Cedar Fences vs. Pressure Treated Pine Fences

cedar fence vs pressure treated pineA common choice when choosing a wood fence is the decision whether to go with cedar or pressure treated pine. Often, homeowners make the mistake of working with pressure treated pine simply because it is commonly available and requires a smaller initial investment. However, pressure treated pine comes with some severe disadvantages, especially when compared to cedar.

Cedar is a naturally durable, non-toxic, insect-resistant wood that doesn’t need harsh chemical treatments to serve as a sturdy fence. It doesn’t warp, shrink, or splinter. This makes cedar a “green” alternative. On the other hand, pressure treated pine does require these treatments and it tends to warp, splinter, and crack over time.

Cedar has a pleasant, natural scent. Of course, pine has a nice scent too, but you’d never know it after soaking it in all of the chemical treatments that pressure treated pine requires. It also has a pleasant, natural look which continues to look pleasant as the fence ages.

Cosmetically, cedar just looks better. It weatherizes to a pretty silvery color if you don’t stain it. We’ve all seen the results of pressure treated pine fences when weatherized: you get colors that aren’t consistent and a generally a shabby appearance that makes your home look poorly maintained.

We’ve been building and installing cedar fences in the Milwaukee area for years. Here are a couple pictures of the cedar fences we’ve installed:

board on board cedar fence

dog eared cedar fence

These are Northern White Cedar fences. As you can see, they are a true compliment to these homes. They can be created in a variety of different styles to suit your different fencing needs.

If you’re looking for a fence that’s going to be long lasting you’ll want cedar. Cedar will stand between 15 to 25 years without any special maintenance at all. Pressure treated pine will only last 7 to 15 years. The difference in the initial investments looks a lot smaller when you consider the fact that the cedar fence is likely to last nearly twice as long as the pressure treated pine fence. You’ll actually spend more money with pressure treated pine over the long term.

In short, pressure treated pine fences are the “economy” choice, and it shows. Oddly, many times homeowners aren’t even made aware that other alternatives exist. Sometimes a fence installer won’t carry cedar, and neither will home improvement shops. It’s a sort of “race to the bottom” mentality that assumes that home owners don’t care about anything other than price.

We happen to believe that home owners care about quality and beauty too. As a leading fence contractor serving the Milwaukee, WI area, we specialize in beautiful, top-of-the-line Northern White Cedar fences. We mill our wood a 1/4″ thicker than our competitors to enhance the natural durability of our fences. Call us today at (262) 251-6766 for a free estimate!


  1. Jason says:

    I always try to convince my customers to go with cedar. I do not charge more for the labor, the only cost difference is the price of the material. I still have many home owners who do not want to pay the extra for a fence that will last much longer and look much better. I have actually considered lowering my labor slightly just so homeowners can get cedar for almost the same price. Cedar is actually easier to work with, and usually much lighter that treated pine, sometimes, treated pine is twice as heavy. I keep telling myself this to justify lowering the price. I don’t want to wind up not being able to make a profit, but I also don’t want people to see a fence that I built 2 years ago out of treated pine that now looks faded, and has already started to warp. If I had my choice I would never use anything other than cedar.

  2. Ram says:

    I asked a handyman to replace a single, broken panel on my cedar fence with a cedar panel. He finished the work but the panel looks very much like pine. If I sent you a picture of it could you tell me whether it’s cedar or pine for sure? If yes, how can I send it to you? Many thanks for your help ….

Leave Comment

Please note: your comment may need to be approved before it is published.