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Timber vs Concrete Fence Posts - Which One to Choose?

Planning on installing a new fence and wondering whether to choose concrete or timber fence posts?

Concrete and timber fence posts are two of the most popular options when it comes to fencing, but why choose one over the other?

Well, concrete fence posts may offer a more lasting solution without the potential rot, however, timber fence posts provide an appealing natural look that concrete simply can’t.

If you’re still undecided, we’re here to help.

concrete fence posts with timber panels

Here at Equestrian Fencing, we stock a range of quality timber and concrete fencing products. The truth is, when it comes to choosing one or the other, there really is no right or wrong answer. However, certain options are better suited to different factors including budget, aesthetic requirements and environmental and ground conditions.

In this blog post, we’ll be running you through the pros and the few cons of both types of fencing, so that you can make an informed decision about which style of fence you’ll choose for your next domestic fencing project.

Timber fence posts

arched panel fence with timber fence posts

Timber fencing is a great way to inject a bit of natural beauty and privacy into your garden or outdoor space.

Unlike metal fencing, concrete posts or brick walls, timber fencing is softer aesthetically and can tick the boxes in a variety of different ways.

What timber components are included in timber fencing?

A fully timber fencing system is made up of timber fence posts, timber gravel boards and either fence panels or closeboard fence boards. When choosing the closeboard style, you may also add an arris rail and a capping and counter rail, which will make the timber fence look complete and remain sturdy.

Which timber fence posts to choose?

Morticed Posts

When it comes to choosing fence posts, you’ve got a few options.

If you plan to fit a panelled fence, your best options are sawn posts or planed prepared posts.

However, if you plan to install a closeboard fence, you’ll need morticed posts.

These have been UC4 pressure treated, and are available as a standard post, a corner post or as a wall plate. They have been cut to a shape and size to include the slots needed to accommodate the closeboard fence style.

Pros of wooden fence posts

sawn wooden posts

A budget-friendly fence post

There’s no doubt about it, timber fence posts are much cheaper than the concrete alternative.

This makes them a go-to option for many looking to save the pennies when reinstalling or repairing a fence on a budget.

Moreover, because they are nowhere near as heavy to handle as concrete posts, the transport costs are also kept down, contributing to the lower overall cost of sourcing timber fence posts.

Timber fence posts provide a more uniform finish

cream painted fence with timber fence posts

If you’re looking to build a fence with a natural, seamless finish, timber fence posts will help you do just that.

As fence posts are typically the same colour as the panels or boards, a linear divide between the boarded or panel sections will appear less apparent.

And of course, you can stain or paint timber fence posts to match the look of the entire fence.

A more secure option

A fence is designed to offer security to the exterior of your property. Whilst concrete fence posts are still a very secure option, panels can actually be slotted out.

However, with timber fence posts, you can screw the panels to the posts, meaning that some timber posts are regarded as a more secure option.

Much easier to install

closeboard fence with timber posts and rails

If you’re planning on reducing your labour cost by installing a new fence yourself, timber may be the way to go.

Because they are much lighter to handle, there’s less need to rely on a spare pair of hands.

Concrete fence posts are heavy, and lifting them on your own isn’t the smartest of moves. So, if you want to build your new fence by yourself, timber is likely to be a better option for you.

They last a long time

There’s no denying that concrete is a stronger and more durable material. However, don’t be led by a false illusion that timber fence posts are a waste of time and money.

They too are a strong post option, particularly when looked after and installed properly.

All morticed posts and gate posts from Equestrian fencing, are HC4 treated giving the maximum service life possible.

The cons of wooden fence posts

Wondering if there are any drawbacks to using timber fence posts? Here are a few things to consider.

Timber fence posts need maintenance

rotten timber fence post

Most timber fence posts come pressure treated, which acts as a barrier to the elements, insects and fungus. However, you must still maintain the timber.

If you install timber posts and provide little maintenance, you may find that the wood rots or deteriorates more quickly than you may have liked.

The simple solution for that?

Maintain your fence, and look after your timber fence posts.

