Woods that have natural pest resistance, such as cedar, cypress and redwood, are good choices for fences. Homeowners should also consider pressure-treated pine, fir or spruce lumber for fence construction. If pressure-treated lumber is too expensive, homeowners can use a preservative on most of the wood and only invest in pressure-treated lumber for structural members that touch the ground.
High-grade redwood resists rot and insect damage better than any other wood type, but it is also one of the most expensive options for building fences. Homeowners must also treat a redwood fence with a clear coat every few years to protect the rich red hue from fading. Otherwise, the redwood fades to gray. Cedar and cypress have similar downsides, but they are slightly less expensive than redwood.
Homeowners who construct fences for their horses should avoid pine, which many horses love to chew, and consider white oak or black locust instead. Both types of wood are very strong, and black locust can withstand normal weather for decades with very little maintenance. White oak, however, tends to warp or bow.
Composite wood products are an engineered wood that uses mostly recycled wood and plastic. Composite wood mimics the look of painted wood and does not attract insects or rot. At two to three times the cost of pressure-treated lumber, composite wood is expensive, but it does not rot or incur insect damage. It also needs very little maintenance.