old fence

A wood fence is a great addition to any backyard with its natural beauty and durability. However, before dishing money out for a brand new fence, you might want to find out how long wood fences last! After all, you could potentially be spending hundreds of dollars on it!

Wood fences are a great way to add privacy without spending a ton of money. They are great for those on a budget who still value their own space and want their yard to look good. Wood fences are typically very durable and can last anywhere from 15-20 years if properly maintained.

KILZ L832111 Exterior Waterproofing Wood Stain, Semi-Transparent, Cedar, 1-Gallon, 1 Gallon, 4 l

I have summarized what wood fences last the longest as well as steps you can take to ensure it lasts for years and years. We also talk about the reasons wood fences may need replacing and how to keep it looking beautiful all year.

How Long Do Wood Fences Last

Wood fences are a beautiful option for your backyard, but it is always wise to know just how long they last. With most wood fences lasting anywhere from 15 to 20 years, you need to take some time to decide on a style that will accentuate your backyard.

A huge difference between a wood fence that lasts for years and one that needs to be replaced and fixed often is both how they are installed as well as the type of wood they are made from. Not putting up a fence well and trying to hurry can result in your wood fence not lasting as long as you initially anticipated.

If you don’t feel confident in installing a fence yourself, consulting a professional will ensure you have a fence that should last you multiple decades.


What Type of Wood Fences Last the Longest

There are multiple types of wood fencing to choose from and choosing the right type will be the difference between replacing your fence after a few years or after a few decades.

The most common woods for nowadays fences are spruce, cedar, and pine and while they both provide their own benefits, some have longer lifespans than others.

Just a quick note: you can use old fence posts to create amazing DIY projects too 😉


Cedar typically lasts the longest and are the most durable type of wood fence. Typically, untreated they can last up to 20 years and if they are treated they can last all the way up to forty years.


Next in line is pine. Pine is a great option and can last from 7-12 years untreated and up to 20 years if treated.


Lastly, is spruce which can last anywhere from 4-6 years and will likely need replacing more often.

Ensuring that your fence is built appropriately with the fence posts not touching the ground will keep your fence looking new year after year and it will last longer. The problem with the fence posts touching the ground is that they absorb the moisture from the ground which will eventually lead to rot and decay.

How Do I Keep My Wooden Fence from Rotting

THOMPSONS WATERSEAL 21802 VOC Wood Protector, 1.2-Gallon

There are a few steps you can take to protect your fence from rot and decay and will prolong the longevity of your fence. First of all most fences are pressure treated to keep bugs and mold away and are therefore created to withstand weather and temperature changes.

While pressure washed fences are created to keep bugs away as well as moisture and more, they often succumb to bending and warping over the years.

  • One step you can take is to inspect your fence yearly by going around and booking for any signs of damage or weaknesses. When you inspect your fence, replace any boards that are old or warped for new strong boards that will last longer.
  • Although fences usually withstand moisture, it is also a good idea to take necessary steps to keep excess water away. Things like a sprinkler that constantly hits your fence or a bush growing on your fence can include added moisture that will cause your fence to decay quickly.
  • Another step you can take to prolong the life of your fence is to deep clean it every three years. Deep cleaning your fence and recoating it with new sealant will give it new life and help it to last longer.
  • By power washing or scrubbing your fence, you can get rid of any mold or mildew that may have built up over the years and give your fence a fresh start. Once you clean your fence, taking the time to paint or reseal it will help your hard work last longer and your fence will be more effective for years to come.
  • Many people also stain their fences to keep moisture out and add a bit more style to their fence which is a great budget friendly option.

Signs That Your Fence May Need to be Replaced

There are multiple signs over the years that will let you know that it may be time to replace your wood fence.

Wood Rot

If you notice rot at the base of your wood fence posts, it may be time to replace some boards as well as apply a stain or preservative. That is why it is so important to thoroughly inspect your fence yearly to prevent mold and rot before it becomes a widespread issue.

RTG Supply Co.-504523 Wood Rot Repair Epoxy (Quart)


Another sign that it may be time to replace sections of your fence or your entire fence is if you notice that your fence begins to lean one way or another. Typically wind and harsh weather can damage your fence and cause issues like leaning that may be an easy fix, or it may be a sign that it’s time for a new fence.

Split Boards

Split boards can be a larger issue when it begins to affect most of your fence. A lot of times, freezing weather can wreak havoc on your fence posts and cause them to break easier than normal. If you are noticing more and more of your fence has broken pieces, it may be time to invest in a new wood fence for your home.

No matter what, it is wise to repair and fix small issues over the years so you won’t have to dish out a ton of money at once. Inevitably over time you will need to replace your wood fence so preparing financially is a good option as well.


Installing a wood fence yourself or hiring someone to do so is a huge investment of money and time. When installed correctly, wood fences can last for years without any issues. They will provide you with beautiful style as well as functionality and privacy.

Cedar fences typically last the longest and are the most durable type of wood fence with pine and spruce coming in next. There are a few steps you can take to keep your fence looking pristine such as inspecting it yearly and cleaning and resealing it every few years.

Taking the time to fully inspect and properly maintain your wood fence will keep it looking good for centuries and keep you from having to spend more money on a new fence sooner than you expected. While inspecting your wood fence looking for mold, mildew, warping, or cracks will help you pinpoint what needs fixing first and what can wait.

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