“How To” Select Your Wood For Your Wood Fence

Whether you are going to install a new wood fence yourself or hire a contractor; you will have to decide on the type of wood you want to use.  Let’s start with the posts.

  1. Research what is available for species.  Today, there are several new species of wood fence posts available from your fence contractor to the box stores.  Don’t settle but instead check out these available options.
  2. What about treated southern yellow pine?  This is the most readily available and least expensive option.  These pine posts are treated with ACQ2, an environmentally safe chemical that will assure these posts will last for several years.  These posts are highly prone to twisting and warping.  Once you have pulled the posts from the bundle; you should set these as quickly as possible and build your fence.  This will assist in curbing some of that bowing and twisting.  These posts are also prone to developing long vertical cracks called “checks” which is the post way of relieving the pressure of the pressure treated applied chemical.  These pine posts are not a good option if you are going to stain your fence as the stain does not absorb well over the treatment.  If you do not like the green color of the posts; it will not fade.
  3. What about treated white pine?  These posts are typically available through your more reputable fence contractors.  More expensive than a southern yellow pine, white pine is treated with the same ACQ2  treatment.   These posts however are less likely to bow and twist.  The white pine reacts differently to the pressure treatment and typical develops some slight twisting.  The white pine will develop long vertical cracks called “checks.”  White pine treated posts are not a good option for staining and do have a slight green tint.
  4. What about western red cedar?  These posts are hard to find.  As old growth western red cedar is restricted from harvesting, only new growth is available.  This makes supply limited at a high price point.  Wood mills are electing to mill western red cedar for other more high end uses like siding and decorative beams.  What is available in western red cedar fence post is mostly sap wood.  This is the outer rings of the tree that are alive and do not carry those natural preservatives found in heartwood.  These posts do not last long.  Western red cedar is desired for its unlikely nature to bow, bend or twist.
  5. What about incense cedar?  These posts are available through select box stores and fence contractors.  This is an excellent choice if you want the look of cedar and plan on staining your fence.  Incense cedar is grown in the southern cost of the United States.  Blonde in color, incense cedar is much lighter than western red cedar.  As there is an abundance of incense cedar, fence posts will come from a mix of sap and heartwood.  These posts have many of the same characteristics of western red cedar in that the posts are unlikely to significantly bow, bend or twist.
  6. What about lodge pole pine?  Growing in popularity, this species is very comparable to the white pine.  Lodge pole pine must be pressure treated for in ground usage.  Light in color, lodge pole pine will have a green tint after treatment.


For more information on these choices of wood fence posts, please review our website at www.theamericanfencecompany.com.