Fence - white vinyl vs. wood composite...

SheeshareeIIJuly 7, 2008

We want to put up a privacy fence. Wood isn't an option. Don't want the maintenance. We were going to go with white vinyl. I know some people don't like the shiny, plastic look but this isn't a problem for us. Stopped at Lowes over the weekend and saw the composite wood fence. IMO, looks realistic. Heavy. I've heard there's no maintenance with vinyl fence but I've seen vinyl porches get nasty looking and I don't feel like scrubbing a 200' + section of fence. I think I could handle hosing.

Anyone own one of the other? Pros and Cons please. Reading online I've found nothing that says you'll have to scrub your vinyl fence but ... mowing grass, bugs. This is on of the first things you'll see pulling into our driveway. The composite wood fence is more plain but it also seems more heavy duty. I personally like the look of the white vinyl better. Trying to weight out all the options before we buy anything.

Thanks in advance,

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Don't have either, but would have chosen white vinyl if privacy wasn't an issue. I think they look great with spaced pickets; not so much when they're butted up against each other.

I've read negatives about wood composite over on the porch forum. On the other hand, I know a couple people who've used it and love it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:12PM
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My Mom has a white vinyl front porch. It looks beautiful. However, it is very hard to keep clean. She lives in a rural area and the flies make a big mess on it. Not easy to keep clean at all! As I said, it is beautiful but you may want to consider this when you make your decision.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:48PM
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There are people in my neighborhood with white vinyl, wood composite, and wood fences. The wood composite looks nicest over time. Most people in my neighborhood don't have time for a lot of maintenance, so it seems like it is a good choice for people who don't want to be working on fences all the time. The wood looks like crap by the end of the first summer, what with the mold, warping, and all. The white vinyl also gets very moldy and dirty looking, but a good power-wash cleans it right up. The wood composite I'm sure gets just as dirty as the white vinyl, but hides it much better.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:59PM
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We have a white vinyl rail pasture type fence and love the low maintenance. That's not the same as NO maintenace, though. It needs pressure-washing about once a year where I live in PNW, but is much easier than painting upkeep. (Pressure-washing is way more powerful than just hosing them off.)

My mom has the composite wood as a deck, and it also needs some upkeep--at least in the Pacific NW to get rid of leaf stains, moss, etc. It appears to me that maintenance is fairly similar on both--though I don't know if pressure washing works on wood composite. How long they hold up is something I'm not sure about since both are holding up very well so far and that's several years.

Please show us what you choose, since we're needing a privacy fence and I'd love to see yours. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 1:02PM
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Hmm... all thoughts to consider. Also was wondering how sturdy the white vinyl is compared to the composite. We don't own a pressure washer but I'll check around to places I can rent one maybe. Don't know how much they are to buy.

I originally wanted the white fence with lattice at the top but since we want it for "privacy" it seems silly to put something up with holes in it.

I'll post what we end up with!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 1:12PM
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After talking with DH again last night about options. We're probably going to go with the composite. I think it will just be easier and you can make the rest of the yard look nice with landscaping. The one we saw was in person was the rustic cedar. but think the Dogear Privacy "Rustic Barnwood" color would look better with our house. Need to head to lowes to see the real thing. Thanks everyone for thoughts. Our yard still isn't finished. Long story. As soon as it's done we'll be sticking this up! I'll post pics through the process.

If we were going with white it would probably be this ...http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=124718-73428-124718&lpage=none

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Composite Fence

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:17AM
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What maintenance on the wood are you referring to? If you get vinyl, you'll have to clean it regularly to keep it white. If you get cypress, it ages beauifully and there is very little maintenance. Only maintenance we have is one side where the fence goes down an alley and air circulation is not good so mildew forms, but we only have to clean the fence with a spray solution of bleach and water, once a year.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 1:55PM
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We had vinyl fencing installed at the end of our driveway as you enter the backyard. At the beginning of the summer, we live in the NE) we powerwash it and it looks brand new. We have had no problems to this point and are happy with our choice. I have had no experience with the wood composite.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:02PM
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brutus - what is cypress? different than composite? Wood I know overtime can have issues with mold or eventually rot. If painted you have to repaint. I don't want to ever (or should i say for a long, long time) have to really mess with this fence. :) I'm sure it's not as scary as I think. Never did tons of research on solid, real wood fences. Just heard things.

