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Aluminium vs. Steel Fencing: Which Should You Choose?

The most popular fencing materials today are steel and aluminium. Which is better? The steel vs. aluminium fence debate has been going for years, and both have been used extensively in fabricating all sorts of fencing, deck railings and gates. There are advantages and disadvantages to both materials, and each can be worked into almost any shape or form. When having new fencing installed, you’ll want to look at strength, overall cost and necessary maintenance when choosing materials. Both are among the most commonly recycled materials in the world, so use of either is environmentally friendly.

About Steel Fencing

Light, strong tubular steel fencing is available in a wide range of decorative patterns, from scrolls and crosses to top circles, making it a popular substitute for wrought iron. Similar in appearance to wrought iron fencing but much cheaper, galvanized steel has been coated with a layer of zinc to slow or prevent or delay rust and corrosion. These fences and gates are available in a remarkable array of styles, colours and designs, making them adaptable to any style of architecture. Whether you’re looking for a sturdy security fence or a stylish enhancement of your property, steel fencing may be the ideal choice.

Fencemakers Perth Steel Fencing Steel Fencing from Fencemakers in Perth, WA. Source:


Strength is one of the big draws of steel fencing, and these fences can withstand many years of harsh weather conditions and high usage. Because of their durability, steel fences often come with lifetime warranties, which may somewhat offset the higher cost of purchase and installation compared to aluminium fencing. Steel fencing and gates are often preferred in industrial applications due to the metal’s weight and strength, creating a much more fortified front to a business property or gated community. However, with automated systems, it’s much easier to deal with aluminium.


Although the galvanizing process wards off rusting and corrosion, steel will eventually rust when coming into contact with water and oxygen, particularly around any screws, bolts or welding points, so it’s really important you have good drainage channels in place. Regular application of rust-resistant paint can delay problems. Often this material is not a wise choice in areas with a lot of pollution, heavy rains or other hostile weather environments that may accelerate corrosion. Fencing is heavy and difficult to install, making it a job for professionals. The weight of steel can also make it a poor choice for residential gates, as a swinging steel gate can present a danger, particularly to children.

About Aluminium Fencing

Because they are rarely affected by corrosion, aluminium fences are perfect for any location without the necessity of additional protective coatings. However, surface treatments like painting and anodizing can enhance its appearance. About a third lighter than steel, this popular, relatively cheap fencing material is perfect for dividing property, swimming pool enclosures and confining pets and kids to the yard.

Aluminium Picket Fencing from Fencemakers in Perth, WA. Source: Aluminium Picket Fencing from Fencemakers in Perth, WA. Source:


Aluminium is physically and chemically very much like steel, brass, copper or lead in that it can be melted and fabricated into a wide range of designs. Your aluminium fencing will also be unscathed by fertilizers, soil chemistry, ice melting salt or other landscaping chemicals that can damage steel fencing. Homes along the seashore may benefit from aluminium due to the prevalence of rust-inducing salty winds. Though less dense and less sturdy than steel, aluminium is also significantly cheaper, and the lower price tag on aluminium fencing makes it a popular choice for folks on a tight budget. It can last for decades without needing paint or other maintenance. Overall, if you’re looking for a low maintenance option in your new fencing, aluminium should be a good choice. Additionally, when portions become damaged, new sections can be installed easily.


Not as strong as steel, aluminium, particularly cheaper brands, can be damaged by storms, falling tree limbs or even climbing kids. It dents more easily than steel and can develop a bit of a banged up appearance, detracting from your property’s appearance. Dents in gates and fences will need to be banged out or sections replaced when damaged. Although aluminium doesn’t rust like steel, it does oxidize over time and may require special paint to touch up the bare metal.

Making the Decision

Overall, it’s best to look at all the pros and cons of aluminium vs. steel for your new fencing and gates. Appearance will of course be a big consideration, but strength, cost, weight, usage and necessary maintenance are all aspects you’ll want to explore. A reputable fencing contractor can help you go over fencing options with your budget and anticipated usage in mind, and you’ll be able to look at samples to help you get an idea of the best material and style for your home or business. All steel and aluminium fencing is available in residential, commercial and industrial grades.

About the Author

Ricky Hee is Managing Director of Fencemakers, a leading provider of Aluminium & Steel Fencing and Gates in Perth, Western Australia. Find Ricky on Google+.

One thought on “Aluminium vs. Steel Fencing: Which Should You Choose?”
  • Nathan Johnson
    Nathan Johnson March 2, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I want to add a fence to my front yard. It is for privacy but mostly for curb appeal for the house. After reading your article, I think I am leaning towards a tubular steel fence. I love the look and the durability of the steel. Now I just need to find someone to install it for me! Thanks for the info!

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