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Pressure Treated Fence (Designs & Pros and Cons)

In this guide to pressure treated fence designs you’ll see what it is, different styles, pros and cons, durability, and the best pressure treated fence stain options.
Outdoor area with pressure treated fence, grass, and walkway Installing fences can enhance the appeal, personality, and value of your property. Adding a fence can provide easy privacy and a layer of security for kids and pets. However, before making an investment, it is indeed essential to take various factors into account, particularly the type of fencing material you intend to use.  

A pressure treated fence is one of the most recommended fence materials to ensure your fence is long-lasting. In this article, we are going to walk you through all the necessary details you must know to help decide if a pressure-treated fence is right for you.

What Is A Pressure Treated Fence? 

House exterior with pressure treated fence and brick foundation Pressure-treated wood is utilized in both residential and commercial projects, including fencing. It’s been created to address the shortcomings of natural wood, and is considered to be an excellent fencing material. 

Chemical preservatives are added to make this top sustainable building material last longer, which lowers the amount of maintenance and repair required. Decay, water, and insect damage such as beetles and termites, can all weaken the condition of wood fencing.

Hence, chemical preservatives help prolong the lifespan of natural wood fences, reducing the amount of maintenance and fixing necessary. The chemical preservatives are driven deep into the core of the wood, not just the external coating, to offer greater protection and to prolong the durability of lumber since untreated timber decays. 

This treatment enables lumber to be both sustainable and valuable fencing material. This treatment for wood is not only utilized for fencing but also for a variety of applications including pressure treated wood decking, landscaping materials, as well as construction materials.

Your property fence will be strong and long-lasting if you invest in pressure-treated fencing. If you use untreated wood fencing, you will find that it becomes prone to a variety of external factors over time. In fact, pressure-treated wood fencing is one of the most prevalent and effective fence designs.

Pressure Treated Fence Pickets

Outdoor area with pressure treated picket fence and trees Picket fences are commonly used for aesthetic purposes for household borders. They are defined by their uniformly spaced vertical slats, known as pickets, that are linked to horizontal posts. However, these pickets should also be durable as they play a major role in fencing.

Wood picket fence designs are a popular option, with options ranging from low-cost pressure-treated pine to redwood. They can be painted any color, require re-coating regularly, and are available in a variety of designs.

Nevertheless, the most popular pressure-treated wood for fencing is pine. This is a cost-effective option that, with appropriate care, can last for many years. The chemicals used in the pressure treatment procedure gradually fade or lose their strength over time.

However, with consistent staining and sealing, you may counteract this loss and re-shield the fence picket. Pressure treatment adds another layer of protection against decay and degeneration. Hence, you have to ensure that your pickets are pressure-treated as well. 

Pressure Treated Fence Posts 

Pressure treated fence posts for outdoor areas The fence posts are the foundation of every fencing system. Since fence posts reinforce the fencing, they must be manufactured of a high-strength material and correctly installed to accomplish their purpose. Therefore pressure-treated fence posts are an excellent alternative because they last significantly longer than other fence post options.

Although the cost of different types of wood fencing varies, in the case of fence posts, it is often advisable to spend the added cost for pressure-treated fence posts. Truly, the most popular form of fence post material is pressure-treated wood post, which is utilized for a wide range of purposes. There are numerous advantages to using pressure-treated fence posts.

Fortunately, pressure-treated fence posts are reasonably priced. When compared to other forms of wood, pressure-treated wood is significantly less expensive. Most pressure-treated fence posts are far more durable than other forms of wood fence posts. These pressure-treated fence posts will withstand much more wear and tear and will continue to look attractive over time.

Furthermore, due to the added strength that pressure-treated fence posts offer, they are long-lasting. Some manufacturers even give a 40-year warranty with their pressure-treated wood fence posts.

These fence posts will not attract insects. Insects that strive to bite into it or stay on it for an extended duration will die. Insects will be repelled by the posts rather than attracted to them.

Pressure Treated Fence Panels 

House exterior with pressure treated fence panels, siding, grass, windows, and hedge plants Pressure-treated fence panels have undergone a process known as “Vacuum Pressure Impregnation.”  Every fence panel is basically placed within an enclosed circular chamber in which the vacuum forces the air out of its cells. The room is then drenched with a specially designed wood preservative.

The device then uses mechanical pressure to drive the preservative deep into the wood and totally permeate it. Following that, the vacuum is used to remove any remaining preservatives in the chamber before the backyard fence panels are allowed to dry. 

Pressure-treated fence panels are indeed resistant to decay, rot, and termite attack. Because they are pre-treated and do not necessitate regular maintenance, pressure-treated fence panels conserve money and time.

Because the treated fence panels are mold- and weather-resistant, there is no need to remove or update them for several years after installation. For both residential and commercial applications, a wide range of styles and sizes are provided as well.

