Choosing Between Split Rail and Round Rail Fencing

When you are fencing your home or ranch, a wooden fence provides a sturdy stylish look, while remaining functional.

Two options for wood fencing are Split rail and Round rail fencing.

Both of these fence types have their place but it’s sometimes difficult to choose between the two.

In order to make your choice you should consider the following factors and compare the two types together:

  • Aesthetic Value
  • The Size Of Your Animals
  • Ease Of Construction
  • Price

Aesthetic Value

Both the round rail and the split rail fence, provide the timeless beauty of a wood fence, with different looks.

Round rails are milled rather than split so they leave you with the classic look of a smooth round fence.

The split in split rail actually means that the wooden rails are split, this provides you a more rustic look.

The split rail fencing can be installed as either a two or three rail version.

The round rail fence can also be installed as either a two or three rail version.

The number of rails is therefore not a factor when you choose between these two fencing options.

The addition of a wire fence to a split rail fence is almost invisible from a distance. This means that it barely affects the rustic look of the split rail fence.

Split rails are trimmed flat on one side and curved on the other. If your fence borders a neighbor you can decide who gets to see the round side and who gets the flat side.

The Size Of Your Animals

Both of these wooden fences will restrict or contain animals and livestock to varying degrees.

The round rail is a heavy duty fence that is ideal for horses and large cattle

Although of lighter construction the split rail can also contain horses and cattle.

The large gaps between the rails of both fence types can prove an issue for containing smaller animals.

To address the issue with smaller animals, attaching a wire mesh to the fence is the preferred option.

A wire fence can stop smaller animals from passing between the rails. Extending the wire beneath the rails helps to block vermin.

Ease Of Construction

The split rail is a lighter construction than the round rail making it easier to handle.

Once the split rail posts are in place the ends of the rails just slot into the posts.

The trimmed side of a split rail makes it easier to fasten a wire fence. Because round rails do not have a flat side, it is not as easy to fasten wire fences to them.

The strength of a wooden fence is dependent on the posts being correctly installed whichever type of fence you choose.

Both types of fence are relatively easy to install.  If you install a two rail fence instead of a three rail fence it will take less time to install.


The size of your budget may have some impact on your choice of fencing.

The rails on a split rail fence contain almost half the timber as the rails on a round rail fence.

It makes sense that as there is less timber in split rail fencing that the costs would be cheaper.

If the price is an issue, you can reduce the cost of your fencing without changing the type of fencing.

Reducing the number of rails from three to two reduces the number of materials.

Two rails in either type of fence are therefore cheaper than a three rail option.

The Choice Is Yours

Once you have balanced up your options, the choice of split rail or round rail is ultimately yours.

The information here should have helped you with your choice between the two types of fence.

To explore your options more fully contacts us for a quote.