything else you don’t understand, please feel free to consult us at EVODEK. We have professional staff to answer your questions.