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A split rail is a very traditional fence on American properties.

It involves skills which early settlers used when fencing their land, and it is an easy fence to build.

When you know how-to, of course.

At Fence Supply Online we often get asked about building split-rail fences as they are a favorite product line with our clients.

We asked our team of experts to come up with a guide to building a split rail fence. They put their heads together and came up with a solid plan.

To build a split rail fence you should:

  • Choose the right product
  • Map and mark the area
  • Secure the first fence post
  • Build the fence
  • Stain and maintain the fence for a long life

Let’s take a closer look at each point.

Choose the right product

Start as you mean to go on is a good maxim for every fence project.

If you do not choose the right wood, the fence will not last the tests of time.

Only use pressure-treated wood from a reputable fence supply agent.

Ask for wood which is best suited to your local climate; a good supply company will know the answer.

Make sure you treat the fence posts before burying them in the ground and always seal them too before starting work.

Choosing the right product is key to the success of the split rail fence.

Map, mark and clear the area

Make sure you have the area for the fence clear on your property map.

You do not want to install the fence on someone else’s land.

When you are sure where the fence is running, mark out the spots along the line where the fence posts are going.

Ensure the spots are the correct distance apart and are in a straight line.

While marking the area, clear it of bushes, rocks, and debris.

It will make the work more manageable once you begin the install.

Secure the first fence post

With the line of the fence marked you will need to erect the first fence post

Make sure the posts are the correct height for the fence; at least one-third of the fence will be going into the ground.

Dig the hole to the correct depth. Clients often use an auger on a big project, as it makes hole-digging a lot easier.

Line the bottom of the hole with pea gravel to aid drainage. Fit the post in the hole and tamp it in using more gravel or concrete, depending on how you are doing the work.

If you use concrete, make sure you seal the gap between the post and the mixture, or else water may seep in and rot the post.

When the post is in, and secure, then move onto building the fence.

Build the fence

A split rail fence must go up one section at a time.

With your first post in the ground, you can insert the rails into the already drilled slits in the post.

Now align the rails with where the second post will go. Insert the second post in the ground exactly in line with the rails and the first post. Follow the same instructions as the first post.

When ready insert the rails in the post, and then set the two posts in a straight line.

Check that each post is level and secured in the ground.

If the section is as it should be, move onto the next one.

Repeat carefully until the fence is ready.

Stain and maintain the fence for a long life

When you are finished installing, there is plenty of other work to do.

You will need to stain it or seal it against the wet and cold weather you will have in the winter.

Another vital job is to draw up a maintenance schedule.

This will remind you to care for the fence throughout the year.

Good maintenance habits lead to good fences.

Call us

At Fence Supply Online we know a lot about split rail fences.

Our experts will give you plenty of advice on styles, materials, and maintenance.

Use our Draw It & Quote It software to plan the project.

Call us today for all of your fencing needs.

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