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What are the Different Types of Privacy Fence Panels?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The most common materials used for privacy fence panels are wood, vinyl, and aluminum. Other, less common, materials include concrete and brick.The style of the panel varies according to the manufacturer or the builder, and many privacy fences can be built to suit by modifying or otherwise designing the privacy fence panels to suit a specific purpose. Most privacy panels are quite tall to enhance privacy, and the individual slats of the panels are fixed tightly together to eliminate gaps. The tops of the privacy panels are often decorated with a trellis or other flourishes to enhance the visual appeal of the fence.

Wooden privacy fence panels are perhaps the easiest to install because they can be easily cut to length on-site, and they are easily customizable. Wood is also one of the most visually appealing types of privacy fence panels, and can be made even more attractive by adding accents such as trellises or decorative posts. It is important to choose the right type of wood for the panels, however, as wood is especially prone to rotting, mold, mildew, and damage from the sun. Cedar is perhaps the best choice for wooden fence panels because it is naturally resistant to the problems that commonly plague woods; pressure-treated lumber is also a good choice.

Wooden privacy fence panels are easy to install.
Wooden privacy fence panels are easy to install.

Vinyl as a material for privacy fence panels are a relatively new choice, though an increasingly popular one for homes and businesses. While not as versatile as wood upon installation, vinyl is a very low maintenance choice of material. It does not need to be pressure-treated or painted, and it will resist mold, mildew, rot, warping, and sun damage in most cases. Vinyl does tend to be one of the more difficult types of fencing panels to install, as the panels and posts are manufactured to very tight tolerances and the panels and posts cannot be modified on site. The builder must measure very carefully before installing posts to ensure the distance between posts is right; otherwise, the privacy panels may fall out, warp, or crack. Aluminum panels are quite similar to vinyl panels, though aluminum can be modified somewhat on-site.

Concrete panels are a less common choice for use as privacy fence panels because installation can be difficult. Concrete panels are quite heavy, but they work well as a permanent structure as well as a noise barrier. These panels are commonly used on properties that border busy roadways. They must often be installed by professionals, however, as special equipment may be necessary to lift the panels and put them in place.

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    • Wooden privacy fence panels are easy to install.
      By: Johanna Goodyear
      Wooden privacy fence panels are easy to install.