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Post and Rail Fencing Comparison: Premium Steel Vs. PVC


If you are in search of a long-lasting, safe and low-maintenance fencing solution, PVC and Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing might be on the top of your list. 


Choosing the perfect fencing solution for your property is a significant decision that requires careful consideration. The fence you select not only defines the boundaries of your property but also plays a crucial role in enhancing its overall appeal, ensuring long-lasting durability, providing safety for both your property and any livestock you may have, and managing the ongoing maintenance costs. As well ROI should you ever sell your property. 


At Stock & Noble, we provide the finest fencing solutions to high-end properties across Australia and New Zealand. Our renowned Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing System (Buckley) is a globally acclaimed product known for its exceptional quality and adherence to rigorous horse safety standards. With a wealth of experience, insights drawn from real-world projects, and an in-depth understanding of the entire post and rail fencing industry, we are committed to providing you with factual and expert information to empower you in making the right choice for your property. 


In this blog, we will conduct a thorough comparison between two popular fencing options: Premium Steel Post and Rail Buckley) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) fencing.  


We aim to give you detailed knowledge of these two options, enabling you to make an informed and confident choice that aligns perfectly with your vision and your property’s unique needs. 


Comparison Based on Product Specifications 


Product Specifications of PVC Post and Rail Fencing 

It’s important to acknowledge that there is a range of PVC qualities available from various suppliers, and we’ll be discussing general specifications. 


PVC Post and Rail Fencing Dimensions 

Panel Width: 2.4 meters 

Panel Height: Depending on your selected options, it can range from 1.2 to 1.5 meters. 

Post Dimensions: Typically, posts measure 127 x 127 mm and have an average length of 2.1 meters. 


PVC Rail Dimensions 

PVC rails offer two primary size options: 

140 x 38 mm 

150 x 50 mm 


Variations in Rail Length 

Some suppliers provide rails at a length of 2.4 meters, matching the standard panel width. 

Alternatively, certain suppliers offer longer rails at 4.8 meters, allowing them to span across two posts. 


Material Thickness

The typical wall thickness for PVC posts is around 3.8 mm, striving to build a robust and stable fence. 

Rails, on the other hand, are usually 2 mm thick, providing adequate strength while keeping the overall structure lightweight. 


To provide a complete picture, it’s worth noting that PVC rails are typically 2.4 meters in length, and the standard post dimensions are 127 x 127 mm with a length of approximately 2.21 meters.  


Product Specifications of Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing 

The dimensions of the Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing system from Stock & Noble stand out as some of the most impressive in the industry. 


The Buckley system is available in a range of configurations, including 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 rail options, catering to various property needs. Let’s take a closer look at the dimensions of Buckley’s rail components: 


Height of Post Above Ground 

The posts are designed to stand at a height of 1450-1600mm above ground level, providing both visual prominence and effective containment. 


Rail Length

The rails are of a standard length of 2900 mm, ensuring substantial coverage and stability. 


Rail Dimensions 

Each rail measures 135mm in width, 38mm in height, and has a thickness of 1.2mm, offering a strong rail whilst maintaining a small amount of flex. 


Fence Posts

The fence posts are 89mm in depth, 130 mm in width, and have a thickness of 1.6 mm, with radiused corners for added safety and aesthetics. 


One of the benefits of the steel rails is their ability to span longer post distances than PVC, measuring 2.9 meters each. These extended rails provide a unique 23° articulation allowance in any direction within each post-opening. This inherent flexibility readily accommodates the contours of hilly terrains or the installation of a round corral yard, making it an ideal choice for properties with diverse landscapes. 


Comparison based on material  


PVC Post and Rail Fencing

PVC is a type of plastic. The quality of PVC fencing materials can vary widely depending on the supplier. Some suppliers choose to utilise recycled plastic, while others opt for virgin-grade PVC, which is entirely new and is regarded to be of higher quality. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing

In contrast, the Buckley fencing system relies on recycled steel as its core material. This steel is first galvanised for enhanced durability. Additionally, Buckley’s posts undergo an epoxy layer and an architectural-grade powder coat application, further protecting galvanised steel from the corrosive elements ensuring extended longevity. 


