Aluminum Vs. Wrought Iron: Which Fencing Choice Is Right For You?

Do you love the stately, sophisticated look of black metal fencing? While most people assume fencing of this type is all made from wrought iron, that's not the case. Wrought iron is the traditional material used to make black metal fences, but these days, many of the black fences you see are actually made from aluminum that has been coated in a special powder-coat finish that gives it the look of iron. So, is real wrought iron or aluminum the better choice for your fence? As with many questions in life, the answer is "it depends."

How important is security?

If you live in a less-than-safe neighborhood and have concerns about security, then you may want to go with wrought iron. It is simply stronger and harder than aluminum, meaning that a potential intruder would have a harder time cutting through it and gaining access to your yard.

On the other hand, if your fence is purely for aesthetic purposes or you just want a minor deterrent to keep mostly friendly neighbors from wandering onto your lot, then aluminum is likely strong enough to suit your purposes. It is by no means flimsy and will keep the average passers-by out.

How tight is your budget?

Aluminum is the more affordable material, so if you're on a tight budget and need a fence immediately, it is the obvious choice. However, if you have a bit more wiggle room in your budget, you may wish to splurge on a wrought iron fence. It will cost more to install, but you may be able to recoup the increased cost should you ever sell your home since the wrought iron fence should increase your property value, thanks to its durability and security.

Will you be installing the fence yourself?

If you will be putting the fence up yourself, you'll have a much easier time handling aluminum fencing since it is so much lighter. If you opt for wrought iron, you will likely want to hire a fencing company to put it up for you, since the heavy panels can be very tough to hold in place and install properly without the right skills and equipment. Also, aluminum fencing is readily sold at many home improvement stores since people do often put it up themselves. Comparatively, you may have a hard time finding wrought iron fencing materials for a DIY project.

Do you live in a historic district?

If you live in the area where many of the homes are historic and have been preserved as such, wrought iron fencing may be the better choice because it is more authentic. Choosing wrought iron may even be necessary in order to comply with building codes in certain historic neighborhoods. Plus, it will increase your property value in areas where authentic architecture is important to home buyers.

On the other hand, if you live in a newer part of town or an area where the homes have been heavily remodeled, you can get the look of wrought iron for a lot less by choosing aluminum.

Do you mind doing regular rust-proofing?

If you do nothing to interfere with the process, your wrought iron fence will eventually develop rust. Thus, it will be important for you to coat it with a rust-proofing agent every couple of years. This is not a huge amount of maintenance, but if you want an even lower-maintenance choice, aluminum is it. Aluminum does not rust, and today's powder-coated fences don't require any regular maintenance at all.

To learn more about aluminum and wrought iron fencing, speak to a fencing contractor in your area. They can look at your circumstances and help you decide which type of fencing is better suited to your needs.