The debate over the best type of wood for fences has been ongoing for several years. Pressure-treated wood has entered the conversation as a popular choice when building fences in gardens and outdoor areas. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of pressure-treated wood, as well as its significance for fence building. Our aim is to provide you with the necessary information to help you decide whether pressure-treated wood is the ideal choice for your next fence project.

What is Pressure-Treated Wood?

Pressure-treated wood is timber that has undergone a special process to prolong its longevity and improve its durability. This process involves placing the wood into a vacuum-sealed chamber, where it gets impregnated with waterborne preservatives under high pressure. The result is wood that is more resistant to decay, insect damage, and fungal growth—giving it an edge when compared to untreated wood.

Benefits of Pressure-Treated Wood

There are several reasons why pressure-treated wood might be an attractive choice for fences, including:

  1. Longevity: Pressure-treated wood has an extended lifespan, lasting up to 20-40 years depending on the exposure, maintenance, and specific wood type. This is longer than untreated wood types commonly used for fences, which may only last for about 10-15 years.
  1. Durability: Pressure-treated wood is highly resistant to environmental factors such as moisture, decay, and insects. This makes it a suitable choice for outdoor applications like fences, where it will face constant exposure to the elements and wear and tear.
  1. Environmentally friendly: Pressure-treated wood can be sourced from sustainable forests, and the treatment process significantly reduces the amount of replacement timbers needed, consequently lowering the overall environmental impact.
  1. Cost-effective: While the initial cost of pressure-treated wood may be higher than untreated wood, its durability and longevity make it a more cost-effective option in the long run.

Drawbacks of Pressure-Treated Wood

Despite its benefits, pressure-treated wood also has some drawbacks:

  1. Chemicals: The preservatives used during the treatment process contain chemicals that could potentially be hazardous, especially if they come into contact with food or water sources. However, modern regulations and standards have led to a decrease in the use of harmful chemicals, making pressure-treated wood safer now than in the past.
  1. Maintenance: Pressure-treated wood may still require maintenance in the form of sealing, staining, or painting to keep its appearance and enhance its durability. Ignoring this maintenance could compromise the wood's longevity and resistance to factors like moisture and decay.
  1. Aesthetics: Some people may find the appearance of pressure-treated wood lacking when compared with natural wood types. However, this is subjective and could be easily remedied through the painting or staining of the wood.


When deciding whether pressure-treated wood is the right choice for your fence, you need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks according to your needs and preferences. While it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing option, its durability and longevity make it an attractive and cost-effective choice for many homeowners. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and requirements, as well as the specific environment and climate in which the fence will be installed. Consider discussing your options with a professional before making a final decision, and always follow safety guidelines when working with pressure-treated wood.