Comparison of looks 

The visual appeal of your fence is a big part of the first impression your property makes. A fence that looks impressive when brand new and maintains its elegance over time is crucial for property owners seeking long-term satisfaction. 


PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Fencing

PVC fencing can be visually appealing when newly installed, especially given the wide range of colours and designs available. However, the story changes over time: 


  • Coloured PVC rails may start to sag slightly between posts or develop a bow, diminishing the fence’s initial appeal. 
  • PVC posts are relatively short and lack the robustness of steel posts, leading to potential wobbling in the fence line. 
  • In some Australian conditions, PVC fencing is susceptible to mould growth, particularly when not adequately maintained. 
  • Over time, PVC fencing may lose its charm, making it less attractive for property owners looking for enduring elegance. 
  • PVC post and rail fencing is difficult to successfully hang gates off or attach mesh to. 

mould on pvc horse fencing

It’s worth noting that a seasoned fencing contractor, whose family has been in the fencing industry since 1968 recently commented, “I haven’t seen a PVC fencing project ever and gone WOW!” This statement reflects the sentiment that while PVC may look good initially, it doesn’t maintain its visual appeal in the long run. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing (Buckley) 

The Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing system offers a timeless and impressive appearance that stands the test of time. Key characteristics include: 


  • Straight steel rails that maintain their shape over the years. 
  • The posts are 2.54 metres long, means they can be buried deep into the ground keeping the post strong and straight for decades.  
  • The fence has an architectural grade powder coat finish for long life and minimal to no maintenance 
  • It‘s an engineered fencing system that remains horse-safe and retains its safety features and elegant looks over time, in contrast to PVC, which tends to become more brittle. 

Stock and Noble Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing, Black, 4 Rail with horse-7


PVC has its place in the market, often appealing to budget-conscious clients. However, when it comes to aesthetics, especially for signature properties, it may not be the preferred choice. Its long-term appearance may not hold up as well, over extended periods. 


Comparison of Quality/Longevity 

Quality and longevity are paramount when selecting fencing materials. Let’s delve deeper into the durability of both options: 


PVC Post and Rail Fencing

PVC suppliers often advertise a 50-year warranty, emphasising that PVC won’t rust, warp, or require painting. However, this warranty in our opinion can be somewhat misleading. 

 Over time, PVC fences can appear worn and bedraggled, creating a discrepancy between the promised performance and the actual aging of the material. 

 The longevity of PVC fencing may not match the material’s impressive lifespan, especially in challenging environmental conditions. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing

The truth is all steel will eventually corrode and deteriorate, but the pace and extent of this process depend on various factors, including the specific environment and level of corrosive exposure. 

Our Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing uses recycled steel, which is then galvanised and coated with an epoxy layer, and an architectural-grade powder coat. It’s advanced design system features rubber grommets meaning there is not steel touching steel between the posts and rails and no requirement for welding or screwing. This combination of materials and design features of the steel fence ensures higher protection against rust and a much longer lifespan. 

Properly designed and maintained, steel can last for decades, providing a fence that retains its appearance and functionality. 

So, when it comes to fencing on equine or premium lifestyle properties, especially with the Buckley design it’s evident that Premium Steel Fencing outperforms PVC. Buckley not only maintains its visual appeal but also offers superior longevity and performance as a post and rail fence compared to PVC. 


Comparison of Warranty 

Warranty considerations are essential when evaluating fencing materials: 


PVC Post and Rail Fencing 

PVC suppliers provide warranties ranging from 10 to 50 years, depending on the supplier and the quality of the PVC used. 

Be cautious that while PVC may come with extended warranties, the fence’s actual performance may not align with these warranties over time. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing

Regarding the Buckley Steel Fencing System, there are two key aspects to consider: 

  • A 15-year warranty covers the paint, ensuring it won’t chip or flake. 
  • The steel fencing system boasts an impressive life expectancy of 30 years or even more. 

There isn’t a specific warranty on the steel itself because steel’s lifespan depends on the conditions it’s exposed to. 

