We hear it every time we exhibit. Our Steel Board Fence display gets the attention of people passing by, they stop and touch the fence, marvel at its beauty and ingenuity and say, “That’s the fence I’m going to get when I win the lottery.”

While money does dictate a horse owner’s decision when selecting a style of horse fence, one should also consider the cost over the long run and the environmental impact. Paying more for better quality products up front means fewer problems and costs in the future. Better quality is often the environmentally responsible and sustainable choice as well. It does not necessarily take winning the lottery. It simply requires a different perspective.

Consider wood board fencing as an example. Wood board fencing remains a popular choice for horse fencing because of its relatively low cost up front. Take 500 feet, enough to enclose a small paddock. The material cost is approximately $5.00 per foot for treated oak and installation is approximately $6.50 per foot, for a final cost of $11.50 per foot, or $5,750. The maintenance required for aesthetics and preservation begins almost immediately. Wood does not hold up well to harsh outdoor conditions and is a favorite for horses to chew on and insects to devour in certain areas. With the pressure washing, sealing, scraping, stripping, staining and/or painting, and the replacing of warped and rotted posts and rails, the maintenance costs can run approximately $.80 per foot each year (according to a Texas A&M study done in 2002). Today, that amount is probably closer to $1.10 per foot each year. That’s $550 per year. With an average lifetime of 15 years, the maintenance costs are more than the original cost, bringing the 500 feet of fencing to $14,000. And after 15 years, the entire fence needs to be replaced.

Vinyl (or PVC) became a popular option for horse fencing simply because it had the aesthetic appeal of a wood board fence but did not require painting. The material cost for vinyl fencing is similar to wood and the maintenance required for aesthetics and preservation can be just as onerous only for different reasons. It was not long before horse owners realized vinyl lacks the strength necessary to safely contain horses and requires a hot wire to be effective. Vinyl does not hold up all that much better to harsh outdoor conditions. It becomes brittle in the cold and breaks easily, expands from the heat of the sun and sags, at times enough for rails to fall out completely, and has a surface ideal for the formation of mold. With the power washing and frequent replacement of broken rails, the maintenance costs begin to mount. Depending on the quality of the vinyl, the entire fence needs replacement in 10-15 years and in all likelihood will end up in a landfill.

The environmental impact of plastic is significant. Because each vinyl product contains a unique mix of additives, recycling is difficult and cannot yield vinyl products with equivalent qualities to the original. It is merely “downcycled” into other products meaning there is no net reduction in the production of virgin PVC which releases large quantities of toxic chemicals into indoor and outdoor environments. At some point, recycled plastic materials lose their essential qualities and must be thrown away as scrap or waste. Plastic waste materials are very difficult to decompose in landfills and are a significant source of waste.

Steel Board Fence in black. Photo courtesy of B&M Fence Co., Inc., Kansasville, WI

Consider our Steel Board Fence for the same 500 feet of fencing. The material cost is $14.80 per foot and installation is approximately $5.00 per foot (less since the fence sections are approximately 10 feet, posts are predrilled and rails precut.) The cost installed is $19.80 per foot, or $9,900. The rails and posts are 2-side galvanized steel, treated with a phosphate conversion coating for added protection and finished with an architectural grade polyester powder coat. The finish is durable, water resistant, impact resistant and UV resistant. It will never have to be repainted, only touched up with spray paint when hit hard enough with equipment or hard objects. The steel formed rails and posts have a significantly longer usable life than wood or vinyl and are remarkably strong. They will remain perfectly straight and aligned no matter what the harsh weather conditions impart. The protective galvanized, powder coat finish along with the smooth rounded components and absence of fasteners prevent water and pollutants from collecting on the surface and causing corrosion. The rubber grommets lining the rail openings are made with a thermal plastic rubber with carbon black pigment and UV inhibitors that prohibit fading, drying or cracking. Every design detail has been carefully thought out all the way down to the ease of installation, assembly and disassembly. It will easily be 20-25 years before any maintenance is required and only then will the finish need to be touched up to prolong its life another 10-20 years.

As for the environmental impact, the metal recycling market is very well developed because of the significant cost advantages of creating metal products from recycled metals instead of virgin metals. Unlike plastics, metals can be recycled over and over again without losing any of the metal’s original qualities, making them valuable commodities. And powder coat finishes contain no harsh chemicals and are non-toxic. By the time the Steel Board Fence reaches the end of its long and useful life, it retains value as scrap metal and 100% of it can be used to make new metal products of the same quality.

Go ahead and keep buying your lottery tickets. You’ll never win if you never buy them. But you do not need to win it to buy the Steel Board Fence. You just need to wait a little longer and save a little more to invest in the Steel Board Fence. Make the environmentally responsible choice and be the envy of your neighbors with a fence that is attractive, strong, durable, and maintenance free. It is truly the new standard in horse fencing!

Steel Board Fence in black. Photo courtesy of CFC Fences & Deck, Provo, UT
Call us toll free at 877-306-4024 or email sales@buckleyfence.com to request a quote or fence sample. Visit our website at www.buckleyfence.com to learn more about our other products, including the Alumashield Fence, a pipe fence made of aluminum and steel.