The Ultimate Guide to Composite Fencing

The Ultimate Guide to Composite Fencing

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For many years, privacy fence in north America meant wood fence. However, in recent years, we’ve got a lot more options! Today, you can choose vinyl fence, metal fence, concrete fences, composite fence or something else.

Let’s take a closer look at what composite fencing is, how it’s made, how it’s installed, and everything else you need to know.

How Is Composite Fencing Made?

The first thing you might be wondering about composite fencing is how it’s made.

The process of making composite fencing is actually very similar to what you would see when making a product like MDF, or Medium Density Fiberboard, except in this case, the product is made from a combination of wood and plastic.

Like manufactured wood products, these materials are very finely ground, mixed with various chemicals and colors, and subjected to a whole lot of pressure to create a finished product that is strong, durable, resistant to the elements, and perfect for things like fencing.

When Was Composite Fencing Invented?

You could be forgiven for thinking that composite fencing is a newer invention.

However, this type of product, known as WPC or Wood Plastic Composite, was actually invented in Milan, Italy in 1960, by a company called Covema. The product has evolved over time, but it’s still got a long, solid history!

How Is Composite Fencing Sold?

Composite fencing is sold both in panel form and in board form. Different manufacturers offer different boards and profiles, and most have post and hardware kits, which often include coated metal posts, brackets, and support rails.

There are pros and cons to buying composite fence in either format.

On the one hand, if you buy composite fencing panels that are already assembled, there’s less work to be done on-site.

However, buying composite fence boards and components and building your own fence might save you a little money on materials and allows you to create custom designs or fences that follow slopes on your property line.

Where Can You Buy Composite Fencing?

Composite fencing systems are a lot more common than they used to be. These days, you can buy composite fencing products from many big box hardware stores, fence companies, fence distributors and even sometimes directly from the manufacturer.

Try to find reputable suppliers for your composite fencing though, because if you ever need to replace or repair some of your fence, you want to be able to find the same product again!

Is Composite Fencing Any Good?

Composite fencing is a great choice for privacy fencing and a great alternative to both vinyl fence and wood fence.

Like wood fence, it can be built to nearly any design, but like vinyl fence, it’s rot, insect and corrosion resistant and is virtually maintenance-free.

Not only is this a no-headache privacy fence option, but many of the best composite fencing manufacturers also offer long warranties – sometimes 20 to 25 years or more. So you can rest assured that you’re investing in a fence system that wills stand the test of time.

How Long Does Composite Fencing Last?

While most composite fencing manufacturers will give you a different warranty, a typical composite fence that isn’t damaged by a vehicle, fire or chemicals, or malicious damage will probably have a lifespan of 30 years or more. So it really is a once in a lifetime fence!

Is Composite Fencing Good for the Environment?

Composite fencing is often made from recycled wood and even recycled plastics, which means it’s very good for the environment and a more sustainable fence material.

It also doesn’t have to be treated to be rot and insect resistant, so there’s no danger of any chemicals leaching out of your fence.

Finally, composite fencing has a very long lifespan, which means you won’t be replacing it often. Anything that lasts a long time and stays out of the landfill is good news for our consumerist world!

Is Composite Fencing More Expensive?

Composite fencing is usually more expensive than wood fence and vinyl fence, but when you’re talking about fencing, you always need to look at more than just the upfront cost.

Composite fencing is not hollow like vinyl fence, so it tends to be tougher, even under tough conditions.

Unlike wood fence, it won’t rot or degrade over time, and when installed on a coated steel framework with the right kind of fittings, it will give you a lifetime of maintenance-free service. That means no painting, no staining, and no replacement because the carpenter ants moved in!

Composite Fencing Vs. Vinyl Fence

Composite fencing is often seen as interchangeable with vinyl fence because they’re both maintenance-free privacy fence options, but there are some differences:

  • Vinyl fence products are extruded on special machines that create a largely hollow component with internal stiffening ribs – this makes it lightweight but strong – however, composite fencing is a solid board, much like what you would see in a wood fence board
  • Vinyl fence is usually made from only PVC, but composite fencing is a blend of wood fibers, plastic, and sometimes other materials
  • Vinyl fence systems are usually installed as one complete product, and individual components are not always interchangeable between systems – composite fencing, however, offers more flexible design and installation options
  • Both vinyl fencing and composite fencing are available in a wide variety of colors, and both offer wood grain and other “near to natural” looking product options

When it comes to low or no-maintenance fence systems, vinyl fencing and composite fencing are both excellent choices. It’s really just a matter of budget and personal preference.

Is Composite Fencing Easy to Install?

Composite fencing is about as easy to install as your average wood fence, which is to say that if you’re handy and you have the right skills and tools, it’s not too difficult.

However, like other fence systems, composite fencing does require a fair amount of skill to plan, lay out and install correctly, so if you don’t know much about fence installation, this might not be the best way to learn!

Most good privacy fence companies should be able to install composite fencing without too much trouble, though, so if you’re not sure of your skills, you can probably find a professional to help!

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