Types of Fence Panels

Written by tuesday fuller
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Types of Fence Panels
A reed fence panel (lightweight outdoor wooden bamboo privacy fence panel image by Steve Johnson from Fotolia.com)

When considering fencing options for your yard or patio, you may be surprised to find a wide variety of fence panels available on the market. The different types of fence panels serve a variety of purposes, from privacy or security to ornamental or decorative. While each material on its own merges beauty with function, combining panel designs or materials can create a truly unique fence that compliments your existing outdoor theme.

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Wood

Wood fence panels typically provide more security than other fencing options and cost significantly less in most areas. Typical wood fencing is available 5 to 6 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide, although panel sizes can vary depending on purpose. Some smaller panels are designed to protect gardens or saplings from yard machinery and animals. Wood panels may have planks positioned tightly together, called close board fencing, for utmost privacy; they may also have spaced pickets, like lattice panels, that provide a secluded environment while allowing cooling breezes to pass. Homeowners may also choose to build their own fence and customise the design with many other wood species. Wood fence panels traditionally come in treated pine or cedar, which is naturally rot-resistant. A popular choice for tropical style gardens and patios is bamboo. Available as tightly woven panels, bamboo, reed and willow panels combine security with interest for an eccentric appearance. Wood panels can be painted or stained to compliment the home or backyard theme.

Metal

Available in several patterns, textures and styles, metal fencing can add sophistication and antiquity to a backyard or patio while maintaining a level of security. Popular metal fence panels are made from wrought iron, aluminium or steel. Chain link is also available and, though not as decorative as the other metal fence panels, provides superb security with minimal maintenance. Metal fencing has a powder coat that protects it from rust but can also alter its colour. Some chain link fences have a rubber coating available in several colours that camouflages it; this can make the fence blend seamlessly with its background, and is perfect for climbing plants or low hanging trees.

Vinyl

Vinyl fencing offers the same structural and design benefits as metal or wood but with additional benefits like increased durability with minimal maintenance. Vinyl fencing comes in a variety of panel styles, ranging from tightly positioned panels to spaced ornamental decorations. Panels can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal depending on your design concept. Vinyl fence panels can also mimic the look of wood and lattice for shade and privacy. Vinyl fencing installs just like wood fencing, but is much lighter and easier to transport, and can be cut with a saw to create custom designs for the homeowner. Pre-built panels are available in different sizes, ranging from the standard 5 by 8 foot panels to smaller garden designs or larger panels for increased security. Vinyl fencing comes in a variety of light colours and textures as well, although many of these designs are special orders and cost more than traditional white panels. The downfall to vinyl is it tends to swell and shrink due to weather conditions and can melt if exposed to very high temperatures, which is one of the main reasons it does not come in dark colours.

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