Pine Vs. Cedar Fences

Overview

Picket and other wooden fencing can add privacy, security and beauty to any yard. There are two major wood choices available to homeowners installing a new fence--pine and cedar. Installing a fence can be expensive, not to mention time-consuming, so picking the right wood is important.

Pressure Treatment

Commercial pine is almost always pressure-treated, a process that infuses the cut boards with chemical preservatives. It's easy to tell which boards at the lumber yard have been pressure-treated because the process gives the wood a greenish tint. There are different grades of pressure treatment, which are measured from 0.25 through 0.60. According to Professor Gene Wengert, an extension specialist in wood processing at the Department of Forestry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, any post going into the ground should be a 0.40 or higher.

Chemical Free Wood

Cedar wood is not pressure treated, therefore there are no chemicals added to the wood to help it resist decay, weathering or insects. High quality cedar wood, when used above ground, is able to hold up against the elements almost as well as pressure treated pine, naturally.

Warping

Pressure treated pine can last for hundreds of years if it is maintained, but it is prone to warping and splitting. Well-maintained cedar wood will last for upward of 30 years, and it will almost certainly retain its original shape.

The Look

Pressure-treated pine has a green tint when it is brand new, but over the years it will turn a grayish color. Pressure-treated pine will need to be painted or stained regularly. Quality cedar wood has a red look to it and will maintain that look for the majority of its lifespan.

The Best Choice

Expert such as Professor Wengert, suggest using a mixture of both pressure-treated pine and cedar wood for the best quality and longest-lasting fence. Cedar wood should be used as the fencing planks, while pressure-treated pine should be used for the posts.

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About this Author

Janine Logue has been a professional writer for daily, weekly and monthly print publications since 2005. She is a contributing writer for several informational websites as well as a freelance SEO writer for various private websites. Logue holds an Associate of Arts in journalism from Bucks County Community College.

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