Best Wood for Fence Rails 2024

Cedar and redwood are the best wood options for fence rails due to their durability, insect resistance, and natural resistance to decay. A high-quality fence not only enhances the aesthetics of your outdoor space but also plays a crucial role in providing security and privacy.

When choosing the right wood for your fence rails, durability and resistance to elements are key factors to consider. Additionally, the wood should be able to withstand insect infestations and resist decay. Two excellent options that meet these criteria are cedar and redwood.

These woods have natural oils that make them resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage, making them ideal for long-lasting and low-maintenance fence rails. Whether you’re building a new fence or replacing worn-out rails, cedar and redwood are the top choices for optimal performance and a visually pleasing final result.

Best Wood for Fence Rails

1. Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is an ideal choice for fence rails due to its excellent durability and natural resistance to rot and insect damage. There are various types of cedar wood available for fence construction, each with its own unique characteristics.

Type of Cedar WoodDescription
Red CedarRed cedar is known for its rich reddish-brown color and distinctive aroma. It is prized for its natural resistance to decay and its ability to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Western Red CedarWestern red cedar is similar to red cedar but has a lighter color and a slightly milder aroma. It is also highly resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage.
White CedarWhite cedar, also known as Eastern white cedar, has a pale yellowish-white color. It is a lightweight wood that is durable and naturally resistant to rot and insect infestations.

When choosing the best wood for your fence rails, consider the specific requirements of your project and the desired aesthetic appeal. Cedar wood offers not only strength and durability but also a timeless beauty that will enhance the overall look of your fence.

2. Cypress Wood

Bald Cypress
Bald Cypress wood is an excellent choice for fence rails due to its durability and resistance to rot and pests. Its natural oils make it resistant to decay, making it a long-lasting option for outdoor applications. The wood has a straight grain and a warm, reddish-brown color that adds a touch of elegance to any fence. Bald Cypress is also known for its ability to resist warping and splitting, ensuring that your fence stays strong and beautiful for years to come.

Yellow Cypress
Yellow Cypress is another great option for fence rails. It is a dense and durable wood that stands up well to weathering and decay. The wood has a golden yellow color, which can complement both traditional and modern fence designs. Yellow Cypress is known for its stability, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas. It is also easy to work with, making it a favorite among fence builders.

3. Pressure-treated Pine

Pressure-treated pine is the best wood for fence rails due to its durability, resistance to rot, and affordability. It is a popular choice among homeowners and provides long-lasting support for your fence.

Pressure-treated pine is one of the best wood options for fence rails. It has several benefits that make it a popular choice among homeowners. Firstly, pressure-treated pine is highly durable and resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. This makes it ideal for outdoor applications, such as fence rails, where exposure to the elements is common. Additionally, pressure-treated pine is readily available and affordable, making it a budget-friendly option for those looking to install a fence.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider. One downside to pressure-treated pine is that it may contain chemicals, such as copper-based compounds, used in the treatment process. While these chemicals are generally considered safe when used properly, some people may have concerns about their presence in a residential setting. Additionally, pressure-treated pine may warp or split over time, requiring regular maintenance to keep the fence rails in good condition.

4. Redwood

Redwood is a popular choice for fence rails due to its durability and aesthetic appeal.

5. Heartwood Redwood

Heartwood redwood, found in the center of the tree, is highly desirable for fence rails as it is more resistant to decay and insect damage. Its natural oils and tannins provide additional protection against rot. The reddish-brown color of heartwood adds warmth and richness to the overall appearance of the fence.

6. Sapwood Redwood

Sapwood, located just beneath the tree’s bark, can also be used for fence rails, although it is less durable compared to heartwood. It is advisable to properly seal and treat sapwood redwood to enhance its longevity. Sapwood has a pale yellow color, which can create a beautiful contrast when combined with heartwood redwood in fence rail designs.

7. Composite Wood

Composite wood is an excellent choice for fence rails with its numerous advantages. Firstly, composite wood is highly durable, as it is made from a combination of wood fibers and recycled plastic. The durability ensures that the fence rails will not rot, warp, or splinter, resulting in a longer lifespan. Additionally, composite wood is resistant to moisture and insect damage, reducing the need for maintenance and repairs.

Moreover, composite wood is highly customizable, offering a variety of colors and textures to complement any outdoor aesthetic. It is also an eco-friendly option as it utilizes recycled materials, contributing to a sustainable environment.

However, there are some disadvantages to consider. One major drawback of composite wood is its higher upfront cost compared to traditional wood. It can also be prone to scratching and fading over time, especially in areas with excessive sunlight exposure. Additionally, composite wood may require professional installation due to its weight and specific installation requirements.

What Kind Of Wood To Use For A Fence Rail?

The type of wood suitable for a fence rail depends on personal preference and budget. Popular options include cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. Each offers durability, resistance to rot and insects, and a pleasing appearance. Choose wood that meets your specific needs and complements your fence design.

Should I Use Pressure Treated Wood For Fence Rails?

Yes, pressure treated wood is recommended for fence rails. It provides durability and resistance against decay, rot, and insect damage. Using pressure treated wood ensures a longer lifespan for your fence rails.

What Is The Best Timber For Fence Rails?

The best timber for fence rails depends on factors like durability, cost, and aesthetics. Common options include redwood, cedar, and pressure-treated pine. Redwood is naturally resistant to decay, while cedar offers natural insect repellent properties. Pressure-treated pine is affordable and long-lasting with proper maintenance.

Choose the timber that suits your needs and budget.


Choosing the best wood for fence rails is crucial for the durability and aesthetic appeal of your fence. Cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine are popular options due to their natural resistance to decay and insects. Each wood type has its own advantages, so consider your budget, maintenance preferences, and climate conditions before making a decision.

Remember, a well-chosen wood can ensure your fence lasts for years to come.

Lucas Aarcher
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