On the Fence? Benefits of Vinyl v. Wood

Good fences make more than good neighbors—they make good sense! From keeping pets and toddlers in, to keeping stray animals and prowlers out, installing a backyard fence is a lifestyle investment. While chain-link and split-rail are the cheapest options, vinyl and wood paneled fences are the most popular in Hampton Roads. It’s hard to beat the low maintenance and lasting beauty of a vinyl fence. But it’s also hard to beat the timeless look and soccer-ball-to-the-gut sturdiness of wood fencing.

First introduced in the 1980s, vinyl fencing is immune to Tidewater Virginia’s worst wood woes: termites and mold. And if you love that traditional white-painted look, vinyl fences will deliver. But if you own a historic home (or want it to look like you do), then a wood fence offers more authenticity and character. You can easily paint or stain it to match your existing deck, porch, trim or shed!

So if you’re ready to invest in a nice picket or privacy fence, how do you choose between the two? Here is the full list of considerations:


Wood Fences

  • Less expensive
  • Can customize to any height or style
  • Hide dirt and dust
  • Resist mold and termites
  • Easy to repair, especially in small
  • areas
  • Authentic, all-American look
  • Can be repainted/stained a new color
  • Repairs can be DIY
  • Can be custom cut around trees, obstacles




Vinyl Fences

  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Always look new
  • Resist mold and termites
  • Last indefinitely
  • Never need to be repainted
  • Considered more high-end
  • No fading, peeling or splintering
  • Nicely match vinyl-wrapped trim




Wood Fences

  • Break down over time
  • Susceptible to termites, mold, fungus
  • Need to be re-painted/re-stained
  • Warp with age
  • Can give you splinters
  • Peeling and splitting common



Vinyl Fences

  • Can cost twice as much as wood
  • Relatively fragile, can be cracked
  • Hard to keep clean
  • Permanent, can’t change the look
  • Need to replace whole section when there’s a small break
  • Style could be discontinued for future repairs
  • Pre-made; customization limited
  • Can come apart with enough pressure




If you’re still on the fence, don’t expect much help from your HOA. Most neighborhood covenants treat wood and vinyl fences equally. However, if there are specific height limitations (one Virginia Peninsula neighborhood is known for coming out with a tape measure as soon as your fence goes up!) , it’s certainly easier to adhere when building with wood.

Ultimately, the wood-vs-vinyl decision comes down to the classic balance of budget and personal taste. But don’t worry, you don’t have to figure it out alone! Quality Built’s contractors will take a detailed look at your property and recommend the right choice based on your budget and needs. They’ll even help you finance your new fence!

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Melissa James, The Exterior Enthusiast

Melissa James, The Exterior Enthusiast

Melissa James is "The Exterior Enthusiast" for Quality Built Exteriors. She has written about home decorating and improvement since 2005. Learn more. Got a question or comment for Melissa? Reach her at exteriorenthusiast@gmail.com.

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