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The Post and Rail Fence – An American Classic

As much a part of the American landscape as any fence style, wood post and rail fences are recognized for their stability and beauty. Post and rail fences are typically made with three or four horizontal rails. That means you can easily see through the fence and keep your garden and any large livestock hemmed in safely. For smaller pets such as dogs, some homeowners, who like the look of post and rail fences, request wire attached inside the fence.

Locally, Milton, GA features a number of different post and rail wood fences. If you’re up for some travel, Lexington, KY is always a sure bet. And, if you really want to see something special, visit the area in the spring when you’ll see Thoroughbred mares and foals cantering across lush green pastures that are bordered by old stone walls and ubiquitous rail fences.

Atlanta Decking & Fence typically uses pressure-treated lumber for post and rail fences as it lasts far longer than non-treated wood. The fencing is made up of posts that have slots cut into them. The rails, usually 2-5 in number, are strung between posts and butt end to end in the slots. Posts are spaced from 4’ to 12’ apart depending on their intended use, design and budget. Heights of 4’ to 6’ are most common. Fence gates can easily be integrated into the design.

If you choose bare wood, you’ll want to stain it or paint it every 3-7 years — which will keep it in top condition. Local weather will determine how frequently it needs to be done. Cedar doesn’t require maintenance and neither does pressure-treated wood.

For a More Rustic Look, Think Split Rail

Split rail fences are made from splitting rails lengthwise down the tree trunk and into quarters. Most split rail fences are constructed with either two or three rails across the fence. They use little or no hardware and were a major source of firewood for both Union and Confederate armies. This type of fencing has been in use for centuries and continues to be popular today on ranches, farms and in rural residential use. Split rail fences can used to keep livestock or horses in a field and can also be used to border gardens and lawns. Although simple in construction, they typically use more wood than other fence types — depending on the split rail design.

One can spot split rail fences all along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina and Virginia. These sightings, along with the accompanying log cabins, dense forests and natural wildlife will evoke images of an era from long ago.
Because of their rustic beauty, split rail is appealing for both decorative purposes and practical use. For appearance, it is often used in front of a home to set it off from the road. In fact, sometimes, non-connecting sections are used purely for ornamental purpose.

There are several types of wood used for split rail fencing including cedar, pine, spruce and hemlock. Cedar species such as Western Red cedar has the best natural water-resistant characteristics. It will last the longest and requires the least amount of maintenance. Cedar is also very resistant to insect infestation. When not painted or stained, it weathers to an attractive, classic silver-gray color.

There really isn’t any maintenance required on a wood split rail fence — this is especially true when hundreds or thousands of feet of fencing are used. The wood can also be stained or painted, and either can significantly prolong the life of the wood. Painting or staining is the best choice if you use wood other than cedar.

If you’re looking for a wood fence with relaxed country appeal, give us a call at 770-781-4641 for a free consultation. Along with recommending for the best design, our crew provides fence installation and follow-up to make sure you’re very satisfied.