What Type Of Fence Lasts The Longest?

As I was doing research for my own fence I wondered which one would last the longest. If I am going to buy a good quality fence for a pretty penny than I certainly want that fence to last as long as possible and look as good as possible for that time as well. In our research this is what we found.

Wrought iron fencing is the longest lasting. However, there are close seconds; vinyl/PVC and steel fencing are also seen as being highly favored for their longevity of roughly 30+ years. Why they are sometimes preferential is due to their versatility and lighter weight.

There is an array of options available to you when it comes to selecting the perfect fencing for your needs. You will be making various comparisons and trying to research which is the best option for you. However, if the primary concern is, “How long will this last?” then you have come to the right place. Let us investigate what types of fencing will yield the best results for you.

What Type Of Fences Are There?

On your journey to acquiring your ideal fencing, whether it is for initial installation or the replacement of an old fence, you may come to learn that there is an overwhelming number of types and variations of fencing available. Thus, we have compiled a list of popular options for your perusal. As far as prices are concerned, these are generally dependant on which region you live in as price depends on the supplier and contractors.

  • Wood – Probably one of the most popular types of fencing in America is the more traditional wooden fence. It offers a greater sense of privacy than some other types of fencing, especially with the additional height often provided. They do require more maintenance than some other options on this list, however, they are quite attractive and appealing to the eye, and another bonus is that they are relatively inexpensive (obviously depending on the type of wood used). An approximate price would be between $17 and $45 per linear foot
  • Bamboo – It is certainly picking up in popularity and like wooden fencing, it is a natural alternative to some others on this list; making it more environmentally friendly. Depending on the type of bamboo fencing you choose (rolled, live, or bamboo cane) you can look at paying between $3 and $75 per linear foot
  • Chain Link – This type of fencing is all about functionality as it helps demarcate plot boundaries, keep pets in and if high enough will deter people from trying to scale it. The downside is that they offer little in terms of privacy. A great bonus is that they require barely any maintenance and are rather cost effective as you can expect to pay between $15 and $40 per linear foot.
  • Vinyl/PVC One of the cheaper options available on the market; it is also one of the most resilient against natural elements. However, it is not as hardy and sturdy as some of its counterparts. This type of fencing like some others, such as wooden fencing, comes in various heights and colors. For this type of fencing you can expect to pay between $15 and $30 per linear foot.
  • Aluminum – This is one of the more basic options and yet still appealing to the eye. This type of fencing, like chain link, does not offer great levels of privacy in one’s yard and it also does not do much in the way of aiding security. This aside though, it is a very low maintenance option. Installation of this type of fencing will set you back between $8 and $32 per linear foot.
  • Wrought iron – One type of fencing which certainly spells class and aesthetic appeal is the wrought iron fence. Apart from being the strongest type of fence, they often have intricate and personalized designs, which make them appealing to the eye and will impress any who pass by. One shortcoming with this type of fence is its more frequent upkeep requirements. In order to maintain its splendor, you will likely need to have it sanded down and repainted approximately every two to three years. For your initial cost, you are looking at spending between $26 and $34 per linear foot.
  • Steel – This is an alternative choice to wrought iron and very similar and is more common in residential areas, due to its versatility and lighter weight. Another reason why steel fencing is sometimes chosen over some others on this list is that it is able to be racked (to rack a fence means to adjust the rails of the fence to match the slope of the ground beneath it, whilst the pickets and posts are still rendered vertical) and this is something that cannot be done with all fence types. Steel fences will cost you between $7 and $20 per linear foot.

If you are considering building a long lasting fence than perhaps a wall might be a better option. Read about the most important differences between a wall and a fence here.

Fence Age Chart

FenceExpected LifeIncrease LifetimeDecrease Lifetime
Wood15-20 yearsRefinishing surface ever 3-5 years and replacing damaged parts when too wornMoisture damage(mold, mildew, rot) and late maintenance
Bamboo15-20 years Refinishing surface ever 3-5 years and replacing damaged parts when too worn Moisture damage(mold, mildew, rot) and late maintenance
Chain Link15-20 yearsApply rust protection, do not plant near it, regular maintenance checks and avoid heavy weight on the fenceRust damage from weight or other physical trauma
Vinyl/PVC20-30 yearsClean regularly, remove overhanging tree branches, regular maintenance checksMildew physical trauma
Aluminum30+Routine cleaning and maintenance inspections. Application of spot rust protection as requiredRust
Steel30+ Routine cleaning and maintenance inspections. Application of spot rust protection as required Rust
Wrought Iron50+ Routine cleaning and maintenance inspections. Application of spot rust protection as required Rust

What Type Of Fence Lasts The Longest?

Wrought iron fences are thought to have the longest life span out of all fence types. They are strong and durable and also good for security. They will not be affected by the elements and will not crack, splinter, rot or break, like some other types of fencing. The only downside to wrought iron fencing (as mentioned previously) is that they do require more frequent maintenance than some of the other styles of fencing. You will need to have your fence sanded and painted every two to three years to ensure the greatest longevity and aesthetics. 

If your looking for a privacy fence than check this article out where we discuss the best materials for your privacy fence.

As you can see in the chart above aluminum, steel and wrought iron come installed with rust protection, however this does not mean that the weather or damage cannot allow rust to set in. While it would still take many years for even a rusty fence to decline to the point of no use, it is best to do spot rust treatments at a minimum to maintain the structural integrity of the fence without having to completely sand and paint the fence every few years.

What Is The Easiest Fence To Install?

Vinyl or PVC fencing is one of the easier options, especially if you are doing a DIY job. This picket-style fencing is incredibly light, yet simultaneously very durable and offers ease of work.

All you need to do is fix the posts in the ground and then the vinyl/PVC picket panels simply slot in-between the posts.  

What Is The Easiest Fence To Maintain?

Vinyl/ PVC fencing is by far the easiest type of fencing to maintain, as it does not need to be varnished (even though some are made to mimic the texture of wood), repainted, or treated for rust.

If you are wanting a fence that you won’t have to repair, then consider what type of concrete you use as it will drastically change the longevity of your fence as we discuss here.

Due to its smooth and shiny texture, it is incredibly easy to clean. When mud, dirt, and other debris gathers, you can simply rinse it off with a hose.

What Fence Is The Hardest To Maintain?

Wooden fencing is the most labor-intensive, as it requires the greatest amount of maintenance. To keep your fence looking pristine and sturdy, you’ll need to have it sanded, primed, and then repainted or stained every two to three years. A damaged fence also poses concerns that it will fall and hurt someone or let animals in or out.

Wrought iron also requires work as frequently, however, the negative effects of leaving it untreated as opposed to wood (which can, rot, chip, and splinter) are far less. It will typically just look less aesthetically pleasing if left untreated for a lengthy period. 


If you’re looking for a long-lasting and durable fence then wrought iron is likely your best option, however, with that being said, if you want something that will also stand the test of time, is reasonably priced, and easy to maintain, then you are probably better off going with vinyl/PVC or steel fencing.

Manny Moore

Getting my hands dirty and building a place that me and my small family love is a driving factor for what I do and how I do it. I want to share what I have learned and practiced so that it is just that much easier for everyone to have another tool in their tool belt. Your home should be a place that you love and feel comfortable in and your backyard should be no different.

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