house with white privacy fence

What Kind of Privacy Fence Should I Get?

Fencing Handyman - Redding, CaliforniaPrivacy fences are extremely popular in the United States. U.S. zoning experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of applications for fencing in residential locations are for privacy fences. American homeowners love them because they increase privacy, curb appeal, sound protection, and home protection. When you’re considering a privacy fence for your home, here are some of the options you can choose from.


What type of fence are you looking for? Some fences serve decorative purposes while others serve more utilitarian purposes.

  • Decorative: The all-American picket fence falls in this category. The picket fence has often represented the American dream, where the quintessential American house is surrounded by a white picket fence. These fences create a separation from the neighbor’s yard, but don’t necessarily prevent visibility, since the slats are spaced wide enough apart to allow people to see in.
  • Garden/Pool: These fences range from small fences that surround flower gardens to full-size fences that keep deer from entering the garden or babies from entering the pool. Generally, pool fences are designed both for safety and privacy.
  • Privacy: Privacy fences create a strong visual barrier. Some have no slats between posts, while others are closely spaced. Privacy fences can look decorative too, depending on the design.

Fencing Material

Traditionally, privacy fences were made from wood. Now, they can be made from vinyl, aluminum, steel, wrought iron, or chain-link wire.

  • Wood: Wood has been a favorite choice because it’s generally less expensive than other types of fencing materials and it’s more versatile—it can be painted any color and it can easily be repaired. If a fence board breaks, it can simply be repaired or replaced without requiring the entire fence to be replaced. Wooden fences do require more maintenance than manufactured materials.
  • Vinyl: These fences, also referred to as PVC fences, are low-maintenance. They do cost more than wooden fences and, if something does go wrong, they are harder to repair or replace. If there is a broken or stained board, it will generally not be reparable, which means that an entire section will need to be replaced.
  • Aluminum: Aluminum fences also cost more than wooden fences; however, they are not as good at creating privacy. They are good at resisting corrosion and providing visual appeal at a lower price than steel or wrought-iron fences. Aluminum fences can even be made from recycled materials.
  • Steel: From an appearance standpoint, steel fences look much the same as aluminum fences. Like aluminum, it doesn’t provide privacy. However, steel is extremely durable, low-maintenance, and easy to install—even on uneven or sloped land.
  • Wrought Iron: Wrought iron fences are the high-end option in residential fencing, which means it’s also the most expensive. It’s often used to create decorative designs.
  • Chain-Link: These types of fences are made by linking steel wires in a diamond pattern. They’re durable, inexpensive, and very low-maintenance. However, chain-link fences have very little visual appeal and are generally not used by homeowners. They are more likely to be used in commercial or industrial settings.

When choosing fencing for your home, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the different options. Evaluate the purpose you want it to serve, as well as the type of material that will accomplish that the best. What’s your choice?