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Cedar Fence vs Vinyl Fence: What Are the Differences and Which is Better?

Updated: Mar 4

cedar fence vs vinyl

Whether you are looking to add an extra layer of security to your home or a property manager seeking to boost the aesthetics of your lot, installing a new fence is an excellent choice.

There are several options to choose from, with one of the hottest debates in recent years being the difference between a cedar fence vs vinyl fence.

Cedar fences have dominated the industry thanks to their natural beauty and formidable durability. Vinyl fences have grown in popularity in the last decade thanks to their low maintenance requirements, making the cedar fence vs vinyl fence contest a close call.

As the premier supplier of lumber in Canada, we here at Quality Cedar Products decided to use our decades of experience to help definitively end this debate. We will cover everything from variations in cedar vs vinyl fence costs to which one will look best on your property.

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

What is the Difference Between a Vinyl vs Cedar Fence?

Before we jump into comparing cedar vs vinyl fence costs or the aesthetic differences between the two, we’ll need to first establish the features of each type.

Overview of Cedar Fencing

Cedar fencing is the premier choice for a naturally appealing design. This type of fencing plays on the natural grains and knots in cedar lumber to create rustic aesthetics that require minimal maintenance.

With so many types of cedar trees, what is the best cedar for a fence?

We highly recommend lumber from Western red cedar trees. Cuts of Western red cedar contain a natural resistance to rot and insects without requiring chemical treatment, cutting down your maintenance requirements.

You may also be wondering, is cedar fencing sustainable?

Thankfully, cedar is one of the most sustainable lumber types. Cedar trees are considered a renewable softwood, allowing them to be harvested and replanted without harming the natural environment. You also have the option to recycle or biodegrade cedar fencing towards the end of their very long lifespan.

Overview of Vinyl Fencing

Vinyl fencing stands in contrast to cedar fencing. This type of fencing is created with PVC plastic and other materials shaped to mimic the appearance of a natural wood fence.

At the surface level, vinyl fencing does an adequate job of matching cedar fencing, all while requiring virtually zero upkeep, even less than Western red cedar in some cases.

However, it is vital to note that vinyl fence’s unnatural composition leads it to break down within a couple of decades, especially if it is exposed to harsh temperatures. Coupled with higher upfront costs in many cases, vinyl fences can end up requiring a larger lifetime investment compared to cedar fences.

Now that you have an idea of the basics behind each type of fence, let’s take a deep dive into the cedar fence vs vinyl fence debate.

So, Which is Better - Cedar Fence vs Vinyl Fence? Cost, Longevity, Aesthetics, and More

With the features and benefits of each material established, we can now compare vinyl vs cedar fences on these criteria to help you while shopping. There's a lot to cover, ranging from the differences in cedar vs vinyl fence costs to determining which one is the best type of fence for sound barrier purposes.

Cost and Accesibility

Comparing cedar vs vinyl fence costs can vary based on the quality of cedar lumber you choose to invest in, but in most cases, cedar comes out a clear winner. You can expect to pay anywhere from $3 to $10 per foot for a high-quality cedar, while vinyl can range from $7 to $15 per foot.

Installation costs for each can be similar, but cedar fencing is much easier to DIY if you are so inclined. Conversely, vinyl fence installation can add thousands on top of your upfront cost.

Since Cedar can last decades longer than vinyl, you’ll also want to consider doubling your projected lifetime costs for vinyl fencing to accommodate replacing warped and rotted fencing.

Longevity and Durability

Speaking of cedar fence lifespan, cedar is another winner in this category. Cedar fencing can easily last over three decades before requiring replacement. Most cuts of cedar have at least some form of natural resistance to rot and insects, with premier cuts like Western red cedar offering the best resistance.

The PVC and plastics within vinyl fencing are less conducive to long-term durability. Harsh sunlight and temperatures can cause rot and decay. Additionally, the development of unseemly splotches and streaks, running the aesthetics of a vinyl fence long before its 15-year lifespan comes to a close.

Aesthetics and Customization

While aesthetics are ultimately subjective, most homeowners and property managers aim for a natural cedar fence for the best stylistic versatility. Cedar serves as a malleable base for painting cedar fencing with custom colors. You can also consider treating cedar fencing to make its rustic natural grain blossom.

Vinyl fencing does a fair job of mimicking a cedar fence, but the lack of organic grains and textures can lead to a plastic and lifeless feel. Vinyl does provide several color options to save you from painting, but even those are limited compared to an infinite color wheel of paints possible with cedar.


