Post and rail fencing has been around for centuries. It’s a popular style of fencing, and for a good reason. Rail fencing is versatile enough to be used for agricultural, residential, and commercial purposes. The unique design and style make it a great fencing system for ranchers, farmers, homeowners, and business owners.

What is a Post and Rail Fence?

Post and rail is a term that encompasses two types of fences – split rail fencing and post and dowel fencing. Both options embrace the same design concept by using large vertical posts that are placed in the ground and stand perpendicular to two or more horizontal rails attached to those posts. Both fence options look similar from a distance, but there are distinct differences worth noting.

How is a Split Rail Fence Different from a Post and Dowel Fence?

Shape: A post and dowel fence is made with rounded rails and posts. In comparison, a split rail fence uses raw wood that is more square or triangular in shape. Made from split logs, the rails are often more irregular in shape.

Appearance: The round rails and posts give a post and dowel fence a uniform look, while the rough nature of a standard split rail fence creates a rustic appearance.

Materials: Post and dowel fencing materials are pressure-treated. Pressure-treated wood is resistant to rot, insect infestations, decay, and termites. Split rails are often made from cedar wood, which naturally resists decay and insects without chemical treatments.

When is a Rail Fence More Beneficial than a Standard Privacy Fence?

Livestock: Animals are hard on fences. If you own large animals, a post and rail fence is a necessity. A rail fence is strong, sturdy, and can withstand the wear and tear that comes with corralling livestock such as cows or horses. Other types of fences will not get the job done as well.

Land Coverage: A rail fence is ideal when you have a large amount of land to enclose. Fences are an investment, and the cost of materials and labor can quickly add up if you need to fence in a long stretch of property.

Property Value: A fence increases the value of your property. A well-maintained and properly designed fence is a worthwhile addition to any property.

How Does the Price of a Rail Fence Compare to Other Fencing Options?

Materials: You get the most bang for your buck with a post and rail fence. Many property owners feel a rail fence is a more affordable option compared to other fencing types. Wood is relatively inexpensive when compared to alternative fencing options such as metal, aluminum, wrought iron, or vinyl.

Installation: A post and rail fence is easy to install. In fact, it’s so simple that you cut the cost of labor simply based upon the amount of time it takes to build a rail fence. Rail fences are an economical choice for anyone looking to save on installation costs.

Upkeep: A traditional privacy fence is best maintained when you paint or stain it, which is not as critical for a rail fence. The thick and heavy wood used to build a rail fence can last for years without regular maintenance. Repairs and renovations are also few and far between, saving you money in the long run.

What Else Should I Consider Before Building a Rail Fence?

Number of Rails: A post and rail fence can be built with two, three, or four horizontal rails. The amount of space between each rail varies based upon the number of rail rows. Even with a four-row system, a gap will exist between rails. Because of this, a post and rail is not considered a privacy fence. A traditional privacy fence provides full coverage and decreases visibility, while a post and rail fence does not.

Gates: A gate can easily be worked into the layout of a post and rail fence. If you want to incorporate a gate, plan the location and design of it before you begin construction. It will save you time and money down the road.

Is a Rail Fence Right For You?

A post and rail fence is a valuable addition to any property. Fences give character and beautify a piece of land. They outline clear boundaries, while also serving a purpose and function.

You can customize a rail fence to fit your exact needs and preferences. If you want a fence that is aesthetically pleasing and visually attractive, a post and rail fence accomplishes that and more.