Split rail fencing is a beautiful alternative to other types of fencing. The charm and style of this fence compares to our other fences, yet a split rail fence is very economical compared to some of the other higher priced options. The lower cost of split rail fence is often the main reason people choose this type.
It is also considered a “no bother” fence, in that the aging will not make it look bad and it’s easy to maintain. Other types of fences can deteriorate heavily over the years, begin to look unattractive, and require high maintenance.
Components Of A Split Rail Fence
Split rails remain popular as they are very simple in their construction and you can build these fences almost anywhere, even on hard or rocky ground with some slight modifications to the standard installation. Many homeowners say they enjoy the traditional yet professional look to their landscape a post and rail fence creates. The main parts of the fence include:
Rails – are round, half-round or square/diamond-shaped. The rails insert into the holes in the posts and are held in place by their own weight.
End posts – are drilled halfway and are used as starting and stopping points.
Corner posts – are drilled halfway on adjoining sides for use on right angles.
Line posts – are drilled all the way through and support the rails on long, straight portions.
Installing A Split Rail Fence in 6 Steps
1. Mark the place where you plan to build a fence with stakes and string. Make sure the fence will not stray over your property line and onto your neighbors’ or public property. You may need to hire a surveyor to find and mark your property line.
2. Calculate the number of rails and posts you will need. Measuring the length of the string you used to mark your property. Split rails are typically 10 feet long, but you can get rails 6 feet, 8 feet or 12 feet long. If your measurements don’t allow you to divide the fence into even sections, consider altering its length rather than cutting rails.
• If you want to include a gate, this may affect your calculations. Gates come in a variety of widths ranging from 4 to 10 feet.
• A 2-rail fence will stand approximately 3 feet high. A 3-rail fence will be 14 inches taller.
3. Buy the split rails and posts. The posts are drilled and the rails notched to make assembly easy. You can also buy a gate to install between two posts.
4. Use an auger to dig a 2-foot hole for the first post. Put your post in the hole, refill it with dirt and tamp it down as firmly as possible.
5. Insert the rails into the post, letting the far ends rest on the ground. Check the post with a level to make sure they are straight. Make adjustments as necessary.
6. Dig the next hole, insert the post, and install the ends of the rails into the post. Use a level to check the post you just installed as well as the previous post to make sure they haven’t shifted when you installed the rails. Check your posts and make adjustments every time you install rails.
Split Rail Fence Cost
This guide will show you the post and rail fence cost per foot. The split rail fence cost per foot varies depending on the choice of materials used as you can see in the chart below:
|Split Rail Fence Material Used||Cost Per Foot||Cost Per 100 feet||Cost Per 500 feet|
|Cedar||$10 – $15||$1000 – $1500||$5000 – $7500|
|Yellow Pine||$10 – $18||$1000 – $1800||$5000 – $9000|
|Locust||$20 – $30||$2000 – $3000||$10000–$15000|
|Composite||$19 – $23||$1900 – $2300||$9500 – $11500|
The first thing you want to do is clean your whole fence with a pressure washer. A home-sized pressure washer should be fine but will take more time then one you can rent. If you have a very large yard it is suggested to rent one for half a day. Some manufacturers make special treatment products to remove mold and they come in plastic bottles that you attach to your pressure washer. If you have this type of attachment make use of it, otherwise you can buy a pump-up insect or weed sprayer and apply a 20 percent bleach solution with a soap (like laundry detergent) to the fence about an hour before you pressure wash it.
Look for wood that should be replaced or fasteners that need to be reseated. Make sure that your fence is secure in the ground and the posts have firm soil that has not washed away since the fence was built. Three-rail fences can be stabilized by wrapping the outside surface with a tall wire fencing material available at most garden centers. Along with providing added structure, it will reduce unwanted pets and animals from entering your yard. Something as simple as adding a wood deck screw to secure the rails to the post will also stop kids from taking down your fence to cut through your property.
Once clean, you should give the fence a week to dry in the hot sun before you apply stain. Stain will seep in the top layer of wood, unlike paint that will simply attach to the surface. For that reason, the fence must be dry before you begin. Applying the stain can be done with a brush or with a power sprayer.
•After staining your fence, you can lubricate the fence gate hinges and locks if you have them. A general quality automotive grease can be used – just remove the hinge pins to apply internally with a small brush.
•Many people choose to use a wood preservative over their fences to extend the time between treatments, but make sure that you do not use one with paraffin wax in it if you plan on later staining for touch-up or overall look some time down the line.
•Wax coatings are not suggested since they are difficult to work with because they are hard to remove before re-staining. If the wax is not removed the stain will not penetrate the wood and will fail very quickly or produce a mottled effect which is not very nice to look at.