DH is also stuck on the fact that the composite seems heavier and more sturdy. I really don't think that would be an issue. We don't have tornados or hurricans ...earthquakes where we live.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:13PM
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We're going with a heavy vinyl - picked out one that matches our house perfectly:

It's solid up to about 5' then the lattice on top of that; the completely solid 6' fences looked way too monolithic for us and our old house, we wanted it a little bit decorative too. I got to see this model in person, installed in a yard, and it is wicked sturdy and a more matte finish, not like the flimsy, shiny plastic fencing at Home Depot.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 2:24PM
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I'm sorry, I'm thinking cedar and saying cypress. Cedar will not rot, at least ours hasn't in 20 years.

I'm with you on the painting issue, I never, ever want to have to paint a fence.

The composite stuff sounds good. I'd go over to the deck and fence forum and ask there. You might find out more about that material.

Just a side note, a fence is only as strong as how it's installed. Ensure that the posts are put in the ground deep enough. Many fence installers take this shortcut and when a little wind comes along your fence is falling!! I saw this happen to the neighbor across the street when she had Sears install her wood fence. They only dug the holes about a foot deep *should be at least 18" or more). We had a minor thunder storm and her fence was half way down. So sad.

Another thing we learned after Katrina, is if you want a fence to withstand hurricane force winds you should install with 4 x 4 treated fence posts as they don't bend like metal ones do. DH said he noticed after Katrina that every fence that went over were held up with metal fence posts and the ones still standing, had 4 x 4 posts. We definitely we put the 4 x 4 in our new yard. We were fortunate, our fence did not go down in Katrina, but it sure was leaning after she came through because the metal poles had bent. Once they bend you have to put in new posts as the bent ones can't be repaired.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 3:41PM
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where's the fence forum? i found porches and decks ...is this where i should check out?

my parents neighbor had ...well half a fence put up. Been there for years and it's still standing. Some type of wood. Maybe it's just because I looked at theirs so long the wood look isn't as appealing to me as the white. Oh decisions, decisions!

Good to know about the hole depth. DH plans on doing this with help from ppl he knows.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Hi sheesharee! Was wondering how your composite fence has held up a few years later. We are also looking to replace our fence and are deliberating between vinyl or composite. Do you have any thoughts, advice, or photos you would be able to share? Many thanks!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 12:22AM
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I would also like to hear an update, as I'm in the process of trying to make this decision now too.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:48AM
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We ended up installing the wood composite fence. I think keeping the white vinyl clean would've became a pain eventually. So far it's holding up great!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Thx Shee. Did you order from WoodShades?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 10:27AM
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You're welcome.
It's the WoodShades brand but we ordered it through Lowes.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Ohhhhh! Ck'd Lowes site and didn't see it. Did you have them install?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 1:24PM
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This is picture of my fence of vinyl from Lowe's. I only power wash once a year. Power washers can be bought for under $200.00. It provides great privacy.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 10:20AM
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Hmm... I think they still carry it in stores. Maybe give them a call. No, my husband and his friend did the install.

A power washer is a good idea if considering a white fence. We have one but due to where we live, we'd need to use it on a regular basis.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 11:34AM
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I just wanted to add quickly that I have experience with both white vinyl and wood (stained). My neighbor's white vinyl fence (solid) makes up one fourth of our backyard fence. The other three sides are what we installed (basic wood fence, stained gray to match my siding). In my backyard on sunny days, it's very, very hard to see with that very white vinyl right there in your eyes. And (sorry, this is gross!) bird waste really shows on white vinyl. My gray stained wood fence has held up great over the past six years. I've only had to stain it twice (six years ago, and this past summer), and powerwashed it only two times, and it has stayed beautiful. I know it might seem silly, but the bird issue, the glare, and the grass that sticks to the bottom of the vinyl after mowing would be turn-offs for me. Good luck with what you decide! I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:14AM
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