Installing a picket fence on your property provides a variety of benefits. Picket fences are available in a variety of styles and designs; some are functional, while others provide aesthetically pleasing privacy. Picket fences have traditionally been made of wood, but there are now more options available, including vinyl. A picket fence can add value to your property, but which material should you use? The following comparison of wood and vinyl advantages and disadvantages will help you choose the best picket fence materials for your needs.

Wood Picket Fences

A wood picket fence can be cut before or after installation to create a more customized look. There are both advantages and disadvantages of a wood picket fence, including:


  • Wood picket fences provide a classic, traditional look and feel to your landscape.
  • Wood fences are often less expensive than vinyl to install.
  • You can choose from a variety of wood options, such as cedar, which is naturally resistant to mold, water, rot and bug infestations. Pine is also an option for those who are on a budget, however, pine is more prone to warping and isn't naturally resistant to moisture and rot.
  • Wood can also be stained or painted in a vast array of color choices.


  • Wood picket fences are often difficult to maintain. The maintenance plan includes regularly reapplying paint or another finish in order to prevent fungus and rot.
  • Wood is prone to damage from mildew, pests and termites, which may also spread to your home.
  • If preventative measures aren't taken, the wood can warp due to moisture.

Vinyl Picket Fences

Vinyl is an alternative to the traditional white picket fence and like wood; it has its advantages and disadvantages, including:


  • Vinyl picket fences are resistant to water, mildew, rotting, mold, and pest damage
  • Vinyl can mimic the look of wood
  • Easy to maintain and it is easily cleaned with a hose and liquid soap
  • Does not have to be painted or stained
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Highly durable; doesn't split or crack and is typically fire-resistant


  • Vinyl is slight more expensive than wood picket fences
  • Lower end vinyl may turn yellow after a long period of sun exposure
  • Vinyl picket fence panels and posts are prefabricated, so they cannot be cut during installation and it can't be cut to create a customized look.

Both vinyl and wood picket fences can offer an aesthetically pleasing look to your home. When making a choice between the two materials, along with the advantages and disadvantages, it is important to keep a few other factors in mind, such as your budget and what, if any rules and regulations apply to your neighborhood. For example, if you live in a historical area, the use of a vinyl picket fence may be prohibited. Whichever material you decide on, keep in mind that the hardware used to construct your picket fence is as important as the material itself. For example, it is usually best to use steel or galvanized steel fasteners (screws and hinges) for durability.