Here is a popular question I pose to homeowners when I am doing in home appointments.  If you could have a maintenance free vinyl picket fence, with a lifetime materials warranty, and a 5 years gate labor warranty for about the same cost as a western red cedar picket fence…which one would you choose?  If you will sell your home in 10 years, which fence will have the best first impression, the best return on your investment?



Vinyl Picket Fence

Vinyl Picket Pool Fence

Now that is an easy answer, most homeowners want the fence without the maintenance of staining and replacing damaged boards and posts!  But, how can a vinyl picket fence  cost about the same as a cedar picket fence?

By looking at the TOTAL COST associated with both fences over a 5 year period and a 10 year period we can see what the actual costs per each fence are! Not only that, but let’s assume you sell your home after 10 years…how much return on your total investment (residual value) will that picket fence bring to your home value?

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Western Red Cedar vs. Premium Vinyl Picket Fence

Ok, an average yard is say 225′ with one gate for western red cedar is $2,937.50 with expected maintenance costs of staining in 1st(double coat stain), 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, and finally for resale value the 10th year.  In 5 years time you have accumulated additional costs to stain and replace damaged lumber in excess of $1650.00 which is over half the original cost of the fence!  Now,  you do get to enjoy the beautiful character of a natural wood fence for those 10 years, but at a TOTAL COST of about $4,587.50!


Vinyl vs Cedar 10 year Cost Analysis

Now let’s say to save money, you do not stain your cedar fence.  Is that really the LOOK that you wanted for your beautiful home? If so, you could have installed a used cedar fence for half the cost that looks old and wore out! If you do not stain or maintain your cedar fence, you will see that every day when you leave and come home till you sell your home. A wood fence which has not been maintained will drastically REDUCE the value of your home!

So WHAT IS THE VALUE of that natural wood fence after 10 years of maintenance and staining?  The value on a 10 year old natural wood fence for home resale is about 10% of original investment (that means only 10% of what you initially paid for it less than $300 and does not include any maintenance added).

But it is a natural wood fence IT IS A NATURAL WOOD FENCE and you get the character of the natural wood fence and if that is what you are expecting, then you will be happy with your final results.

Now, let’s look at the vinyl picket fence costs and residual value.  An average yard with one gate and premium vinyl picket fence is $4,800.00. Add to this the same staining and maintenance schedule as the cedar fence…WAIT, THERE ARE NO MORE ADDITIONAL COSTS.  What about the gate?  Fences always have problem gates that don’t work!  This is the great part, our premium vinyl gates have a 5 year gate labor warranty!

Ok, so after 10 years the vinyl fence will end up costing about the same as a western red cedar fence with all the staining and maintenance. Is that all?

No, there’s more!  Look carefully at the residual values of both fences, the vinyl picket will return about 65% of original value on home resale after 10 years while the western red cedar fence will return only about 10% of the original value.  When you factor in the residual values the vinyl fence will cost you about $168.00 per year while the western red cedar picket fence will cost you about $534.00 a year.  So for the homeowner with no desire to stain and maintain a fence, and wants the least cost for the long run there is no doubt the vinyl picket fence is your best option.

Finally, look at some fencing in your own neighborhood that has been around for 10 years.  First impressions are important!  Wood you pay full price for a beautiful home with a raggedy old wood fence, OR would you ask for a reduction in price because of that old wore out looking fence?

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