Decorative Fencing for Vancouver BC, Steel vs Aluminum

The choice between steel vs aluminum fencing is a matter of tradeoffs. This post will focus on which metal is better suited for decorative or ornamental fencing in Vancouver BC environments.

Aesthetics: Winner = Tie. Both materials are commonly used to produce the traditional “wrought-iron picket fence” look among many other decorative styles.

Strength: Winner = Steel. Galvanized steel fences are much heavier and stronger than aluminum. An ornamental aluminum fence is more susceptible to getting dented or bent from kids climbing, storms, machinery, or livestock. Because of the added strength, commercial areas and high traffic areas that take a lot of beating — such as gates — may benefit from using steel rather than aluminum.

Installation: Winner = Aluminum. Because aluminum is substantially lighter than steel, it’s also a heck of a lot easier to manage during installation. Tasks that might only require one person for aluminum may require two or more for steel. This can be especially important for homes in North Vancouver or Port Moody, or anywhere that steep grades or difficult terrain can multiply the effort. To be sure, neither are ideally suited for DIY installation; but, the choice makes a difference on installation costs which we will address in more detail below.

Rust:  Winner = Aluminum. This is a huge benefit of aluminum fencing and railings in general – they simply don’t rust and are naturally corrosion resistant. For coastal cities such as Vancouver, the dampness, coastal winds, and salt water can quickly rust and degrade exposed steel. Steel fences should be factory powder coated before installation to help protect the steel from rust. Aluminum fences on the other hand don’t need to be painted at all, though painting is commonly done for cleaner aesthetics and architectural design.

Maintenance & RepairsWinner = Aluminum. Since Vancouver is so wet, aluminum is generally the better choice here. With aluminum, you don’t need to re-paint your fence every 5 years as you might with steel, to avoid sever rusting and corrosion. And while steel is more durable, aluminum fences are easier to repair in the event of damage, because aluminum is lighter weight it’s easier to handle. That said, if your use-case includes a lot of potential abuse, steel might make more sense for you.

Price: Winner = Aluminum. The natural weather proofing of Aluminum can end up paying for itself in terms maintenance and upkeep costs. The outset costs are generally lower for decorative aluminum fences vs steel as well, both in terms of materials and installation. For decorative fences, additional considerations — such as powder coating and complexity of the design — come into play in as well.

QS Fencing Decorative Fencing

This breakdown may help to get a feel for what to expect but if you are looking to have a decorative fence installed it’s best to contact QS Fencing to speak with one of our fencing experts.

Not only will we be able to address your questions and provide professional recommendations for your specific use case, we can also provide you a quote for any of our fencing products and services.

Please give us a call today at 604-345-5145!