Can You Build A Fence With Untreated Wood? [Alternative To Treated Wood]

Do you have wood that is untreated and you are wondering, can you build a fence with untreated wood? Then we got you.

Yes, you can build a fence with untreated wood. But after building the fence it should be sealed or painted. This will protect the fence from rotting and decay and will prolong its life.

Untreated wood is not ideal for outdoor use, because of its vulnerability to environmental conditions. You need pressure-treated wood that is resistant to rotting and decaying.

can you build a fence with untreated wood

In this article, I will walk you through all the details on how to use untreated wood for outdoor purposes like building a fence, and how to maintain its condition with proper care and maintenance. 

Using Untreated Wood For Fence

Using untreated wood for a fence is not the best option out there, but if you want to pursue it then you need to consider the following points.

  • Use the type of wood that shows a natural resistance to rotting and decay, and last longer.
  • Do not build your fence using fresh wood, because fresh wood has moisture in it. Allow it to dry before using it.
  • Make sure that the bark side of the wood is not facing out because it is vulnerable to rot and decay.
  • You should also need to properly maintain your fence by painting it and replacing any damaged parts that you notice.
  • Untreated wood does not last longer than pressure-treated wood. Therefore be mindful of its longevity.
can you build a fence with untreated wood

If you keep these points in mind then you can increase the life of your fence by two to three folds.

Best Untreated Wood For Fence Posts

There are many candidates for the best-untreated wood for a fence post. Your fence posts will last for years if you use one of these types with proper care and maintenance.


Cedar is a great option when it comes to building your fence with untreated wood. Because of its oil content, it is quite resistant to rot and decay. Also, it is more sustainable than other woods.


Redwood is another good option. It is one of the most resistant woods out there and can last up to three decades if you take care of it. Despite being expensive people prefer it for its durability and unique look.

Black Locust

Black Locust is hardwood and it is not easy to work with it. But is very resistant to weather and insect decay. If you build your fence with this wood it can last for decades upon proper maintenance. 

Douglas Fir

This wood is not only strong and heavy but also resistant to outdoor conditions. It can last for 10-15 years upon proper care.


Ipe is famous for its strength and durability. That is why it is also known as Ironwood. It can last for more than 5 decades. The density of ipe wood makes it resistant but also makes it hard to work with.

can you build a fence with untreated wood

How Long Does Untreated Wood Last In The Ground

The answer to this question depends on what type of wood you are using in building your fence. Some woods are more resistant to environmental decay and therefore last longer.

 While other types are quite suitable to their environment, and hence do not last that long. However, you can increase its time by properly taking care of it, such as sealing and painting it.

The following table shows different types of wood and how long they last if you properly maintain them.

TypeCedarMargarisCamaroThermoryRed Wood
Longevity (Years)20202015-2030

These are some of the most resistant woods out there. The numbers given in the above table may vary with how well you maintain the wood.

Treated Or Untreated Wood For Fence: Which Is Best For Building A Fence

Treated wood is usually used for outdoor projects such as building a fence. This is because treated wood is more resistant to insect decay and weather conditions. You can also use it for framing a house. 

However, I will not use it where I can come in contact with food. For instance, on a kitchen countertop or a chopping/cutting board. It is also not good for use in a vanity or bathroom.

Pressure-treated wood is heavier and has a different smell to it. For instance, treated lumber has a greenish tint to it and has an oily smell.

If you want to build a fence with treated wood then you should carefully use the fasteners. Do not use sinkers or Cummins in pressure-treated wood. This is because these types of fasteners rust quickly. Instead, you should use galvanized or stainless steel fasteners.

can you build a fence with untreated wood
Teated Or Untreated Wood [Which One To Use]

Untreated wood compared to treated wood is less resistant to rot and decay. That is why it is not an ideal option for outdoor use. If you are still persistent to build your fence with untreated wood then you should seal or paint it to make it more resistant and prolong its life.

Final Thoughts On ‘Can You Build A Fence With Untreated Wood’

Building a fence can be quite expensive and it’s fine if you want to build it by using untreated wood to cut down some cost. That being said, you should properly maintain it to prolong the life of your fence. Here are some of the tips and tricks that you can adopt to prolong the life of your fence.

  • Keep the fence dry because moisture is one of the main reasons for rotting.
  • Applying a sealer on the fence will keep the fence dry and protect it from insect decay and rotting.
  • Painting or staining the fence is a good practice, as it prevents water penetration and acts as a protective layer over it.
  • Use wood for your fence that is naturally resistant to rot and decay. For instance, you can use cedar and redwood.
  • Keep an eye on your fence, and repair any damaged spots.

These techniques can definitely prolong the life of your fence which is made from untreated wood.

Follow me