Pressure Treated Fence Pros And Cons

Backyard with landscaping rocks, plants, flowers, trees, grass, and pressure treated fence Here we share the advantages and disadvantages of pressure treated fencing.

Pros Of Pressure Treated Fences

Outdoor yard with pressure treated fence, shed, and grass Outstanding Durability: Every pressure-treated fencing material will be incredibly durable due to the chemical preservatives pressed deeply into the fence wood. For a very long period, the chemical preservatives can assist in preventing the wood from rotting, decaying, and getting attacked by pests.

A pressure-treated fence is so tough that it can withstand adverse weather conditions and yet stand tall. This is a commendable characteristic for anyone looking for durable fencing pickets, posts, or panels. 

In general, when looking for the best wood for fences, a pressure-treated variant can be considered because it can withstand even the harshest outdoor elements. The main point to remember here is that choosing a pressure-treated fence can serve you for decades, and you will not need to replace it anytime shortly.

Very Low-Maintenance: Pressure-treated fencing requires less maintenance because it is already strong, weather-resistant. and long-lasting. You do not need to treat your wood fencing since it is inherently impervious to rotting and can already battle any insect attacks. You can easily construct your pressure-treated fencing and appreciate it already for years or even decades to come.

Moreover, you should be aware that pressure-treated wood is poisonous to insects that try to dig into it for an extended period. That is why it is ideal for fencing posts and panels as the pressure-treated wood will resist any insects that may try to ruin your fencing. It will not only keep damaging insects at bay, but it will also save you money on repairs and maintenance in the coming years.

Relatively Affordable: Aside from the useful benefit that pressure-treated fencing is long-lasting, you are lucky to know that it is also reasonably priced. Pressure-treated fencing costs far less than other premium fencing materials, making it ideal for homeowners on a tight budget.

Aside from being inexpensive, its treated properties will save you money in the long term because you will not have to pay for any additional wood preservatives.

Naturally Appealing: Pressure-treated fence retains the same appearance as untreated fencing. It will mix in effortlessly with any landscape or home exterior design, giving it a more natural feel and appearance.

The Majority of Pressure Treated Fences are Fire Resistant: Among the most significant risks to any form of wood is fire destruction. The majority of pressure-treated timbers are fire-resistant and can be employed in outdoor settings where the possibility of fire is increased.

Cons Of Pressure Treated Fences

Fence made of pressure treated wood for outdoor areas Chemical Risk: Because of the chemical treatment required to make pressure-treated wood fencing, it would be highly suggested to not install it close to your outdoor kitchen owing to the higher risk of those chemicals coming into contact with your food and water.

Possibility of Shrinkage and Warping: Pressure-treated wood may take a few months to properly dry, during which time there could be some possibilities of warping and shrinking.

How Long Does A Pressure Treated Fence Last? 

Outdoor area with pressure treated fence, black gate, and grass Pressure-treated fences, as the name implies, are treated to safeguard the wood from external factors. In general, a well-maintained pressure-treated fence can last 20 to 25 years. However, numerous homeowners experience notable physical changes such as splitting around the 15-year mark.

Take note, even though pressure-treated fences are extremely moisture-resistant, if they are constantly exposed to water, the moisture can still find its way to penetrate the wood.

Nonetheless, if these types of issues or other problems come up, you may want to follow the maintenance tips listed below to extend the lifespan of your pressure-treated fences.

Consistently Remove Any Mold: Mold is a mortal enemy when it comes to wood, whether it is treated or not. This fungus grows on the wooden surface of your fence because of excessive moisture that may be caused by continuous rainfall.

When mold grows in places on the fence, it begins to infiltrate deeply into the wood, causing it to deteriorate. Thankfully, mold can be removed from a pressure-treated fence using an acidic mixture of white vinegar and water.

• Remove Any Rotting Signs: Around the 15-year mark, you may notice little areas of your fencing that appear to be rotting. Rotting forces your fence to gradually break apart, therefore you must address it as soon as possible. The easiest technique to keep the fence from rotting is to punctually cut away spots of mold using a saw or knife.

• Immediately Repair Collapsing Pickets: Once the pickets are starting to fall off, your fence will not be able to properly function. If you find a broken portion of your pressure-treated fence when checking it, you can immediately reinforce it using a hammer and some nails.

• Keep An Eye Out For Any Sharp Edges: This upkeep advice is intended to safeguard your children or pets rather than your fence. Those long and sharp splinters can grow on pressure-treated wooden fences as they age, especially after a decade.

Moreover, depending on how the fence was constructed, rusted nails may emerge from connection places. As part of your wooden fence maintenance program, you have to remove any of these sharp risks.

