How Long Do Wood Privacy Fences Last?

When you plan to install a new wooden fence, be sure to consider its useful life. Several factors go into how long your privacy fence will last. Here at Carnahan-White, we’ve researched this topic for today’s blog to answer your question about how long your wood privacy fence should last. 

Natural Life of Wood 

The first thing to know when estimating the life of a fence is the natural life of the wood. The most commonly used wood types for fences are cedar, fir, and pine. Depending on the species, the lifespan of cedar is about 1,530 years, spruce 47 years, and pine 512 years. 

Life Span of Pressure-Treated Wood 

Most wood processing companies claim that pressure-treated wood lasts for more than 20 years. This is certainly true for pines and firs, and cedars have a lifespan of up to 40 years. No matter how much you spend on processed wood, it will make up for it in the long run due to its longevity as well as beauty. How long pressure-treated wood lasts depends on the chemicals the processing company uses. 

Installation Precautions 

The biggest culprit for the premature aging of fences is moisture. Make sure that no fence panels or stakes touch the ground, as the ground will often be exposed to high humidity. But what about your fence posts? The strength of the fence depends on its weakest link, and high humidity soil will shorten the life of the column by up to three years. Make sure your columns are stained or treated before installation and be sure to provide concrete or gravel packing for the column holes to prevent moisture. 


To maximize the life of your fence, you should maintain it regularly. Lack of maintenance of the fence will reduce its useful life by several years. Be sure to stain, seal, or paint the fence and reapply the stain every two to four years. 

Ready for a new privacy fence that lasts for decades? Call us at Carnahan-White Fence Company in Springfield at 417-883-0733.