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Buying Guide

Types of Fence Materials and Hardware

Important Considerations
A person installing a gate on a fence.

Things it will be important to consider before building your fence: 

  • Consider why you want a fence and then find a few existing fences that meet your needs. 
  • Think carefully about fence anatomy and the design of your fence. Consider both how it will appear from your side of it as well as from your neighbor’s side. A fence that is beautiful from your yard but unattractive from the neighbor’s deck is probably a poor choice. 
  • The location, dimensions, local climate and the time and money you’re investing are also important factors when choosing your types of fence materials.
Wood Fence and Gate Materials
A wood privacy fence and gate.

Wood is one of the most timeless types of fence materials. You can build almost any kind of fence with wood. Wood is a versatile choice because you can paint it, stain it or simply feature the natural grain. Cedar, redwood and pressure-treated wood are the most popular options because they are the most weather resistant. Home Depot also has a wide selection of wood fence alternatives, if you're looking for a lower maintenance option. 

Basic materials for constructing a wood fence include:

  • Pressure-treated 4 x 4s: For posts, stamped to indicate that they are suitable for ground burial.
  • Wood post caps: To protect the tops of the posts from exposure to water.
  • Prefab fencing panels: Go up quickly and come in a variety of styles.
  • Pressure-treated 2 x 4 rails: Let you construct a frame for fencing from scratch.
  • 1 x 6 fence boards: Apply to fence styles such as the alternate board, louver or basketweave.
  • 1 x 4s: Can be used to make your own pickets for fencing.
  • Cedar fencing: One of the best fence materials because it offers reliable resistance to decay.
  • Redwood fence boards: Resist rot naturally and are virtually maintenance-free.
  • Wire fencing: Yet another durable option that adds rustic appeal to the look of your fence.
  • Precut mortised wood fence posts and rails: Helps simplify fence assembly and can create a rustic look.
Vinyl Fence and Gate Materials
A white vinyl fence with an open gate.

There are many materials for a fence and vinyl fencing is one of the most common types of fence. It's ideal for people who don't want to commit to a lot of upkeep. Vinyl fencing comes almost exclusively in white, but the color stays maintenance-free for years. Vinyl also comes ready-to-assemble, including basic fence anatomy parts, such as:

  • Balustrades: The vertical posts that extend from the top to the bottom rails.
  • Posts: Vinyl fence posts are the support system for the fence that goes into the ground to hold up the rest of the structure.
  • Top rails: These vinyl fence rails are the horizontal top portion of the fence that supports the top of each balustrade.
  • Bottom rails: The horizontal bottom portion of each fence panel that supports the bottom of each balustrade.
  • Fence boards: The individual boards that combine to create each fence panel. Some fence boards are already attached in prefab panels, while others need to be assembled by hand.
  • Post caps: The decorative caps on the top of each fence post that help complete the look.
Post Hole Filler Materials
A person installing a fence post in a post hole filled with cement.

If you're building a fence from scratch, properly securing the post will ensure your fence will remain standing. 

Materials commonly used for filling postholes include:

  • Concrete: Typically used for the end, corner and gatepost holes to anchor the post in the ground. Concrete mix is a good option; for larger projects, you may want to hire a concrete vendor with a pump truck.
  • Gravel: Placing gravel underneath other posts will help drain away water and preserve the life of the fence posts.
Chain Link Fence Materials
A chain link fence with a gate.

Chain link fencing is easy to put up and inexpensive. It is most commonly used in commercial settings or for large properties where you need to lay a lot of fence quickly and within budget.

For the basic frame you'll need:

  • 2 1/2-inch diameter end posts and caps
  • 1 5/8-inch diameter line posts and caps
  • 1 3/8-inch diameter rails and caps
  • Brace bands to attach rail caps to posts and assemble a gate.
  • Top, bottom and side rails for gate assembly
  • Chain link fencing
  • Tension bands
  • Tension bars
  • Tension wires
  • Tie wires
  • Hog rings
Hardware for Fencing and Gates
Close image of a iron bolt latch on a wood gate

Getting to know the fence anatomy involves learning about the different types of materials for a fence or gate. Although these items are frequently used, not all the different items are needed for every fence installation project. You can pick from among various types of gate latches and locks or gate hinges.

The most common fence and gate hardware include:

  • Hangers and galvanized hanger nails: Fit rails and edge up between posts.
  • Deck screws: Fasten fence boards to posts.
  • Galvanized nails: Fasten rails to the post.
  • Staples: Used to attach wire fencing to wood posts.
  • Self-closing butt hinges: Used to hang the gate.
  • Strap hinges: Used to hang the gate.
  • T-hinges: Used for hanging gates.
  • Lag-and-strap hinges: Used for gate hanging.
  • Strike latches: Fasten the fence gate.
  • Drop latches: Fasten the fence gate.
  • Slide-bolt latches: Fasten the fence gate.
  • Thumb latch: Fasten the fence gate.
  • Hasp latch: Fasten the fence gate.
  • Barrel bolt: Fasten double gate doors shut.
  • String closure: Shuts a fence gate automatically in a turnbuckle style.
  • Anti-sag kit: Helps repair a sagging gate.

With so many materials for a fence available at The Home Depot, it's easy to discover one that will enhance your curb appeal and provide the containment you need. If you're featuring a fence in the front yard, consider one that allows for visibility through the fence. It won't obstruct the view and this will make your home more welcoming to neighbors. If you do choose a solid fence, consider keeping it lower than you would with a fence in the back of the home.

If the project seems like a lot to handle, consider taking advantage of our professional fence installation services. If you plan to use certain tools like an auger or post hole digger just once, consider a tool rental to get your project done. Use once, then bring it back - no maintenance required and you won’t need to store it either.The Home Depot mobile app. Snap a picture of an item you like and we'll show you similar products.