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How to Build a Fence

The wood materials that make up a fence include pickets, rails, and posts.

  • Pickets are the vertical boards that make up the finished surface of a fence. They are typically 1/2″ – 1″ thick, by 4″ – 6″ wide.
  • Rails are the horizontal members to which the pickets are fastened. They are commonly 2″ thick by 3″ – 4″ wide.
  • Posts, which are partially buried underground, are the vertical structural members that support the rails and pickets of a fence. They are typically 4″ – 6″ thick by 4″ – 6″ wide.

Stick building a wood fence offers the opportunity to be creative; however, it should be noted that several traditional styles of fence are well received by neighbors. Different types of fences:

  • Picket fences will generally have two rails, with evenly spaced pickets on one side of the fence. They range in height from 3′ to 4′.
  • Shadowbox fences will have three rails, with evenly spaced pickets on two sides of the fence. Shadowbox fences feature a picket on one side placed alternately to a picket on the opposing side. They are typically 6′ tall.
  • Board on board fences (see image above) have two or three rails, depending on the height of the fence. Pickets are butted tightly together on one side of the fence. They typically range in height from 3′ to 6′.
What is needed for the job
Supplies
  • Stakes
  • String
  • Fence Posts
  • Gravel
  • Plumb bob
  • Concrete Mix
  • Wood for the rails
  • Pickets
  • Paint or Stain
  • Brush
  • Fasteners
  • Pencil or Tape
Tools
  • Hammer and Nails
  • Shovel
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