We live in a day and age of various options both online and in stores. While choice is good, trying to figure out the best fence option to go with can be dizzying. Personal preferences, project budget and availability can all weigh down on the decision making process when buying a fence. I thought it may be beneficial to put together a list of pros and cons for choosing a wrought iron fence and share them with you.
Let’s start with the pros of going with a wrought iron fence:
PRO #1 – STRENGTH AND DURABILITY
When it comes to a strong a durable fence, wrought iron is hard to beat. The steel and iron construction when coated properly (like we do with our galvanization and high quality powder coating) should outlast you! Many other types of fence degrade over time and while they are cheaper, you are replacing them every 5-10 years. A quality iron fence should last for decades. That’s why many iron fences built back in the late 1800s and early 1900s can still be found in existence today.
PRO # 2 – A TIMELESS AND BEAUTIFUL LOOK
Many types and styles of fence have come over the years, but wrought iron fence and gates have been around for well over 200 years at this point and have never really gone out of style. Even the most modern looking home can be accented with an iron fence and gate in the proper style. The look of wrought iron fence fits the look of older historic homes like a glove. Nothing looks worse than a beautiful turn-of-the-century home with a tacky vinyl fence in front of it that looks completely out of place. Wrought iron fence is very versatile for the type of applications and styles of home it can be used around.
PRO# 3 – SECURITY
This sort of goes hand-in-hand with strength, but it really merits a separate Pro because of how well iron fence and gates can help act as a security barrier. The strength helps prevent simple destruction that vinyl and cheap aluminum call fall prey to. The upright picket and rail construction makes climbing the fence harder unlike chain link and many wood fences that can give easy hand and footholds. The steel and iron construction also allows for optional welding of the panels to the post for an extremely strong and secure fence. Lastly, the open and see-through design of most iron fences gives a greater view. A solid wood or vinyl privacy fence may keep people from seeing in, but it also provides a hiding spot for an intruder once they are on the inside of the fence.
PRO #4 – A HIGHER END APPEARANCE
While I may be a bit biased, iron fence and gates give an air of sophistication and beauty that many other types of fence do not. While fence types like chain link, vinyl and wood do provide a barrier, they are more functional than nice looking. In some instances, those fences can give a lower end look to a home whereas an iron fence can compliment and make a house much more attractive with better curb appeal. We sell just as many iron fences to folks wanting to aesthetically improve and compliment the look of their home as we do to folks wanting a barrier for pets and kids.
As with anything in life, there is often a downside to every upside. Here are some of the cons to be aware of when using a wrought iron fence:
CON #1 – DEALING WITH RUST
I hesitated to add this one to the con list since how the iron fence is coated makes a WORLD of difference in how much rust you will encounter over time. However, in all fairness I wanted to include it since folks are often concerned about rust when going with a wrought iron fence. We have had fences standing for over 25 years with no finish issues and only minor touch up maintenance over that time period. I have also seen cheap iron and steel fence completely rotted through with rust in less than 2 years. It really comes down to doing your homework on how the pieces are coated, the warranty tied to that iron fence line and the company standing behind the warranty. I tell folks that with our Stronghold Iron line, its best to think of the fence in terms of a car’s paint. If you get a rock chip to bare metal on your hood, you have to touch it up. Every style of fence of the market can suffer from some kind of degradation whether it be old brittle vinyl, corroded and pitting aluminum or rotting wood.
CON #2 – COST
If the price of a wrought iron fence seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is no denying that a properly built and coated wrought iron fence or gate is going to cost more than a discount aluminum, vinyl or wood fence. However, when you weigh the strength and longevity of the iron fence and gates, that price gap over time really isn’t as wide as you think. However, if you are on a tight budget a quality iron fence or gate at a low price can be tough to come by.
CON# 3 – INABILITY TO FOLLOW GRADE
While the welded solid construction of an iron fence does wonders for how strong it is, that can also limit its use in hilly or heavily graded yards. While a mild slope can easily be handled with a stair-stepped installation of iron fence, steep slopes may present an issue without customization. Some companies have made ornamental steel panels that will rack/ bias/ angle to follow grade, but they all end up compromising strength and often lead to rust spots on the pieces where the panel bends or pivots. We chose to stick with the welded solid construction that wrought iron has always had rather than a quick fix that could compromise the fence down the line. A hilly yard isn’t a deal breaker for using iron, but you will have to make some extra considerations.
CON #4 – AVAILABILITY
Those of us still making quality wrought iron fence and gates are getting harder to find by the year. This is due to the fact that a lot of the factors that make iron fence great also make it more costly and labor intensive to produce. I can throw a rock and hit 20 companies making aluminum fence to only one or none making iron fence. Is this because aluminum is better and more desired? Not really. Its because to become an aluminum fence maker you only need an extruder and some cheap labor. Its easier to sell lots of cheaply made aluminum fence than sell a higher quality wrought iron fence at a higher price.
I hope these pros and cons of using wrought iron fence and gates assists you in your search for a new fence. As always, if you have any other questions or concerns about using iron fence and gates, don’t hesitate to drop us an email or give us a call. We’re here to help!