Don't get stuck with Cheap Fence Panels - What to look for.

Don't get stuck with Cheap Fence Panels from a discount privacy fence company! Here's what to look for:

1. The stringers.

The back stringers are are a key component to your panels staying strong and not sagging over time. Many people choose to install cheap pressure treated panels but these inexpensive privacy fence panels are made with 2x3's instead of 2x4's.

Cheap fence panels 2x3

We don't install cheap privacy fence.  We use thick cut Western Red Cedar 2x4's for our back rails.

Western Red Cedar is known for it's longevity in the elements and resistance to insect damage and rot.  Remember when they used to make all the park picnic tables out of redwood before the rubber coated metal tables or composite plastics came out?  Western Red Cedar has a similar trusted history.

Here's a pdf spec sheet on the trusted Western Red Cedar whose scientific species name is: Thuja plicata.  And, another WRC quick facts pdf it also.

Well, Western Red Cedar is also known for its strength.  You won't find these as stringers in the cheap fence panels from the home improvement centers!

Here below are side by side comparisons of manufactured cheap fence panels vs. a Redwood 2x4 we used to install (now we use an even thicker, rough cut Western Red Cedar 2x4).

The cheap stringers only measure 2.5" inches. Where as the redwood stringers were 3.5" inches wide.  And, our Western Red Cedar, thick cut 2x4's are approximately 3.75" wide.

Cheap fence panels 2x3 vs 2x4's

Good lumber is usually smooth on four sides (S4S). Where as cheap lumber is usually milled with the sharp sides left as is.  

Our WRC 2x4's are rough cut so they are thick, but not smooth on the face and edge.  Just something to consider.  It costs a little more for the extra step in the manufacturing process to sand all four sides and put a quarter round on each corner.

It's good to know what kind of materials are going into your wooden fencing.

Cheap fence panels 2x3 vs a 2x4 Redwood stringer


The second thing to look for in avoiding cheap panels is:

2. The picket material.

Cheap pressure treated pine pickets usually are the lower end of discount privacy fence panels. The lower grades of lumber are usually used. This makes it more difficult for installers to work with because of the many large knots in the wood when ripping is needed.

Whitewood is also used for inexpensive fence panels but needs to be treated with a preservative, stain, or paint to get better longevity like pressure treated lumber.

A second consideration to beware of is that a cheap pressure treated panel will often come moldy from the factory. Since the manufacturer soaks the panel in chemicals, the panel is often not completely dried and stacked still moist.

In the below picture you can see the mold on the front of the panels where the stringers are behind.

Cheap fence panels that are moldy.

You want to use Western Red Cedar wood because of its many wonderful qualities.

It resists insect damage and rot well.  It has natural tannins that resist rot and insects versus White Woods.

It holds its shape well (dimensionally stable) as it dries and weathers in the elements versus Pressure Treated pickets.

It's long lasting, versus White Wood pickets.

It is very attractive when used as a fencing.

And, it is a wonderfully aromatic wood.

Cheap fence panels vs this beautiful WRC privacy fence

We can easily install pressure treated panels however, we prefer you to use WRC pickets and strong, sag resistant, WRC 2x4 stringers which reduces call backs and gives our customers, reliable, great looking performance over time.


A Better Fence Construction logo - Oklahoma City Fence Company
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For over 15+ years we've been a proven Oklahoma City fence company protecting your loved ones and livelihoods. 

We are a U.S. Air Force veteran owned and 2nd generation family business.  We are Oklahoma City's trusted & proven fence company. 

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