How to Install Fence Rails

split rail fence installation

We’ve already helped you get your fence posts installed, now let’s complete building a split rail fence. Once the posts are in, you have conquered the most challenging part of the construction. Now you need to install the fence rails and any siding, like pickets or panels if you are using them. It is important that your fence rails are correctly mounted because they create the frame and bear the weight of the panels or pickets. Depending on your design there are many things to consider. We have some tips for how to install fence rails and panels.

List of Basic Materials

  • Wood for rails
  • Pickets or Panels
  • Level
  • String
  • Screws or Nails
  • Combination Square
  • Tape Measure
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves
  • Pencil
  • Hammer and/or Drill

How Many Rails?

You will need at least two railings, but for added strength to your design use three. You can also install a wood support under the center of the bottom rail. Consider placing the railings on the edge for extra support so your siding will not sag. Also, if you live in an area with HOA or county restrictions, make sure to see what the rules are first.

Lay Out the Rails

It is best to start at an end post, measuring up from the bottom to figure out where to evenly space your rails, and clearly mark layout lines for the location of each rail. Once you have the first measured out, then transfer layout lines to the other posts using a line level and the string. Use the square to transfer the lines inside the posts if mounting the rails between posts.

How to Attach the Rails

Use fence brackets, angle brackets or toe-nail to attach the fence rails. We have all these accessories. Confused which is best? Ask one of our technicians. We recommend that you level the rails and attach them to the posts using nails that are at least three times as long as the thickness of the rails. If the rails meet at an intermediate post, cut them to fit snugly and make sure to butt the ends together in the middle of the post. When mounting between or across posts, you can use hangers, nails or screws. Also, for optimal construction, it is best to miter the ends of railings that meet at a corner.

If you have any questions about these tips for how to install fence rails or just need basic advice, contact Atlantic Fence. Our knowledgeable and friendly service technicians are here it assist in every stage of your fencing project.