Pros and Cons of Oak Fences

wooden fence made of oak wood

Oak is a beautiful and highly durable wood that lasts for many years and can be used for many types of fences. However, oak has downsides, so it isn’t ideal for every home. We’ll elaborate on the pros and cons of oak fences in this article.

About Oak

Oak is the most common type of hardwood. There are approximately 435 species of oak worldwide, including about 90 in North America. It comes in various colors, ranging from reddish brown to beige, and species like white, red, and black oak.

Oak is constantly in high demand. As a result, it comes in a wide range of strengths and properties. It’s also one of the most versatile woods; in addition to fences, it can be used in flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and decking.

Pros of Oak Fences

Aesthetically Pleasing

Oak wood is known for its beauty. Its grain pattern sets itself apart from other types of wood. It has a straight grain with rays (either dotted or longer lines) running alongside it. This combined with its light brown color gives it a distinctive appearance. You can even enhance its beauty with natural oils.


Oak fences are known for their durability. An untreated oak fence can last up to 20 years – longer than one made from pressure-treated pine. They also withstand harsh weather conditions, although damp and humid conditions can warp and rot them.


Oak is one of the strongest woods. White oak got a Janka rating (which measures how hard wood is) of 1,360, while northern red oak got a Janka rating of 1,290. The higher the Janka rating, the harder the wood, which is why oak fences are so durable and long-lasting.

Cons of Oak Fences

wooden fence made of oak tree trunks
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Doesn’t Resist Insects

Oak might be durable, but it doesn’t naturally repel insects. Because of this, oak fences are better suited for dry regions like the southwest United States rather than areas that get a lot of rain throughout the year. (Homeowners can get them treated before using them in a wetter climate).

Though white oak fences are termite resistant, red oak and black oak fences aren’t. Getting them treated is the best way to deprive termites of a snack. 

Darkens Over Time

Oak might look beautiful, but exposure to oxygen and UV light can cause it to darken. To stave off its color change, stain or polish it.

Expensive to Install

Installing an oak fence costs $20 to $60 per linear foot. That said, their durability means they don’t need as much maintenance, so you save money in the long run.

When Is It Best to Use Oak?

Choose oak if you’re looking for a highly durable wood to make your fence last longer. You also have more color options with this wood, so you can use it to add character to your property. But since it doesn’t naturally repel insects, it’s not a good choice for areas that get a lot of rain throughout the year. You can use oak for your fence if you live in a region with a mostly dry climate, like Arizona. Still, you can have the oak treated to help it withstand the snowy weather of Northeast states, including New York and Massachusetts.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I stop my oak fence from rotting?

Treat it with a urethane sealant that can handle damp conditions. However, most oak nowadays is usually pressure-treated, meaning it was fused with wood preservatives to make it more water and rot-resistant before being put up for sale. If this is the case, you won’t need it.

What’s the difference between hardwoods and softwoods?

• Hardwoods are darker than softwoods.
• Hardwoods are heavier than softwoods due to their superior density.
• Hardwoods, as their name suggests, are harder, making them more durable against the elements, and more scratch-resistant.

What are the most popular wood fences?

Redwood is one of the most popular choices of wood for a fence due to its natural looks and natural resistance to rot and insects. However, cedar, cypress, Douglas fir, and various pressure-treated woods are popular due to their durability and affordability.

The Final Word

Oak fences aren’t suited for every house, but their beauty, durability, and solid moisture resistance make them popular among homeowners. That said, they can be expensive and do require upkeep to help them maintain their good looks and effectiveness.
Contact a fencing pro to get a quote. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Main Image Credit: Vera_Petrunina / Canva Pro / License

Stuart Kushner

Stuart Kushner is a writer and aspiring product designer based in New York City. When he isn’t doing either, Stuart enjoys heavy metal music, exercise, and trying new food and drinks.