A timber fence can add kerb appeal to your home and garden, especially if your property is surrounded by nature. Furthermore, it can be cheaper to install compared to other materials such as wrought iron and steel. However, with so many wood species available today, choosing the right timber for your project can be a daunting task. To help you make the right choice, here are a few tips on what to look for when buying timber for residential fencing.
Fence design: vertical vs horizontal
Vertical fences were traditionally the go-to option when it came to wood fencing. However, these days, there are horizontal fences that offer better privacy while increasing the kerb appeal of your garden. When choosing the right timber, you need to determine your fence design. Horizontal fences work well with hardwood species, as they are sturdier and less likely to sag.
Softwood timber species don't work well with horizontal fences. They are more prone to rot and termite damage, which exposes the fence panels to sagging. On the other hand, vertical fences work well with both hardwoods and softwoods. However, the problem of rot and pest damage is still inherent in softwoods, even after applying chemical treatments.
Toughness and durability
Quality timber fencing should be tough enough to withstand pests and elements. The fence should also last over a decade before requiring replacement. Below are some of the best hardwoods for residential timber fencing:
- Cedar: Cedar is one of the sturdiest woods for residential fencing. It is resistant to warping and shrinkage, and it has natural insect-repellent oils that keep termites and other pests away from the timber.
- Cypress: Just like red cedar, cypress is a strong and durable material for fencing. It also has natural insect-repellent oils.
- Merbau: Merbau is a sturdy hardwood with excellent fire- and insect-resistant properties.
If you're looking for sturdy timber that will last close to two decades, hardwood species are your best bet. The only downside is they are costly. If these options are out of your price range, there are great softwood options you can consider. These include pine, fir and spruce. These wood species are affordable, but they require pressure treatment to hold up well to the weather elements.
Pressure treatment and pets
When choosing fencing timber, it's essential to address concerns around pressure-treated wood. The chemicals used to pressure-treat softwood species can be harmful to humans and pets. Over time, these chemicals leak out into the surrounding soil and can be picked up on your pet's paws as they play.
Therefore, if your pets love to play around your fences, avoid pressure-treated wood. Go for insect-repellent hardwoods such as cedar and cypress as they do not require chemical treatment. All you need to do is stain the fence with your preferred colours.
Consider the above things when buying top-quality fencing timber for residential fencing.