A clean every now and then, removing any weeds or overgrowth and a fresh coat of treatment or a lick of paint will do the trick. If you’re willing to put in just a little work, you’ll reap the reward of a strong and secure timber fence.

You can read our full timber fence maintenance guide here.

Concrete fence posts

concrete fence posts with closeboard fence

A concrete fence post is an incredibly sturdy material used to create the support posts for your fencing structure.

It is often a more desirable option than wooden posts due to its strength and durability. They are extremely difficult to damage, even when exposed to drastic weather conditions.

Concrete fence posts can make all the difference in creating an effective and impressive boundary around your property that will last for years.

What different types of concrete fence posts are available?

concrete fence posts
Just like timber fencing, there are different types of concrete fence posts available. Which you choose will depend entirely on the type of fence you’re trying to build.

If you’re opting for a traditional panelled fence, whereby you choose ready-made panels that slot in between posts, you’ll need concrete slotted posts.

For closeboard fencing, choose between recessed concrete posts or morticed concrete posts.

concrete fence posts

Don’t forget that you may also wish to include concrete gravel boards, which will further protect timber fence panels and boards from the ground, as well as concrete spurs, which help to stabilise the fence and work well in areas that are particularly windy.

The pros of concrete fencing

So what can concrete fence posts offer that timber fence posts can’t?

A strong and durable fence post option

concrete slotted posts with timber fence pannel

Skipping straight to the obvious, concrete fence post certainly overtake timber fence posts on strength and robustness, naturally.

Most concrete fence posts are made using a 5-to-1 mix, with a metal bar running through to bolster strength even more. When the semi-dry mix is compacted into a mould and sets, you’re left with reinforced concrete posts.

If you live in a windy area and are sick of having to repair broken fence posts, then concrete is a far better option.

Because of their concrete strength, they are far more durable. Whilst it’s not impossible for concrete fence posts to split or crack (we’ll come onto that small drawback in a second), they generally last far longer than wooden fence posts.

Low to no maintenance is required

As we’ve said, timber fence posts do need maintenance. But if you’re looking for something that is just a little less faff, then you’re probably better off choosing concrete fence posts.

Unlike timber posts, they are not susceptible to insect or fungal damage so they don’t need regular treatment.

Of course, concrete fence posts will not rot, either. So, if your garden is particularly wet underfoot, then concrete posts may also be a great option for you.

The cons of concrete fence posts

Like all building and landscaping materials, there are always some drawbacks. It’s important to factor these in when choosing the best fence post materials.

Difficult to install

concrete fence posts with timber fence panels
Concrete fence posts are HEAVY. Heavy to transport, heavy to move, heavy to lift in place; you need to factor this in.

If you plan to install the fence yourself, you’re going to need a spare pair of hands. Each fence post usually weighs around 30kg, which we’re sure some can lift on their own.

But if you don’t want to risk injuring yourself, or dropping your new posts and breaking them, we’d advise you get a helping hand.

They are more expensive

Like all things, if it’s made to a high quality and built to last, you should expect to pay a little more.

Whilst the initial investment may be higher than timber posts, if you want the perks of less maintenance and a fence that is likely to last a long time, the investment is well worth it.

Concrete is not completely crack-proof

Whilst great care is always taken when manufacturing concrete fence posts, like most things, they are not fully indestructible.

Ground movement and accidental damage may cause small cracks or chips to appear in a concrete post.

Whilst these small cracks may seem relatively harmless, the problem comes when water gets in and the temperature drops below freezing.

When the water freezes, it expands and increases the size of the crack.

This water penetration also doesn’t do the inside metal rod a world of good, as this then has the ability to start rusting.

The good news is, that if this happens, unlike timber rot, it can’t spread to other parts of the fence. Replacing one concrete fence post would rectify the problem.

So, which to choose?

Here’s a summary of each:

- Wooden fence posts Concrete fence posts
Cost Start from £6.50 per post Start from £18.72 per post
Durability Durable when maintained Strong and durable
Maintenance required Yes No
Installation Easy and inexpensive Can be more difficult
Best uses Budget-friendly, natural-looking fence post that can be painted Ideal for windy areas, wet ground and little maintenance

Shop from a range of timber and concrete fencing products here.

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