The most reputable steel manufacturers worldwide refrain from offering warranties on steel fences, as the material’s durability is influenced by factors such as the environment in which it is installed. 


Comparison Based on Cost 


PVC Post and Rail Fencing 

PVC fencing appears initially budget-friendly, with costs ranging from $40 to $67 per meter. 

However, it’s essential to factor in the long-term costs associated with maintenance and potential replacement, which can increase the overall expense. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail (Buckley)

The Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing system costs $157 per meter, including GST. 

While the initial cost may be higher, the Buckley system offers better value due to its durability, aesthetics, higher ROI and lower maintenance requirements over time. 


Comparison Based on Horse Safety 

PVC Post and Rail Fencing 

PVC has some safety aspects, as it is flexible and can absorb impact if a horse bumps into it. 

However, as PVC ages, it can become brittle, potentially snapping and creating sharp shards that pose a significant risk of injury to horses. If a horse runs into an old PVC fence, it might break, potentially causing a serious injury. 

Older PVC fences are less safe, and the safety of horses can deteriorate over time. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing 

While steel is not typically regarded as a horse-safe material, the design of the Buckley system incorporates key safety features for equine use. 

This horse fence is designed with careful attention to detail, featuring pre-cut components that are not only highly visible but also crafted with rounded smooth edges, eliminating the need for nails, screws, or fasteners that could pose safety hazards.

One of the key safety features is the “bend, buckle and release” mechanism incorporated in the rails. If a horse runs into this fence at speed, the rails are designed to give in, preventing a potential injury. 

Also, the strength of steel ensures better containment of horses within the property, reducing the risk of them escaping and getting injured outside. 


As compared to PVC, Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing is specially designed to be horse-safe. 


Comparison Based on Maintenance 


PVC Post and Rail Fencing

PVC fences are susceptible to mould growth, especially in certain Australian conditions. 

Regular water blasting and cleaning are necessary to prevent mould build-up and maintain the fence’s appearance. 


Premium Steel Post and Rail (Buckley) 

The Buckley system is designed with added protection against rust, reducing the need for frequent maintenance. 

While some rust may eventually appear, it is typically manageable, and the fence’s overall maintenance requirements are lower compared to PVC. 

Watch what a property owner has to say about maintaining Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing.


Maintenance of Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing from Stock & Noble


Comparison Based on Installation 

The installation of both PVC and Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing is relatively similar in terms of cost, time, and complexity.  

One notable difference is that Buckley fence posts are longer, which may require deeper holes during installation.  

However, the overall installation process is comparable for both options. 


Comparison Based on Colour  

PVC comes in a variety of colours, allowing for customisation to match your property’s aesthetics. In contrast, Premium Steel (Buckley) is available only in black and white. 


Which Post and Rail Fencing is Best For Your Property: PVC Vs. Premium Steel 

You are building your new property or revamping your old one and wanted to know which fencing would be more ideal for you – PVC or Buckley. 


In summary, we are comparing two distinctly different fencing options, and this contrast is notably reflected in their respective pricing. These fencing solutions cater to different segments within the market. For property owners who desire both immediate and long-term aesthetics, seek low maintenance, and prioritise animal safety, the Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing system emerges as the preferred choice. 


High-end property owners with a clear vision or a keen understanding of the return on investment for signature properties are often attracted to Premium steel post and rail fencing, as it offers timeless aesthetics and long-term value.  


For individuals on a limited budget who can compromise on long-term aesthetics and are willing to invest more time in horse safety management, PVC may be a viable option.  


If you’re keen on plastic fencing, exploring options like Horserail could provide an alternative that meets both budget constraints and safety requirements. 


At this stage, it’ll also be worth finding out what makes Buckley one of the most expensive post and rail fencing solutions available. 


Ultimately, the choice between these two fencing materials should align with your specific property needs and long-term goals. Carefully weighing factors such as aesthetics, longevity, cost, horse safety, maintenance, and warranty will help you make an informed decision that enhances the beauty and functionality of your property. Fencing is a critical decision and if you need a specialist’s help, feel free to connect with our fencing experts. They will help and guide you every step of the way to build a property, that matches your vision. 

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