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One of the main confusions we see among customers is the panel versus picket conversion. Many homeowners are under the impression that fences are built by the panel and then attached at a post. In reality, this is usually only the case for faux wood or vinyl materials. 

Typically for real wood fencing, materials are sold by the picket. This can help homeowners to customize the look of their structures while maintaining a consistent quality throughout every picket surface. Buying by the picket also allows for more precision with length and dimensions. Ultimately for any professional fence build, buying by the picket is preferred. 

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between fence panels and pickets is that panels are pre-made sections of a fence that would have otherwise been taken up with roughly 10 to 20 pickets. Because of this, panels are usually a composite or vinyl material that has been manufactured to be that size. Wood panels exist but they are less common due to the process of building them.

Pickets generally come in a 1 to 2 inch thickness and 5 to 8 inches wide. These generally extend 4 to 8 feet depending on the level of privacy needed. Pickets are well-liked among contractors and other builders because they are easy to work with and allow for more flexibility in design. Essentially, panels are pre-made fence faces that join into posts and pickets are the building blocks to create this fence face in place of a panel.

Pros and Cons of Buying by the Panel

Panels are great for those DIYing a fence and don’t have the needed equipment for a full fence build. Since the hard part has been done for you, all that’s needed is attaching it to some posts to keep it upright. Although they require less materials and time to install, they are heavier than traditional pickets which can make the job harder. 

Another advantage to buying by the panel is it is often more affordable since the main components of the fence have already been put together. There is no need to purchase rails or other structural supports. Depending on quality, the materials can be more expensive. But typically panels are not made with the highest quality wood and will be more affordable than premium cedar picket products.

A huge downside to panels is their uniformity. For some, this can be seen as a great feature, but for those looking to get creative or who have an unusually shaped yard it can be difficult. Panels are a set size so if they do not fit perfectly into your space there will need to be an element of construction to the project. 

Pros and Cons of Buying by the Picket

Buying by the picket is the preferred option among many builders and homeowners. By purchasing individual pickets, clients can add more elements of personality to their designs. Not to mention, buying by the picket allows for complete control over the individual quality of your wood. Unlike with panels, you’ll know exactly where your wood is from and its true level of quality every step of the way.

Another advantage to buying by the picket is that these materials are easier to work with and transport. Panels can be easy to install, but their large surface and heavy weight can quickly add up. Pickets allow for ample transportation room and are individually very light and manageable for any project. Not to mention, buying pickets is often cheaper and offers more flexibility in terms of what you want to pay.

Buying by the picket also allows for a more precise measurement. If your yard is shaped in an odd way or panels don’t quite fit your space, pickets are the way to go. Oftentimes homeowners will need a short segment of fencing for a side yard or a gate. In these cases, pickets are way easier to work with to fit your space and functional needs perfectly. 

For us, the choice is clear. Pickets are a great fencing solution that allow for precise measurements, creative looks, and functional needs on every surface. Panels are a great option for those looking for an affordable and easy to install option. Overall, pickets will likely always reign supreme in this debate. They are a great option for builders and homeowners alike. To get a quote on some of your own materials today, contact us here.