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Forum topic by Doss posted 05-16-2012 08:06 PM 1442 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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779 posts in 2502 days

05-16-2012 08:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: fence fencing pine cypress cedar marine spar varnish epoxy slat fence

Well, I am stuck. I’m building a fence and have put up some treated pine posts and I’m now deciding on what wood to use to finish the fence out. It’s going to be a horizontal slat fence with 4×4 mains at 10’ with 2×4 helpers at the 5’ marks between the two 4×4’s. So, here are my choices: Pine, cedar, or cypress. I’m most likely going to stain them at some point if that makes a difference.

The pine I’m looking at is Grade C (free of knots, wane, and most other defects). I figure for the small increase in price, I’m freeing myself of getting throw-away boards in my order. I was told to they could pressure treat them in the shop or I could dip them in a product like Woodlife Classic to protect them from rot and weathering.

The cedar and cypress are about 33% more on cost than the pine and I need about 800 linear feet (1” x 6” x 10’ roughly). With less defects, the price difference increase to about 80% over pine. I would probably need to treat them too (an argument of old growth vs. new growth maybe?), but I’m not sure if the cost increase is worth it versus the perceived decreased maintenance vs. pine.

I’ve thought about possibly applying a marine finish to the wood like a spar varnish or epoxy, but don’t know whether or not that’s going to be cost effective. Also, I don’t understand why these finish types aren’t normally used on outdoor projects… is it extreme overkill? Does anyone else have any good finishing solutions for any of these wood types in a fence application?

I live in central MS (lots of rain, high humidity, and no shortage of hot days (about 5 months out of the year are 90+ degrees)).

Thanks in advance.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

2 replies so far

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 2914 days

#1 posted 05-16-2012 11:23 PM

Doss, I built several thousand feet of horse fencing around my farm about 7 years ago. I’m in central NC, and like you have a lot of hot humid days here.

Most of my posts are yellow locust (some around the dressage arena are a treated SYP), and the boards are 5/4 eastern red cedar. It is a 4 board horizontal with a cap board to help reduce the water on the other boards (plus for the look). It is not stained or finished, and the wood does not show any signs of deterioration.

When I researched material options, most of the local farmers told me that I could expect 30 – 50 years out of the cedar boards. Based upon their condition 7 years into it, I would tend to agree with their assessment. The locust posts should be good for 80+ years.

Plus, the rough sawn cedar boards really provide a nice aesthetic, IMO. They have aged to a nice, silver color.

I can’t speak to the durability of the others, but have been pleased with the ERC.


-- Scott, North Carolina,

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2502 days

#2 posted 05-17-2012 10:03 PM

Thanks Scott. I’ll keep that in mind. I know the previous fence was big box store cedar pickets and they were okay, but definitely needed some maintenance after about 10 yrs.

Yeah, the rough sawn boards are what they offer (fairly defect free, but not as nice as the pine). I can get a few types of cedar and cypress.

I’d be tempted to plane them to keep up with my modern theme to my house. You can get an idea of that look here (yes, this is my house):

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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