You want a beautiful wooden fence that delineates your property line, provides privacy, and can also keep pets and other animals inside. You have several options for that, but most people will choose between cedar split rail fencing and pressure treated lumber. Which is better? How do they stack up to one another?

Cedar Split Rail

Cedar can last at least 15 years, and often as long as 30 years. Compared to that, treated pine will last between 9 and 25 years, depending on the chemical treatment used. Note that if the cedar fence use treated pine for the posts, with cedar rails, the life will be shorter. Cedar does require maintenance, but it is less than what you’d need to do to maintain other types of wood fencing. Cedar is also naturally rot resistant and will resist pests, as well.

Pressure Treated Rails

Pressure treated wood will usually last about 9 and 25 years, so it comes in just under the natural cedar. This type of treated wood is also filled with chemicals – those can leach out into the surrounding ground, which is why it should never be used near potable water sources or food gardens. CCA is the treatment most of the people are familiar with. It was the standard and came in 2 versions, ground contact, and water contact. The EPA banned the use of CCA (except for government agencies like road departments) in 2003. Any fence installed since has probably been with ACQ which has a significantly shorter lifespan. Especially when it comes to moisture contact. Many cities now require all metal post for privacy picket fences because the post will rot off far sooner than the rails and pickets not exposed to the ground.  Ultimately, ACQ pressure treated wood is cheaper at the beginning, but you’ll pay more over time in the form of maintenance and replacement.

Treating with Copper Naphthenate

warped wood with nails

But for the ultimate in protection take a look at Copper Naphthenate. This product provides a double punch of protection for your lumber. With this product, you get the protection from rotting organisms and the insolubility of a petroleum product. For lamen speak, Copper Naphthenate will not wash out with the rain or sprinkler system.  Our CopperNap product comes with a 25-year warranty!

Check out this article about Round Rail Fences

In the end, cedar split rail fencing definitely beats out pressure treated lumber. There are no chemicals to worry about, the wood can last up to three decades, and it looks beautiful, too. With that being said, make sure that you’re buying red cedar fencing, as other types of cedar do not have the same lifespan. You should also make sure that if you’re interested in split rail fencing, that your cedar is actually split, rather than sawn. You will need to research your supplier to verify these areas.

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