Once you have decided to build or replace a fence for your Colorado home, your next step is choosing the materials. For many Colorado homeowners, that means weighing the pros and cons of installing a cedar vs treated wood fence. Both cedar and treated wood planks are among the most popular choices for fencing in Colorado. However, they each have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of wood fencing options so you can make an informed decision: Which one is right for your home and yard?
What Are Cedar Wood Pickets?
Cedar pickets are high-quality, 100% wooden planks from Western red cedar. Because cedar has natural tannin oils, fences made with cedar pickets are resistant to rot, decay, weather, and insect damage.
Pros of Cedar Wood Fences in Colorado
Because there are so many advantages to cedar vs treated wood fences, cedar is the most popular go-to fence material for Colorado homeowners. Consider these pros to cedar fencing:
Cedar Resists Rot and Decay
As mentioned above, cedar naturally resists rot and decay, which means that it doesn’t need treatment with chemicals to last. Cedar is high quality and durable and is excellent for fencing.
Looks great with any design style
Cedar is a very classic wood that blends well with most design styles. If you want a wood fence that will stay classic throughout the years, this is a great choice.
Easy to Stain
Cedar is easy to stain and paint a color that you like. You can either buy already stained planks or stain them yourself for a more customized color.
Cedar is Safe for Children and Pets
Cedar is a 100% natural wood product. This means you don’t have to worry about exposing your family and pets to chemicals from treated wood.
Cons of Cedar Wood Fences in Colorado
Cedar has many advantages, but that doesn’t mean that there are no distinct disadvantages to choosing cedar vs treated wood fences. For instance:
Cedar is a higher quality wood product, so it’s also a bit more expensive than treated wood. If cost is a factor for you, you may want to consider treated wood instead.
Cedar Doesn’t Last as Long in Wet Environments
Cedar is naturally resistant to decay, but it doesn’t do as well in especially wet or humid environments. In Colorado, this means that if your yard is on the swampy side or has a definite downslope causing water to pool around the base of the fence, cedar might not be the best choice for fences.
Cedar Requires Staining Every Few Years
Cedar naturally resists rot, but it needs to be treated with a sealant or stain every few years to keep its appearance. While this might not be a big deal for some people, others may prefer to save time and go with treated wood that requires treatment less often.
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What Are Treated Wood Pickets?
Treated wood pickets are boards infused with chemicals to make them last longer and resist decay. Different types of pressure-treated wood are used for different purposes, depending on whether they need to last indoors or outdoors, if they need to resist insects, and if they need to be fire-resistant. They are a fast and cheap way to construct a fence while also making it last longer.
Pros of Treated Wood Fences in Colorado
In the comparison of cedar vs treated wood fences in Colorado, there are advantages to choosing treated wood. A few of these are:
Cost, Speed and Ease of Installation
Treated wood is a fast and cheap way to add a new fence to your home. Installing treated wood is generally straightforward, so you can get it done in a short amount of time. If you want a quick project, treated wood fencing is a great option.
Treated wood fences contain chemicals that repel bugs from the fence, leading to a fence free from ants, bees, and other wood-gnawing insects.
Today’s Treated Wood Fencing is Safer Than it Used to Be
Until recent years, the main chemical used to pressure treat wood was arsenic. When the EPA banned arsenic as an option in 2004, manufacturers came up with other solutions, and today most pressure-treated wood contains copper as the active ingredient.
That said, using chemically treated wood for your fence does call for some precautions - cut the pickets and posts in a well-ventilated area, wear a mask and eye protection, and dispose of scraps of wood properly.
Cons of Treated Wood Fences in Colorado
The cons of selecting treated wood pickets for your Colorado fencing project are:
Treated Wood Does Not Last As Long in Cold or Cool Environments
Treated wood fencing will not last as long as its cedar counterparts in cool or cold environments. Depending on your Southern Colorado neighborhood and property features, this might not be the best choice for you.
Susceptible to Shrinking and Warping
Treated wood pickets come from the supplier “wet.” That is, moisture is locked in with the chemicals. What this can mean for you is that as the wood dries, each picket is susceptible to shrinking and warping. Fortunately, this typically affects only a small number of pickets in a large length of fencing.
Yes, the chemicals used in treated wood fences have come a long way in the last 18+ years. However, because the fence is not a 100% natural wood fence, there is a greater chance of the chemicals leaching into the ground. This is a clear disadvantage to families with small children or pets or who enjoy gardening. However, you can now find lower-toxicity treated wood picket options that are safer for pets, children, and your petunias.
Hopefully, this comparison of cedar vs treated wood fences has made your decision for the best fencing material for your project easier. Cedar and treated wood planks are both excellent choices for Colorado fences. Cedar is a healthier, more eco-friendly choice that lasts a long time but requires more maintenance. Treated wood is a more affordable option that lasts for a long time, but it is not as eco-friendly and requires more precautions when working with it.
At Blicks Fencing Company, our services include assisting homeowners up and down Colorado’s Front Range to weigh the pros and cons of each type of wood before deciding what type of fence to install. We will help you pick the best type of wood for a beautiful, functional, and durable fence that adds value to your home and makes your outdoor living spaces more enjoyable.