• Remove Any Leaves from Your Pressure Treated Fence: Although fallen leaves may appear to be a sign of the autumn season, they can speed the degradation of a wooden fence, whether it is treated or not.

Leaf stacks hold moisture when they gather. Once moisture penetrates into your fence, it expedites the growth of mold, particularly around the fence posts. Hence, you have to rake those leaves away from the pickets or posts of your fence to eliminate any potential risk.

Best Stain For Pressure Treated Wood Fence 

Pressure treated fence with gate for outdoor areas For pressure-treated wood fences, an oil-based stain (semi-transparent or transparent type) would be the most ideal option. Several manufacturers, meanwhile, have developed stains that are designed primarily for staining pressure-treated wood.

Although it is totally safe to stain pressure-treated wood, you should wait until the wood fences are completely dry before applying the oil-based stain. Remember, if you stain pressure-treated wood way too early, the stain will not be able to effectively infiltrate the wood and you will not receive the stain’s protective properties.

Staining pressure-treated wood adds an extra layer of protection. Oil-based stains provide an additional layer of protection against termites, decay, mildew, and mold. Unstained pressure-treated wood can also fracture and splinter after some years, but an oil-based stain can help to prevent this.

Do Pressure Treated Fences Need Painting? 

Pressure treated fence made of wood for residential propertiesGenerally, a traditional painting technique or varnish is not needed on a pressure-treated wood fence as the results are usually mediocre, and repainting is frequently necessitated by scraping and sanding.

However, if you want to change the color of your pressure-treated fences, then you are free to do so. However, you should keep in mind that it has some crucial restrictions that you should be aware of first.

Because this is not like painting ordinary timber, you must be aware that some extra procedures will be necessary. Here are a few things to keep in mind once you decide to paint your pressure-treated fence.

• Ensure that Your Fence is Completely Dry: If your fence is dry enough to touch, you can do the water test by sprinkling some water on the wood’s surface. If the water collects up on the surface, that means the wood has not completely dried yet and you must wait.

To be certain, you can examine the water content of the wood with a moisture meter. You must wait once your reading falls below 14%.

• Begin by Washing Your Fences: Dirt and grime that have accumulated on the surface can be removed with soapy water as well as a hard brush. They also eliminate chemicals, allowing the primer and paint to adhere correctly. Do not use a pressure washer as it might damage the quality of your pressure-treated wood fence.

• Be Sure to Prime the Surface First Before Painting: Because of its high solid content, primer generates a flat finish required for paint to slide easily. The primer you use must be compatible with the paint you intend to use. For instance, oil-based paint requires a stain-blocking oil-based primer, whereas latex should be matched with a stain-blocking latex or oil-based primer.

• Start Painting: After the primer has dried, you can begin painting your item. Consider painting two coats of the highest quality paint you can purchase. Do not forget to let the paint dry completely between layers. Re-applying paint too early can lead to adhesion issues.

If you are trying to decide the benefits of fence stain vs paint check out this article.

Should I Use Pressure Treated Wood For Fence Rails?

Outdoor area with pressure treated fence, grass, gate, hedge plants, flowers, and trees Ideally, yes. Due to its multiple advantages, pressure-treated wood is the best choice for fence rails as well. Because different varieties of wood like cypress, cedar, spruce, pine, and redwood, react diversely to temperature, the climate in your region would be a deciding factor in fence rails.

Luckily, all of these issues are addressed by using pressure-treated wood for your fence rails, which preserves the timber from harsh weather conditions. It is also critical to select UV-protected wood to keep its exquisite color.

The industrial procedure of pressure treatment delivers fire retardants or wood preservatives to the fence rails. It increases the fence rails’ strength, making them more resilient and resistant to pest infestation and adverse weather situations.

Cedar Vs Pressure Treated Fence 

Cedar fence made of wood for outdoor spaces Cedar’s tight-grained construction and reddish hues make it the more appealing choice for fencing, yet it eventually fades to a silvery gray, which is not that appealing. Pressure-treated wood fencing, however, has a higher capacity to retain color when stained consistently.

Compared to pressure-treated lumber, cedar fences are more resilient by nature. Cedar, on the other hand, is more prone to aesthetic damages such as scratches and dents. Even though cedar is inherently moisture-resistant, it does not hold up well in continuously moist conditions.

However, pressure-treated wood has superior moisture resistance when properly treated and maintained, making it an ideal choice for extremely wet conditions. Cedar is environmentally friendly and sourced in a sustainable manner. In contrast, pressure-treated wood includes chemicals that can damage the soil as well as the neighboring environment.

Pressure-treated timber is the most cost-effective option for budget-conscious households. Nevertheless, cedar has a more appealing appearance and lasts longer. But still, the final choice will be yours to make as it will depend on your needs and preferences.

See more related content in our article about the best fence design software on this page.

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