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  • Writer's pictureMidwest Fence & Gate

A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Fence Material

A wood fence during winter.

Choosing the right fence material is a crucial decision that goes beyond elegance. It involves considerations of durability, maintenance, and the overall purpose of the fence. Whether securing your property, enhancing privacy, or adding a decorative touch, selecting the appropriate fence material is very important.

Read more to learn about the various types of fences for residential and commercial properties so you can make an informed decision.

Residential Fences

When it comes to residential fences, the choice between classic wood, durable vinyl, secure chain links, or stylish ornamental designs plays a pivotal role. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to finding the perfect material that enhances security and adds beauty, ensuring your home stands out in the neighborhood.

Chain Link Fencing

Chain link fences are known for their affordability, versatility, and durability. They are commonly used for residential and commercial purposes, providing a clear boundary without obstructing the view. Galvanized steel or vinyl-coated options offer added protection against corrosion.

Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fences are notable for their low maintenance, durability, and versatility. They come in various styles, resembling traditional wood or offering a modern look. Vinyl is resistant to rot, decay, and insects, making it an excellent choice for long-term use. Famous for residential and commercial properties alike, vinyl fences are available in a variety of styles as well.

Ornamental Fencing

Ornamental fencing adds a touch of elegance to both residential and commercial properties, as they strike a delicate balance between elegance and security. Typically made of wrought iron or aluminum, these fences are known for their complex designs, durability, customizable designs, and aesthetic appeal.

Wood Fencing

Wooden fences are classic and timeless, offering a natural and warm appearance. They come in various styles, such as picket, privacy, and split rail. Wood fences can be stained or painted to match the overall aesthetic of your property. Wood fencing is known for its decorativeness, versatility, and natural look.

Commercial Fences

There are various commercial fencing options, and they have differing features depending on the materials and their quality. Apart from the types used for residential properties, you’ll also find a few other types. Find one that's built to last, so you can keep your commercial property and assets secure.

Mesh Fencing

Mesh fencing, often made of woven wire or metal, is popular for security and sports facilities. Its design allows for visibility while maintaining a high level of security. Mesh fencing is an all-purpose fence and can adapt to various applications. It offers better visibility, security, and customization options. Though they can have a complex installation procedure, professional fencing contractors can take care of it for you.


Bollards serve functional and decorative purposes and are short and sturdy posts often used to control or direct traffic. Bollards can be made from materials like concrete, steel, or even ornamental metals, enhancing the visual appeal of a space while providing security. They are generally used in commercial spaces to control traffic, enhance security, and refine designs.


Columns, often used with other fencing materials, add structural support and visual interest. They can be made of materials like brick, stone, or concrete, complementing the overall design of the fence. The major advantages of columns are that they offer better customization options, structural support, and decorative enhancements.

A white residential fence.

Factors to Consider While Choosing a Fence

Choosing the right fence for your property involves carefully considering several factors to ensure it meets your needs, complements your property, and adheres to local regulations. Keep these essential factors in mind as you navigate your decision-making process.

Purpose and Objectives

Begin by identifying the primary purpose of your fence. Is it for privacy, security, aesthetic enhancement, or a combination? Different materials and styles serve distinct purposes, so understanding your objectives is crucial.

Local Climate Considerations

Understand the climate in your area, as weather conditions can significantly impact the longevity and appearance of a fence. The climate in Fort Dodge & Ames, IA, for example, can lead to snowfall in the winter and potential thunderstorms in the summer, so it's essential to choose materials that can withstand these elements.

Architectural Compatibility

Consider the architectural style of your home. The fence should complement your property's design, enhancing its overall beauty. For example, ornamental fences may be suitable for traditional or Victorian-style homes, while sleek modern designs may suit contemporary architecture.

Maintenance Requirements

Think about how much time and effort you're willing to invest in maintaining your fence, and choose a material that fits your lifestyle and preferences. Some materials, like wood, may require regular staining or sealing to prevent decay, while vinyl or metal options generally demand less upkeep.

Local Regulations and Guidelines

Check local zoning regulations and community guidelines before selecting a fence. Some neighborhoods or homeowners associations may have specific fence height, style, and material rules. Ensure your choice aligns with these regulations to avoid potential legal issues or the need for costly alterations later on.

Budget Considerations

Establish a realistic budget for the initial installation and long-term maintenance expenses. While some materials may have a higher upfront cost, they could prove more cost-effective over time due to lower maintenance requirements. Durable options like vinyl or aluminum may require less frequent upkeep compared to wood, making them a savvy investment over time.

Environmental Impact

Consider the environmental impact of the materials you are buying. Opt for sustainable and eco-friendly options when possible. Some materials may be recyclable, helping reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a greener living environment. For example, materials like bamboo and recycled plastic offer eco-friendly alternatives to traditional wood or metal fencing.

Neighborhood Relations

Think about your relationship with neighbors and community. Discussing your plans with neighbors and adhering to a balanced neighborhood can prevent disputes and enhance the overall visual harmony of the area.

Each type of fence material has unique advantages and drawbacks, making it crucial to assess your specific needs and priorities. With the right fence in place, you can enjoy added privacy, security, and curb appeal for years to come.

Looking for a new fence in Fort Dodge or Ames, IA? Expert fencing contractors like Midwest Fence & Gate Company can help you get good quality materials with superior installation. Contact us to learn more!

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