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When looking at wooden fence styles, what are the basic components?


Question: When looking at wooden fence styles, what are the basic components?

Wooden fence styles vary greatly. They include stockade, picket, lattice, and post and rail. Let's find out what they have in common....


Despite the variety of wooden fence styles, there are three basic components for building privacy fencing. And the first two of these three components form the basis for building just about any fence made of wood:

  1. Posts:
    • Vertical components rooted firmly in the earth. Properly set fence posts will hold all the other components in place. They are the foundation for your wooden fence.

    • Posts sometimes stand only as high as the tops of the fence panels. In other wooden fence styles, the posts are allowed to extend above the panels. In the latter case, adding finials is an option for fences performing a decorative function.
  2. Rails:
    • Rails do the spanning work in wooden fences, connecting one post to the next. They are your horizontal elements, running parallel to the ground.

    • Top and bottom rails are almost always found in wooden fence styles; many will also have middle rails.

    • It is the rails to which the panels will be attached, perpendicularly.

  3. Panels (boards):
    • The panels are the chief screening component in privacy wooden fences, such as the stockade style. In open wooden fence styles, such as the post and rail, there are no panels (thus the name, "post and rail": that's all there is), meaning they require much less lumber to build.

    • Each of the distinct panel designs is defined by shape, especially at the top (e.g., some panels terminate in a point, such as those in the picket style).

    • Panels are sometimes attached so as to obscure the posts on one side or the other. Alternatively, the posts may be allowed to jut out in relief on one or both sides.

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