How Long Does a Fence Last

This website talks a lot about caring for your lawn and protecting your yard from thieves. One of the best ways to protect your amazing lawn or yard decorations is with a fence. While it won’t keep everybody or everything out, a fence is an excellent way to show that you do not want intruders in your yard. But what kind of fence is right for you? Let’s look at different kinds of fences and see which of them will last a lifetime.

How Long Does a Fence Last?

Your fence’s lifespan frequently depends on its material. Regardless of what kind of fence you get, a well-built, well-maintained fence should last at least 10–20 years. Our guide below covers several types of fencing materials and their average lifespans.

Types of Fences and Their Lifespans

There are many different types of fencing on the market. Their usability varies between lifespan, privacy, security, and aesthetic appeals. You must consider more than just lifespan when picking the perfect material for your fence.

We have compiled a list of the most common fencing types on the market for your convenience:


Wood is the cheapest, most traditional material for fences. However, that cheapness comes at the price of needing to be replaced more often. Wood is very vulnerable to environmental damage and insects. Of the types of wood fencing on the market, cedar is considered the most durable, lasting 30+ years. It still requires regular maintenance for waterproofing, pests, and other environmental hazards.


There has been a boom in what vinyl fences can be. They used to be mostly white or incredibly fake-looking attempts at “wood.” Now, not only does the “wood” look much more realistic, but it comes in many colors. You can also choose how much privacy you want, what height you might need for children and pets, and so on. A vinyl fence should last at least 50 years. The main downside is that vinyl does not take extreme heat or cold well.


Before we get into the steel/iron fences, we should cover aluminum. Not only is aluminum sturdy, but it does not rust and is recyclable. Aluminum fences are also slightly easier to clean. An aluminum fence should last 50+ years. It has not been around as long as wrought iron fencing.

Wrought Iron

If you want a fence that will last a long time and have zero concerns about budget, a wrought iron fence is what you need. Wrought iron is a very expensive fence material, but it is also decorative and can last centuries. Beware of rust.


Chain-link is a basic type of fence, but “basic” does not mean “bad.” Chain-link fences are cheap and surprisingly durable. A standard steel chain-link fence should last around 15 years; however, a chain-link fence made of galvanized steel can last up to 30 years. Coating your chain-link fence in vinyl also increases its lifespan. This is compromised by a lack of privacy. Chain-link fences are also relatively easy to break through.

Also read -> How to Trim Grass Around a Chain Link Fence


Composite fences are a blend of wood and resin. They attempt to harness the aesthetic and privacy appeals of wood without many of the problems that come with wood fencing. Composite fencing is immune to insect damage and rot. It is also less affected by intense heat or cold than plain vinyl fencing. However, it is still susceptible to mold and fading over time. Hybrid vigor does not fix everything. Well-maintained composite fencing can last over 30 years.


Sometimes, you need a fence for a specific purpose. As there are no rules with specialty fences, there is no guarantee on the lifespan. The base material will probably be similar to wood, metal, or plastic. Apply the corresponding advice.

What Type of Fence Lasts the Longest?

Sources are conflicted over whether vinyl or metal fences give the most lifespan for your buck. (Some of this skew is due to what sellers do/do not have in stock.) Wood requires a lot of maintenance compared to every other fence type on the market. Even though composite fences aren’t as susceptible to the elements as wood, they can still fade and get moldy. Neither of those should be considered if longevity is your priority.

That narrows things down to metals and vinyl. Without a doubt, wrought iron wins in terms of lifespan. Wrought iron fences can last centuries; some in New York and the French Quarter have been around since the 1700s. These are well-maintained fences. Prepare to leave care instructions in your will.

However, that longevity comes at a price. For the average homeowner, a wrought iron fence would cost anywhere from $2,334 to $4,769. Unless you plan to treat this fence as an investment not just for your lifetime, but for your kids and/or future homeowners, it might not be worth those thousands.

What about aluminum? Aluminum hasn’t stood the test of time as well as wrought iron has; this may be because it only became popular in the last 15 years. But it doesn’t save you very much money; the average cost of an aluminum fence is $4,116. The upside is that it is very easy to clean and will not rust at all.

Since wrought iron and aluminum fences might not work for most suburban homeowners, what are the best choices for the average person? You are probably looking at vinyl or modified chain-link fence options. These are both affordable and lack the risks of wooden fencing.

Vinyl fences are both very private and highly customizable. If you need vinyl in a certain color, height, or privacy, there is probably a vinyl fence that can do it. A vinyl fence should last at least 50 years, and will not require much maintenance during that time.

Speaking of vinyl, vinyl can be used to protect chain-link fences. Since the links will not be exposed to the elements, the vinyl coating can double the lifespan of your chain-link fence. If you get galvanized chain-link, your fence will last approximately 30 years—the same amount as if you had gotten a vinyl fence in the first place.

If you want privacy, vinyl fences are the best way to go. If you want a secure fence, a gate of galvanized steel or wrought iron is probably the answer. And if you want a fence from the future, aluminum has many similar qualities to wrought iron but is significantly easier to maintain. If the lifespan of your fence is your only concern, wrought iron is the answer.

Tips to Make Your Fence Last Longer

Regular maintenance is key to making sure you have your fence for as long as possible. Once you know what type of fence you want, look up how to maintain it. Wood is notoriously hard to maintain; you need to check it for insect damage, water damage, and anything else that might cause rot. Wood is the worst in terms of longevity, but you can make it last if you put in the effort.

Composite fencing needs the occasional wash-down and checks for mildew, but overall, it is easier to maintain than all-wood fencing. Both of these will need replacement more often than metal or pure vinyl options. Replace individual pieces when you can.

If you have a chain-link or wrought iron fence, check for rust or peeling paint. Use either a 50-50 lemon-vinegar solution or a chemical rust remover to get it off. Then, scrape off any old paint and repaint your fence. Iron and steel fencing can last a long time, but need this relatively small amount of care.

Vinyl and aluminum fences require even less maintenance. Vinyl fences only need to be hosed down when they get dirty. Maintaining an aluminum fence likewise only requires soap and water. Make sure that the fence is completely dry; water can stay in small cracks and cause problems. Their ease of maintenance is the main pro that vinyl and aluminum have over wrought iron fencing.

Signs You Need a New Fence

There’s a rule of thumb: if your fence is older than you are, it is time to replace it. Other than that, however, you need a new fence when the repair costs (time and money) are not worth it anymore. If you need to repair large swatches of chain-link, fix one too many wooden bars, or notice several of your vinyl pieces cracking, it may be better to buy a new fence entirely. Weigh costs to see when the time is right.


There are many factors to consider when picking a material for your fence. But if getting a long-lasting fence is important to you, wrought iron and aluminum are your best options. Wrought iron can last for centuries; aluminum is a relatively new runner-up. Vinyl is the best material if you want a combination of longevity and privacy. Wood is the worst material for fences, even though composite fences remove many of the shortcomings. We hope this article has helped you pick the perfect fence for your yard—after all, you put effort into the other parts.

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