Aluminum VS Steel: Which Metal Offers the Better Fence?

better fence

When it comes to metal fencing, you only have two options regarding materials: aluminum or steel. A lot of fencing services in Westchester recommend going for steel fencing, arguing that its benefits far outweigh those offered by its aluminum counterpart. However, keep in mind that aluminum has a couple of strong points steel can never deliver. So before picking a side, best carefully take a look at each option and weight their pros and cons accordingly.

To help you out, below is a list of advantages and disadvantages of aluminum and steel as fencing. Best read them thoroughly before going through your fence project.

Pros and Cons of Aluminum Fences

First, let’s take a look at what aluminum fencing has to offer, alongside the drawbacks you can potentially encounter by having it in your home.

The Pros

Inexpensive

As far as metal options go, aluminum is one of the most cost-efficient ones you can go for. Some fencing services in Westchester even sell it cheaper than wooden fencing! Factors that will affect the cost include the aluminum’s thickness, the amount you’ll need, and the quality of the finish.

Easy to Install

Aluminum can also be installed quite easily. Lighter and more flexible than steel, working with it is more convenient. And it’s rackable, meaning it comes in panels that work well with any kind of landscape. Plus, it’s malleable enough that you can adjust your fence’s height to meet building codes and local standards.

Low Maintenance

Compared to steel and iron, aluminum can withstand harsh elements better. This weather resistance basically prevents it from rusting. Moreover, aluminum fences don’t need to be painted or stained. Just make sure it has powder coating to protect itself and maintain its condition.

Longevity

Despite being lightweight, aluminum is quite a durable metal. Combined with the fact that it’s weather resistant, it can give you a fence that will last your home for at least decades. Just make sure you regularly take care of it.

Versatility

Most aluminum fencing products come with powder coating, as well as a variety of colors and styles. This allows you to install fences that can complement your home and landscape. From modern-looking fences to more traditional-looking ones, aluminum can give your property a cleaner, more stylish appearance.

The Cons

Lightweight

Aluminum’s lightness is a double-edged sword. Sure, it makes it easier for you to carry around and work with. But it’s also responsible for many of the weaknesses in aluminum fencing. And despite its rackability, aluminum can easily be blown off by strong winds if not properly installed.

Poor Privacy

While aluminum fences can provide your home with a stylish and low-maintenance barrier, it’s still see-through. That means your neighbors and any passers-by can easily peek into your garden to see what’s happening inside. Thankfully, there are new aluminum fencing offerings today that offer more solid profiles. If you’re installing fences because you want privacy, then best go with these recent products.

Flimsy Security

As mentioned above, aluminum fences are vulnerable to  strong winds due to their lightness. This light weight also makes it easier for robbers to topple over, leaving your home and loved ones at their mercy. However, you can resolve this issue by simply giving your fence a sturdier foundation. Instead of plain gravel, you can cement the main posts to keep your fence in one piece.

Less Non-Residential-Friendly

Although aluminum fences can be strengthened further (either by giving it a firmer foundation or by using aluminum alloys), it still can’t compare with steel in terms of sheer durability. So while it can make excellent fences for your home, it might not perform as well in your commercial or industrial properties.

Pros and Cons of Steel Fences

Next, let’s check out the strengths and weaknesses of steel fences. That way, you can weigh whether to pick it or its aluminum counterpart before calling fencing services in Westchester.

The Pros

Sturdiness

This should go without saying, but steel is way more sturdier than aluminum. Set your main posts on firm foundations, and it will keep the rest of your fence in place for years to come. Through powder coating and regular maintenance, you can preserve its integrity and keep it from rusting.

Better Security

Sturdier and more durable, steel fences will provide you better security. Crooks will either have to resort to climbing over or using explosives just so they can breach your fences. And its sheer weight allows it to withstand strong winds and storms. So no need to worry about it toppling over.

Improved Privacy

With better security also comes improved privacy. Even if the steel fences you chose are see through, at least no intruder will be able to enter your property without your permission. And like aluminum fences, you can always choose products with solid profiles. Or you can have additional steel plates welded afterward.

Versatility

Steel is considerably more malleable than aluminum and even iron. This makes it more versatile than either, and it allows you to shape and bend it accordingly. From ultra-modern fence designs to ones with more traditional and old-fashioned wrought iron, there are various steel fence options to choose from.

More Non-Residential-Friendly

Lastly, steel makes a better fence for commercial, industrial, and even military properties. Heavier and sturdier, it’s significantly more capable than aluminum when stopping lateral force. If your property is situated in a busy street with heavy traffic, then steel fences are the better option. Plus, steel is readily more available since it’s easier to manufacture than aluminum.

The Cons

Expensive

Despite steel being readily more available than aluminum, steel fences fetch a higher price. That’s because more homeowners and business people prefer it over aluminum fences. If you have a tight budget and you want fences for your property immediately, then you might be better off with aluminum products.

Heavy Material

Heaviness is to steel as lightness is to aluminum; it’s both a pro and a con. Yes, steel will make the sturdier fence due to its weight. But it’s considerably harder to carry around and work with. So if you’re planning to install steel fences in your home, you’d better not go through with it alone. Get help from a friend, or hire an expert fence installer.

Less Weather Resistant

Finally, steel is more vulnerable to the elements than aluminum. Left unprotected, the winds, water, and dirt will gradually cause your steel fence to rust and corrode. So if you opt for steel fences, better make sure it’s painted, stained, or coated.

Which is Better: Aluminum or Steel?

So back to the question: which material would give you the better fence? Steel? Or Aluminum? Well, it’s up to you.

Both metals will make excellent fences, especially if installed by great fencing services in Westchester. At the end of the day, deciding whether to go for one or the other falls to you.

About the Author

Isaias is one of USFence’s newest bloggers. Working as a writer since 2011, he’s quite knowledgeable about fencing, home improvement, and gardening. As such, he’s written countless articles on those and other topics.

Isaias currently resides in the Philippines, and he has plans to visit Japan someday to learn more about its architecture, history, and culture.