Post and Rail Fence Installation

Post and Rail Fence Installation image by Microsoft Office
Post and Rail Fence Installation image by Microsoft Office


Post and rail fences are basic and adaptable. They were first fabricated during the "enclosures" of pre-industrial Britain. Today, they enclose humble pastures, surround historic sites and line the straight roads of horse country. They are variously called "ranch", "split rail" or "rustic," depending on which part of the country you're from. Their installation is still a matter of a little planning and a lot of manual work.


Post and rail fencing, traditionally made of cypress, cedar or painted wood, is also built using newer materials like polyvinylchloride (PVC) or engineered wood.

Post and Rail Fence Installation


Most fences can be installed using a post-hole digger, shovel and concrete trowels and hand tools like hammers and saws for minor woodworking.


The style of fence chosen should match the property (rustic or formal and regional customs) upon which it will be placed, demands of the climate and the function (retention, exclusion or decoration) it will serve.

Post and Rail Fence Installation


Holes should be dug as deep as the frost line in the area to keep posts from heaving during winters and lined with gravel for drainage.


Posts may be round, square or irregular and solid or pierced depending on the fence style. All should be coated with a sealer or preservative, sunk in the post hole and secured with gravel or cement.


Styles of rails for fencing may be split (rough cut) rail, dowel (rounded ends) or slipboard (also called shipboard) style and are either secured with pegs or nails or wedged into piercings in the posts where they are often secured with pegs.

Post and Rail Fence Installation


Post and rail ends should be sealed and wood fences may be stained or painted.

Who Can Help

  • Post and rail project by Lowes
  • Installing a wood fence
  • Post and rail styles and materials

About this Author

Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as a nonfiction author and editor, and as a newspaper editor. Reynolds has been appointed and elected to local offices as well. She has a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.

Photo by: Microsoft Office

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