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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Courtyard Project - The Pros And Cons Of Wood Vs Metal Fence Slats

After all the excitement of our limestone courtyard being built and the new driveway being laid late last year things have been pretty quiet out the front here on the home improvements side of things ..... we put the tools down, went on a family cruise holiday, Christmas festivities and had ourselves some Summer time fun instead!

But now that the seasons have changed and we're into the cooler months of Autumn there's no more slacking off excuses left and it's time to get our butts into gear and get outside and finish off the front of the house.

Before we can even think about the landscaping and gardening out here, the next job is to install infills/slats between the bricks of the limestone fence. This will enclose the courtyard and bring us privacy so we can enjoy this area as an added alfresco.

We'll also need to add a new mailbox and hang a gate between the garage and courtyard pillars for added security to the front door.

Basically, we have 2 choices for the fence slats - either Wood or Metal.

Some of the metal samples against our wooden jarrah floor boards

Here are some pros and cons I've come up with to help us with our decision on Wood Vs Metal:
* It's cheaper (half the price of metal)
* I love the look of natural wood once it's been stained

* It will need to be stained before we install it
* It will need ongoing maintenance to protect it from the weather which will cost time and money over the years
* It may weather and break down over the years
* It won't match our garage door which is metal look in jarrah

Metal (Aluminium)

* It doesn't need any maintenance, which means we can spend our time drinking wine in the courtyard instead of staining wood
* It won't weather, age or break it will always look shiny and new
* It will match our garage door which is also made from metal (although the colour samples are slightly different)
* It's about twice the price of wood
* It only comes in long lengths so there may be more wastage than wood which comes in heaps of different lengths

So the way I see it if we spend more money now we will get a look without any maintenance now or down the track OR we can save some pennies and get the wood and then curse every year when we remember we have to maintain and stain it. 

The wood will also look different against the metal garage door which I'm a little worried about it.

Whatever material we decide we are going to buy the DIY kits which means we cut them to size and install ourselves.

We might need to buy a mitre saw to do the job but the money we would spend on a tradesman to do it, will essentially pay for the saw and add another tool to the shed. So if Mr P is happy with that and let's face it he'll be doing the hard work while I'm inside making sandwiches .... if he's happy I'm happy!

What do you think is the better choice - Wood or Metal?

Linking up with:
The Dedicated House
Home Coming - The DIYers

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  1. We have the same dilemma, so I'm interested to know what you decide. I love the look of real wood and think that it could be possible to pick a wood that looks weathered right from the start. Sort of a "coastal look", but I don't think that would match your limestone wall. My other current thought on the topic is to plant so much greenery (both sides of the fence) that the fence becomes hidden and therefore the aesthetics are less important. In this case, I would go with a cheaper option and just get the basic colour right.

    1. You are right the weathered wood will just look washed out against our limestone.
      I like the idea of greenery but we cant plant a lot right against the limestone walls as the retaining is so big and wide that the plants would be sitting on bricks under the ground! We will probably have to set up some planter pots insteads.
      Thanks for your input I will let you know what we decide and be sure to let me know what you decide too! :)

  2. I would (ha ha pun there) go for the metal, even though, like you, I love natural wood. The metal also does not warp and splinter. The off-cuts of the metal can be used to make planter boxes. Can't wait to see the end result whatever you decide. Also, I agree with the do it yourself and buy good quality tools route. With good tools in the shed, our Mr's can be convinced to do all sorts of other handy jobs.

    1. The maintenance of wood is off putting.
      Thats a great idea. I was also thinking of making Lexi a dog kennell from them :)
      What would we do without our handy men!

  3. I would do metal... but, I wouldn't want to deal with staining it later down the road :)

    1. Thanks Carrie, Im with you there!

  4. Hi Michelle, there is a third option which is a recyclable compressed composite - looks like wood, cuts like wood, but doesn't rot or need staining like wood. It comes pre coloured, and the fence at our new house already has this. However, it does bow if the lengths are too long, so you would need to be prepared for that. Personally I would go for aluminum in the same wood colour as your garage door so it ties in, and the ongoing maintenance is less.

    Cheers, Col

    1. I didnt know about that compressed composite, thanks so much Col I'll look into that. Although some panels will need to be a few metres long so it may not be so good for the long lengths as you say. Still worth a looksy :) Cheers


  5. than writing this blog. We are loving the new house, and my wife is fully responsible for transforming our scorched earth back yard to what you see above. plastic garden fencing


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