Wooden vs. Concrete Fence Posts: Comparing Pros and Cons

Wooden vs concrete fence posts

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The two most popular types of fence posts are wood and concrete, with each type having its own set of pros and cons. Wooden posts are typically more affordable, but they can rot over time if not properly maintained. They also need to be replaced every few years as the wood deteriorates from weathering or insect damage.

On the other hand, concrete posts are stronger than wooden ones so it is less likely they will break under pressure from a heavy snow load or an animal sitting on top of them for too long.

This article looks the the key differences between wooden and concrete fencing and so you can have a secure boundary line around your garden.

Durability

Cracked concrete fence post

Concrete is a durable material that will not rot or be eaten away by insects. Concrete can crack and chip in a way which wood cant.

Wooden posts are a natural material that will decay over time. Wooden posts can also be eaten away by insects and rot if they’re not treated properly.

To preserve wooden fence posts you will need to apply fence stain or fence paint every year or two. Otherwise they can rot or fade more quickly.

Overall concrete is likely to offer a longer lifespan as long as it is not subject to impacts which could crack or shatter it.

Strength

Concrete posts are incredibly durable and can withstand high winds in open areas. Concrete can last for a lifetime with proper care.

Wooden posts are less durable than concrete and will not be able to withstand the same amount of wind in open areas without blowing over or cracking.

Wooden posts also need more maintenance because they decay more easily, whereas concrete doesn’t require any upkeep after installation.

Cost

Wooden post have a natural feel to them that many people enjoy. Wooden posts are typically more affordable but they require more maintenance than concrete posts. Wooden posts decay over time and can rot if not treated properly which is why they need to be replaced every few years.

Concrete posts are less likely to break or be eaten away by insects which is why they make an excellent choice for long term fencing. They also last for a lifetime with proper care so there’s no need to replace them in the future. Concrete posts are more expensive than wooden posts but it’s worth it in the long run because they require no upkeep after installation.

Difficulty to install

Digging a fence post hole with a spade

Wooden posts are easy to install because they weigh less than concrete posts. They can be purchased in kits that include all the accessories needed for installation, like connectors, caps and posts. Wooden fence posts also work well with natural materials such as wood or stone which can be used to create a design for your fence. Concrete posts require more equipment to install.

They cannot be customized easily and they are not aesthetically pleasing when installed in a natural environment.

Security

Surprisingly, wooden posts can offer more security from outsiders. Although concrete fence posts are very strong the fence panels are help in place with their weight.

The fence panels can be easily lifted out of the concrete post slots, leaving your property exposed.

Wooden fencing will be fixed with nails or screws to the posts.

This type of fencing is much more secure and offers better protection against intruders than concrete fence post installation.

Environmental impact 

Concrete is a widely used material that is one of the most destructive to the environment.

Wooden posts are a renewable resource and offer an environmentally friendly option for your fence installation.

Lifespan

A slotted wooden fence post will not rot for around 15 years if the timber has been pressure treated and installed with adequate drainage.

Concrete and cheaper wooden posts will need to be replaced more often with concrete posts lasting between 10 and 20 years and cheap wooden posts lasting between 5 and 15 years.

Overall you are likely to get more lifespan for the money from concrete fence posts but pressure treated timber will come close to this.

Contemporary design

Wooden posts are a more aesthetically pleasing choice for some homeowners because they match wooden fencing better than concrete posts.

Concrete posts can work well in certain modern designs but concrete posts are not usually considered the best choice when it comes to most gardens.

If you are looking for a continuous or slatted fence you will need to go for wood where the fence panels or wood can be attached to the front of the fence post. This is not possible with concrete fence posts which cannot be easily drilled into.

Decorative features

White picket fence with decorative tops

With wooden fencing, fence posts caps and post toppings can be used to add a decorative touch to your fence.

Other options such as adding climbing plants and attaching trellises to the top of the fence are possible with wooden posts but not with concrete posts.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for a fence post that will last long and won’t be eaten away by insects, concrete is the best option. If you’re considering price point or want to maintain your own property then wooden fences might work better for you (if properly maintained).

Check out our fence FAQ page for more information about different types of fencing

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