It’s not all a clean victory sweep for cedar fencing. Cedar comes with a few more maintenance tasks to consider, like cleaning frequently, figuring out when to stain new cedar fences, and applying sealants. The best cuts like Western red cedar do allow you to forgo some of this maintenance thanks to their natural resistances, however.

Vinyl is essentially maintenance-free throughout its lifespan, though, making it a better choice if you don’t have the time to invest in upkeep for your property.

Sound Insulation

Privacy and security can be achieved by learning how to build a sound barrier fence, but which type of material is best? Beyond the lower cost of sound barrier fencing made with cedar, natural wood does a stronger job of blocking sound thanks to its dense natural material.

Vinyl fences can be hollow in places, allowing noise from neighbors or street traffic to seep through.

Compatibility With Your Property

When considering which type of fencing to install, you’ll also want to consider the existing structures on your property. Cedar aesthetically blends with most natural yards and homes, especially with rustic and traditional exteriors.

Vinyl can offer a nice fit with contemporary styles, though it is vital to note that the aesthetics of vinyl are easier for cedar to replicate through custom paints than it is for vinyl to replicate a rustic feel.

So, Should You Go With a Vinyl vs Cedar Fence?

Overall, cedar fencing wins in nearly every category. Learning how to make a cedar fence over a vinyl fence leads to lower costs, longer lifespans, and greater customization and sound insulation. While vinyl wins in terms of lower maintenance, cedar is still manageable, only requiring upkeep a couple of times per year.

Therefore, we wholeheartedly recommend cedar fencing in favor of vinyl-based options.

How Cedar and Vinyl Stack Up Against Other Types: Redwood, Pine, and More

While cedar and vinyl are two of the most popular options, there are a few other types of lumber to consider.

Comparing wood that is pressure-treated to cedar fences is still a win in favor of cedar. Pine is the most common wood that needs to be pressure-treated, leading to higher maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan.

The debate between cedar vs redwood fences is a bit more interesting. Redwood also carries a premium wood appearance and natural resistance, along with a long lifespan that can even outpace cedar in some climates. However, redwood trees are much rarer and less sustainable, making them a significantly more expensive investment.

Cypress lumber strikes a balance between pine lumber and redwood, sharing many similarities to cedar. However, it is often more expensive than cedar without additional benefits.

Lastly, you may want to consider masonry options like stone or brick depending on your budget. These materials are by far the most expensive, and they don’t have the same aesthetic value as fencing, but could be an option if your only goal is soundproofing.

With the cedar fence vs vinyl fence comparison behind us, where can you source high-quality lumber for your property?

Get the Beautiful, Long-Lasting Cedar Fencing you Deserve at Quality Cedar Products!

Now that you have a definitive answer to the cedar fence vs vinyl fence debate, all that is left for you to do is to find some high-quality lumber to bring your cedar fence ideas to life!

We have you covered with everything you need right here at Quality Cedar Products. We are a family-owned lumber supplier based out of Bancroft, Ontario, Canada, serving all of North America with retail and wholesale lumber.

At Quality Cedar Products, we only sell the highest quality cuts of cedar. We closely follow the Western red cedar grading system, grading each piece of lumber by hand to ensure you receive the exact cut of lumber you are searching for.

We pair our commitment to quality with a knowledgeable and compassionate customer service team that can help answer any questions you may have. We’ll assist you throughout the process, from helping you choose a grade of lumber based on your needs to coordinating a seamless delivery.

Final Thoughts on Cedar Fence vs Vinyl Fence

Overall, the cedar fence vs vinyl fence debate is an easy one. While vinyl rises in popularity, there’s nothing quite like the timeless value of a high-quality cedar fence.

Cedar fences, especially those made with Western red cedar lumber, are built to last for decades with a natural aesthetic that won’t require much maintenance.

Cedar also serves as an excellent sound barrier fence that works well with nearly any home exterior style.

If you’re looking for high-quality cedar lumber for sale, you’re in the right place here at Quality Cedar Products. We carry a diverse inventory of hand-graded lumber, including cedar fencing, cedar deck boards, and cedar siding for all your property needs.

Thanks to our decades of experience sourcing and grading lumber, we can guarantee you receive a durable and aesthetically pleasing product every time. We also provide best-in-class customer support, whether you need help choosing a cut of lumber or just want someone to celebrate the completion of your latest cedar DIY project.

If you’re ready to create a long-lasting cedar fence for your property, look no further than us. Browse our inventory or reach out to our team for a personalized recommendation today!

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk.

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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