Should we install Cedar Fencing or Vinyl Fencing at our Condo?

Question:

Should we replace our strata’s aging fence with a cedar fence or a vinyl fence?
Here’s a comparison between the two most popular fence styles we install at condos. That is, 6’ high privacy fencing in Cedar or Vinyl.

Cedar fencing pros and cons

Pros:

  • If well maintained, this cedar fence style will last 30 years – thanks to the bottom rail design which lets the moisture flow thru.
  • It’s a locally sourced product called western red cedar which has a beautiful natural appearance.

Cons:

  • You have to stain and maintain it to keep it looking beautiful.
  • It will need to be replaced in 25-30 years.

Vinyl Fencing pro’s and cons

Pro’s:

This Heavy Duty vinyl fence style comes with a 50 year warranty, and is essentially a lifetime fence. The original vinyl fence installed in the 1970’s still stands in Nebraska with no problems yet.
No maintenance required. (other than cleaning)

Cons:

Some lighter duty vinyl fences sag and can get brittle overtime. The original inventors of vinyl fencing only offer virgin vinyl products, heavier wall thicknesses and increased profile height. See comparison below.
Only 4 colour options available. Darker colours are not possible with PVC. (UV rays too harsh)
708- Hollingsworth vinyl lattice top fence White

Answer:

To answer the burning question, review the below graph which compares the cost of both fence styles over the course of 30 years. This is based on a real live strata that we quoted both fence options for. (They chose Vinyl)

NOTES:

  • 1. This chart includes a typical practice of staining every five years, over the next 30 years
  • 2. The prices below are based on 2980 linear feet of 6’ high privacy fencing.
  • 3. Initial cost of a stained CEDAR fence is $175,495
  • 4. Initial cost of a VINYL fence is $178,480
  • 5. Re-staining of all fencing with the Cedar fence option will cost $38,740 every 5 years.
  • 6. In 25 – 30 years the cedar fence will need replacing, while the vinyl fence will still be ok for at least another 25 years.

30 Year cost – cedar fence: $407,935

30 Year cost – vinyl fence: $178,480

If you love the west coast cedar look (we do) and are prepared for the maintenance cost, or can stain the fence yourself every 5 years and save some money than that’s the best option for you. Generally any sort of multi-family complex has a hard time coordinating volunteers to undertake a project like fence staining, especially when there is a large amount of fencing around the property.

If you aren’t set on the west coast cedar look, and just want a good fence that will last a long time with minimal upkeep, than it’s likely that vinyl fencing will be a better fit for your needs.

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