Concrete or Wooden Fence Posts? The Pros & Cons

If you’ve patched up your tired old garden fence for the last time and finally decided it needs to be replaced, you might find yourself with a dilemma. One of the most fundamental choices to be made at this point is whether to go with wooden or concrete fence posts. 

We’ve helped customers make the right choice time and time again over the years, so let’s set out the pros and cons of each, and explore a third option that perhaps you're not aware of.

Close board fencing with wooden fence posts

Wooden fence posts 

Pros

  • Cost: Budget is a priority for many people; timber posts are much cheaper than concrete posts, both to buy and to install. 
  • Design: Timber posts are usually the same colour as the fence panels themselves, whether they’re painted or left natural. Aesthetically this gives a more seamless appearance to your fence-line, blurring the connection between the fence panels for a more unified look. 
  • Environmental credentials: When the timber for wooden posts is FSC certified (as all timber used by Trentwood is), you know that it is environmentally appropriate, protecting natural communities, high-conservation-value forests and the rights of workers and indigenous peoples. 
  • Easier installation: Wooden posts are lighter than concrete ones, so they’re cheaper and easier to transport and install.
  • Security: Fence panels can be screwed to wooden fence posts, rather than simply sitting between the slotted grooves of concrete posts. This has a couple of benefits: firstly, when the panel is fixed in place you do away with that annoying rattle when the wind blows against it. And secondly, did you know that one of the most common ways for thieves to get into your garden is by removing unfixed fence panels? They simply lift them out! 
  • Longevity: Properly treated timber, good preparation of the ground and good ongoing maintenance will significantly prolong the life of wooden fence posts and protect against rot. Postsaver sleeves will also drastically improve the service life of wooden posts, as they keep moisture, oxygen and decaying organisms at bay. Postsaver sleeves can potentially double the life-span of a wooden fence post, making them a real contender when compared with concrete posts.

Cons

  • Maintenance required: We’ve listed longevity as an advantage of wooden fence posts, and postsaver sleeves will make a big difference, but there will still be some maintenance involved with timber, especially if you use poorly treated wood and no postsaver sleeves. If you don’t have the time or energy for that, your fence posts could show signs of splitting or rotting within a few years. 

Concrete fence posts

Concrete fence posts

Pros

  • Robust and sturdy: Concrete fence posts are much sturdier than timber, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your fence is well supported and the post will still be standing after a strong wind or storm. This makes concrete posts ideal for exposed areas.
  • Longevity: Concrete posts are virtually impenetrable by damp and they won’t be chewed up by insects, so potentially they can last for decades. They will almost certainly outlast wooden posts, which could offset the extra cost to install them in the first place.
  • Low maintenance: Aside from ensuring that the post is installed properly in the first place, there’s very little maintenance needed after that. 

Cons

  • Cost: You’ll need to budget more for concrete posts, not just for the initial purchase, but potentially for transport (because they’re heavier) and installation (because of increased labour costs). 
  • Chips and cracks: While they’re in good condition, concrete posts are virtually indestructible, but they can sometimes chip or crack, allowing water to seep deep into the post. Over time, this can cause the crack to worsen, exposing the reinforcing metal wires to rust and eventual fence failure. 
  • Security: As mentioned earlier, unfixed fence panels can be simply lifted out from between concrete posts. This might be convenient for you, the property owner, but it also gives unwanted intruders easy access to your garden. 
  • Environmental impact: Concrete has a very poor environmental profile. Amongst other things, its creation is said to consume almost 10% of the world’s industrial water use, it degrades extremely slowly and is responsible for between 4% and 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. 

There’s a third option – Durapost metal fence posts

Durapost galvanised steel fence posts

Your choice isn’t limited to timber or concrete; there’s a third option: Durapost is a revolutionary, galvanished steel fence post system that’s lighter and stronger than concrete and twice as quick to install. 

Durapost fence posts won’t rot, warp or crack and they can withstand winds up to 110mph. They’re also compatible with almost any type of timber fence panel. The durability benefits stack up well against both wood and concrete and the extended lifespan could save you money in the long-term.

Read more about Durapost fence posts.

Still can’t decide?

Fence panels with wooden postsThere are things to be said for and against every option, but if you still can’t decide, then for what it’s worth we think wooden posts take a lot of beating, especially if you’re on a budget.

One reason is that they just look so good. If you spend much time in your garden, you’ll really appreciate the natural appeal of timber posts, and the uninterrupted flow of the fence-line, whether you’re creating a traditional or contemporary look in your garden.

In our opinion, this is an acceptable trade-off against the longevity of concrete, although having your wooden posts installed by professionals, and using post-saver sleeves, will increase their life-span considerably. 

From an environmental view, too, ethically sourced timber is far more acceptable than concrete. 

And finally, you can’t overlook the cost element if you’re on a budget. Concrete and steel Durapost posts will save you money in terms of their long-term replacement needs, but wooden posts will give you an immediate saving on purchase and installation costs. 

If sheer longevity is your highest priority, however, and long-term savings is the name of the game, we highly recommend Durapost fence posts.

Call Trentwood Fencing for further advice or a quote for fencing in and around Oxfordshire.
 

Released On 17th Jun 2020

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