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Looking to have a 6' privacy fence built around my yard in central Ohio. Yard drains reasonably well but can get pretty mushy in spots, especially when we get a bunch of rain and the ground is still frozen (like right now.)

I have had a few contractors out to quote me a privacy fence. Most of them won't use cedar posts because they say they rot quickly, and pressure treated is better. One contractor is using 5" x 5" center cut cedar posts, as he only works in cedar. I like the look of the cedar posts, but the price is significantly higher than using PT posts and cedar planks. I'd hate to spend the extra and then have the posts rot out at / under ground level.

I'm not sure how the cedar posts would be set (concrete, gravel, or a collar) but I'll ask.

Does anyone have any knowledge (or strong opinions) either way on life expectancy of cedar vs PT?

Thanks in advance! If anyone has been through this and has any "Make sure you ask about..." advice please let me know!

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Personal opinion/experience agrees with the advice you are getting. Cedar is a good choice above ground; it's less toxic and as long as it can dry out it resists bugs and weathering pretty well. If the posts will be above ground resting on concrete anchors, cedar is fine. If you are going to bury one end of the posts, though, I would recommend PT. Realistically, the difference in appearance is minimal, especially after staining or weathering. I'd save the cedar for the fence panels.

Of course if you want a natural product that is extremely bug and weather resistant, some of the tropical hardwoods like Ipe are now available for decking and it might be possible to get 5x5 posts. Not cheap, though.

  • Termites feast on cedar. I have seen tubular galvanized steel posts in concrete boxed in with 1 x 4" cedar. I would use PT and consider earth tamping rather than concrete. – Jim Stewart Jan 24 '17 at 20:37

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